From my house to yours, Happy New Year
I have made some progress in 2008 but there is always room to move further ahead. I want to set some general goals for 2009. I don't know if setting time lines makes life easier or harder for me. I know deadlines help me achieve goals but too many cause stress and I have enough of that already! I am choosing some areas that I know I can manage and that I know I need and want to gain experience with.
In my day job (I've always wanted to say that :) I work for a non profit and I have a principle at work that helps me decide the level of participation, human and financial resource input and interaction that I use for various functions, projects, meetings partnerships, etc. I participate in something if it fulfills one of the following purposes for the charity:
1. it provides the organization with recognition
2. it brings in revenue
3. it meets the mandate of the organization
This same principle is easily transferable to my art. My purpose as an artist is three-fold too and is somewhat selfish. But I am a regarding myself as a business as well as an artist.
1. I want recognition for my work
2. I want to be paid for my services
3. I want to achieve my own goals in art
With these three principles in mind, it becomes easier to make decisions about what projects to tackle, what organizations to become involved with, what business plans to make, how to market myself and my art and how to interact with the art community.
I'm calling my goals the three 'P's, If I give fairly equal billing to each P, I should have a good balance on which to move ahead.
The purpose of art is to share it with others. And to share it, I need to market it - and myself. I will do this by working on the following in the form of a loose work plan for the next 12 months which will give me a list of achievables to aim for and to measure progress.
New marketing materials
These will being the form of updated business cards and postcards as well as developing a consistent 'branding' for my blogs and marketing materials.
I want to market the sales blog more effectively and perhaps rehash what it holds and how it works. How I don't know right now. Its still in the thought formation stage.
This has been on my 'to do' list for a couple of years but not happened. Looking at current trends I'm wondering if a static website is an effective use of my time and energy. Will it produce the results I want or will it just become another thing to update?
Right now I can put most of what I want on my blog(s) and can't really justify developing and maintaining a site unless I want to really push the business side of my art through tutorials and teaching.
I still need to do more research on the effectiveness of this before I make a decision. Stay tuned.
I am fairly consistent in blogging averaging 21 days out of each month. With the addition of several other blogs that I will need to participate in, I may need to look at my blogging schedule or develop some well thought out plans of how to juggle everything.
I will still continue to blog and aim for a minimum of 3 times a week on my personal blog. The other projects are more laid back with monthly or bi-monthly participation depending on how they unfold.
I want to secure more commissions for both people and animals. I know in the current economic conditions luxury items are becoming more a rarity so costs are always an issue. People are consistent in one thing: they want a high end product for a dollar store price. Finding the balance is the challenge.
I will offer some promotional pieces at no cost to individuals with a request to place them in high traffic areas or promote them to give me additional exposure.
I will offer smaller, looser pieces that provide an entry level into personal original art for the new collector or those on limited budgets. Through word of mouth and the desire for stronger, more detailed or colour work, additional commissions should arrives.
I will be contacting local newspapers to see if I can get a dedicated article on purchasing original entry level art and portraiture in the lifestyles section
To be effective at anything, practice is required and sometimes that practice comes with a price. In this case, hard work. I know that to keep my skill levels honed I need to keep drawing and painting over and over on a daily basis.
In December 2008, I became part of the Watermarks project which will allow me to explore water in many forms. This is a new undertaking and I see it helping me form a body of work as well as explore a broader range of mediums and techniques, yet still keeping my style recognizable.
Portrait Study Group
I have also joined two other groups, but both are private at the moment and designed to act as intensive workshops exploring a subject and both giving and receiving critiques that help move us ahead. The first project is a Portrait Study Group. Portraits are my first love and I look forward to this and to the interaction with the other 5 artists involved. We hope to explore a new portrait monthly and look at working with a variety of mediums I hope.
Plein and Simple
The second project is a plein air project. Now this pushes me out of my comfort zone in terms of live landscapes which I've often avoided. I know I can do it and often just need the push to move into this direction, even if winter in Newfoundland may be a challenge with this one! However, there are views from the comfort of home, as I live in the woods, quite literally.
Virtual Sketch Date
I have been involved in the Virtual Sketch Date since April 2008 when Rose Welty asked if I would like to join her in drawing from a single reference. Since then the project has grown tremendously and now has a huge following with many participants each month. With three administrators, myself, Rose and Stacy Rowan, the VSD will continue monthly and have even more success.
A body of work
I need to create a body of work that consists of 15 - 20 plus pieces before I can consider approaching a gallery for representation.
I do have a body of work in terms of pieces but they aren't cohesive enough to provide the makings of an exhibition in my eyes.
I will be concentrating, through the various projects that I am involved with to have this body of work created in 2009. It will need to have the following characteristics:
Similar sized pieces
Consistant, recognizable style
Dry media are my comfort zone, but the past year I have been redeveloping my skills in oils and watercolours. I want to continue to paint as many of my new projects will demand it, but drawing will always be the backbone of what I do.
Production of a body of work has a lot of other peripherals associated with both production and promotion. Most of which cost money.
There are various local grants available to artists that will help with these costs - travel, framing, materials, etc. I will be applying for a grant in March that will help offset some of the costs for a project in 2009-2010. I want to base this on developing a series of pieces around water. If successful, this will give me some breathing room in terms of paying for framing, marketing materials, etc. It will also be a huge push forward in making me accountable to achieve. Its both scary and exciting at the same time.
If I don't get a grant, life doesn't stop. I will still produce and still move ahead with my plans for the year, perhaps at a less frantic pace.
These are my areas of concentration for 2009. Like everyone making plans, they are ambitious, but achievable as well. It will keep me busy but the results will be worth the effort.