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How I Created My Vision Roadmap

Photograph of compass and roadmap by Alex Andrews

The Importance of a Vision Roadmap

Having an epiphany or formulating a vision for our lives or careers can be inspiring and fun. However, if we don’t have a plan to make that vision or dream a reality, we can quickly lose our way. We can end up continuing the way we’ve been going just nursing some vague wishes rather than changing our lives. I know this to be true because I’ve done it, many times.

In this post I explain how I created a roadmap for my new vision, how I determined the needed steps, and why I believe it is a realistic plan.

Identifying My Destination

First, I set out to gather clues. If I am going to become a more authentic artist, I needed to define what that meant. What kind of artist am I? What did I learn from these life-altering workshops?

I had begun this work with the vision board and new palette projects.

Critiquing my work revealed gaps in my skill set such as trouble with value and weak composition.

Next I identified the artist’s work I’m drawn to right now and what attracts me. What does my attraction to their work tell me about what is missing in mine?

Video of Karon Tripp discussing 3 artists whose work inspires her. Posted in her blog How I Created My Vision Roadmap

Now that I have a clear picture of where I am and where I want to go it is time to chart a course, by establishing the areas of greatest change. In what areas do I need to focus?

Inspired by a chart in the book “Conversations in Paint” by Charles Dunn I began a comparison of where I am and where I want to go.

Vision roadmap planning chart created by Karon Tripp comparing aspects of her work now and where she wants it m to go

What My Research Revealed

The biggest gaps concern value, volume (which I think links to value ) and taking a more painterly approach (I lumped being more concept related in here too.) Value issues came up in my critiques as well. Overall, a shift to a more natural yet painterly approach while improving values and composition.

Determining My Third Quarter Objectives

After reviewing everything I decided I needed to:

Below are the steps I’ve established, for now, to accomplish my objectives.

Broaden My Knowledge Base

There are three books I’m finding very helpful right now. I want to dig deeper into them by reading and then doing exercises based on what I’ve read.

My summer reading list is:

Photo of Karon Tripp’s Summer Reading List Books

Daily Practice

While reviewing past sketchbooks, in the research phase, I remembered how much I enjoyed art journaling in the past and wanted to revive the practice. It provides daily practice and gives me the freedom to utilize a variety of skills and methods as I read about them.

Create a Body of New Work

I’ve heard it said that when making a drawing one should draw the same thing 3 times. The more familiar we become with a subject the easier it is to execute and the more refined the drawing can become.

I decided to apply that to paintings and embarked on a series of 8” x 8” paintings on paper. If I work on 2 compositions a week and each is painted 3 times that will give me 6 paintings a week. At the end of the quarter that should give me roughly 40 small paintings.  

Anticipating and Addressing Issues

Real life rarely goes as planned and we humans have ever-changing needs and emotions. Therefore, it is a good idea to plan for this ahead of time so life or a mood swing doesn’t knock us off course. Like any artist I don’t always feel like creating, I lose momentum and am plagued from time to time with doubts and uncertainty.

What To Do When I Don’t Feel Like Painting

Loss of Momentum

Years ago I purchased the carved wooden word Dream as an inspirational shelf decoration.  Well, it fell from the shelf and broke, twice. I glued it back together and now it is a reminder that broken dreams can be mended. This may sound silly to you but it works for me. A wise woman once told me it doesn’t matter what the talisman is as long as the person believes in it.

Mended Dream photo by artist Karon Tripp. Once mended it is difficult to see that it was ever broken.

Doubts About Direction and Ability

When we focus intently on where we want to go, how we want to grow, and what we want to learn it is easy to lose track of what we’ve already accomplished. When struggling with a painting in those ugly middle stages it is easy to doubt our abilities.

The Jello Files

One evening, early on in teaching myself to paint, my subject was a plate of bell peppers of various colors. I didn’t understand the properties of acrylic paints, color mixing, or much of anything else. The completed painting reminded me of brightly colored Jello molded in the shape of peppers.

I’ve held on to that painting over the years. When I feel stupid or clueless or hopeless I pull it out. It is a great reminder of how far I’ve come and howI felt the same emotions when I was working on that painting. I thought I’d never learn about paint, but I did. I thought I’d never learn about form or perspective, but I did. I thought it was hopeless, but it wasn’t.

Now that I think about it, including some positive milestones in the Jello pepper file would be beneficial as well. This week I painted an 8” painting that was a big departure for me; didn’t look like anything I’ve ever done (in a good way). It still had issues but reassured me that I am growing and changing. Transformation is possible.

Vision Board and Journal

My Vision Board is attached to my studio door. Keeping it highly visible provides daily inspiration and reminds me of my goals. It provides the stars I navigate by letting me know if I’ve wandered off course chasing some shiny new thing.

Journaling is an invaluable tool helping me to put words to my nebulous feelings so I can better understand what is happening and what I should do. Besides, once our doubts and fears are expressed they lose some of their power.

Regular Reviews to Stay on Course

Regular review of our plans helps us to stay on course and creates a place to make any adjustments along the way. I plan for the coming week sometime over the weekend, usually Sunday. Then the last week of a quarter I spend a little more time preparing for the next 3 months.

Below are the review questions. The quarterly review is pretty much the same except I am dealing with bigger goals and longer time frames.

Review Questions:

Questions for Planning the Week Ahead:

Taking a few minutes to plan on Sunday frees me to be in the moment as I go about the rest of my week. I know it sounds like an oxymoron but I need to plan so I can be spontaneous.

The Importance of Knowing Yourself

Structure is necessary to attain goals but I’ve found too much structure causes me to shut down. I need freedom and flexibility. It is important to know ourselves and be honest about what works and what doesn’t. What may be a great method for one person may not work for another.  

I know some who wouldn’t get much done without an hour-by-hour schedule for the day. Setting time limits for productivity is OK but when I have every minute planned I question the point of existence.

I have found, for me, having 3 goals for the day is the right balance. Their completion is very important to me assuring I get them done. When and how this happens is up to me in the flow of my day.  This allows for spontaneity and living in my life. We must know ourselves, our needs, and our limits.

In Conclusion

Structure helps us set realistic expectations and make steady progress toward our goals. However, I don’t think there is one roadmap that works for everyone. We need to be honest with ourselves about our strengths and limitations and plan accordingly.

I know over time my roadmap will need some adjustments and detours to allow for boredom or the unexpected.

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