27 December 2015

2016 Is Coming!

Romeo - 8x10" - Oil on paper
One of the things I always do at year end is review my previous years work and try to identify my strengths and weaknesses. I go through my paintings and throw some away, throw some into the rework pile, etc. I try to analyze what worked, what didn't work, and what I want to improve on. Improvements always involve colour use, brushstrokes, and drawing - the basis of painting. I set various goals for myself for the coming year. Some of those goals involve skill, some business, some personal.

Since I started doing this, I've always met or exceeded my goals, except this year. For the first time ever I failed. The realization that I wasn't going to meet all my goals happened in October and it caused a bit of a slump which coincided with some increased demand for photography. It was easy for me to focus on photography for a couple of months and let the painting languish.

Last year in early January, I wrote about how I'd lost my momentum over the holidays. I had said I'd plan to have a half finished painting on the easel for this year. But with the existing slump, I forgot all about doing that. However,  just before Christmas I was hit with a bunch of submission deadlines and had a couple of paintings that needed to be finished to submit, so that got me back into the studio.

Like last year, I couldn't keep working because I needed the room I use for drying paintings for company. Unlike last year, I decided to simply switch from painting to drawing. I used the time to work on quicker charcoal sketches and reminded myself how much I love the simplicity and portability of that medium.

For the past several years I had been getting cards printed with a seasonal artwork I'd done on them. I didn't do that this year, so one of my plans was to get some Christmasy sketches to use for cards next year. I spent the holidays doing charcoal drawings of Santa (St. Nicholas) to use for 2016's cards, which has helped shape some of my goals for the coming year.

In 2016, I want to improve my figurative drawing and do more portraits. Despite plans to be a landscape painter, I find myself increasingly drawn to the figure and people. Who knew?! I want to improve my charcoal works specifically. There are other goals like:

  • better brush handling
  • improved colour usage (I made some discoveries just before the holidays and really want to explore that some more)
  • explore broken and layered colour
There are many more goals which I won't list here such as exhibition and sales goals. As for that failed goal from 2015? I'll write about that in a separate post. 
"You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don't win, at least you can be satisfied that you've tried. If you don't accept failure as a possibility, you don't set high goals, you don't branch out, you don't try - you don't take the risk."
- Rosalynn Carter