2023 Wrap Up and Getting the Most Out of This Year

Now that 2023 is over, we should use this as an opportunity to review how it went and what we can do to make 2024 our best year yet.

Dan Scott, 2023 Paintings
Dan Scott, 2023 Paintings

What Went Well

  • Got married to Chontele at Fraser Island.
  • Our daughter, Elora, is becoming a beautiful, caring, and joyful person.
  • Created a few of my best paintings. All up, I completed 9 paintings. Fewer than usual, but mainly because each painting is taking longer to finish. If I had to narrow down on a favorite, I’d have to go with Elora and White Roses.
  • Published 5 videos on Youtube. I prefer writing but I do enjoy the challenge of creating good videos.
  • Launched a new course: Color Masterclass. This is certainly our best and most comprehensive course to date, but it was exhausting to create. I prefer to hop between several projects rather than tunnel-visioning one. (It’s important to figure out how you work best and play to your strengths. I won’t be doing too many massive projects going forward as it simply takes too much out of me. I need to bounce around.)

What Didn’t Go Well

  • I fell behind on my drawing practice. I’m improving, but not at the pace I’d like.
  • I didn’t publish many in-depth articles. Focused writing time was particularly hard to find.
  • I hardly did any fishing. I use fishing to relax my painting mind and think about something else. I find that if I go for long periods without fishing or doing any other hobbies, I get burned out.

Three Things to Focus on in 2024

Here are three things I want to focus on in 2024, excluding the obvious ones like being a great dad and husband and staying healthy: 

  1. Sell more originals and prints and get featured in a few magazines. Perhaps also submit paintings to a few competitions. I have never paid much attention to my personal art brand but I think this would be an interesting project going forward.
  2. More regular drawing practice. I have been making my way through the Watts Atelier curriculum. My aim is to have a few more courses done by the end of 2024.
  3. Do more plein air painting. Perhaps go on a few plein air painting trips in remote locations. 

Over to You

What three things will you focus on in 2024? Feel free to share in the comments. We can check back at the end of the year and see how we went.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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39 comments on “2023 Wrap Up and Getting the Most Out of This Year”

  1. Happy New Year! Congratulations to you and your wife , wishing you all the best. Love how open and honest you are about everything. I will be practicing on my drawing and painting and also make more me time, which is painting more.. This past year I haven’t even been able to pick up a brush, and it killed me not to take advantage of your sale you had on painting course. So badly wanted to and the price was right.. Well, wish you and your family the best! And thank you, thank you for all you do for us who follow you.. you gave me hope and that inspiration. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing all your great paintings and information. It has been very helpful and inspiring. Congratulations on your marriage. May you have a very happy life together.

  3. Thank you so much for your great painting advice and sharing your wonderful paintings and photos. Congratulations on your marriage. May you have a wonderful life together. Your letters are very helpful and inspiring.

  4. Happy New Year. I have some of the ame problems. I work as a home health physical therapist and do art as a hobby. I also love to fish and bought a new paddle ocean kayak to go fishing. But the days are never long enough. I try to do some drawing and practicing, I have a sketched out ’57 chevy on a large canvas that has been sitting in this state for months now, and I seem to never have enough time to get to all of it. I will probably have to be more time conscious and just do things rather that plan to do them and not get to them. Thanks for all of your artwork pointers.

  5. Happy New Year! Thank you for your inspiration and information. I took your Creativity Kickstart class and it really helped me to get a fresh start with my art. It was exactly what I needed to prioritize my watercolor art again !

  6. Hello!
    I wanted to write to let you know your Color workshop has helped me move into more colors–particularly acrylics. I want to try oils (never worked in them) but will wait until spring when I can work with the outside. I don’t have the correct ventilation in my home. In the meantime I’ve picked up acrylics and always watercolors when I paint. Most of my work has been in graphite.

    But your Color workshop motivated me. I’ve had a portrait going for months but wasn’t happy with the almost garishness of the acrylics. I want that oil paint look. Then I saw this cropped image of Reuben’s self portrait and was able to see the color work pretty well. I found his palette and what a treat that is for portraits! I will use it to finish the first painting with this palette. The Rubens study is nearly complete–in acrylics and the look is more refined than I’ve done in acrylics before.

    For the most part I work slowly, but even so, I started and completed 11 graphite rendered portraits (some scenic); one loose portrait; three watercolor portraits; and one that was a first time using gouache-scenic portrait. Now I have on the easel, the family portrait in acrylics, the Rubens exercise, a watercolor scenic portrait and two small watercolor illustration types. What I learned in the Rubens painting I want to use on the family portrait to capture realism.

