I hope all my readers had a wonderful holiday yesterday with friends and family. Perhaps you had a few minutes to yourself to just be still with a good song, a dream, a book, anything that makes you happy and that you were all safe and warm.
Time marches on, and this year seemed to go at warp speed. I know we still have some time and I am jumping the gun a bit. I just feel the need to see where I have been before I move into the next year. This may make for boring reading for you, but I hope it will encourage you to really think about all the things you have done with your art/life this past year. I don't care if you are only a part time or sporadic artist, or a seasoned professional. Last year in my post Bravery and the Art of being an Artist , I challenged my readers to set some goals and really go for it in 2008. I know that many of you have really been working hard this year and you deserve to give yourself credit for all your efforts. Sometimes it is easy to disregard your accomplishments unless you write them down. Feel free to post them in the comments or keep them to yourself. I try to keep up with many of you, and I must say how impressed and inspired I have been with your amazing paintings, your promotions, and your shows over this past year.
We will start with some of the negatives...
I dealt with a major rejection last January after my work had been sought out and was considered for reproduction by one of my favorite stores, an international company based in Sweden(you know the one). Going through that long process was a thrill and filled me with hope, confidence, and excitement but also drained me. It looked like it was a "go" right until the end and then it just wasn't. I posted about it vaguely in my blog and said I was going to give myself half a day and some soy ice cream to be really miserable and then just get over it. Ha! If you noticed less "rah rah- you can do it", and more "what is this all about?" in my blog posts this year, I suspect this had something to do with it. It took more than a half day to get over it to say the least. All in all, it was an honor to be considered and I did learn a lot about the process and also how I feel about the business of reproductions.
Last year, I said I was going to enter a particular juried publication, even though I always get rejected, well I entered and I got rejected again! I will probably enter it again this year as well; sometimes we just have to do these things.
Also, two of the galleries that represented my work unfortunately closed this year due to the economy among other things. I was sad that they closed, but like they say "one door closes, another one opens." Thanks for the memories, Gallery Fraga and Remy Fine Art. It was a pleasure to work with you both.
Alright, enough of that.. lets get to the fun stuff.
I didn't get in the one publication but I did get in another. Studio Visit accepted my work, and the reproductions of two of my paintings in that journal were stunning. I was very pleased to be a part of the first issue of that publication. I also received a very nice letter from a stranger who had come across my work in Studio Visit and they shared how my work had moved them and that meant a lot to me. Also because of the Studio Visit publication, I was approached by a company that specializes in reproductions for the hotel and hospitality industry, and was offered a contract to have my work reproduced. This was again a thrill to be sought out, but in the end the contract didn't meet my needs and I passed on the opportunity. I learned a tremendous amount about the reproduction/art licensing industry in 2008, and I am grateful for that knowledge and I hope I will be able to use it in the future. I am now getting pretty good at processing these types of contracts from these experiences. I am also getting pretty good at listening to my gut and making sure I don't jump on every "opportunity" that comes my way.
Another of my goals for 2008 was to submit my work to at least two new galleries for consideration, and I am pleased to report I did fulfill this goal. I submitted my work to two galleries in Atlanta, Georgia, one gallery in Kansas City, Missouri and one gallery in Portland, Oregon.We will see what happens. At the present time, none of these galleries showed me much, if any interest, and I did get one firm rejection but I am putting myself out there and that is part of the game, you can't win them all. One day soon, there will be an opening for my work in these larger markets.
Another positive in 2008 was my newly revamped website, created and updated by myself using iweb on my imac. I am so happy to have a website that is easily updated, that I can managed quickly and easily by myself. I am very proud of myself for taking care of this part of my business.
I had a successful exhibition at the Blue Moon Gallery in Hot Springs in June and July, Evidence of the Disappearance. This show taught me so much about myself, my art, and my need to share the experience with other creative people. I felt that I had been working in a vacuum before this exhibition and it was such a wonderful experience to bounce ideas off fellow artists and receive invaluable feedback and inspiration. I picked up a lot of blog readers during this process as I promoted my work in progress through as many online outlets as possible. I blogged and MySpaced about it, I made youtube videos, I vlogged, pod casted, created an exhibition catalog with blurb.com, and a beautiful postcard. I explored all means available to me in promoting this show. I was very proud of the paintings that were created, and my use of technology to promote and share these paintings. I will always look back on Evidence of the Disappearance as a success and an important time in my life.
I also tried to diversify and offer other services as the economy took a down turn. I offered portfolio reviews for the first time ever, and really enjoyed the opportunity to look through other artist's work and give them feedback or answer their specific questions at an affordable rate. I am still available for this service.For a $25 suggested donation through my paypal button on my blog, I will look at up to 20 images of your work and give you detailed written feedback, note themes or problems or answer your specific questions regarding your work. Artists who have used this service in the past have found it helpful. Contact me for more details.
I also started my own shop at etsy.com called ArtMaven this past September. I have been thrilled with the response to my Etsy shop, and happy to be able to offer people my affordable, one of a kind original small works on paper.I have sold fifty five small works to people all over the country and world since opening my shop. Every time a small piece sells for $25 or $40 it is a thrill and keeps me excited and hopeful while waiting for my larger paintings in the galleries to sell. The galleries that represent my work sold quite a few larger paintings this year as well, and I enjoyed working on several commissions through the galleries as well.
And now as 2008 wraps up I am busy finishing up my next exhibition, Fire and Noise which will open Friday Feburary 13th at the River Market ArtSpace in Little Rock Arkansas. I look forward to seeing this body of work to completion and sharing these works with you all as well as the public that will come to see them.
These are just some of the highlights of 2008, a bit of a mixed bag. A lot of learning, a lot of communicating and making connections, a lot of wonderful and new friendships forged. A lot of 3am wake up calls and many many many paintings of iron oxide, blue, textured atmosphere, lines and shapes. Many great songs played full blast over my headphones while jumping up and down in front of my easel. I want more of all of that in 2009.
I have many more coals in the fire as well, I am currently looking at getting a studio space outside my home and talking to an out of state gallery about a possible show in the Spring. I have some goals planned for the new year as well. I want to take more risks with my work. I want follow up with the galleries I submitted to earlier this year as well as submitting to more galleries this next year. I want to travel more and get out to see more great art in museums and galleries. I also want to keep painting small works and restocking my etsy shop regularly. I want to enter more juried exhibitions like I used to do before I was represented by galleries. These are just a few ideas...
How was your 2008 and what do you have planned for 2009 ?
I wish you the freedom to know your talents and strengths and to be more kind to yourself this year than you were last year. We are all going to get rejected, have slow months, question our work, question ourselves, but just know we are in this together. In the new year when you are painting and it is clicking, when you suddenly feel free and like everything is possible; hold on to that moment. They come and go so fast but those moments are why we do this work. Those flashes keep calling us back to this madness, this amazing life as an artist.
May 2009 be filled with these flashes for us all...
At a loss for words (I wanna be adored)
Mixed media on Canvas
Fire and Noise series