An Artist’s New Year’s Resolutions

If you’re like most folks, you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions.

Or, you may at least be thinking of how to expand your art in 2013.

Reflect for a moment on what you’ve been doing, how much you’ve enjoyed the experiences and how successful you were at your endeavors.

We all lead busy lives, and incorporating art into our daily routine is a challenge.

Try A New Technique

If you’ve been neglecting your artistic muse, maybe your relationship has become humdrum and uninspiring. Like any waning relationship, you need a catalyst to bring back the spark of romance.

If you love your medium, but find your work repetitious and lackluster, try out a new technique or color palette. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool realist, go wild and fling some paint. Choose Impressionism, Pop Art or Abstract Art and really put some time into learning the principles.

An alla prima painter may enjoy the discipline of Chiaroscuro or the challenge of attempting to replicate the style of a favorite Renaissance Old Master. Whatever you choose, dig into it and really learn the technique. You’ll expand your repertoire and possibly find new inspiration.

Add Color To Your Ho-Hum Palette

If your palette is the same one you’ve been using since you began painting, consider adding some new life to your colors with a few new tubes of paint.

The Quinacridone line of colors is vibrant and exciting. The reds, magentas and pinks are wildly bright to add an almost fluorescent brilliance to your paintings.

Metallic accents such as bronze, copper, gold and silver are luxurious additions to add a gleaming touch to still life creations.

Iridescent and pearlescent hues are great for adding shimmer. They can be used as accents for serious works, or they can be used to make a playful, fantasy scene out of a dull, lackluster piece.

Experiment With New Shapes And Sizes

Many artists stick with a basic size and shape of support. They’re comfortable with the space, and they use the same basic brushes and proportions for all their compositions. Make a radical change in the size of support, and it can change your whole outlook on painting.

If you’re continually painting on a mid-sized 16” x 20” support, scale it way down, or go out and get the largest support you can afford. Don’t let the size intimidate you. Working on a miniature or a heroic-size canvas is a good way to stretch your artistic muscles.

If you want to work tiny, you might want to try out Art Trading Cards. ATCs are the size of sports trading cards, which are 2-1/2” x 3-1/2”. These little creations are usually sold or traded. Art card editions and originals are referred to as ACEOs, and there is a whole sub-culture of ACEO collectors. With ATCs, you can do anything you want. Just make sure it stays in the suggested size for consideration by collectors.

If you prefer to do traditional miniatures, there is a standard to maintain if you intend on submitting your work to miniature competitions and shows. A miniature is just fine art on a really small scale. The work should be able to withstand scrutiny or enlargement. This means that you’re creating detail with the same intensity that you would on any normal sized painting.

Paintings can be no more than 25 square inches, and the subjects should be no larger than one-sixth actual size. A portrait, for example, should be no larger than 1-1/2”. Talk about exacting – get out your tiniest brushes, a magnifying glass and a nerve pill.

If you’re tired of a smaller format, think really big. If you’ve a spare wall available, you could even try a mural. A large canvas encourages you to loosen up, as you certainly don’t want to spend the next year or so agonizing over all the details on an enormous support.

However, artists like Georgia O’Keefe would often do a detailed, close-up painting of a flower or a section of a flower. These paintings of a single bloom could be as large as 48” x 40”.

Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” is a stunning 11’ × 25.6’ and was completed in approximately 2-1/2 months. That included lots of revisions and re-working, so you can bet he was a painting demon during the summer of 1937. This may be a little over-ambitious for your first big piece, but try out a really big support and stretch your artistic wings.

Make 2013 a year of experimentation, innovation and romancing your muse. Take your art to the next level of sophistication and develop a strategy to incorporate art into your daily life. Rebuild your flagging relationship and develop the commitment she wants from you.

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