Saturday, January 05, 2013
There are times when we all sit staring at a blank canvas or sheet of paper, willing an idea or inspiration to come to us. Its frustrating when it happens. We all know it happens and we all know that it disappears again and often ideas flood in too quickly after the absence.
There are a variety of ways to look for new inspiration and feed ideas. One of these is mind mapping. This is really a brainstorming exercise, where you let ideas flow without considering their validity or rationality. They simply become thoughts laid out on paper that start to reveal themselves to you in terms of value and priority.
I found a little software program that allows you to create a map of words and ideas, but this could just as easily be done on paper. One of my ideas for this year is to create a new series or body of work. I have a number of ideas for concepts in my head and thought I’d try one of them in this brainstorming format and see if would clarify where I want to go.
You can see where my thoughts were hopping, but with a common thread of lines running through them. I can start to pull out and define more clearly the sections that appeal to me and begin the next stage which would be thumbnails of the final chosen ideas.
If you would like to try this out for your own mind mapping session, you can access the software free (for 10 sessions) via MindMeister.
Meanwhile, the crop of the painting at the top of this page, is a section of a piece that started this idea thread of lines. The piece will be a group of stuffed toys hanging on a line in oils on a 12 x 24 canvas.
Monday, December 31, 2012
I’m not a resolution maker. They are far to easy to break within days of being made and then I feel all guilty and less inspired to produce or reform and so on goes the circle. So I call them dreams.
We all dream. We dream of practical and impractical things. We dream in our sleep and when we’re awake. We are also in complete control of our dreams (well, except the one where the dark shape is waiting under the cellar stairs…) and choose to make them become reality or not. Yes, we are in charge of the outcome. When we are unsure of the unknown or afraid of failure we throw up many obstacles to put in our path as to why we ‘can’t’ do something, but never seem as enthusiastic about tossing out solutions about overcominb those very obstacles and making dreams happen.
Many of our obstacles fall into one or more of these categories:
Obstacle # 1: I haven’t got enough time. My whole day and evening is accounted for. Every single minute.
Obstacle # 2: I haven’t got enough money. Insufficient funds for _______ (supplies, framing, marketing, travel, you fill in the blank'.
Obstacle # 3: I don’t know how to do it. Lack of technical skills
Obstacle # 4: They’ll say no. Fear of rejection.
Obstacle # 5: I can’t be bothered. Apathy.
Fear is often the culprit, hand in hand with rejection behind the obstacles. These are the bad boys who bully artists constantly, push them around and control their lives. They list in mocking tones all the reasons why we won’t succeed and how we shouldn’t even try. They smirk in satisfaction when we fail. But just watch them retreat like scalded cats when we push ahead!
Lack of time and money are excuses too. There are always ways to find both. Get up earlier, go to bed later. Ignore the housework. As for money, you will find a way if you really want this. Art grants, cheaper supplies, bartering, sell other things you own. How badly did you say you wanted this??
Apathy. Art is hard work. And its not for whiners who are unwilling to put in the hours to make it succeed. Yes, that sounds pretty mean, but its true. No one’s going to come knocking on your door and discover you. No one’s going to introduce you to others at an art opening. No one’s going to produce your paintings for you. If you don’t care, neither will anyone else.
As a visual artist, some of my dreams are loftier than others. Some I know I can tackle and win, some I know will be more of a challenge and I’ll have to be creative to get around obstacles.
Think about how you can get around each obstacle. There are ways. NO EXCUSES! If you make excuses, you’re feeding your fears. Push them back and keep heading for your dreams. You WILL get there.
Some of my dreams for 2013 are:
Produce a new body of work
Representation by a new gallery
Deliver an online workshop
Update my gyotaku book to include more technical information
Produce a minimum of three short information videos and ebooks
Create a series of reproductions of gyotaku prints
Experience an art retreat
Produce a minimum of three significant drawings in dry media
Of course, other things will come into the picture as the year unfolds and I will need to prioritize which of these goals become my top three through analysing marketing, opportunity, timing, etc., etc. and be prepared to stick with them, no matter how enticing A, B or C are when they show themselves.
However, all of them are achievable. And I have all the obstacles ready, just as you do, to throw into the path of success. The key is to really think about how badly you want to achieve a goal; what exactly is needed to achieve a goal, and to work out a plan to reach it.
What obstacles get in your way? What are your dreams? Make them happen in 2013! Dream big and step outside your comfort zone. Take the boat out of its safe harbour and find a new adventure.
Happy New Year.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Swell – oil
I haven’t looked back over my year until this month, or really made a lot of concrete plans for 2012, except to keep doing what I was doing, so it was interesting to delve into the year and see just what I was up to.