    I am prepping three pieces for a small, local community exhibit next month–my first in-person exposure. I am terrified. Especially after reading the comment the instructor gave to one student… (I hope he went on to explain to them what needed improvement and how to do it). And then, consider the response to iconic artists and writers…

    “We can but give it a whirl.” Thank you for your courses and inspirational prompts.

  7. Happy New Year! Congratulations on your marriage. I’m just starting out with painting and drawing but there never seems to be enough time. Sometime during 2024 I am going to sign up for one of your courses, probably the one for beginners.
    I enjoy reading your articles, specially your analyses of paintings and hope you’ll find time this year to continue with them.
    Hope you achieve all your goals for the year.

  8. Happy 2024 to you and your beautiful family. This year my plan was to take an art course and I decided to sign up for yours. Great price and I’ve been following you for awhile. I am learning lots and trying to implement as I go. I want to improve drawing skills, mixing colour scientifically, brushwork and learning to have more patience with the process. Oils and landscapes are new to me but I’m intrigued with beautiful scenery therefore interested in learning more. Thank you for the hard work you’ve put in to teach us.

  9. I love your sunsets. They’re your best. I m very impressed with your approach to art and how disciplined you are in your pursuit to be successful.

  10. As much as family is a nice subject to paint, the painting of the dock stretching out into the sea with the glorious sunset or rise was my favorite.
    As to my painting, my goal is to get back to my basement studio and just paint. I love working with animals and I need to do for two family members. Doing a painting for someone is nice. It helps to keep me focused and moving. I belong to an art club and it is hard to do a “Themed paint” that is needed by a certain date. I seem to have so little time to find a subject, much less paint it. I am a long senior and medical conditions for both me and my husband also takes up a lot of time that could be devoted to art. Not sure what the answer is to getting back to the things I love…art.

  11. Hi Dan: Congratulations on all your accomplishments this year and your lovely family. Also, thank you for sharing so much supportive and useful information to all of us. It is so appreciated.
    Last year, I sold my first painting and joined an art association for the first time. This year I want to be accepted in an art exhibit at my local library. Ive been turned down twice already. And always I want to paint more and find my own art style. Thanks again, Dan.

  12. The best for 2024 for you and your family.
    I loved the color course. Got me back into painting on a regular basis again. We had health issues to contend with in 2023 so painting was put on hold. Hope to paint more this year as well as read and hopefully take another course.
    I would love to do some plein air painting. Got the easel for outside two years ago and only used it once so far.
    Drawing is always on the top of my list. I would like to take another course on that as well. But painting is my top priority.

  13. Hi Dan
    Hearty congratulations to you and Chontele! Wishing you a lifetime of joy.

    I signed up for your basic course but I was expecting actual lessons. Not sure exactly how to use it
    Grateful for some guidance

  14. Thank you Dan for everything you have shared with us in 2023. I would also like to say that your paintings are really beautiful, you have surely evolved since I have joined your classes. You are very inspiring in this aspect.

    For my part, 2023 hasn’t been very productive lacking inspiration and motivation. I will attempt at taking the time to return to my brushes and find a type of solvent that will be less harmful for my lungs …. I noticed that my coughing was due to the solvent ….

    I wish you and your family all the very best in 2024, Health and Love
    Carole Dubé

  15. Congratulations on your marriage! may you three have a magical and wonderful life together. Thank you so much for sharing your talent. I have learned so much from you and look forward to learning much more.

  16. Congratulations on your wedding. With a young daughter and working on your art career it must have been a challenging year. I have enjoyed your emails on the masters very much. I wish you continued success in 2024.

  17. Hello Dan, thank you for all your input on art. I appreciate your dynamism and your passion to art. I enjoy very much reading all of your sayings on this subject. Although I am not into landscaping, I prefer painting animals, I try to apply your recommendations!

    Congratulations on your wedding, I surely hope you have a great relationship for many years to come. And as a parent, I wish you profound ties with your daughter. Being myself married for 40 years, he has become my best friend, my complice, someone to lean on. As for my daughter, she is such a great joy, besides giving me four adorable grandchildren!!! Enough, I’m getting all emotional!

    As a kid, I had little interest in dolls, but I would spend hours with a pad and pencils! I had a natural disposition to art, but I was not encourage. It is at a much older age that I became a graphic designer since everything is done through computer, I feel it scares away the soul of art … it certainly took away my confidence in becoming an artist.

    Later on, I was introduced to acrylic painting, it has been 6 years now. I enjoy it very much, what a satisfaction! Far from calling myself an “artist”, it fulfills my need to create, trying to convey the beauty in front of my eyes.

