Posts tagged ‘artist’

2014: My Year In Review

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.

Photoshop

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.

Charlotte Art League: Featured Artist of the Month
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Manor Theatre
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Beatties Ford Road Branch Library
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Twenty-Two
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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.

Red Hoodie (SOLD)
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Ninja

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Breakthrough

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Three French Hens
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The Perimeter
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Still
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Good and Mercy Shall Follow Me (SOLD)
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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.

recliningnude2    reclining nude1

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.

Sermon Notes 5.25.14 Sermon Notes 5.18.14a Sermon Notes 5.18.14

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.

My Pet Peeves as a Newbie Artist…

Even though I haven’t been pursuing the whole artist career thing for very long , I have quickly become  aware of the things that annoy me.  For those who are out there in the field I would love to hear some of your pet peeves.  Here are mine:

Asking  me to copy the work of another artist

This happened to me several years ago when I was with a friend who was looking at a very detailed painting hanging in the hallway of our church.  She asked me if I could re-create a copy of the piece.  “I’ll pay you,” she said.

First,  there is the whole legal matter concerning copyright infringement.  Second, all legal issues aside, as the copying artist I would find this task to be unfulfilling and unbelievably boring.   Thirdly, my friend who made this request probably didn’t realize that she would be better off  buying a print of the work.   One would have to factor in the time  (the piece was very detailed)  and cost of materials to recreate it.  I would have had to charge much more than she would have expected.   Also, the art was in acrylic and I had no experience in this medium, however I knew about watercolor pencils.    There was no way my re-creation would look exactly like the original.

Creating work for individuals as gifts and receiving little or no appreciation for it

Have you ever created art complete with personal touches for a person that you knew really well  only to receive a lackluster response from them in return?   I had a situation like that where I made some art as a Christmas gift for someone.  The gift was mailed to their house and when I called them to make sure they received it, they said, “Yes.”  And that was pretty much it.  No other comments or anything else.  It was a blow to the fragile ego for sure and why it’s very rare that I make something specifically for someone.  Why put all of that work into it for nothing?  You would at least want some appreciation.

Producing  Sistine Chapel results on a stick figure timeline

I don’t like being given a short timeline to produce work with the expectation that I am going to produce amazing results.  Yes,  I can create quickly under pressure but  I know darn well that if given more time I can do better.

To be fair, sometimes I contribute to my own demise.  I may come up with an idea and then waste a tremendous amount of time wondering if I can actually do it or not.  Then at the 11th hour I decide that I can do it and then wonder why I am still drawing as I walk out of the door.

When people expect you to practically give your stuff away

I don’t think most people understand the effort it takes to create artwork even if we make it look easy.   It’s  emotionally and even physically exhausting, and can be pricey considering the cost of quality materials required to make it look amazing.  It’s  hard to get a return on your investment and I can’t afford to be low-balled.

Expect the “friend” discount

I don’t necessarily expect a special discount if I am purchasing something from a friend. I want to support their business and I understand that they have to earn a living.   Shouldn’t I expect the same?  I’ve had numerous friends who have started out in businesses and have been frustrated with people expecting them to produce something for little or nothing.

 Festivals:  Art Sales vs. Food and Beverage Sales

Most festivals are going to have food and beverage because it’s part of the culture.  The issue here is that it competes with those of us who are selling art.  In most cases, food will always win because it provides instant gratification even though the art can bring joy over the long-term.  I thought about my friends selling their art at one of the local festivals and right across from them sat a funnel cake truck that looked ancient-of-days, health-hazards-be-danged.  Yet, there was a long line of eager buyers.   No one there said, “Hey, I’m going to forego this greasy goodness and use my money to buy some art instead!”

I sometimes thing that alcohol sales at festivals  have the same effect.  It’s wishful thinking to find the inebriated person who will stumble into your booth and impulsively buy everything in sight.  Personally I have yet to sell anything to anyone with beer or wine in hand, although I would be happy to be proven wrong.

Groups of people standing in front of my booth for reasons other than looking at art

At any open market or fair,  I certainly don’t mind people crowding around my booth if they’re looking at my art or buying something.  Unfortunately in many cases there are times when groups of  people spot each other from a distance and then they congregate in front of my booth and talk for several minutes.  When this happens, no one else can see me.  I’ve often fantasized about scaring them off by farting out loud like some crazed, defensive animal, but given the noisy environments that I typically sell in, no one would  hear.

There’s many more things I’m sure I can write about but I will have to save it for another time.  Your turn!! What bugs you?

 

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