Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Way Forward

New year's resolutions for me are a complete waste of time. Generally this is because I forget them, get bored or change my mind and go a completely different way. As my family have written me off as, 'mad as a bag of badgers' being that organised would be something of a revelation in itself. So why frighten the horses. However, it is an opportunity to re-evaluate priorities and the direction you want to go in. To get us going with the resolutions, Katherine Tyrrell has come up with the goods once again on Making a Mark.

So, a plan is a good thing to have in mind, and last week a friend of mine spurred me on to do something in this direction. Having to sit down with a pen and a pad and think about what it is that I actually want to achieve in a year is a daunting prospect, and a year is a long old time. Perhaps if I break it into quarterly achievements and little goals, this might be more realistic. Let's face it, I'm not going to be the next Damien Hirst or Banksy any time soon, but a bit more exposure would be good.

Last year I made a 10 point challenge plan for myself, and I pretty much covered all those bases, (with varying degrees of success I hasten to add). See Enjoy What You Do and Five Challenges. So, what's in store for 2015?


The first workshops were a great success, with a good few being sold out. Such a boost, and I am really hoping to be invited back later in the year to do some more of those. Of course, I am on the move to a new venue with the one-day workshops, so I really hope these will be equally successful and fun to do. Also, the first of my Studio Days went really well and the new studio will be back in action this year with loads more seasonal classes. Check!

My first workshop venue.
Thank you for having me.

The first Studio Days went really well

Let me entertain you!

All ready to go for another year of happy painting

Goal: For this year, I am also looking for some lovely new venues to hold the workshops at, and although a few have come forward, (and one let down) I am still working on this one.


Good old trusty Squirrel HQ. There were a few moments when I thought about throwing in the towel with the blog. There are so many other platforms for botanical art now and loads more bloggers. There were times when I thought there were too many of us chasing very similar ideas, and getting a bit 'samey'. Still, I have to hold up my end and defend Squirrel. After all, we've been here a while and earned our stripes, so I think we'll stay. Check!

Getting by for the winter.
Come spring, I'll be raring to go again.

Goal: A bit of a freshen up might well take place, and I am looking to introduce some beasties into my painting collections too. There will be all the usual studio news, tips, tricks, techniques and step-by-steps, but I will introduce some fresh ideas too.

Social Media 

The word social and me don't really go together too well it has to be said. Being something of a socially awkward, totally un self aware individual who was always an outsider in my youth, the mantle of individualism and a need to rebel and be off-kilter has stayed with me. I'm not a great joiner and 'don't play well with others', especially with the over confident, competitive 'social butterflies' who were always picked for the netball team and always had to run everything, (sigh). So, how does someone like me navigate their way through the most social of networks? Well, it's not without difficulty, but I give it a damn good go. Check!

Once more navigating the obstacle course that is social media

Goal: Twitter has been great fun, as I love the immediacy and speed of a tweet. No fuss, straight to the point, and I can still share loads of pictures and links. Facebook is changing its policies and is becoming more complicated. For me, there's just too much of it and unless you get everywhere, your Page and posts don't get a big enough reach, but you get totally flooded by notifications. Good to have, but I want to paint more.


This one got off to a flying start, and I cannot thank the subscribers enough for making this new venture a success. Check!

Goal: I am really enjoying putting the newsletter together, and as it's only a quarterly missive, hopefully there won't be an overload of Squirrel news.     


February will see the first of the 2015 submissions for exhibitions for me. It will be both a nerve-wracking and exciting time as I will be submitting my next five new pieces for consideration to full membership to the SBA. Coming after acceptance to the SFP last year, this will be a lovely addition. So fingers crossed. Check!

The next annual SBA Exhibition is coming soon 

Goal: There are a couple of other things in the pipeline, but I don't want to be too descriptive yet, just in case. So, it would take those sneaky chaps at GCHQ to break my silence on that topic.


Oh this is such a biggie and I am already going a bit weak at the knees at the enormous prospect this one will be. Still, I must make a start. I have the subject, and I have the plan. Check!

Time waits for no one on a big project.
The tissue is ready in case it all ends in tears 

Goal: Time to go for it, hell for leather, all or nothing.

Enjoy what I do

Goal: Ha ha, well this one has never changed and although there have been plenty of ups, downs and even sideways manoeuvres, I still feel very privileged to be able to do what I enjoy, and enjoy what I do.    


shevaun said...

Well done!! You did it!! A little bit of positivity is the best way to start the year!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Lovely to see your goals for the year.

I'm dying to know what the pipeline activities are all about!

vi said...

i can be awkward too at times-- everyone is saying one thing and i will say something completely off the wall..... i've often wondered if folks are getting a straight jacket for me when i'm not looking.
and i don't do new years resolutions, i also don't do new years goals.....but i have sort of a list of stuff i would like to do.. i guess falling off my chair and being down for the count ended up pushing me to find a printer....since if i could paint right now i would be just painting and i would not be driven by boredom to find a local fine art printer.... i love your garden studio..... i love everyone's studios... i like mine sorta, i wish it was nicer looking but then again....ten minutes of me painting it would look a wreak again

vi (duck)

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Well, it's a start anyway, and thanks for the push to get going Shevaun x

I'm never one to test fate Katherine, so hopefully if all the planets are in the right orbit, it'll all come off. x

Thanks Vi. ha ha, good to know I'm not the only one. x

Polly said...

Wow Jarnie, well done for acheiving your goals last year and I'm sure you'll acheive this year's goals too. Totally understand the social thing, it was as if you were describing me and my life LOL but I struggle on with FB and the blog, haven't even tried twitter yet despite my family nagging me about it.

I take courage from the fact that you manage it all so beautifully, so maybe I can too.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Polly. I'm actually amazed that I got so much done, I procrastinate so much. Always find myself being ridiculously honest about stuff.