2014 was arguably my most productive year as an artist. I spent most of it being gainfully unemployed but I used some of that free time to my advantage. Here’s the list of things that I did this year:
It Sure As Heck Wasn’t Blogging
In spite of my extra time, I was too busy to blog even though 2014 was chock full of blog fodder. My last post in November was probably the first blog post in months. Much of my free time was spent looking for a job, or creating art. In spite of that I still managed to increase my number of followers and I am grateful for that.
I think every artist needs to learn some type photo editing program. There’s a lot of wonderful free online tools out there such as Google-based programs Picasa and Pixlr. I used those for a time but eventually began working with Photoshop. It’s a robust program and you do pay for that robustness in a “a second mortgage” kind of way. Fortunately there’s a cloud based program where you can pay an affordable monthly fee.
I learned Photoshop by reading “Classroom In A Book” that also comes with exercises that you can download from the web. I’m no expert but I am more knowledgeable about a program that intimidated me for quite some time. Also it ain’t a bad thing to have on your resume.
Discovered New Venues
So this is the accomplishment I’m most proud of. This year I decided that every month I was going to have my work shown in some venue in Charlotte. I came pretty close to achieving this goal. Here are just a few of the venues. Not shown is my artwork at my eye doctor’s office or at the Paper Cut Gallery.
How did I find these places? I joined local arts organizations, attended art receptions, and networked with other artists. Social media sights such as Facebook and Twitter were great sources for finding out about local art happenings. The more you start making connections the more opportunities make themselves available.
Created More Work Than Ever
The reason why I’m slow at making art is because I’m a procrastinator, often found surfing the net, eating, napping, watching TV programs and online shows; or God forbid, if the weather is really nice, doing some related outdoor activity. I don’t have the attention span to spend long hours in a studio. This year my behavior was still the same but due to the additional time, I managed to create about 7 works compared to 3 to 4 pieces per year on average.
Sold More Art
Okay so I still need a day job but I did better this year than the previous two years. While I only sold two originals, I had more success selling prints. Showing and selling at multiple venues gave me more visibility.
Drew More Consistently
The key to improvement is to draw, draw, draw. I currently attend life drawing sessions on a weekly basis and have done so for about a year. I began working in pencil and then after being inspired by an artist friend who worked in pen, I started working in that medium. I find that I’m actually more comfortable in pen than with pencil and I am also becoming less tentative with my strokes.
I also started doing “Right-Brained Sermon Notes,” that are visual notes I take on the sermon for Sunday service. This type of thing isn’t a requirement for a ministry, I just enjoy doing it. Once they’re finished I post them on Facebook. A lot of people like them and it’s even caught the attention of some of the ministerial staff.
Found A Job (Albeit Temporary)
It’s one of those things that’s both exciting and disappointing at the same time. As I approached the last quarter of the year I became more and more frustrated about not finding any work. Severance and unemployment only last so long and then, gasp, you start tapping into that 401K. Fortunately a few months ago, I landed a long-term contract position to which I am still assigned to this day. The downside now is trying to find the time to make art. I know of a fellow artist who lost her job this summer and I have to admit I’m a little jealous because of the extra time she now has to focusing on painting. It almost makes me want to get laid off again – almost.
That sums up my year! Looking forward to more adventures in 2015.