A bear, a pug, and a flower have this in common.

Three primary colours
A perfect motto for me! Stop Dreaming, Start Doing!

Since this is January, a slow month for me, I am checking off some of the goals I set for myself in my journal at the beginning of the month.

I have always worked with lists and planners. As a high school teacher, the planner was an invaluable tool to record homework assignments, calls to parents, discussions with students, and work to do in the evening or on the weekend (evaluations, prepping new lessons, etc.)

As an artist, I have continued this practice to some degree.

Recording goals and progress in a journal.

This year, I splurged and bought a Dot Matrix Journal. I record everything and anything I want to remember, even the books I read. 

For instance, I have a section “Inspired by” where I write all the techniques that I would like to apply that I have learned from other artists.

In the “Looking forward” section, I write all the weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. So far I am liking this method because everything is in one place with tabs to find information much more easily. In the past, my journals have been quite messy and I have had to go page by page to find what I need.

So why the dot matrix journal?

To start, it keeps my writing in straight lines although I don't always follow the dots.

Beyond that, in the “Brainstorming” section where I have sketches, it can help me measure out my drawings should I want to transfer them to watercolour paper or canvas. I expect this section to be the most used so I have devoted 40 pages just for sketching and writing out ideas for future art.

Even better though, this particular brand of journal allows me to use light washes of colour on my sketches which was not possible in the Dollar Store brand journals I previously used.

Goal #1: Finish an old painting (bear) that has been hanging around for too long.

For this goal, I went to my pile of discards (some artists have dubbed it the morgue pile) and found a grizzly I had started at the end of 2020 and never finished. There wasn’t much left to do. So here is the ferocious beast! ✔️

Bear painted by Ottawa artist, Louise Primeau.
On Target. Mixed Media on watercolour paper.

Goal #2: Paint a pet portrait (Pug) for my portfolio to keep and show potential clients.

As a commissioned artist, I have few actual examples of my work to show my potential clients. I suggest they visit my website to view my portfolio.

This year, I decided to have actual portraits on hand because I have plans. While I am not ready to reveal those plans, I can say that they will be a major leap for me. I already have a few flat glass oval ornaments of cats and dogs that I will keep for this purpose.

A few weeks ago, I was sent several photos of Pug puppies -  Mr. Pickles was painted using a reference photo among the ones I received. I tried to loosen up while keeping him as simple as possible. ✔️

Mr. PIckles, a Pug puppy painted by Louise Primeau.
Mr Pickles on gallery wrapped 4 x 4 gallery wrapped canvas.


Goal #3: Paint a loose flower. Loosen up and be more productive this year.

This is the first of several flowers I will paint in hopefully, a more expressive, loose style. I love this style because of the big, bold brush strokes next to more delicate ones but I admit that it might not be everyone's preference.

As an artist, I believe that growth is achieved by trying techniques that are outside of the safe, comfort zone. I have painted expressive type flowers in the past. Summer is in the Carnation Can is among my favourites.

Below, Burst of Orange is the first small painting to be added to my portfolio this year. It is available for purchase. Please contact me if interested.


Burst of Orange flower by Louise Primeau.
Burst of Orange. Expressive floral on 6 x 6 gallery wrapped canvas.


Another year is off to a good start!

What have you checked off your list this year? Do you set weekly or monthly goals? Do you journal? What method works best for you? I look forward to hearing from you.


Summer is in the Carnation Can
Summer is in the Carnation Can. Mixed media on 20 x 20 gallery wrapped canvas. (2021) Not available.


6 Responses

  • So pleased you have organised your start of the year in such a positive way. I had heard of Dot Matrix paper but didn’t realise they had journals also. I’m more the draw then paint rather than draw, do test piece then the final “real” work, far too impatient for that. But then I only do it for my own enjoyment, that means no pressure

    • I find that I am writing in it more than I am sketching. I keep track of all my art related goals and tasks and all my brainstorming is in there also. Perhaps eventually, I will use it more for sketching. I know I did with my other journals of this type. Cheers!

  • Wow, the bear is masterly done!!!! I’m enthused about this picture. Wow, the fur you did in a wonderful kind. You’re a real artist dear Louise.

  • Your dot matrix journal sounds like a worthy endeavor for planning, organization, record keeping and the completion of projects for this new year, Louise. Best wishes and more power to you, my friend!

    • At the very least I can say I have used this for one month! Let’s see now if it’s effective for the rest of the year. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the week.

I’d love to hear what you have to say...