Don't Burn Your Brushes | Do These 15 Things Instead

We all know why goal setting is important. Here are 15 tips for setting art goals.

  1. Chunk major art skills down into manageable pieces
  2. Work on one minor skill at a time
  3. When satisfied with progress, put these minor skills back together again
  4. Believe you will reach your goal
  5. Celebrate the small wins as you improve
  6. Look to other fields or industries for answers or solutions
  7. Get immediate feedback
  8. Listen to your dissatisfaction
  9. Look to your habits to define your style
  10. Use every tool at your disposal
  11. Look for opportunities to work with those who are better than you
  12. Schedule time to work on your goals
  13. Create autotelic daily working habits
  14. Pair your creative time with other habits
  15. Create an environment that you enjoy working in

How To Keep Your Faith While Pursuing Your Artistic Goals:

What do you say to yourself when the person you always wanted to be shows up and points a finger at the ticking clock on the wall?

When your inner artist reminds you of what you really wanted to do with your life. Reminds you of who you really hope to be.

What does that tiny voice sound like? The one who keeps asking you why you’ve become a painter who doesn’t paint.

Does your little voice whisper or roar? Is it sad, angry, or just impatient?

My inner artist is a nag. She’s the type who wears me down day after day, relentlessly reminding me of my heart's desire and my failings to meet it.

The only way to shut her up is to paint. Dust off the easel, gesso a board, dig out some brushes, and make the first mark.

Once past the painful slog of procrastination, the fog of guilt and regret begin to lift. Five hours later, a sense of hope is crawling its way back into my life. My brushes will not be burned today.

I heard that nagging voice day after day, year after year as life got in the way. I gave up on painting and that nagging voice continued to torment me.

This is how I felt until I finally flipped open the latch on my old steel paint toolbox.

I always wanted to paint faces. Because learning to paint faces can take such a long time, I became obsessed with finding ways to learn faster.

I found myself getting frustrated with my progress. There were things I could do to speed my progress, I hadn't discovered them yet.

I had older artist friends who were also frustrated with their progress. They considered throwing in the towel because they felt like they were running out of time.

They would say things like “I won’t live long enough to get good at this”. I remember one dear friend telling me she wanted to “burn her brushes”. I hope these 15 tips will prevent you from burning yours.

Author: Sonia Reeder-Jones

section of oil painting