Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections on 2009

Roses in the snow
iced watercolour 9 x 12

New Year's Eve.  It does amaze me how time goes past so quickly and how so much happens in that time.  Thank you for everyone who reads my blog, who takes time to comment, who supports my work in any way.  You are appreciated more than you know. 

My wish is that your New Year is filled with love, happiness and creativity.   Newfoundland is the first point in North America that 2010 will land.  At midnight I will wish it well and send it on its way to you, just as others have before me when it crosses the oceans.

This time last year, I shared my plans for 2009 - The Three 'P's and would like to comment on what I accomplished (or didn't)  My plans for 2010 will be revealed tomorrow and I began to share my process yesterday for setting direction.  I believe its important to have a goal, otherwise you flounder around and are unable to assess any progress as you have nothing measureable to judge by.

I also believe its as important to look at what has gone before as to look ahead so what happened in 2009?

My three 'p's were Promotion, Production and Projects.


New marketing materials
I created new business cards that have a cleaner, more professional look to them.  These are included in all sales as well as provided to any networking connections that I make.  I have created brochures that are used for commissions, outlining the process of commissioning a piece of work.

A website
I came to the conclusion that at this time a website will do no more for me than my blog and Etsy store, so I did not move ahead on it.  Research is showing that blogs are taking over a static website and are a newer medium for communication, similar in the way that social networking is working to provide quicker, easier ways to get messages to the world.

My blogging frequency hasn't changed a lot in the last year, even with the addition of commitments to posting on other blogs.  In fact, posts to this blog have increased marginally with 285 posts in 2009, compared to 281 in 2008. I think that may go to show that deadlines or pressure work for me rather than against me.  Either that or I'm a true glutton for punishment!

In 2009 I provided 5 portraits free of charge.  This was part of my self promotion plan and I requested that individuals hang them where there was some traffic and help promote my art.

I accepted paid commissions in 2009, mostly for animal or human portraits.  I don't share these online without permission of the clients and as some were for special occasions, did not want to spoil the surprise for the recipients.


I concentrated efforts on my Etsy shop and posted new items regularly.  Sales came sporadically including art and jewellry, but remained constant during the year. Mostly smaller pieces were selling, but also some larger pieces as well.

I entered three pieces in the Newfoundland and Labrador Government's Art Bank 2009 collection. Camoflaged Rainbow (shown below) was successful in being chosen and purchased to join the provincial art bank.  This piece will be used in government departments and educational facilities around the province.

collection - Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

I created greeting cards and prints from two of my watercolours.  One a Christmas image, the other an image of locally made candy.  These are available from my Etsy store and I have interest from local sellers to stock these.

I have some of my animal portraits on display at a pet groomer's with information on commissioning pet portraits.


I became part of Watermarks in December 2008 and have produced posts there during 2009, trying to meet my committment of a post a month.

 Tapper's Cove

Portrait Study Group
This was a private group dedicated to drawing portraits once a month through references provided by those taking part.  The aim was to provide feedback and critiques, however, interest seemed to dwindle over time and it became a casualty of apathy and busyness of those involved.

Plein and Simple
This was another private blog that had a similar goal to the Portrait Study but concentrating on plein air landscapes.  It too disappeared.

Virtual Sketch Date
I was involved with this prooject initially with Rose Welty and Stacy Rowan as a small more private blog, just getting in drawing time.  This was opened to the public and grew like Topsy with close to a hundred people participating, a Flickr page and lots of work for us as administrators.  After the summer of 2009, we decided we would bow out and let someone else take on the role if they wanted.

Create a body of work
I fell down on the job here.  I was enticed by other subject matter, other mediums and lost focus.  I'm not sure if I ever really had the focus for a dedicated body of connected work.  I produced lots of pieces, but they aren't cohesive enough to call a 'body'.

Learn new mediums
I continued to rediscover and refine my technical ability in oils and watercolours in 2009, as well as refine my skills in gyotaku - fish printing.  I also taught a workshop in gyotaku which was well attended and successful.

I expanded my experience using different types of painting and drawing supports including a new treeless paper, Terraskin that has a lot of possibilities still to be discovered.  I also experimented more with Yupo surfaces, handmade paper and brown paper.

I continued to expand my knowledge of gyotaku printing, using trout, capelin, squid and starfish.  I also bought mackerel for more printing experiments later this winter.

The most current technique is the use of ice crystals to shape watercolour pigments.

Apply for a grant
One of the stipulations of grant success is having the right project, the right planning and the right timing to obtain funding.  Without a cohesive body of work and a strong plan in my head for knowing exactly where I wanted to go, I didn't feel comfortable going ahead with this.  I thought about it a lot when application dates were looming, but there wasn't the gut feeling that comes with knowing 'this is a great idea'.  Without that feeling, failure is imminent.

 Tomorrow I will share some of my plans for 2010.  Enjoy your New Year's Eve festivities or if you are already in your new year, have a peaceful day.


Jan said...

Happy New Year, Jeanette! It appears that you have accomplished so many of your goals from last year. You're so focused that it puts me to shame!

I wish you much success in the coming year also - not only with your art but in every area of your life! Peace, good health, prosperity and love to you in abundance!

RHCarpenter said...

Talented, smart and focused! There is nothing you cannot accomplish and I hope you reach all your goals :)

Laureline said...

What an impressive and inspiring set of images, Jeanette! You have accomplished so much this year! Congratulations on all that you have done and best wishes for an even more glorious 2010. I have really enjoyed getting to know you and your work better over the last months.

Margaret Ryall said...

Congratulations on the Art Bank purchase. Looks good on the resume. I've been successful the previous three years and wasn't expecting much from this year's submission.

You accomplished quite a lot over the last year and we do seem to be moving in parallel paths. Coffee is in order.

Jeanette said...

Happy New Year Jan. I think that knowing what I want and need helps me focus. I often stumble and time is a challenge, but that's the same for everyone. I ensure that I make sufficient time for my art, even if other things go by the wayside.

Thank you Rhonda. Goals are my driving force and become the measurables as well.

I pushed myself this year Laura and will push harder in 2010. I am at a crossroads where some decisions need to be made that affect many areas of life.

I'm sure that the coming year will give us lots of opportunity to explore and create and communicate.

Stacy said...

Jeanette, looking in from the outside it appears that your art career is accelerating at a very good pace. I know this is due to your hard work and dedication. Having "known" you since our days on Wet Canvas, I can see how far you have already come. You are an inspiration because you are showing me this can be done. I wish you an even more productive and successful year in 2010 and have no doubt in my mind that you will achieve it. Happy New Year!

tracywall said...

Jeanette, it simply amazes me all you get accomplished. All while trying new things and post all of it here. You are such an inspiration to me; thank you for all you do!
Happy New Year!!

Billie Crain said...

Happy New Year, Jeanette! You have been one busy and dedicated artist this year and I'm thrilled that you are seeing the fruits of your labors.

Love the frozen roses!

Stephie Butler said...

I have had a lovely time looking through your blog, came here through Facebook. I specially love your pencil work...You have a wonderful talent...