What Are Your Real Priorities?

I often talk to artists who express frustration with the lack of improvement they see in their work from year to year. The “idea” of being a great artist takes precedence over the time and effort required to become a better artist.

Have you ever caught yourself or an artist friend saying the following? “My art is important to me but I really want that new car (or house, for example); I have to put more time in at work to pay for it.” Perhaps you’ve heard “I really want to paint but my friend asked me out for lunch (or “I had a hair appointment, I went shopping, I had so many phone calls, answering my e-mails takes so much time, and then there’s Facebook”).

art students

Students have made a one-year commitment to push their artistic practice in my 4X4 workshop. They meet with me four times in four-day installments, where I give them individual challenges to finish before the next session.

There’ll always be reasons or excuses that will take you away from your goals. It’s important to know what your goals are and where they fall within a hierarchy of most to least important. If improving your painting abilities is a priority, then you have to set up good habits. (Tweet this idea!)

Set aside a certain number of hours that you can realistically spend in your studio each week. When you go to the studio, go there to work. This is a time to turn off your phone and e-mail and spend your time with your process.

portrait by Jean Pederson_time and commitment

State of Grace (watermedia, 16×20) by Jean Pederson.Time and commitment will lead you to where your art work is meant to be. Strive for excellence with every step you take.

Create a list of goals that you’d like to achieve over the next week, month, and year. For example, your goals may include finishing a specific number of paintings each month, or working on techniques that you’ve not yet mastered. It’s a bit like setting a goal to lose weight; you decide whether you want that cookie and some extra weight or the discipline to forgo the cookie to reach the goal of wearing loose pants. Whatever your goals are, keep them in the back of your mind and work toward that end.

If your studio is at home, make sure the rest of the people in the house understand that when that door is closed it’s time for you to work and not be interrupted.

You’ll find the results will start rolling in because you’ve decided what is important and have taken steps to reach your goals. And through your hard work will come inspiration!

Until next time,
Jean

Learn more from Mixed Media Artist Jean Pederson
Mixed Media Painting Workshop: Explore Mediums, Techniques, and the Personal Artistic Journey (book or download)
Expressive Portraits: Watercolor and Mixed Media Techniques (paperback)
Wet Glazing Watercolor Portrait (DVD)
Watercolor Artist, August 2011: Create the illusion of depth in your paintings with these simple tips and helpful illustrations of linear and aerial perspective. (article)
• See her work at www.jeanpederson.com

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