My sister and I have been watching the Great British Bake Off with a zany sort of zest the past few years. We compete for who can pick the winner, we rewind the show to get close ups of details and we revel in all the drama.
All. The. Drama.
Because, in the kitchen, when there’s lots of people and pressure and a competition to see who can bake the most beautiful, delicious, amazing five-layer cake with three different decorating aspects, there’s a lot of tears, nail-biting, groans, laughter and all around entertaining conversations.
My sister and I have talked and talked and talked about the baked goods the contestants make and how we too, want to up our baking abilities.
But it wasn’t until this year (actually, last night) when my sister took out her new baking book, a pad of sticky notes and said. “Okay, let’s do this. Let’s identify all the must-bakes and then do it.”
So we did.
In the end, we had 38 recipes we identified as absolute essentials.
Wow. That seems like a lot.
Then, we did the math. That’s about 3 recipes a month.
Not such a big deal.
We get together at least three times a month anyway. Plus, we figured we could have a few monster baking days where we’ll knock out at least three.
With that simple decision, a brief conversation and a stack of sticky notes, we’re on track to being better bakers in 2019.
We can all do the same thing with our painting.
Maybe the biggest thing we can do in January is to set up a painting plan for the year.
If you start with a plan, that means we’re starting. And it gives us something to keep going off, even if we get off track the rest of the year.
How to create a plan?
First, don’t make it harder than it must be.
Here are some questions to think about and inspire your painting plan for 2019:
- Do I want to paint by myself or in a group (or a combination of both?)
- Do I prefer consistency at home or a weekend getaway with hours and hours of art?
- Do I do well with some chunks of time or does a full day of creating suit me better?
- Is there a day of the week that would give itself to an hour (or more) of painting time? Pick a time of day, e. Monday morning (before everyone else is awake) or Friday night after the week is over to spend 90 minutes painting
- Do I work better with my own ideas or with someone else guiding me?
- Could I use a book to get ideas or instruction? Would that work with my temperament, season of life, schedule, etc. There are many good art instructional books available to go through at your own pace.
- Would an online course give me the structure and joy I’m looking for?
- Go to a scheduled class. Many artists, such as Jeanne Oliver offer art classes in their studios which makes for a fun traveling art holiday. (Jeanne also runs a Creative Network with dozens of online courses).
- Is it important for me to be around other artists? Are there painting classes in the community? It can be hard to set aside the time in your own space, or you may enjoy the direction and guidance of an art instructor. Many communities offer art classes or art groups that meet up.
Now that you’ve skimmed over the list, what resonates with you? Use that energy to create your plan.
Next, write it on your calendar.
Even if you don’t want to commit to certain dates -though I highly suggest you do- adding a note “Paint this month” with a box to check will help you take the necessary steps to work on your creativity.
Finally, don’t be deterred by life’s detours.
There will be detours.
Let’s say we’re planning on painting twice a week in the mornings (or once a week on Friday night). We start out strong, as we normally do.
And then life gets in the way. As it does!
I’m sure my sister and I are going to run into a month where for whatever reason we just don’t bake.
Most likely it’ll happen in August when it’s a million degrees out. We’ll decide to ditch the oven and go soak in the pool. It’s not the end of the world.
And when the cool weather hits, we’ll be back in the kitchen with our mixers and ovens going.
The same is with every practice.
So, do make a promise to yourself to be gracious and not beat yourself up when life gets in the way and a week or a month or months go by without work on your painting.
I promise the same thing too.
We’ll just pick up when we can and keep going. The best thing about doing this in a year calendar is that we’ll see our progress and honestly, at the end of the year, the only regret will be is that we didn’t start at all.
Keep your plan simple and flexible.
Sometimes a simple plan is the best plan. Simple to write. Simple to execute.
What about you? Are you planning out your creative journey for the year? Any tips and tricks you’d like to share?