    My goals this year are being more confident, ah! trusting myself! And also hoping to spend more time painting, less procrastinating?

    Looking forward to read your advices again! I wish you and your family a happy new year from Canada 🥳 🇨🇦

  18. Congratulations Dan on your year being successful in every respect. And I wish you good fortune for your goals for 2024.

    Thanks to all the incentives you provide, my goal for this year is to paint even more, enjoy it even more, and increase my willingness to take on new and difficult landscape subjects.

    I look forward to continued progress on my artistic journey as I incorporate the lessons you provide.
    Many, many thanks!

  19. Congratulations on 2023, and thank you for all your hints, tips and inspirations. I have printed out a couple to keep me inspired.
    2023 wasn’t a good year for me- but wasn’t really all that much of a bad year either. I bet many can relate here- a nothing year, going through motions, letting work overtake everything and forgetting the beauty of life, and what I enjoy.

    Pluses included some good memories with some fun weekends and trips, doing a couple of artworks I was happy with, starting some tutorials with artists I admire to learn from.

    Downside was mainly work, overpowering everything leaving me drained stressed and depressed. In that mode other things tend to fall by the wayside, and you become a robot fuelled by anxiety leaving you numb and not grateful for the things you should be. The car blew up!

    This year WILL be different. Quit the job, and this first week has been a week off in-between before starting a new one, in my field of passion, Monday to Friday and more pay (not the motivation but always nice). My updated car is economical and reliable. I will be doing more art, drawing and painting, more tutorials. But, taking time to enjoy other things as well this year, things last year I just stopped doing. Some video gaming for fun, some walks combined with photography. Taking time to do the things that make life what it should be. Take your job seriously and responsibly, but don’t allow it to rule your life. Get back to remembering what you enjoy.

    The trigger for this was a tattoo I got late last year, yin and yang with the elements. A reminder for myself to keep everything in balance, work life balance, hobby balance, a connection between people but also time for solitude. We love art but also enjoy other things- all eggs in one basket equals burn out in anything. As well as remembering other hobbies and allow yourself to not feel ‘guilty’ mixing them up- Mix the art time up: not only creating ourselves, but visit galleries, even art supply stores for walks down the aisles. Balance within the balance so to speak.

    2024 is going to be my year of Balance.

    Thank you, always appreciate your posts of wisdom and inspiration.

  20. Thank you for all your honest and down to earth inspirations which you have given over the past year. 2023 for me such up and down year with family and being very involved in my Art Society. This year I hope to slow down and paint and learn more for myself with more time to do this. Thank you again.

  21. Thank you for all your inspiration and down to earth emails. It has helped me on my journey with my paintings. 2023 has been a year of ups and downs with family and our Art Society. So in 2024 I hope to slow down, to learn more and explore Art. Congratulations on your marriage, may this year be a great one for you and your family.

  22. Hi Dan. Compliments of the season and best wishes gor the New Year to you and your family. Your tutorials have helped me immensely in the last year. I am 77 years old and started art as a hobby after retirement and enjoying it immensely. Continue with your valuble art instructions in 2024 as well. Wishes for your growth and success.

  23. Hi Dan. Compliments of the season and best wishes for the New Year to you and your family. Your tutorials have helped me immensely in the last year. I am 77 years old and started art as a hobby after retirement and enjoying it immensely. Continue with your valuble art instructions in 2024 as well. Wishes for your growth and success.

  24. Hi Dan I just love your articles and try them out, I love pastels and oils and have joined an art group this last year , always from a six year old have loved drawing and painting..top of the class at school ,my Grandad was super at drawings so must be in the genes I am a very young 96 year old lady and attempt to paint as much as I can and it a joy to me… I wish you as much joy and happiness as I had in your future with your Chantelle {what a lovely name }we were married for 56 years and had a wonderful life, I look forward to seeing your name on my computer so Happy new year to you and yours Doreen

  25. Hello Dan,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your passion with us! As I told you before, you’re the best in the field. Congrats to you and Chontale; may you share a long and happiest life with your beautiful family!
    What went well for me, is my tennis game improved even with my limitations. I was able to spend a lot of time with my parents: my dad has Alzheimer but at 92 years old it doesn’t evolve very fast. I bought a bicycle and enjoyed summer doing nice rides.
    What didn’t go so well is my business. The last half of the year was very hard. I lost many clients and my most important one had a new orientation so didn’t need my services as much. I’m a virtual assistant BTW.
    I couldn’t find the time to pickup my brushes to finish my painting. Maybe it’s because the background isn’t to my liking. But I did find the time to read and follow up on all your blogs and links you sent.
    Still don’t know what to do with one of my children who doesn’t want to see me but will answer my texts.
    What I’m looking to improve or do in 2024, definitely get a few paintings done, especially if I’m still not busy with my business. Even so, I should find a few hours a week to paint.
    Stay healthy and in shape with tennis, biking and online classes. Finally, because family is important for me, spend some time with my parents. I will also try to create a deeper connection with my child.
    Keep up your amazing work Dan and Chontale. If I still dream about doing something with all the canvas I have, it’s really because of your newsletter, blogs and Academy.
    Thank you so much and may 2024 brings you and your family all your desires.

