Assessing a Year’s Progress

My goal for this year has been to complete 100 paintings, 10″x14″ or larger. It seemed to be a stretch to try to complete so many, but I decided that with discipline I could produce an average of two paintings each week.

141107w Solomon's Glory

The strategy seemed to work fine for the first few months, but I knew the proof would be when I took any travel time into account because sometimes I wouldn’t be able to work on any large pieces for an entire month at a time. Would I be able to make up the difference? It was definitely a consideration and a concern. So I revised the goal from producing only two paintings to producing three or four each week, while at home in my studio, to make up for the expected travel interruptions. And that would not include any smaller paintings, travel sketches, or studies I’d be doing besides. My work was cut out for me.

By the end of March, I had 27 acceptable paintings of the allotted size, so I was somewhat ahead of my quarterly goal. A month of travel in the spring provided material enough to meet the 50-count mark by the beginning of July, and actually put me slightly ahead of the game.

A major summer trip again gave me plenty of fresh subject matter to work from, but that and another, shorter jaunt, set me back on actual production for the 3rd quarter. By the end of September, my count was at 63; I was short a full twelve paintings, and the possibility of yet another major trip was on the horizon. I buckled down, scrapped the further travel plans, and tried to stay focused.

In the process, I wasn’t just trying to churn out numbers of paintings; I was working to continually improve the quality, hone my skills, and stretch my boundaries. I was acquainting or reacquainting myself with less familiar mediums—casein, oils, and graphite—as well as my older stand-by mediums of watercolors and acrylics; studying to teach as well as to learn; and always, always striving to become more knowledgeable and more skilled.

By the end of November, the larger pieces, including “Solomon’s Glory” (#141107w, shown above), numbered 84, theoretically still within striking range of my goal. And the total of inventoried pieces (which don’t include innumerable little preliminary studies) came to almost twice that number. So although it’s questionable that I’ll actually meet the 100-count goal for larger pieces before December 31, I am satisfied that 2014 has been a successful and productive year. Fortunately, the journey can be as wondrous as the destination.

I wish you all a safe, successful, and productive 2015.

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