An important part of resolutions is to make them pleasurable and achievable, not forgettable or annoying.
As an artist, I try to set new year’s resolutions that will improve my creativity and art-making. This year, I reached out to a number of artist friends to hear their ideas. If you think an art-related resolution will help you as an artist and/or improve your art, consider one of the following suggestions:
Make plans to look at art. Spending time just looking at different kinds of art helps invigorate those creative juices. We are fortunate to live in an area with so many excellent museums – Oakland Museum of California, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, de Young Museum, Asian Art Museum, Legion of Honor Museum, and Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. For an even shorter drive and to see work from local artists, check out the aRt Cottage in Concord, Moraga Art Gallery, Main Street Arts in Martinez and Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, to name a few.
Join an art community. I always receive new energy and ideas after getting together with like-minded creatives who enjoy sharing and talking about their art. Art organizations in this area include Arts Benicia, Concord Art Association, Lamorinda Arts Alliance, Martinez Arts Association and Las Juntas-East Bay Artist Guild. Many local galleries hold receptions when opening a new show. Some online groups also hold Zoom meetings and share work on Instagram or hold online exhibits.
Spend time in nature. So many splendid hiking trails have panoramic vistas and close-up flora and fauna that could inspire anyone. East Bay Regional Park District, East Bay Municipal Water District and Mount Diablo State Park are all right here. Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek invites artists to display sculptures in the garden, and Contra Costa Plein Air painting group is an excellent resource for finding plein-air paint-out events.
Sign up for an art class or demo. Places such as Studio 55 in Martinez, Red Ox Clay Studio in Concord and Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill offer art classes. Many artists and small studios in Contra Costa County also provide art classes. And you can find one-time art demonstrations and instructions through the local art associations mentioned above.
Even staying close to home, you can set a few short-term goals. Start with something easy, perhaps finishing a small project you started last year. Or organize your workspace. It’s not only practical but can be motivational as you look over last year’s sketches and notes.
Whatever you do, I wish you success in finding and achieving a suitable new year’s resolution that will lead to happy art-making.
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John Nakanishi is treasurer of The Concord Art Association. He is an acrylic painter and a ceramic artist. When John isn’t creating art, he coaches soccer for East Bay Eclipse, a competitive soccer club based in Moraga. He is also an avid trail runner, enjoying runs from 5 miles to 50K.