  26. Happy 2024 to you and your family! Thank you very much for all your effort. I find your advice very useful and I find it a very interesting task.
    Thanks, again, from Spain!!
    Roser JB

  27. Happy New Year, Dan and congrats on your marriage and all your accomplishments. I’ve followed you for several years now and worked through the Landscape Masterclass. I love your work, and get so much from your articles. I work mainly with acrylics. But switched from oils to water miscible oils — so much safer and they behave like oils. Clean up with water, but still needs to cure like oil. My focus since starting five years ago has been on still life and portraits. Looking forward I intend to loosen up my paintwork, do more landscapes, and work towards an impressionistic style.

  28. I’m fairly new to art/painting having been introduced to in-class instruction a few years ago by an insistent coworker and friend. I have never regretted a minute. New insights into a wonderful world that I didn’t realize I could be a part of. Experience and friendship.
    This wonderful person and teacher became progressively ill during the past year. We maintained classes on our own throughout his hospital stay. We relied on lessons learned and our own critiques while hoping for his return. This great teacher and person, William Biddle, passed away in December.
    I have read your lessons during last years online classes but not actually put them into practice Now, I’m hoping to bring some of these new insights to class with me. We will continue to preserve his incredible expertise and introduce new ideas. Thank you!

  29. Three +1 Goals for 2024

    1. Retire and sell my business.
    2. Practice drawing
    3. Take painting classes (paint more paintings)
    4. Plan a big trip to Italy

    AND start a website

  30. Happy New Year, Dan.

    Congratulations on your beautiful family life. It certainly nourishes and inspires you. The first years are demanding, but enchanting. Although I am not very active in painting right now (finishing my masters and working full-time), I read many of your newsletters, emails, look at paintings, and I am thankful to you for excellent advice and quality.
    My goal for this year is – of course – to paint more! I will be able to do that soon, even if it’s only once-twice a week. My medium is watercolor and acrylics, haven’t tried oil yet.
    All the best with your efforts in 2024! I hope to sign up for one of your classes as soon as I have more time.


  31. Hi Dan. Thanks for your work and insights. The newsletters-emails are very helpful and help inspire us to paint more frequently and with more knowledge. We are grateful for our trips this year to both Europe and the West where we hauled lots of art materials and got some opportunities to use them and become even more inspired. (Consider visiting Pont-Aven, and the coast of Brittany, which are inexpensive, uncrowded, beautiful and the home base for many impressionists and post impressionists (Local museums have gorgeous works virtually unknown outside this part of France. Visit Nannes, Vannes and Quimper art museums.) A dream came true while we were in Basel Switzerland where we accidentally discovered an exhibit with over 200 paintings and drawings on Fauvism, our favorite art movement! Fauvist paintings in any quantity are hard to find. We could only find 2 in all of Paris. (By the way, there is currently a similar exhibit at the Met that soon moves to Houston, Spring 2024). We have no complaints about the past year! This coming year we are planning to paint in Collioure France in the shadow of Andre Derain (we hope).

  32. I did not see any fishing in your 2024 List, I think you should add it.

    Three things I would like to get going in 2024:

    1. More outdoor painting.
    2. Put more paintings in local art shows. I just sold a painting and won a Merit Award at the Attleboro Art Museum in Massachusetts. I was surprised, I had not expected a thing from the show.
    3. Drawing!

  33. Thank you so much for all your shared time and knowledge. I know the level of effort required in creating courses of quality and appreciate that it is all consuming. I have pinned 2024 to delve into learning as much as I can, within my resources, to help in drawing, painting and time out from my world. Dream end goal will be to enroll with you. I have enjoyed your approach, content and research/visual references. They have helped me tremendously. All the very best. Lee

  34. Happy New year! And congratulations to you and your wife. I’m so grateful for all the information and knowledge you have shared with me. I appreciate your effort. As a watercolor artist I’ve gained a lot and I’m planning on improving on my painting this year, specifically on landscapes . I’m also purposing to study more on human figure drawings and to start earning as an artist. Thank you for your continued assistance.


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