Friday, January 10, 2014

Goals for 2014 (Let's be Realistic!), and Some New Paintings

2014 is here, and I am back at my easel!

It's always exciting to embrace a new year, isn't it? There is great hope for renewal, fulfilled dreams, and personal betterment. It's a chance to start fresh and seize the day!

I suppose I'm really excited because at 22 weeks pregnant, my energy is BACK! I am well aware that the next few months are going to go by in a blur, but I am looking forward to all the new painting projects, commissions, and teaching opportunities that await. There's nothing like a deadline to get an artist moving!

While I think goals and resolutions are important, I want to be realistic about what I can actually accomplish. I am going to have a baby in May. What can I still do, while tackling this monumental life change?

I think I can get better at the following:
1) Create more interesting and dynamic designs
2) Paint with boldness and sensitivity
3) Tackle multi-figure compositions
4) Improve my ability to capture different textures
5) Become more selective about the paintings I choose to start and give each one my absolute all.

These are things that could take a lifetime to really master, but I know at the end of the year I'll be able to look back and say, "Yes, I improved there."

One of my temptations each new year is to ditch my old projects and start all new ones. This year (due to my lack of energy at the beginning of my pregnancy), I've decided to stick it out and finish some of the paintings I started last fall. Many of them still have a good deal of potential and are simply waiting to reach it fully. Others I may set aside for a while, perhaps to return to them someday, perhaps not. But I am also beginning some new things.

Here is one I just finished, that was started on location in Port Clyde, Maine, back in October.

"Marshall Point Lighthouse" - 10x8" - oil on linen panel

Here is another, a figure painting that was begun in the fall. I had three sessions with the model, and just this week, I decided to pick it up again and finish it. I am very glad I did!

"Repose" - 16x20" - oil on linen

The above painting was already a step in the right direction, as far as my goals are concerned. My focus was to create an interesting design, and I think both the pose and the diagonals of the drapery and shadows helped to accomplish this.

Additionally I would love to tell more of a story with some of my work. I am usually content to paint something simply for the sake of beauty and the joy of laying paint to canvas. But I am also ready to dig a little deeper. Which leads me to the next topic...

...As if I haven't talked about this pregnancy enough (bear with me)... I think I'll do a couple of pregnant self portraits. There is a lot going through my head right now as I come to grips with my changing body and lifestyle, and I think I need to get it out in paint. As Christians we talk about "dying to self" (Romans 6:4-8, Galations 2:20) which means taking up our cross and giving up our fleshly desires in order to become more like Christ. Becoming a mother is very much a process of "dying to self." There is no place for selfishness any longer but instead it is replaced by unconditional love and sacrifice. I am so glad we are given nine months to prepare for this pivotal change. I'm excited to see how it changes me for the better and perhaps even makes me a more insightful and experienced artist.

Well, that is enough for now. Back to the easel! :-)
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