Category Archives: Setting Art Goals

Following up on my 2017 Watchword

Donna Zagotta, Everyone Has a Story

It’s hard to believe, but in a little over three months the year will be over! Instead of waiting until the end of the year to assess how I did with putting my 2017 watchword, essays racism critical essay story of an hour master thesis sweden company how long the effect of viagra see url https://cadasb.org/pharmacy/a-href-buy-celebrex/13/ source url career goals mba essay for fms simulator bartleby i would prefer not to analysis essay opinion essay sample writing essay bluest eye 5 paragraph essay sample paper https://peacerivergardens.org/proof/questions-in-essay-format/25/ https://dsaj.org/buyingmg/standard-dosage-for-levitra/200/ https://library.citytech.cuny.edu/podcast/article.php?publish=afrodizzia-essay-about-myself buy scholarship essay beigbeder windows on the world analysis essay source url against embryonic stem cell research essay paper source elodea rate essay light intensity child abuse term paper https://www.carrollkennelclub.org/phrasing/essay-on-trees-in-marathi-language/6/ https://sdchirogroup.com/savings/couper-un-cialis/33/ college essay editor websites uk atovaquone proguanil generic uk viagra 2003 levitra https://library.citytech.cuny.edu/podcast/article.php?publish=a-waiting-room-essay-help https://tffa.org/businessplan/student-apathy-essay/70/ favorite hobby essay example cialis o equivalente ap exam synthesis essay example Follow Through into my art practice, I thought it would be better to do it now, while there’s still time to clarify ideas and make any necessary modifications.

Looking at the definition of follow through that I pinned to my studio bulletin board at the beginning of the year, I was reminded that following through means:

  • Completing
  • Seeing through
  • Bringing to completion
  • Bringing to the end
  • Finishing off
  • Finishing

Back in January, when 2017 was all sparkly and new, I had lots of new ideas for improving my work and for taking it to the next level. Now I realize that was really just the “wishful thinking stage” of the creative process. What I learned this year is that when I’m in that stage, it’s as if I’m in la la land! I feel like I can conquer the world….anything’s possible – I’m Super Artist after all! I become overconfident in my skills and abilities, and as a result I don’t recognize the amount of time and effort it would take to master the new skills and abilities that I might need in order to successfully bring any of those ideas to completion. So without really having thought things through, I often jump right in and before long I inevitably find myself feeling frustrated and discouraged because I wasn’t able to pull off an idea that seemed so simple and perfect when I first encountered it. More often than not, those events lead to a slippery slope that ends in abandoning my idea altogether. And the sad thing is – maybe that was the perfect new idea – the one that would have taken my work to the next level if I had just seen it on through to the end.

Reflecting on all of this recently, I decided that I really need to learn how to follow through on new ideas. One thing I know for sure is that abandoning an idea when the going gets tough creates the opposite effect of my intention, which is to move my work closer to where I’d really like it to be. I need to create a list of action steps for acquiring the skills and abilities needed in order to bring an idea to a successful completion. And more importantly, I need to take the action steps and do it until the idea is brought to a successful completion.

It’s often been said that when a goal (or an idea) isn’t working we shouldn’t change the goal, we should change the action. Creating a list of action steps and then taking those action steps is a major key to achieving goals and successfully implementing new ideas. Without the action steps, the goal (or idea) forever remains in the “wishful thinking stage” of the process.

So here’s my plan ………

  1. Put together a list of action steps that might help me express the ideas that I think may help me move my art to where I really want it to be, and at the same time acknowledging that it’s quite possible that an action step might not take me anywhere. We always have to allow for, and be ok with, the inevitable mistakes, failures, and missteps that are part of the creative process.
  2. Instead of just rattling off a list of cliché or abstract actions that I think I “should” take, go deeper and search for practical and doable actions that really stand a chance of producing successful results.
  3. Commit to choosing one action step at a time and keep working that step without judgement until it’s brought to a successful completion.
  4. Detach from results. This takes away the pressure of having to create a masterpiece every time I walk into the studio and puts learning new skills and exploring new possibilities into the category of experiments, play, and fun adventures. Fear is what often stands in the way of taking action steps – fear of making the wrong decision or choosing the wrong path, fear of failure, and the fear of disappointing ourselves. Detaching from results is a great way to by step those fears.

