Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Goals for 2017 (like, ones I can actually accomplish!)

Happy New Year! 2017 is well under way, and it already looks promising. There's something about New Year's that gives me a renewed sense of optimism. Perhaps with the stress of the holidays, it's just nice to get back into a routine and have some moments of stillness to clear my mind and think about the year ahead.

As I sit here typing, my studio is a mess but it's messy with purpose. To my left is a still life setup that happened "accidentally" on my taberet. A wooden mannequin, which acted for years as nothing more than a useless studio prop, has now become the whimsical subject of my next still life experiment, along with all the paints, solvent jars, and miscellaneous items that happened to be sitting there when the idea came to me. Paint tubes lie scattered on every available flat surface near my easel for easy access. To the right are several large cardboard boxes; having recently housed some brand new frames, they will soon to be repurposed for shipping art to upcoming shows. Freshly sized and primed canvases of various sizes lean up against the studio walls to dry, while others, now fully cured, await their turn for one of my many upcoming painting projects. I like to think that my studio is a place of constant change and motion - just as one project is wrapping up, another is beginning. For me it is a place of great comfort but also great challenges - where the hard work takes place!

As I reviewed my art-related goals for last year, I realized that some of them were ridiculous. I should never have made them "goals," because they were simply beyond my control. Some things, like winning competitions or landing big commissions, are the result of someone else's judgment or control. Other things happen because you end up being at the right place at the right time. So... this year I'm going to try to get better at "going with the flow", working at things that are within my power to change, and leaving the rest to God.

Here are a couple goals that are definitely attainable:

- Paint outdoors more often (I've already gone out once this year - yay! See below).

- Finish what I start. I am a chronic non-finisher. Just visit my studio some time and you'll see how many studies and abandoned works there are collecting dust on the shelves.

- Teach more, and mentor someone. I'm really looking forward to this. I'll be working one-on-one with a mentee that I've been paired with through the Portrait Society's Cecilia Beaux Forum. Additionally, I've got a workshop scheduled for Feb. 17-19 in Georgetown, TX, and will hopefully be adding more workshops to the roster as the year progresses.

- Make art that is meaningful. If I don't believe in what I'm doing, it will not resonate with the viewers. I have to be completely "into" what I'm doing. If not, I should stop wasting my time and move on to something better.

Up until this point, I've been so success-driven that I've lost sight of the things that make life enjoyable. I'm going to focus less on material success and spend more time living in the moment and living with complete intention. That might mean intentionally saying no to certain things, while giving the things I say "yes" to, 100%. Speaking of success... you can read my thoughts on that in my next upcoming blog post. ;-) Stay tuned.

Above: my last 3-hour life study of 2016.  I tried to go out with a bang. ;-)

Above: 8x8 plein air study, oil on panel

I am already meeting my goal of painting outdoors! Last weekend I went out while the snow was still fresh and painted at a nearby park. Here in Denver, you have to get out there right away after a blizzard, because it will be completely melted within a few days. Still... it was pretty cold (about 30 degrees). I wore toe warmers in my boots and attached sticky hand warmers to my sleeves at my wrists. That seemed to work pretty well.

Oh, and one last goal for 2017. I will try to post more often on this blog! :-)


  1. well, you are doing a great job blogging here and sharing some of the best work out there. i am impressed with your work. keep practicing. i wish you good luck in your future accomplishments.

  2. Anna, for me painting is a form of putting your heart, feelings and stress on canvas. Your work os really fantastic and I am sure you will achieve what you are planning for.


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