What, Why and How of Goal Setting & Kupkiss, 6x6

"Kupkiss" 6x6" Oil    ©Brenda Boylan    Sold

As the days hasten to 2014, we begin to think more about the past year and ponder what next year will bring forth.

In this post, I am not trying to boast or make myself out to be the super duper star of this blog. My post is about YOUR goal setting and I am a huge believer in goal setting. What I wish to share with you is what I did to make my goals happen.  So this is my "What, Why and How" to goal setting. As for diets, we won't even tackle that subject...but I digress. 

Looking back, I think the past year has been quite extraordinary in terms of my growth as an artist. In light of the economic challenges most artists have experienced over the past 6 or more years, I made a mental decision to take this unknown "down time" and invest in the business of my work. This meant workshopping with master artists, building up marketing online and off, pushing myself to stretch in ways that made me very uncomfortable, and to try new things. I had decided that when the economy was ready for art, I would be ready for IT. And so for the past 6 years or so, I hunkered down and focused. I said "yes" to those opportunities that would lead me to my ultimate goal and avoided the ones that would misdirect me...and boy, there were many! I lost a few friends along the way, opting out of some fun, smaller art shows, I sacrificed a few family events, but I stayed the course. Reflecting back over this past year, things are really starting to move along. Do I regret any of my choices?  Perhaps a few, Am I fulfilled? A resounding YES!  Let me explain... 

It all happened a few years ago when I attended the Plein Air Convention in 2012, the early morning marketing class that Publisher Eric Rhodes taught really hit me on the side of the head.  I knew this stuff. I read it in books, I discussed it with others, I heard it on tapes, but something took over that early morning session that made me shift my ways. It wasn't easy either. It took work.. really hard work. I was no longer a pin ball bouncing around just doing things. I had directions. The thing is, it takes focus for any goal to happen. I just decided to work on it, and try to stay balanced. I accepted that somethings just get out of whack when the focus is lazer hot, but then you gotta make a point to take "down time" to realign. Life just gets in the way as always, and that is to be expected. Then this year, I began to see actual results for the first time in all my 19 years. I began to get invitations to participate in some incredible shows, judging opportunities came my way and galleries began to call. My work was getting noticed online and off, but the best part was that my work was beginning to sell. 

My first hope for you in the new year would be to DECIDE what it is you want. Write it down and look at that goal daily. 
Secondly, FOCUS on what it is you want. Stay clear of distractions and opportunities that will end up taking you nowhere. 
Work hard. No explanation here.
Evaluate and decide.  Sit down with yourself and ask what worked and what didn't, and make the needed changes. 
Take chances and have fun with your art. It will take hard work and sometimes be uncomfortable, but it's all so worth it.

Here are a few of my top picks for goal setting:
(Disclaimer:  I am not getting paid to post this, just sharing what I have done)

Eight Habits of Highly Effective Artists  Blog Talk Radio with Leslie Saeta

15 Ways to Get Back on Track for Your Best Year Ever.  Blog Talk Radio with Leslie Saeta

I'd Rather be in the Studio! by Alyson B. Stanfield

How to Sell Art by J Jason Horejs

Plein Air Convention, Monterey, CA. April 7-11, 2014

All my best to you in the new year!

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The Blue Line, 24x24

"The Blue Line" 24x24"  Pastel  ©Brenda Boylan

I have been wanting to paint this scene for some time now. It took many detours along the way, (no pun intended), as some paintings take on a direction of their own.  I started out with an image that I took a few months ago on my iPhone and I uploaded it to Instagram where I had the liberty to try different filters for different effects. I really loved one filter in particular, Mayfair, with the contrast boost. Once on the easel, I saturated the colors a tad to add to the drama to this gray city scene. My interest was to use a warm/cool palette of blues and oranges complimented with neutral grays.  At one point the painting had stalled for two weeks as I was distracted, so it sat..and sat. Then one morning I woke up to a fallen easel, face-planted down on the studio floor!

Oh my!

Luckily, the painting avoided any potential smudging or dents. Thankfully it dodged that bullet. With pastels, it is always a good idea to tilt your standing easel forward a bit. This tilt helps the pastel dust to drop away from the painting, keeping it from contaminating the painted areas below. Unfortunately, not a lot of easels are designed to lean forward. (perhaps a Christmas gift idea?) Lesson learned:  weigh down the back of an easel if it is tilted forward. Anyway, I am happy to share "The Blue Line". It will be available in late December at Attic Gallery, located at 206 SW 1st, Portland, OR.

Here is a cropped view of the more "busier" part of the piece

Starting off with a sketch in blue pastel pencil

I tried a bright blue underpainting with water-based createx paint
to give it that "cold, fall day" feeling.

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Thankfulness continues...

"Dried Bud" 6x6" Oil      ©Brenda Boylan  Sold

It's been a rocky road for many in America these past seven years, give or take. Perhaps our struggles may seem petty for those less fortunate ones across the globe, but there are many things that could always be better. Some don't even notice as their days fold into years. Thanksgiving continues for me long past the festivities. I mention this because there was a time when I was living in borderline poverty as a child and so I can attest to the hardships some people go through. I made it through with an exceptional desire to work hard and focused planning. It has given me a unique perspective on life, and so I'd like to mention a few things at the top of my mind that I am most grateful for, not in any order.

Food (gluten free food especially)
Health (fragile at times)
Family (this includes friends)
The gumption to work hard
Art Supplies
Dark chocolate
Live music
A hearty laugh
Good red wine
Safe neighborhood
A car that drives

Ok, there are more, but this is what tops my list.

What are you thankful for?

Artist Note:  I have representation by two new galleries I must mention here. Attic Gallery in Portland, OR., and Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.  So yes, there is always more to be so thankful for.

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