How are you doing with your 2017 art goals?

My painting in today’s post, Everyone has a Story, is currently part of the American Watercolor Society’s 2017 Travel Show.

Bye for now…..Donna.

2017 WATCHWORD FOR THE YEAR

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!

Yearly Review and Setting Art Goals for 2017

“I will join Alice and explore every rabbit hole, even at the risk of shrinking and expanding. I will join Huck and ride the river, even if con men are waiting. I will discover the essence of poetry, unravel the mystery of song, grasp the intricacies of color. I am one terrific explorer.”     Eric Maisel 

“If we did the things that we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves.”   Thomas Edison

“Commit to a process and see where it leads.”    Chuck Close

One of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to sit down with my art journal and page through the year’s entries. I review what I focused on and thought about as I worked on this year’s body of work and ask myself what worked, what didn’t work, what still needs improvement, and what needs to be changed. Then I make a list of ideas for where I might take my work in the coming year and clearly identify some action steps for getting there.  Ideas for potential action steps can also be found in art books and magazines, on-line research, and studying other artists’ paintings that interest you. I add content ideas, series ideas, ideas and plans for how I might make needed improvements or stretch myself further, and more action plans to the mix. I believe that you can never have too many ideas or too many action plans for improving your art!

This year I changed up the questions I asked myself for the sake of more clarity and to achieve a deeper, more authentic intentionality in my paintings. If you would like to do a yearly review and set some goals for 2017, here are those questions. Enjoy! 

      1. What do I most want to achieve in my art in 2017?

      2. What habits or personality traits might trip me up?

      3. What actions will I take to overcome them so that I can achieve my goals?

      4.  What two or three specific areas would I really like too improve in my art in 2017?

      5.  What action steps will I take to manifest those improvements?

It’s fun to list goals and dreams, but without formulating specific action plans for achieving them they’re just empty words. You need to know where you want to go and what actions you need to take in order to get there. All of the answers are found inside of you. Always remember, you are the best expert on your life.

P.S. I recommend answering these questions over a number of days. It may take awhile for the more authentic answers to bubble up to the surface.

Happy Writing!

 

Trying Something New

 

Donna Zagotta, Walk With You

I started 2016 with a goal of experimenting with different painting surfaces and different painting techniques because I wanted to shake things up, try something new, and break away from habitual painting methods for awhile. I wanted to just play with watercolor and see what showed up. 

Yupo paper turned out to be the perfect surface for experimenting and playing with the watercolor pigments on my palette because it requires a totally opposite painting approach than my regular Cresecnt #115 Hot Press surface, where I use watercolor and gouache in a heavily painted, multi-layered technique. Yupo is a synthetic paper with a glossy, slick surface. Because it has no tooth, I decided to use traditional transparent watercolor techniques. In my opaque watercolors I use lots of wiping off and repainting in order to create a rich picture surface. On Yupo, paint is much more easily removed and can be wiped down to reveal the original white paper. Very cool!

Because Yupo has no tooth, I couldn’t really control much of what was happening as I moved paint and water around with brushes, spray bottle, and roller. It was an experience of being totally present and engaged in the moment. I watched what was happening and responded quickly and improvisationally. It was both fun and scary and I found that moving paint and water around on Yupo in a variety of ways created beautiful textures that would be impossible to get on my regular painting surface. I added additional texture and mark making with brushes, stamps, Kleenex, paper towels, fabrics, sticks, crayons and anything else I could find in my studio that would alter the surface.  

