Personal Inventory


The biggest stumbling block to making good art is yourself.  We all have issues that get in the way of being the artists that we can be.  The first step we have to take to overcome these is to pinpoint our biggest issues and then be mindful of them.  Not critical of them, not putting ourselves down…..just mindful.  By the same token we often don’t take the time to consider our personal preferences and tendencies.  It is important to recognize (and accept) who we are.

A good first step is to do a personal inventory to use as a basis for better understanding of yourself as an artist…..your strong points and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes, your preferences.   My inventory is an ongoing endeavor, and I keep it in a 3-ring binder, which makes changing and rearranging easier.  I have a separate binder for my favorite artists (articles, reproductions, thoughts, etc.), another for clippings of images and compositions that I find compelling, and still another for favorite quotations. And of course there in Pinterest, which has been my preferred method lately.

If you don’t already do so, I suggest that you also keep a sketchbook/journal……for yourself.  Think of it as something private that you’ll never show anyone else, so that you don’t have to be careful or embarrassed about what you put in there.

(make a separate page for each of the following and make the list of answers as extensive as you can. Sometimes it will take several days (or weeks) of thinking to answer these questions honestly and fully)

Write your answers in the first person. Be concise. Use descriptive adjectives to make the narrartive interesting, but avoid too much technical jargon and artspeak.  Reread this regularly, and update as your work evolves.

1. Why do I want to make art?

2. Where do I want to be (with my art) 1 year from today?

3. Where do I want to be (with my art) 5 years from today?

4. Where do I want to be (with my art) 10 years from today?

5. What keeps me from working (making art)?

6. What are my bad working habits?

7. Who are my favorite artists?

8. What do I admire most about the work of each of these artists?

9. What are my favorite images/themes/shapes/visual ideas? (it is important to identify and analyze/accept your likes/preferences/obsessions/concerns/sensibilities)

10. Consider each of the elements you have listed in #9, and list what each could symbolize and why you are drawn it.

       For example: I am really drawn to using tree shapes in my work, and I think it is because I see a tree as a metaphor for long life and victory over adversity. I am pretty sure that it is also because I live in the woods, and trees are a comforting, constant part of my daily life…..I feel sheltered and protected by them. Plus they are visually pleasing to me.

11.What are the 6 pieces of art of which I am most proud? And why?

12. What is your Art-related Bucket List?

13. Write your Artist Statement: Who are you? What do you do? How do you do it? Why do you do it? What has influenced you?

4 responses to “Personal Inventory

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