Year-End Review

You probably did more in 2012 than you are giving yourself credit for. Take time over the next two weeks to outline your accomplishments for the year.

This exercise has been an annual Art Biz Coach tradition for many years. Subscribers who complete the exercise say they are surprised and proud of all they accomplished during the year.

There will always be more that you can do. Always. It’s easy to look at that to-do list and get discouraged about what remains rather than focusing on the steps you have taken to build your career and improve your life.

Grab a cup of coffee and use the list here, and in the Insider’s Gift for subscribers (see below), to get started. Keep your calendar and journal handy to help prompt you.

Woman Writing in Note Book

In 2012 . . .

Marketing Triumphs

How did you promote your art?
What did you do to enhance your online presence?
How many people did you add to your mailing list?
How many Twitter followers or Facebook fans did you gain?
Who were the top ten cool or influential people you met?
What new marketing material did you develop and use?
Where did you exhibit or retail your art?
What articles were written about your work?
What articles did you write about your art?

Where did you take a big marketing risk?

Business Growth

When did you ask for help or hire someone?
How did you strategize and track your growth?
What resources did you discover?
What technological skills did you learn or improve?
What books did you read to help your career? What videos or films were useful?
What grants did you apply for?
What grants/honors/awards did you receive?
What organizations were you involved with?
What business seminars/workshops/lectures/classes did you participate in?
Where did you save a wad of money?

What steps did you take to make your art business more profitable?

Creative Challenges

What medium or skill did you attempt or master?
What did you try that was completely new?
What did you try that was uncomfortable, but helped you grow?
What new art events, galleries, and museums did you visit?
What art seminars/workshops/lectures/classes did you participate in or teach?
How did you improve your studio habits?

What did you do to become a better artist?

Personal Happiness

What worthy cause did you support?
Whom did you mentor or help out?
What books or seminars helped you with self-growth?
How did you enhance your office or studio environment?
How did you simplify your life?
What did you decide to release?

What did you do to become happier and more fulfilled? 

Check out Laura Lavigne‘s Happiness Sprinkling project in this video. It’s bound to make you smile and consider sprinkling a little more happiness into your own life.

Finally . . . What was the single best thing that happened to your art career in 2012?

Take time to celebrate and feel good about all of your hard work and personal growth. Please share your accomplishments in a comment here.


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33 comments to Year-End Review

  • katherine

    I’ve been doing that just in my head this week. I read another blog post about an artist who has his own little art competition at the end of the year, where he is the judge, and all the pieces are his works from the past year. He awards first place, etc., and it really helps him assess his progress from the year.

  • Creative thinking and creative artist, thanks for share with us

  • i know i am always on to the next thing and don’t often stop and take stock….thanks for the reminder!!

  • My best accomplishment this year: I did a painting for a juried theme show, which was quite outside my usual practice, very different for me. It won the Best of Show award.

  • Without sitting down to write it all out, I tried something I had not done before. I taught on online mosaic class as a part of a large online art retreat. So much fun! It’s harder than it looks!! It was something that I had longed to try and I am so glad I did. I can’t wait to actually write down my accomplishments.
    Happy Merry Christmas Alyson!

  • Thanks again for your post which helped to reframe my view of my art and art marketing in a more positive light. It also gives me focus and helps organize for coming year. I truly appreciate your blogging for artists, Alyson.

  • Bob Ragland

    I was able solve an exhibition problem. I make little paintings, under 8″X10″ in size.
    I found some clear zip lock bags , put unframed art in them , put binder clips on them.
    I hung the art on picture hooks.I put the work in a coffee shop across from my house.
    Sold 12 works.
    See my Shoebox art on Youtube.

  • Bob Ragland

    My main victory is to still have an art life, and to have survived all of the recessions, without to much stress. Doing good ON PURPOSE!!!!!

