Resolutions for the New Year

23-mckinley-painting.jpgStarting the new year with a few resolutions can help us break free from some bad habits and encourage improvement in our lives. This year all of my resolutions pertain to painting; weight, sleep and kindness will just have to wait until next year!

Resolution 1: I’m beginning with better management of my painting time (one I’m sure most of us have had on our lists many times!). With the passing of the years, there seems to be less and less time for what is truly important — painting! So I’ve decided to try a schedule. I’m thinking of it this way: If I were working for an employer and had to be at work by a certain time (or else be fired), I would be there. It’s easy to allow our painting time to be the first thing ignored when something else needs our attention. By treating it with the same respect given to employment, we honor its importance. My plan is to punch a time clock for three full days of the week, when I’m not off teaching. I’ll allow the other days to attend to personal matters and art-related incidentals, like framing and record keeping.

Resolution 2: Spend more time drawing. This is something I preach but often overlook. All of us love to paint. We live to have our hands in pigment, and thrill at the shapes of color and values we arrange across the surface. Drawing skills, however, are the foundation upon which a successful painting is built. The draftsman’s hand is a sure and steady one, capable of laying down what the mind wishes without hesitation. Therefore, I resolve to draw a little every day—even if it is only a doodle at the
breakfast table. If crossword puzzles are good for warding off
dementia, then drawing must serve the same function for the painter!

Resolution 3: Finally, I resolve to return to familiar places and revisit old painting subjects. Instead of spending so much time looking for inspiration in the “new,” I plan to dig deeper into the possibilities that still lie waiting within the familiar. Like a musical score once performed, there’s always more to be explored by the mature hand.

Although these resolutions may not last throughout the year, having done them for awhile will have its benefits. Who knows, I
might just keep a couple and surprise myself!

Please share your resolutions in the comment section of this blog (you may choose to include your email when making a reply, but you don’t have to). And may 2008 bring continued painting success and may your resolutions make you a stronger artist!

Richard, who has long been a contributing writer for The Pastel Journal, is now a regular columnist for the magazine’s Pastel Pointers column. See his first column of 2008 (about staying motivated in our art-making) in the current February issue.

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6 thoughts on “Resolutions for the New Year

  1. Sally

    Resolutions for 2008:
    1. Draw for at least 30 minutes every day from life.
    2. Complete at least 2 pastel paintings each month.
    3. Enter a regional juried art competition.

    Best wishes to everyone on achieving their goals this year!

  2. laville

    I am pretty new to the pastel medium, having worked in watercolor for several years,and I am thoroughly enjoying each blog….I reread them to get as much as I can out of them. I paint mostly in my small studio, but when the weather allows, I want to paint outdoors. I will be going back in the blogs to get info on how to do that best. Thanks, LaVille

  3. judy richardson

    My resolutions are centered around painting too. My goal is one plein air a week, and at least 4 hours of painting 4 days a week. AS I was searching for my passowrd for this Feedblitz I added get organized! Thanks for all of the great information in your blogs. Your concepts apply to other mediums as well!
    Judy Richardson

  4. Miki Willa

    Resolutions for 2008:
    1. Use more reds and oranges in my paintings.
    2. Continue to paint daily.
    3. Pay more attention to focal areas, and composition in general.
    I am so glad you started this blog. My husband and I will see you in Bend next summer.

  5. Lacie Abell

    Thank you, Richard, for your blog; I love it! My resolution for 2007 was to "paint everyday", one which I nearly kept (nearly).
    Building on that, I resolve to enter a juried show in 2008! Wish me luck.

  6. Marjorie Rose

    I love new year resolutions, too. Mine are
    1 plein air a week.
    At least a 10 minute drawing sketch daily.
    1 workshop (my first ever, I’m signed up to take yours in Bend and I am so excited!!) Thanks for your great liberality in teaching us on this blog!