Did you commemorate the day you painted your 100th painting? Your first solo show? Your best month of sales? Did you recognize your biggest collector or your 500th blog subscriber or your first juried show prize (or acceptance)? There are good reasons to celebrate milestones in your career.
Elevating small achievements is especially good when there are no large ones to celebrate, because they inspire us to press on. I have relatively few blog subscribers, but when I make a point of trying to get more, I always do. If I pay no attention to the numbers, they don’t change. Noticing that you have reached three sales per month makes you think about getting five. And remember to be thrilled, because you used to have zero! These achievements also spur you to keep your momentum going. If sales drop off suddenly, some changes are needed.
I love to stress that you get to decide what is important in your practice. It may not be sales, or galleries, or fans that you are chasing. Maybe thirty days of blog posts (which I am nearly ready to claim myself!) or two weekends a month in the studio for three months, or 7 days of daily drawing — are all worthy goals for you. I have a plan to make a painting for everyone on my holiday gift list that really reflects their personalities. It isn’t a huge number of works, but I will find it immensely satisfying.
As the new year brings renewed energy for all types of challenges, take on the ones that will personally fulfill you. Design your own ways to mark and honor your milestones on the path to defining your studio practice. For some of us, every day is a great effort and therefore a great triumph. The soul of the practice is to keep going forward, just to see what lies ahead.
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