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Setting Artistic Goals for Yourself

Setting goals may not be what you think of when you have time to paint! But, it's important if you want to jump from hobbyist to artist. Even if you don't intend to be a professional, but you want to improve your work and get it out into the world, then you need to set goals.

Goals are large, but achieving them requires small, bite-sized pieces that can be done incrementally. Not that I am THAT successful, but what successes I have, I set down on paper many years back. Course I had a lot of help from a higher power and wouldn't be where I am without it!

I recently had the opportunity to explain this to my 22 year-old son, and walk him through the process of setting 5 year goals and breaking them down into 3 year goals, 1 year goals, monthly and weekly goals.

How the process works, is you set a measurable and specific goal that can be achieved in 5 years. For example, mine is to get half of my income from painting sales, and half from workshops (not classes) by 2025.

Once you set that goal, you measure the halfway point, what would that look like? What would the $ amount be? Using my example, I would be booking a year in advance, and have 8 workshops, represented by 6-8 galleries.

Then break that into a year from now and what that would look like. For my example, that would mean getting magazine attention and presence, winning awards, setting groundwork for workshops, etc.

Each of those items could be broken down even further into monthly goals, like entering exhibits, and competitions, sending out press releases, advertising, etc. Then each of those can be further broken down into weekly goals like researching workshop venues, etc.

My goals center around career advancement as a professional, but the process works equally well even if you don't intend to sell your paintings. I keep my goals posted in my studio where I can see them every day.

Now don't try to read my goals as the content is not important, its the process that works. The two small sheets are monthly and weekly goals which I made photocopies of, and keep on a clipboard in my office. I wake every day and have coffee while reading my goals. This sets my intention, and helps me focus on the bite-sized chunk I can accomplish this week.

The clipboard keeps me focused and on track. But I also need a person to check in with once a week to keep me honest. My son and I touch base every weekend to see how we are progressing on our goals. Just knowing I'm going to have to tell him that I didn't do something is inspiration enough to go do it! Pretty sure he feels the same way.

Having a friend or colleague would work just as well. This is a service I would offer to any of my students who wanted to improve their painting.

If painting is your goal, you may want to set a goal like this:

5 years: Win an award for my oil portraits

3 years: Start taking oil commissions

1 year: learn to mix skin tones, and take a class in portraiture

monthly-practice portraits on random photos from the internet, sign up for class

weekly-learn to oil paint, and practice make color charts on neutralizing with the complements and research portraits

I set goals not only for my professional career, but also for my artistic growth. For my 5 year goal, I'd like to paint looser with a tighter focal point. I'd also like to use oil as well as pastel, so I'm taking classes in oil and becoming more proficient.

On this holiday weekend, take a few minutes to meditate, and set down your goals on paper. Writing them down, sets your intention and keeps it on the top of your mind.

-set at least 3 goals to achieve in 5 years (personal, professional, artistic)

-break each goal down into measurable benchmarks and list them on a sheet for 5 year goals, 3 year goals (halfway) and 1 year goals (next year).

-Take your 1 year goals and break them down into 12 parts as monthly goals

-Take each monthly goal and break it down into weekly goals.

-now hang them where you can see them every day, or clip your weekly goals to a clipboard that you can jot down notes on every day.

-last, find someone to share this journey with and keep you to your goals. This is a "believing mirror" a friend, who will encourage you and help you over the humps. If you don't have anyone, email me your goals and I'll help you stick to them.

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