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Somewhere in our subconscious, most of us keep a list of items we would like to buy for ourselves. As artists, these are often things that would further our creativity, or our artistic career.

Inevitably these items get pushed to the back of our minds as daily minutiae, obligations, and more pressing needs take over. But I wonder. . . are we missing an opportunity to re-ignite our hopes and dreams, boost our motivation and earn ourselves a well deserved treat once in a while?

Call it a wish list if you like, but drag it out and you might find some long forgotten dreams of artistic endeavours that you can actually benefit from.

If you don’t have a list, devise one. If you just have ideas in your head, get them down on paper. I’d also suggest breaking your list into 3 sections, or categories.

The categories may go something like this:

Category 1: Items that you can buy at any time

These might be art materials you don’t really need but would like to have anyway, just to experiment with.

Or, they could be small things which feel too frivolous or unnecessary to spend money on. (For instance, a subscription to an art-related magazine, or a visit to an art gallery or exhibition.)

Category 2: Items that require some “input”

These are things that would cost you a little more, either financially or in time. That’s why I use the word input. . . these items will require you to put in a little extra effort if you want to attain them.

Category 3: When “all your dreams have come true”

These are the items dreams are made of, the things you’ll probably need to save hard for, work hard for and dream big for.

But listen, they are ACHIEVABLE! If you save a little, put by a little, and work an extra hour here and there, you’ll find ways to make these yours. The key is motivation. Stick up pictures of those items, use them as a desktop wallpaper, etc.

Now, once you have your list, write a short description under each item. Write down why you want it, how you’ll feel when you have it, what benefit it might be to your work or career, and so on. It’s all about self-motivation.

For example, one of the items on my wish list is a course in Botanical Painting (it’s in Category 3). My description goes like this:

“To learn how to paint like Ann Swan and Janie Pirie; to improve the backgrounds of my fairie art; to undertake a course of disciplined study that will give me challenges and enjoyment equally; to achieve a recognised artistic accreditation and status; to open up new doors for exhibiting, and to make accomplishments in a new area of art.”

Another item on my list, in Category 2, is an electronic pencil sharpener—I’m currently using scalpel blades, and an electric pencil sharpener would be sheer delight.

Other ideas could be a new piece of computer equipment, new art books (inspirational or instructional), being featured in an art magazine (might take some creativity to figure out how to do that one), creating your own video or DVD tutorial for people to buy, trying out a new painting medium, and the list goes on.

There are too many possibilities to mention here, but the point of a wish list is that you deserve to benefit from your art in ways other than being paid! Each item on your list should be something that will enhance your life, or help you in your work. And just by making a list, you’ll inspire yourself to achieve them.

Make sure to have fun with your list too. . . it should never add pressure to your life. Instead, give yourself a challenge, and reward yourself with one item when you succeed. Or celebrate your birthday with one.

Keep your wish list posted where you can see it each day. The more you see it, the more you’ll be motivated to put in a little extra effort to obtain what’s on your list.

Remember, in life you only get out what you put in. . . so good luck, and may all your wishes come true!

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

Painting is a solitary activity.

You can't paint to your fullest potential while you're "connected" to the internet and social media, or surrounded by people. You've got to unplug from that bombardment, at least for a while, and focus on your art.

In a way, it's like being a monk. A monk of creativity.

And I believe, to get the most out of our art, we've got to embrace. . . read more

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