If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time.”   Zig Ziglar

“A dream without a goal is a wish. A goal without a plan is just a dream.”   -Unknown

“Actions speak louder than words.”   – Unknown

It’s already the second week of the new year! How are you doing with your art goals for 2017?  

While I’m not a fan of making new year’s resolutions, I do love dreaming and envisioning new possibilities for where I might take my art in the future because doing so inspires me to raise the bar higher and hopefully move my paintings a little closer to where I’d really like them to be.  

This year I added a new question, “what habits or personality traits might trip me up?” (see my last post) to my yearly art review and goal setting practice and wow, was that informative! I realized that I have LOTS of habits that trip me up and stand in the way of moving forward in my art! That led me to ponder the second new question I added this year, “what actions will I take to overcome them so that I can achieve my goals?” for a very long time. In getting totally honest with myself, I became aware that while I’m good at making plans, lists, and setting goals, I’m not so good at staying the course and continuing on the path I chose for my art when I’m distracted by something in my personal life, when life gets too busy, or when I feel discouraged about a painting I’m working on. 

With that in mind, I chose a watchword for 2017 to help me stay clear and focused on where I want to go this year and the actions I will take in order to get there. A watchword is a word, slogan, or phrase that can be used as a focusing or re-focusing tool – basically a watchword is a reminder to yourself of your intentions. In 2016 my watchword was CONTINUITY. Last year, one of my art goals was to be in the studio regularly and to be continuously connected to what was going on in the studio even during those times when it was impossible for me to actually be painting. By recalling my watchword regularly, I was able to remind myself routinely that my big picture goal is to always have and feel connected to something percolating in the studio no matter how stressful, challenging, chaotic, busy, or wonderfully distracting things are in my personal life. Having a relevant and personal watchword proved to be a very useful tool that helped me achieve some of my art goals last year. An added bonus was that I also learned that sometimes a “slow drip” approach to the percolating process yields tastier results!   

After generating a lot of words and phrases over a number of days, I chose FOLLOW THROUGH for my 2017 watchword. I think it will be a perfect reminder to me to keep on keeping on in terms of my art goals and action plans at those times when time and my personal life become challenging, and most especially at those times when I haven’t a clue about how to resolve a painting I’m working on, or when I feel totally discouraged or depressed about how my work in general is progressing and feel like abandoning my art practice altogether. I guess this year’s watchword, follow through is a lot like my 2016 watchword continuity. For me it seems to be all about getting my head in a good place, always having something percolating in the studio, and showing up regularly. 

I encourage you to choose a 2017 watchword.  And if you do, please share! Send it to me via the comment section below. We all learn from each other and seeing someone else’s watchword may open up possibilities we may never have thought of.

 Happy Painting and Writing!

10 thoughts on “2017 WATCHWORD FOR THE YEAR

  1. Hazel Stone


    I enjoyed your writing. I can identify with all the frustrations you mentioned.

    Life has a way of making it difficult to stay on the artistic path. There have been many roadblocks, detours, and closures to deal with. So what is the solution? The creative mind will simply find another way to proceed. So, my word is C R E A T E.

    Hazel Stone

    1. Donna Post author

      Hi Hazel,
      What a great watchword! CREATE. Trusting that your creative mind will find away around roadblocks and closures is such a great mindset! You are both affirming that you are indeed creative, and trusting that your inner creative spirit will always find a way. Love it!

  2. Kelly Anne Powers

    My phrase for 2017 is “focused abandon.” The focused part reminds me to put my head down and work hard. Ignore the noise (both inner and outer) and keep doing the work. The abandon part reminds me to stop overthinking what I’m doing. To not worry what others will think of what I’m doing and to let go of the tightness I often start to feel when over analyzing my art and where I’m going with it.

    Love reading your blog! Thank you for sharing it with us.


    1. Donna Post author

      Hi Kelly,
      Great to hear from you! I love your watchword – FOCUSED ABANDON. You are so right about how easy it is to get up in the intellectual or the search for “logical” or “the right” answers to our paintings. Relaxing, letting go, and painting spontaneously and intuitively is the key to personal expression – but it’s so hard and scary because of all the unknowns that we encounter. You go gir1! Paint with focused abandon!

      PS – Hugs to you and your family – I know it’s been a difficult year.

    1. Donna Post author

      Hi Martin,
      Thanks for sharing your 2017 art goals! It takes courage to post them on a blog – that creates a huge accountability factor! Kudo!
      PS – love your blog and website!

  3. Ruth Armitage

    Hi Donna,
    Your blog always provides food for thought. I am hereby setting my watchword publicly: SELF. I want my work to express who I am, and I want to get more painting done this year. In order to do that, I need to be more willing to say no to others. Family, community, collectors… all want a little bit of us. This year I am vowing to be more protective of my time.

    1. Donna Post author

      Hi Ruth,
      It’s great to hear from you! And thank you for sharing your watchword for 2017. What a good one! SELF. And you are so right – if we want to improve our paintings or create a personal body of work, and we know that the key is to spend more time in the studio, it becomes a real challenge to manage everything else. I’ve been working on that forever, it seems. If you find a good way to balance it all – please SHARE!

  4. Susan Wiley

    Slow and steady! If I proceed steadily, no matter how slow I seem to go, and I persevere, eventually I will reach my goal. The key, of course, is just to keep moving. Moving in the right direction, all the time. Sure, life has its stumbling blocks, but if there is a goal ahead, at the very least I can think about my plans, map them out, break them down into small steps so that when I can paint, I know how to execute my painting because the preliminary work has been done. But at least, if I move slowly and steadily, I will get there.

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