a linocut of a room with a bed, and a sunny window with lounging cats

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Dozing 5.25 x 7.25 Linocut (available here)   (sold)

What are your artist goals for 2017? How did they work for you in 2016? A review of what’s behind us is helpful for planning what’s in front of us, especially if we want to steer towards new and improved pathways, right? You could cross the length of the pool in front of you by just swimming, but it’s more efficient (& fun) to kick off the wall behind you for a decisive start.

Drafting a design on a block of mounted linoleum

If you’re inclined to mutter about what you didn’t finish into an end-of-the-year tea cup of disappointment, perhaps a review of last year while drafting a plan for this year would be a perfectly swell exercise. This is not a post about resolutions. I like the word resolute (defined as admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering), but that sounds a bit rigid, and I think it’s more appealing to make a creative plan based on your wishes, dreams and art-making fantasies. That sounds more like fun, don’t you think?

You may have finished more than you know last year; it’s hard to recall the art-flavored activities flicked across a 52 week grid.  To start the plan, brew a delicious beverage, grab a notepad, pull up last year’s calendar, and have a look at your art-making over 2016.

Carving with my favorite Flexcut carving tools. See this linocut in process in the video below.

How many paintings and drawings and art-related activities did you accomplish in 2016? Everything counts. Did you doodle a postcard and mail it to someone? Did you draw a little in a sketchpad? Did you read a book about art? Did you meet with others to paint, or take a class, or a workshop? How about organizing your art-making area? Did you show your work, write some blog posts, share art on social media? Did you visit a museum? Gather and count your art-goodies, keeping in mind that this will be a jumping off point for this new year, and not an exercise in self loathing for failure to hit the mark.  If you’ve been away from your art for so long that last year’s calendar had less than a sprinkle of art-related events, read this post about my start&stop journey back to art late in life, and be encouraged. ????  We’re going to use the scarcity of art on last year’s calendar to inform & propagate this year’s plan of action in the next post.

In reviewing my 2016 calendar, I fared well on some goals, and flopped on others, which is pretty common, I think. (Don’t beat yourself up if your flops outnumbered your hurrahs. You are, after all, putting a plan together right now, so try to stay focused on using last year as that back wall to kick off for a swim across the pool into this year.) ???????? I listened to twenty audiobooks (the list is here) this year which was a deliberate increase from 2015’s tally of eleven, and as I’ve said before, I can’t recommend audiobooks enough to keep your butt in the studio.  A good audiobook will rivet you to your art-making chair so you’ll keep working, and it occupies the fretful part of the art-brain so your work is more fluid.  (You can start with two free books on Audible here.)

Adding watercolor to the linocut – Dozing

I exhibited at about a dozen art festivals & shows, but produced far less artwork this year, which doesn’t make me happy at all, so I’ll be prioritizing painting days on the new calendar we’re going to draft in the next post. I also planned to start a series on different art supplies, and that didn’t happen either.  I edited fifteen video tutorials on my youtube channel, and wrote sixty blog posts, but didn’t take a single art workshop. In mid-January last year, I committed to daily exercise with weights, at home, with a great youtube channel as my trainer, and that has been excellent (& free). So, there’s that. 🙂

Shooting a watercolor and colored pencil video tutorial in my studio. With a cat sleeping under the tripod.

I signed up for two video art classes online, and have yet to finish them, even though they’re both excellent, so that area will need some attention this year too. (If you’re looking for online art classes to dot across your new calendar, have a look at this post.)

So now that we’ve looked back, what’s our favorite view of the horizon looking forward? Write it down. I’m scribbling a list that includes shooting & editing some private video courses on best studio practices for getting organized & how to get your art into the world (thanks to all of you for the great feedback on what you’d like to see!).  I’ve got another trip to Provence as crew with workshopsinfrance.com in the works, and more audiobooks, daily exercise, art festivals, & printmaking experiments. I want to create a new series of still life and interiors in both watercolor & printmaking.  Oh, and I want to do more sketching too!

Pulling a monotype in the studio

How about you? Purge all your ideas onto a page; think big & broad. What would make you happy? What’s on the list of things you’d like to learn? What art methods or subjects would you like to dabble in this year? Do you want to take a painting trip? Write it all down, and include a continuation of the things from last year’s calendar that worked well for you.  Even if it didnt work, or you didnt get to it, if you still feel strongly about doing it, add that item to your list.

Moleskine watercolor scribbles from the Los Angeles Arboretum

In the next post, we’ll plot everything we can fit into a prepared calendar. In the meantime, either download & print a calendar to scribble on (like this one), or procure a 12 month calendar that features one month per page in a block of squares. We’ll need a visual to help us really comprehend how much & how little time there is to make things in the next year. Are you ready? I sure am!

Thanks for your visit, and I’ll see you in the next post, with calendar in hand!


P.S. You can subscribe to this blog to get each post via email here.


Art Quote

A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.

~Annie Dillard

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9 thoughts on “Linocut: Dozing (Artist Goals; Looking Back to Go Forward – Part 1)”

  1. Gabrielle Sivitz

    I just want to echo what everyone else has said here: great post! Very upbeat. I’ve been putting off my year-in-review, but this post makes me want to drop everything and do it right now! Thanks for the inspiration! (and I loved the “A Year In Provence” series so I was excited to see that on your audiobook list.)

    1. Hi Gabrielle, Thanks for stopping by! I hope your year in review is successful in spurring you on to dream big this year, and put your plan on the calendar to map it out fully! Happy making!

  2. This post is beyond excellence…what more can it say! The image, the process, the inspiration, the resources, the quote….and that precious visit from kitty watching itself being captured on that linocut! .I could go on and on. Again and again, I am WOWed by images in which there is a a magical slanting ray of sun – It literally sucks me into the scene – perhaps as a sundial, it’s a reminder of the passing of time – that elusive fleeting moment, and in that cozy moment, all is well! OK, now I want to climb back into that bed before the sun goes away. LOL!

  3. Hi Belinda, what a lovely post!
    Not only for your beautiful paintings, but also for the tips! Useful and wise.
    Last year I was dealing with a very difficult disease, but I am much better now. I’m looking forward to come back to painting this year.
    This place is an oasis of beauty.
    Thank you for your blog, it inspires me a lot.

    1. Hi Cristiane, Thank you for the kind words, and the good news that you’re better now! Welcome back to your art, and here’s hoping your muse & art supplies are singing and dancing at the thought of your creative output this year!

  4. Joanne Kalvaitis

    Thanks Belinda, your tips are so timely. Last year was very chaotic for me, but finally my studio is workable. As I’ve aged I’ve found that “will power” has turned into “maybe later” power and I’m really struggling to keep up a practice. Your words are hitting home.

    1. Hi Joanne, I think you have a lot of fine company in the “Maybe later” Club. I’m in there too. Even if we get things done, if they’re not the ‘right’ things, we should adjust. I’ve got a two column list to plot against this year’s calendar. I hope you’re working on your list too. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

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