Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Goals

"The Fruit Gets Sweeter As It Ages"    6 x 12 inches   oil on panel

Are goals and resolutions the same thing? 


1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.  2.  the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result; the destination of a journey.
    1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.

Goals and resolutions both involve a directed effort at something, but a resolution seems focused more on just the end result, while a goal acknowledges that the journey along the way is just as valuable (or more so) than the destination itself.   I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions, but I have gotten into the habit of setting new goals to promote growth in my painting skills.  My goal this year (or for at least a few months!) is to paint the same item everyday for a week.  Initially, I thought of doing this as a way to become more confident in my color mixing--mixing the same colors for 5 days in a row might help me mix color without having to think about it so hard.  But the exercise is evolving into something even better:  a journey that unfolds before me as each little painting suggests a new thing to focus on in the next.
I found a Satsuma tangerine at the market a few days ago and, feeling inspired by it's eloquent leaves, decided that it would be my first subject for the year.  I've done three versions so far in the last three days at the studio.  With the first, I focused just on getting the color correct.  I set the Satsuma on my windowsill and got to work using definite brushstrokes and angles to create a graphic look:

Satsuma 1      6 x 8 inches  oil on panel

That led me to experiment with doing the next version with softer edges:

Satsuma 2      6 x 6 inches  oil on panel
For painting number 3 (top of the page), I set the goal of trying to turn the edges of the fruit and leaves using temperature (cooler color at the edges making the edge recede).  That was my initial goal, and I did think of it occasionally, but mostly I was just having so much fun painting that I forgot to focus on that and just enjoyed the process of painting it!  What do you know--I had already begun to think less about how to mix the colors involved and was just doing it!   I'm still interested in focusing just on color temperature tomorrow, and I'm sure that will lead to trying something else the next day.  In fact, I'll need a minimum of 10 days to even scratch the surface of possibilities.  I'm picturing the public coming into my studio at the next Art Walk:  they'll see a wall full of the same tangerine and carefully back out of the room so as not to provoke the lunatic artist.
And so, I prefer goals to resolutions.  Goals involve a journey.  I'm on a road trip where I can pull off to see everything that intrigues me from serious learning experiences to huge balls of twine.  From day to day, I don't know where a painting will take me, but it will always be exciting. 
A note on the title.  With Satsuma's, the older the tree, the sweeter the fruit it produces.  In fact, the most flavorful fruit comes from trees that are at least 50 years old.  That encourages this old tree!
"The Fruit Gets Sweeter As It Ages" will be sold through a Daily Paintworks online auction.  Visit my DPW gallery and click on the painting image to take you to the auction.
You can see more of my work at  Questions about this painting, or any of the other Satsumas?  Contact me at
Happy New Year!


  1. Hi Julie, I love your paintings! We like painting the same kinds of stuff I think. I admire your brushwork and color. I'm in Fort Collins and happy to have found your blog.