Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Decadent by Design

"Dream State" - #41/100 - mixed media on paper - 6" x 6"

Tax day is here and I'm happy to report I managed to get them filed on time this year!!  I'm embarrassed to report it's the first time this has happened in years, but it's a huge goal that I'm happy to cross off my long "2015 to-do" list.  Somehow the mere act of getting them out on time helped ease the pain of writing the checks that went along with the filings.

It's been a crazy past 4 weeks or so with the 100 Paintings Challenge; filing taxes; closing details with the sale of the property management biz; and some health issues that have cropped up.  I won't dwell on details, but my body needs some help at the moment and I need to focus on healing.  Part of that healing has always been through the creation of my art, and thanks to the 100 Paintings Challenge and a pending show at the end of this month, I'm spending a lot of time in the studio which hopefully equates to lots of healing.

After living in corporate America for decades, it's sometimes tough to remember I'm now working in the art biz full time and I need to actually sell my art in order to make a living.  When I was working full time and making art part time, I sold my creations mainly in galleries and on-line.  This worked well for many years, but I was sad to watch as 99% of my galleries closed.  The on-line market for art has become quite competitive, with lots more artists opening their own on-line stores and others doing nicely with other on-line art sale venues like Saatchi Online; UGallery; ETSY; Zatista and more. I know the key to being a successful artist is making great art, and marketing to get the art seen so people can buy it!  No brainer, right?

That said, marketing is beginning to take over my life, and I spend at least 3-4 hours a day updating websites; researching new art opportunities; and writing goals and ideas down.  I listen to podcasts about art and marketing when I'm walking my dog and painting.  Lately I've begun to feel a little "naughty" for sneaking away to spend the day in the studio to play with paint and somehow that's just wrong!

I envy the artists who are able to stick to schedules and not get waylaid with emails, phone calls and neighbors/friends/family who think it's OK to stop by in the middle of the day because they don't feel I'm "really working." 

It's time to implement a schedule and stick to it.  Being an artist and a Gemini, I know I need to keep this creative and give myself some wiggle room so I don't feel like a loser each time I don't follow the rules.  So here's what I've come up with (My Decadent-by-Design approach to Success!):

 Monday - Friday:
- 1/2 hour on computer returning emails (in time increments as needed)
- 2 hours marketing (Instagram; FB; Twitter; Blog; Calls for Artists; Website Updates; etc.)
- 2 hours painting in the morning
- 2+ hours painting/creating in the afternoon/evening
- 1/2 hour minimum walking my dog/exercising
- 1+ hour "creative research" - reading blogs; researching artists & techniques; watching art-related videos; visiting museums & galleries; networking with artists - OR -  packaging & shipping out art (hopefully LOTS of the latter!)

The rest of the time is "free" time to be spent as I wish, which might be reading, sitting in front of the TV watching mindless shows, visiting with friends and family and just having some "JJ" time.   

This feels doable to me - especially if I don't do it in any particular order or beginning/end time.  I don't want to live by my calendar and clock and force myself to paint at 8:00 a.m. if I feel like sending out packages instead.  I might want to catch up on my recorded trash shows on my DVR in the middle of the day so I can paint for a couple of hours before I go to bed.  It's got to be flexible or I won't do it - but I know these are important tasks that need to be done if I'm going to make this work.

What to do Saturday and Sunday??   Have fun, of course!!  Go for a long bike ride or hike with some friends, and get away from art for awhile.  Oh - and clean my house.  Do laundry. Catch up on life's little chores.  And get healthy!  The life of an artist - I'm very blessed.