It was fun to experiment with new ideas and new techniques and I definitely see more Yupo paintings for me in the future.

My painting above, Walk With You, is one of my Yupo paintings, which I’m happy to say was juried into this year’s Rocky Mountain National Watermedia exhibition in Colorado. 

Happy Painting!  

 

Eric Maisel Interview, Part 2

 

Making Your Creative Mark by Eric Maisel

Is there one habit or practice that really makes a difference between getting your creative work done and not getting it done?

Yes. The most important practice an artist can institute is a morning creativity practice where she carves out some time bright and early every day, five, six or seven days a week, to work on her novel, practice her instrument, or get right to her painting studio. There are three important reasons to institute a morning creativity practice. The first reason is the most obvious one—you’ll be getting a lot of creative work done! Even if only a percentage of what you do pleases you, by virtue of working regularly you’ll start to create a body of work. That’ll feel good! A second reason is that you get to make use of your “sleep thinking”—you get to make use of whatever your brain has been thinking about all night. Create first thing and capture those thoughts that have been percolating all night! The third reason is that, by creating first thing, you’ll have the experience of making some meaning on that day and the rest of the day can pass in a half-meaningless way and you won’t get depressed! Getting right to your creative work first thing each day provides you with a daily shot of meaningfulness. That’s a lot of goodness to get from one practice.

I’d like you to chat a bit about what you call the “freedom key.” What sort of freedom are you talking about?

Many different sorts—let’s look at just one, the freedom not be perfect; or, to put it slightly differently, the freedom to make big mistakes and messes. Not so long ago I got an email from a painter in Rhode Island.  She wrote, “I’m a perfectionist and I want my artwork to be perfect. Sometimes this prevents me from getting started on a new project or from finishing the one I’m currently working on. I think to myself: If it’s not going to be the best, why bother to do it? How do I move past these feelings?” One way to get out of this trap is to move from a purely intellectual understanding that messes are part of the creative process to a genuine visceral understanding of that truth.  You need to feel that freedom in your body. As an intellectual matter, every artist knows that some percentage of her work will prove less than stellar, especially if she is taking risks with subject matter or technique.  But accepting that obvious truth on a feeling level eludes far too many creative and would-be creative people. They want to “perfect” things in their head before turning to the canvas or the computer screen and a result they stay in their head and never get started. You have to feel free to show up and make a big mess—only then will good things start happening!

Another key that interested me is what you call the “relationship key.” What sorts of relationships did you have in mind and what can an artist do to improve his relationship skills?

All sorts of relationships! And relationships in the arts are frequently very complicated. You may be very friendly with a fellow painter and also quite envious of her. You may actively dislike a gallery owner or a collector but decide that he is too valuable to cast aside, maybe because he is your only advocate or your only customer. You may respect your editor’s opinions but despise the rudeness with which she delivers them. There may be no such thing as a genuinely straightforward relationship anywhere in life but relationships in the arts are that much more complicated and shadowy. The main improvement an artist can make is to actually think about the matter! You can decide how you want to be in relationships but only if you actively decide. You get to decide if you want to be honest and straightforward even if others aren’t, if you want to be polite and diplomatic even if others aren’t, if you want to be quiet and calm even if others are stirring the pot and making dramas. It may not prove easy to be the person you want to be at all times and in all situations, especially since the marketplace has a way of throwing us off our game, but you can nevertheless hold the intention to try your darnedest to be the “you” you would most like to be. This takes thought and preparation!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview with America’s foremost creativity coach, Eric Maisel. Creating is often difficult and challenging. The hard work involved with producing new work, managing personality traits, and maintaining a satisfying personal life are things we artists deal with on a daily basis. In this new book, Making Your Creative Mark, Eric Maisel offers solutions to these and many other issues that artists face and provides insight that will help you create and manage a meaningful life in the arts. This book is a definite must read for all artists!

Happy Painting!