Setting Small but Attainable Goals

In 2013 I retired from the art department at California State University in Sacramento.  During the 13 years that I worked in California I made art, had two solo exhibitions and exhibited in gallery group shows but teaching was my priority.  When I retired in 2013 I moved back to Canada and set up a studio and now work full-time as a painter.  I gave up sculpture to embrace Encaustic.   I am new to this small community in Northern Ontario.    There are very few  galleries and most focus on exhibiting artists who paint realistically.  So, in order to survive here as an artist,  I decided to set goals for myself.  In this blog I share those goals

Goal #1  Just practice the craft of using molten wax as a painting medium as well as focus on one theme.  Over that last four years I have been practicing this medium almost everyday.   My goal is to perfect my technique of painting woven lines.   I have always been fascinated by artists using textiles and did create art quilts for a few year, so instead of using a loom to weave textiles, I began using the painted line to weave intricate woven coverings over background abstracted landscapes.  In  “Darning Memories” I took inspiration from contemporary artists working with textiles.   Instead of using a loom, fabric, needle and thread  I use the painted lines to mimic threads so weave  hundreds of intersecting lines into contemporary woven structures.   While immersing myself  in painting I think about whether barriers act to protect or keep us isolated? Do coverings keep us warm, safe, hidden or become suffocating?   The goal for my paintings evolved into a complex dialogue surrounding identity in relation to physical and psychological barriers.

Goal #2  build a website and show my paintings on social media platforms.  I designed my Weebly website ( and published it, started this blog (Encaustic Adventures), opened up a Facebook page, joined Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Goal #3 apply to group and juried shows.  In 2016 and 2017 I participated in the Art Fair at the International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown. At the Art Fair I met Adam and Mariam Peck.  They invited me to participate in the Black Tie (Optional) group show at their Adam Peck Gallery,  June of 2017.

Ties that Bind, encaustic on panel, 12″ X 12″

During that same time one of my paintings was accepted into a juried show at the Kobalt Gallery in Provincetown, June, 2017,

“Barriers that go on Forever, encaustic on panel, 12″ X 12”

and at the Juried exhibition at the Morpho Gallery in Chicago.   The following painting was accepted.

FullSizeRender 64
Burning Embers, encaustic on panel, 6″ X 24″

Goal #4  participate in the local Madawaska Valley Studio Tour as well as apply to the Juried exhibition in the Trinity Gallery at the Shenkman Centre in Ottawa.   I wanted to open my studio to the public so that I could meet individuals and share my work and processes.  I great way to get feedback and also sell a few paintings.     My painting was accepted into the AOE arts council members’ show and I was delighted to receive the Juror’s Choice Award.

141B87E3-F04C-4D2B-83AA-4DD3DBF4E6D4 2
The Glow from Within, encaustic on panel, 24″ X 24″
Ready for the Madawaska Valley Studio Tour

Goal #4, Apply to the AOE Arts Council gallery for a Solo Exhibition.  I have submitted all of the materials requested and am waiting for the results.

Goals are so important.  My suggestion is to start with small goals, like applying for a group show or participating in a juried show.   Join local arts groups to meet with other artists doing similar works.  Participate in local art fairs and studio tour events.  This is a great way to get feedback and to sell your work.  Then begin writing up solo exhibition proposals.   I have found that your work has to be consistent, have a theme and only focus on that theme when you are applying for a solo exhibition.  The curators do not want to see a variety of different styles but want to see a focus.  It takes time to develop a body of work and to accomplish your goals, but don’t give up because you will succeed if you are persistent and have a strong  and consistent body of work.

Can you share your goals?  What worked for  you and what were  your blocks in succeeding?