  • I’ve been doing this exercise for a few years now. I decided to make a blank template of these questions (thanks for organizing them into categories), start a new document each year and add to it as I go along throughout the year. It is MUCH easier (and less stressful) than trying to wring it out of the brain at the end of the year. It is a great exercise and I am always amazed at how much I accomplished. So, whenever I’m feeling blue, I open that document and read through it then pat myself on the back.

  • I love following you on Facebook reading your posts and now your blog. I will be working through the ideas here in the next few days.
    As I was going over my calendar of work for the past two years making a list of clients to send holiday greetings too, I was struck but some rather large chunks not accounted for by any commission. I felt a little disheartened thinking I had wasted a lot of time. I then realized that I had been increasing my marketing efforts and had some rather large plans in the fire that called on me to be more strategic than ever before. It was then I realized that I should be accounting in my yearly calendar the large chunks of time that I had used in that way that has now lead to things like my upcoming May 2013 Impressions of Paris and Gascony Painting Excursion , a 2 day portrait workshop for a local art guild for Feb. 2013, an artist residency for 4 works in one of our provincial parks this past summer, and an invitation to host 2 weekend workshops at our provincial Government House concluding in a student art show Nov – Jan 2013 – 2014 (details yet to be announced). Planning for events like this and doing all the marketing to see them be a success takes time and I now realize I should be at least marking them in my calendar so I can look back and acknowledge and give myself credit for this time used well. All the best in 2013!

    • Nikki: Great insight! I’m so glad you are giving yourself credit for this work and growth. Happy New Year!
      (and so sorry I’m just now seeing that this didn’t get approved as a comment)

  • […] year I decided to take Alyson Stanfield’s  (ArtBizBlog)  suggestion to review the year’s accomplishments. Check out her post at the above link for […]

  • Bob Ragland

    To have a steady art life, one needs to do the basics, all the time.
    Send real mail, carry business cards, show art in a buyers home,call the news paper and ask for a feature story, not criticism, get 10 people to pay 100 dollars on an art project, read The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell-the chapter on 10,000 hours means a lot. Email me for some nuts and bolts doable stuff you wont EVER learn in art school.
    Find me by Google.

  • PK

    I really like to reflect on my accomplishments at the end of a year and plan for the next one. I will keep this excellent review for setting my 2013 goals. Thank you.
    Regarding 2012, on a lark, I applied for a grant to attend a painting workshop with a painter I esteem at the Scottsdale Artist School. I was granted it! Now I tell all and sundry that I want to go to Europe hoping to make that dream a reality.

    • Bob Ragland

      One way to fund art projects is , to get 10 -20 people to front you the money, you pay back with art 30 days later.
      I went to Jamaica using this method. I got a story in the art press, newspapers to build on the project. I settled up in sixty days, each person got a number out of a hat that was thee order they got to select the work.
      I agreed to trade back work for another in six months if the person did not like their
      first choice. NOT one person traded back. I did this on two occasions.
      This was done before crowd funding.

  • Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

    Alyson’s “Year in Review” makes a great “Goals List” for the upcoming year, as well! I rely on this for my photography biz, my non-profit, and it will come in handy for the speaker’s biz I’ll be launching during the new year! Thanks, Alyson!

  • Gwen Fox Art & Mentoring - STARTING THE NEW YEAR WITH CONFIDENCE - Gwen Fox Art & Mentoring

    […]    Alyson Stanfield did a great post on her blog. It is about reviewing your year. […]

  • It was amazing to celebrate our year, because so much had happened. And now Margaret is looking forward to boot camp.

  • […] December 19, 2012 post at Art Biz Blog, titled Year End Review  opens […]

  • This was the 2nd year I did the exercise. I was glad get the post to remind me, and really pleased to see how I followed through. I wrote a blog ( ) linking to the post, and invited readers to see how much they accomplished.

  • Bob Ragland

    Basic business practice gets us artists results. There is a little book -How To Sell Anything to Anybody, the author is Joe Girard. I noticed Kinkos has it for sale.
    This is an easy read and has doable information it .
    Check it out.

  • […]    Alyson Stanfield did a great post on her blog. It is about reviewing your year. […]