Wednesday, March 5, 2008

February '08 milestone review of goals and commitments

February milestone review of goals and commitments

Sophomore slump.

This wasn't a terribly great month for progress for me. I struggled with some artist's block, painted a lot of bad paintings (which haven't seen the light of day here), and generally sort of waded through the month. On the plus side, I did come out of the block/sucky painter portion of the month for a strong finish in the last week.

In my second month as a full time painter, I have been feeling out the boundaries of what is working well, and what isn't. I have a much better idea of what makes a painting session 'successful'-- for me at least, even if not for the end result.

Last review, Frank Gardner asked if the small works kept me from painting larger stuff. Answer so far? Yes, the smaller works do make painting bigger pieces harder to manage.
On the flip side though, they still serve as the best mechanism I've found to date for building artistic stamina. In what has been a hard month (creatively), the small works have served as a baseline of accomplishment: I posted 29 new paintings in February. In the middle of a bout of artist's block.

On to the recap. The original goals/commitments/resolutions post is here.

—I am making good progress on painting every day for at least an hour, and meeting with family and friends at least once every week.
—I finished David Copperfield!

For me, artist's block is a little like a bout of depression. And I don't know about you, but when I'm depressed, I sure don't feel much like walking... which means that the walking 2 miles a week goal pretty much went belly up in February. I am hoping the advent of Spring brings a resurgence...

As with last month, other resolutions are in varying stages of progress, and two months is still too small a sample size to determine if they're on track or not.

—3 shows of 5 down, and I have 3 more scheduled!
—I am roughly on target for meeting my 1/3 of yearly spend goal.
—No progress on additional gallery venues, but I have been pretty lucky with a few non traditional show opportunities that have popped up.

Again, as per the precis, my commitments have taken a hit this last month...

—I have posted a new painting for sale everyday, and have been drawing in my sketchbook regularly.

—I have had little success with painting larger canvasses (I did paint 2 16 X 20s the last week of Feb, I now have 4 total)

—Organized learning and development has been suffering. I have been growing, but I need to make better preparations in this arena.

—I have not completed any of the 50 +2 hour drawings. (Bear in mind though, when I go on a drawing kick, these will come in bunches)

—Nor have I applied to any juried shows. Still looking and figuring out which shows I will apply to.

Moving forward
I did see some improvement in a few areas, despite the bout of block. That being said, I really want March to represent a better accounting, and I have some serious ground to make up this month...

And for those who read to the bottom of this post, here's one of the 16 X 20 canvases I worked on this month. This is probably about 95% finished...


Anonymous said...

Ah- a true past MSFT employee writing your review and future commitments. You gotta get that place out of your blood for the next round of inspiration!

Frank Gardner said...

Good point anoymous! Maybe you should just review these every four or five months Jason.
Way to go for sticking with them though.
Great portraitt by the way.

Jason Waskey said...

Aaah, but you see it's the MSFT experience and training that gave me the wherewithal and confidence to strike out on my own! I view it as a boon, not a bane.

How can we know how to fully meet our potential without accurately measuring what we're capable of?
At some point, say in a year or two, I probably won't need to track so closely-- provided that I have some idea of what is normal and sustainable for me as a producing artist.

(and thanks for the comment!)

Arabella said...

What you describe is pretty much what I've been going through as well, maybe February is just a bad month when it comes to creative block and motivation all around.

Steven said...

Thanks again for the public gut-check Jason. Encouraging to see and hear what you're up to.

Jason Waskey said...

Sorry to hear that you're going through some blockage. Only thing for it is to paint your way out of it...

Thanks for the encouragement!

Kathryn Law said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jason on what you have achieved.

I agree with Arabella about February being a difficult month; January you've at least got all the juice provided by the new year resolutions etc. but Feb it's still dark and cold and spring seems a way off.

I managed 27 in February, not very many walks, a couple of large format failures and didn't manage to get around to putting anything into the one show I had been planning (obviously badly) to enter all year. (If that helps)!

I'd like to hear more of what you found out re. what makes a painting session 'successful'.

Good luck for March, sounds like you are developing a sound foundation.

Jason Waskey said...

Well, I ammore active than just a 2 mile walk. :) I do 8-10 k steps a day, depending on the day. I also have a bum knee that makes a lot of activity like running a near impossibility.


Thanks. I've been meaning to do a post on what I find to be a 'successful' painting session. Look for it soon! :)

Anonymous said...


Your attention to process and commitment impresses me. Seems difficult to keep a creative schedule. Do you experience seasons/cycles in your creative process? Do you find that you have a peak of creativity depending on season?

winter/gestation, spring/budding, summer/fruition, fall/harvest. . .

It makes so much sense to create goals for being productive regardless of natural inclinations. but we are affected by seasons. as i write this, i am sitting under a lamp of intense artificial light to keep me going during winter!

love the ambiguous identity of this portrait, more universal appeal without a clear face.

my best to you,

Jason Waskey said...

Yes, I do find that it can be hard to keep a creative schedule. It can be like scheduling spontaneity. :)

I'm not sure about a seasonal influence on me *personally* (although available natural light does have an impact on schedule), but yes, there definitely is a cyclical ebb and flow. I'm still to new to the full time aspect to know it in depth, but I suspect that will continue to be the case.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I am in similar straights having painted long enough to be working toward gallery representation. I have noticed that the successful artists are the ones who 'work it'.
God luck on those down days. I have them too.