Sunday, 13 July 2014

Creating a Focus - Evaluation

 One of the pictures I drew on my hour long outdoor sketching sessions.

Nearly a month and a half ago I posted about self-evaluation, goal setting and focus.  You can read the post here.  Then I told you the art list I had created for myself to work on for a month.  After that I stopped posting!

Instead of posting, I kept working on my art goals, making it my focus in all my spare minutes.  Did I create lots of art?  You bet!

I was really surprised when I looked back over the month of work.  My four goals included focusing on:

1. Soul Food online lessons
2. sketching outdoors
3. sketching people
4. weekly sketches for the Sketchbook Skool summer skool activities

What I accomplished:

3 of the 4 Soul Food online lessons I planned to complete
4 of the 4 sketching sessions outdoor sitting for a minimum of 1 hour
11 sketches of people (no definitive goal)
1 of the 4 weekly summer skool sketches

The above shows how I directly met actual numerical goals.  I also sketched almost everyday including some subjects which were not in my goal list.  Many of these were done outside as I wanted to go out as much as possible after the long winter we had last year.   These sketches ranged in time from 30 seconds (really fast drawing while I was walking the dog) to spreading a drawing out over several days.  In my humble opinion, drawing even 30 seconds a day counts!  My total count spread out over 4 journals (I can't seem to stick to one) is 58 sketches, plus 3 painting projects.

Notice I have numbers for you with this post? I was too afraid to give you numbers when I set my goals because I didn't want to have to give you specifics if I did really, really badly.  Silly me.  The numbers were great to help me focus.

From this experiment I have learned that setting goals and intentions and focus does work for me.  I got more done in that month, and I strayed a lot less into other distracting art activities (though I did do a couple of things not on my goal list).  Compare this with the last two weeks with no art goals, and I have accomplished way less and have been jumping all over the place. 

However, not all my goals were reached.  I couldn't keep up with the Sketchbook summer skool weekly activity.  It was not compulsory as it was run just for fun by fellow klassmates on our group Facebook page.  I really wanted to do it but found that I needed to let something go with my limited time and the summer skool was it.  This was a conscious decision during the trial month.  The self-evaluation during the month helped me to focus on what was most important to me. 

It was also interesting to see how I reacted artfully to obstacles thrown in my path.  Life always happens in a way to derail the best intentions.  Some of those obstacles were welcomed with open arms (visit from our daughter who was home on vacation from Montreal); others were less inviting but necessary (day job!).  With the knowledge of what I wanted to accomplish, I found it easier to adjust and move forward.  With no goals or focus, I flounder around and feel like I am getting no where. 

So the conclusion to all this data and evaluating stuff?  Goals, focus and evaluation is a useful tool to have in your art tool box.  The cool thing is that the methods can be tweeked and adjusted to fit you uniquely.  Maybe number tracking is not your style. You might be more of a visual goal tracker - perhaps checking boxes off on a huge poster or you have a special book for writing in.  Whatever the method, it might just be something that works for you!

Below is a video I put together with some of the pieces I made during my trial month.

The awesome music is by my sister Rena and her husband Kent.  You can find out more about their music and CDs here at Renaken
 The art projects were lessons from Soul Food as follows:    street art lesson by Glycerine, painted journal lesson by Mary Beth Shaw,  and the tea cup lady lesson (painted with tea and coffee) by Joyce van der Lely.
Hope you enjoy it.