The Art of Resolutions

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New Year's Resolutions for Artists - Comic Strip by Karen Strum

New Year's Resolutions only last the first week of January for most artists. In fact, only 8% of resolutions are actually kept. Psychologist Paul Marciano says the key to keeping your resolutions involves creating an attainable goal, executing a thought-out strategy, and measuring progress along the way. I've compiled a list of realistic art resolutions they will help you paint your mark in 2018.


Learn a New Skill

It is never too late to learn a new skill. At 70 years of age “Grandma Moses” was told she was too old to learn to paint. She taught herself to paint and ignored her critics. Mademoiselle magazine named her “Young Woman of the Year” 18 years later at the age of 88. Her American Folk Art Exhibitions were so popular that they broke attendance records around the world.


Paint More

If you need external validation, art might not be the career for you. You should create art because it provides personal satisfaction. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime and yet he painted prolifically. He has more than 900 pieces in his body of work. Set an attainable production goal and stick to it regardless of the reception you receive. How many paintings did you complete this year? What's your goal for 2018?


Try New Art Venues

You may be surprised where you can find business. The Florida Highwaymen, a group of African Americans, gained their name from selling their work from the trunks of cars along Florida roads from the mid-1950s through the 1980s. Their success and longevity is remarkable considering they began their career despite facing many racial and cultural barriers present in Florida during the 50s. They have been called "The Last Great American Art Movement of the 20th century". New venues mean new buyers, keep your eyes open for opportunities.


Deal with Criticism

Many people think that famous artists just roll into their success, however many of them had to deal with negative criticism and rejection in the early stages of their career. For instance, Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he lacked imagination. Your art won't appeal to everyone, it will take time to find your niche and build your reputation.


Be true to yourself!

Frida Kahlo is famous for painting self-portraits in her wheelchair. Frida contracted polio as a child and had a deformed leg. Then, as a teenager she permanently injured her back in a trolley accident. Her paintings reflect her pain and passion in a tapestry of vibrant colors. She is one of the best known Mexican artists of the 20th century. Whatever makes you unique, good or bad, reflect it in your work.


Overcome Creative Block

Creative Block caused many impressionists to destroy their work and Claude Monet was no stranger to this behavior. In 1911, Monet lost his wife Alice and his resulting depression blocked his creative output for two years. He overcame his creative block by painting the rose-covered trellises from his Northern France water garden. The Musée de l’Orangerie later installed the resulting work, 22 panels titled the Grandes Decorations, and it is considered some of his most ambitious work. When dealing with creative block, tap into your subconscious, carry a sketchbook, look for inspiration in unlikely places and be sure to put some fun in your studio.


Make a Come Back

In 1910 William Blake organized an exhibition for his work at his brother's haberdashery shop in Soho, London. The event was poorly attended and Blake took the “fiasco” so hard that he retreated from the public for 8 years. Blake made a comeback when he began to attract a little coterie of artists and once again began engraving. He went on to complete his illustrations for Dante's “Inferno”. Don't be afraid to step away from your work if you need a break. If you experienced a setback in 2017, stay positive. A renewed dedication to your art can often refresh your outlook.


Support Other Artists

For artists to achieve success we must work as a whole towards improving a deep respect for art appreciation. Make 2018 a year for attending gallery exhibits, commenting on art posts, and spreading word about fellow artists. Buy art. You can't expect the general public to support art if you don't lead the way!


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About the Author: Karen Strum is a Tampa Bay illustrator available for freelance projects. A unique cast of characters in her style can be designed for use in advertisements and materials for which you want something extra special. Karen's cartoons use retro imagery and vintage color palettes that add charm to every image she creates whether it is a comic, logo, diagram, book cover, or concept image. [Send an Email]


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