Resolve to improve your art skills

Happy New Year! A good time to Resolve to improve your art skills.

Female artist at drawing board

This is a good time to wish that last year you would have resolved to improve you art. And if only you would have made a plan, and stuck to it. Why? Because wishing you did that last year might motivate you to do it this year. Today is the day. It’s a New Year (well tomorrow it will be) so do it now. But what if it takes a long time? What if I do something that doesn’t turn out to be all that great? What if I decide in a year that I don’t want to be an artist, can I go back? What if I get so good that I become famous and then I am forced to leave my home and move to Hollywood?

These are all good questions, except the last three. The fact is, you will be a year older in a year whether you improve your art skills or not. I believe that you will feel better about yourself and the year 2013 if you will have done it.

making New Year’s resolutions,

You probably know that it does little good to just resolve to do better, or state that you will improve. It is best to decide exactly what you want to improve, do, or accomplish, and then make a step by step plan of action to reach that goal. It is also good to give yourself some deadlines for each step. A goal without a deadline is just a wish.

Here are some not so good, examples:

“I will paint a portrait and it will actually resemble that person.”

A worthy goal, but what steps would you take and when?

“I will sell a piece of art work.”


“I will complete an oil painting by march 1.”

Better, but not specific enough.

“I will paint en plein air six times this summer.”

It fails to define Summer, is September 22, the deadline? Can I start as late as Sep 21 and cram? Do I have to wait till June 22, to start? It said “this Summer”.

Here is a mediocre example with a good start: one we should all consider implementing:

Chalese sketching

“I will draw daily, at least five days per week in my sketch book for at least ½ hour for the entire year.”

Now here are some good examples:

“I will paint 12 paintings this year. By painting at least one painting every month. I will design each painting in the first seven days of each month and I will apply paint in the second week. I will start even if I don’t know what I am doing. I will not get discouraged if it is ugly. January I will start with something simple, like a cube and or a sphere. Feb I will paint some onions or fruit, and progressively work toward a more challenging subjects.”

Now we’re talking. There are specific goals, and some step by step actions to take with deadlines.

“I will design, draw and paint a painting of a cow for my mom who loves cows, by mother’s day. Mother’s day is on May 12 this year so I will start now. I will research cows and styles of painting and drawing. By Jan 31 I will find some great cow pictures for reference or to copy. (Mom doesn’t care if I plagiarize and I won’t tell her if you won’t) By Feb 28 I will draw at least 20 cow sketches using said reference. By March 31st I will have at least two drawings laid out on canvas to paint. By May 1 I will have finished one painting and I will finish the second, since the first one may not be good enough for mom, by May 12th, 2013. On mother’s day after everyone has given mom the usual flowers or box of chocolates, I will present my painting with my signature at the bottom, she will look at it and ask, “Did you draw this?” and I will say, “yes, I painted it too, happy mother’s day mom, I love you,” and she will cry, just a little, and I will feel wonderfully happy. Then I will write down my goal, with deadlines for the next piece I will do. I will sign this little contract and read it that I have made with myself and I will read it every day”.

Now that is a goal with a plan, and accountability.

Happy New Year, and good luck with your goals and resolutions this year, and by the way, you don’t have to set your goals on New Years Day, so if you come to this blog late, feel free to get started. TODAY!

J. Kirk Richards

We got him! Another celebrated artist has come to Folio Academy: J. Kirk Richards!

Richards is acclaimed for his spirited portrayals of the human form, both in oil paintings, and stunning sculptures.

J. Kirk Richards lives in Provo Utah with his wife – who is an artist as well. They also live some of the year in pastoral Redmond Utah, where they spend their days in their country art studio. While Richards is fond of a variety of art styles, his work is prized most by those who are interested in spiritually-themed artwork. He has won awards in juried shows throughout the country, and his work is illustrated in many magazines, books, and film productions. His work is even present in two PBS documentaries. J. Kirk Richards fuses the old and the new with his works of art; symbolism and metaphor, and an emphasis on lyric composition bring the human figure to light.

The new video “Portrait Painting with J. Kirk Richards,” Is available for streaming on Folio Academy. In this hour and forty minute video, Richards will teach you all you need to know if your interested in painting portraits. From mixing oil colors and attaining accuracy, to filling rectangles with great design and composition, Richards will take you step by step through painting a beautiful portrait, even teaching glazing and finishing along the way!

The skill level for this film is best for ages twelve and up.