Am I pleased with progress? Yes and no. I have produced a reasonable body of work this year but still am not quite where I want to be in terms of a strong, unique style. A retreat or grant project may be needed to push my concentration down a single stream. However, considering that I also have a full time job that often is more than full time, I have managed to squeeze a lot into my time and I believe I have made progress.
Early in the new year, I will share some plans for 2013.
My plan for my art business is based on most business strategy – production of product, in my case, art and visibility of brand, which is me. Sales becomes a by-product of these two activities. These are the main goals and activities fall into one strategy or the other or both.
I concentrated on waterscapes, but also moved into other areas, such as printmaking and portraiture and experimented with a palette knife which opened new territory and freedom for me.
Abstraction found itself creeping into my work, but also switching with realism. I found the abstraction a great release when I couldn’t or didn’t want to think, but just paint, almost letting the painting find its own path.
Abandoned in the Garden Glass Marbles
The aquatic theme remained throughout the year with boats and waves catching my eye. I started experimenting with stronger colours for water late in the year. A trip to PEI inspired Heat Wave with the red sand and a very hot day.
In early summer, I worked on developing some prints using gelatin and acrylic plates, creating monoprints and monotypes. There are a lot of possibilities for these techniques, but I haven’t had time to really get into them yet.
Back Pasture – Monotype, oil based ink Polar Star – gyotaku monoprint
I started work with encaustics in 2012. Its a fascinating, but time consuming venture and the supplies are not inexpensive. However, the results can be amazing and I enjoyed my venture down this path. Now the supplies and equipment in the studio, I will be producing more pieces in the new year.
Fissure – encaustic
I promised myself that I would draw more in 2012, but didn’t achieve that goal with any significant drawings produced. However, I did sketch fairly profusely, which helped hone my drawing skills and created many thumbnails and ideas for paintings.
Eye issues caused some challenges in the fall and still are not completely resolved, so it was a bit of a setback. The last thing in the world that an artist needs – vision problems! However, long waits in specialist offices left lots of time for sketching with no pressure for perfection.
It is here that I made the most progress and the progress has a foot in both priorities. In March I was accepted by Spurrell Gallery for representation and in June by House of Diamonds. These emptied the studio of pieces, mostly water related, and exposed my work and name to a broader audience and also increased my need for additional production as well as impacting pricing.
Flight Path – Spurrell Gallery
Weekend Warriors – House of Diamonds
Its interesting to understand just who is watching you, even if you don’t realize it. At least half a dozen times this year, I’ve been in conversation with someone in the local art industry who has said, “Oh, ‘you’re’ Jeanette Jobson, I’ve seen your work.” It is an incentive and a compliment to continue producing and marketing when you know that people do see, even if you are not always aware of it.
In July I took part in an exhibition on the 20th anniversary of the cod moratorium at Five Island Gallery where I entered three gyotaku pieces. They stayed at the gallery after the exhibition and I have been invited to provide new work for that gallery in 2013. The gallery is seasonal, open from May to October.
Arts Northeast, the local art group that I am part of, took on a more cohesive structure with members settling in and making plans for the future. A domain name and blog site was created for the group that is slowly coming together and we had a spring group exhibition in May and took part in a fundraising art auction for Children’s Wish Foundation in November. The group continues to evolve and grow through opportunities for networking, critiques and workshop sessions.
I took a foray for about three months into Daily Paintworks to test the waters for sales there. There are a lot of artists selling mostly small pieces there and varying degrees of expertise, so competition to be seen is a challenge. I did sell a couple of pieces but seemed to have more success on Etsy, where I stayed. I may return to DPW in 2013 and see if the monthly fee is worthwhile to try to sell there. Like all places and all pieces, the quality of work is what sells, as well as longevity in the market.
I switched over to MailChimp from Constant Contact for my mailing list production. It provides the same features more or less but without cost. The switch of mailing lists was fairly seamless. I reduced my communications to quarterly with occasional emails on specific events or sales. Numbers to my mailing list continue to grow and signup is simple from my website or Facebook page.
I changed website providers and had a fairly soft release of the new site in late November. The hosts FASO design specifically for artists and managed the switch of domain name for me as well. Paintings are well laid out in categories and available for purchase direct from the site, still at the same name www.jeanettejobson.com
I reduced the number of posts to my blog, Illustrated Life, to once a week as I really didn’t have time to keep up with it as well as social media and art production and administration/marketing. Occasionally posts appear more frequently, but the once a week timing seems to work well for now. Yes, comments and readership slow to some degree with a reduction in posts, but the spread of information over various outlets ensures all readers have information in a form that they are most comfortable with receiving.
My sincere thanks for reading, commenting and your friendship and interest over the past year. I wish you a healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year.