Thursday, December 31, 2009

Off to the Races

Here is my friend heading off to a barrel race event that will go from tonight through
Sunday. I wouldn't want to haul that rig or stay in it in this weather -- but more power to her and Best of Luck in the races.

Below is a before (prepainted panel to fit in a large mural image) and after mural panel I did (one of three for an ill fated horse related project -- another story) in which my friend and her mount, Raz were the inspiration.

I am currently in the design stages of a poster for a poster competition for a local art fair and wine festival. You can read about it here. I may post the preliminary drawing later tonight. I have an idea in my head, but really don't know if I can pull it off. I have done many sketches. Hope to have one finalized, if not enlarged, tonight. I have the next three days to work on it with not too many interruptions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Accomplishments and Goals

"Babe" 5x7 colored pencil on board, 2007, "Babe" has been one of my most successful pieces in that Babe's owner was very touched and has become a interested collector of my work.

As 2009 grows to a close I have been thinking of my art and art business accomplishments over the past year as well as where to aim in the next year. Though I have made several handwritten scribblings on these topics over the last several weeks, as I sit here, I have not formalized/finalized anything, so will attempt to do that now.


Improvement in my Art:

As to accomplishments, one of the first goals of last year was to work larger in colored pencil. I entered a magazine cover competition, for that I did my first 18x24 piece. Throughout the remainder of the year I did several 12x16 and 11x14. I did one 16x20 and liked that size very much.

I wanted to prepare my own hard board supports and did. I also worked on velour at least twice.

I worked on doing more detailed backgrounds and worked on a more complex piece which included more landscape and buildings than animal subject matter (My Friend Chicken Farming). I explored using Neopastel II's.

Research colored pencil and lightfastness issues -- joined CPSA and got the lightfastness book.

Expand my Marketing

Early in 2008, I applied to a local art festival and was successful in being accepted. Organizing my work to participate in this festival, and future ones, was a major focus for me in 2009. I got one half of a trimline tent (display walls) and gallery covers for these walls. I have a portable table and a print rack now as part of my display. I framed all of my work. I develped sources of giclee printing, greeting card printing, precut mats and bags. I got a guest book and started a mailing list. I have the essentials (for example, tools, signage for the work, rain gear for myself and the display, change) for displaying my work for festivals packed and ready. I was able to organize myself to demonstrate doing my work at the festaval.

I developed a relationship with a store in a tourist destination and displyed there. I also displayed at a local pet expo event.

I distributed my brochures and cards for commisssion work at at least twelve venues.

I wrote to everyone on my mailing list at least once.


I organized my mailing list.

I organized some expenses and receipts and claimed them on my taxes.

I got proper licenses and collected and paid sales tax.

Solicit Feedback and Develop Exposure

I wanted to enter some national competitions -- I entered the Art Show at the Dog Show, the LSU Veterinary Medicine Annual Animal Art Show and recently the Colored Pencil Society of America "Explore This" art exhibit. I was not successful in being acceped in the first two last year, will not find out about "Explore This" until January of 2010. I was accepted for a second time in a a local exhibit and won a first place prize in an animal art exhibit held in an art supply store in Columbus, the state's captial city.

I started my blog and joined the Art with a Bark blog.

I maintained my website and memberships in the Equine and Canine Art Guilds. I joined my local arts organization.

Commissions and Productivity

All of my commissions this past year came from marketing efforts above, whereas the previous year, word of mouth by family and friends was more a factor.

I worked regularly in the studio during the spring, summer and fall. I prepared twelve pieces of new work for the art festival, completed four commissions and three additional pieces.

Participated in Scribble Talk, Wet Canvas and Pet Portrait and Wildlife Art Forums.


Improve My Art

Organize my pencils by lightfastness -- get some other brands to add to the lightfastness range and to try out.

Take at least one workshop.

Get Claudia Nice's book on animal work pen and ink and water media and try some animal work in this media.

Try some expressive work in oil pastel/Neopastel II.

Try some water soluable oil painting.

Expand My Marketing

Add the rest of the tent along with some weights to my outdoor display. Improve packing (air float or similar bags) and framing.

Apply to at least six, ideally ten, local art festivals.

Display in person at a minimum of six venues: festivals, storefronts, pet expos, horse or dog shows. Develop a regular presence at at least one monthly art display event, i.e. final Friday in Newark, first Friday in Zanesville or Coshocton.

Place work regularly in the local arts organization shop and local frame and art gallery. Expand to a Columbus gallery (two possibilities for application) and a Zanesville gallery.

Get in the local art organizations annual publication.

Get brochures in more veterinary and animal related locations as well as frame shops in local towns and Columbus.

Get and read Art Licensing 101, consider a licensing course.

Solict Feedback and Develop Exposure:

Keep up my memberships: CPSA, Equine and Canine Art Guilds, and local Arts Organization. Maybe join Zanesville or Columbus affilated arts organization.

Post at least once a week to ScribbleTalk, Wet Canvas and Pet Portrait and Wildlife Forums. Post on the blogs I follow at least once a week. Post on my blog at least twice a week.

Enter poster contest for local art festival (January 13 deadline).

Enter Art at the Dog Show, LSU Veterinary Medicine Annual Animal Art Show and CPSA exhibits. Enter local show at Bryn Du.


Organize inventory method business records. Develop for accurate filing and recording of all purchase receipts and utilize them as purchases are made.

Do not miss an opportunity to add to your mailing list.

Commissions and Productivity

Schedule doing art sessions at least three times a week if working a traditional job and no less than five times a week if not doing a traditional job.

Be working on demos at all in person venues.


I am proud of some of my accomplishments over the past year. I do let myself be diverted by traditional job participation and household chores, however, and, thus, I do not believe I am yet giving 100% to my art or art business. I think I have far, far less business success than I hope for as a result.

I lost all of last winter to working as an instructor in non art related courses. I lost part of the fall to taking courses on being a tax preparer. I will find out soon whether or not I will be working fulltime during the tax season and also will be teaching one course in the spring, but at least have the book early, and am teaching one instead of two. So I do plan to be better at giving myself an art schedule and sticking to it. I am rationalizing that this year I will use all of my earnings to improve my display. Somehow other work seems to take more out of me than I expect it to beforehand, though.

The bottom line is that even though I have a secure income from a pension and investments, I still fear taking a risk when it comes to money and the business of art -- something which I have struggled with most of my life. I very much would like to earn the additional money I still need in my life through art. I love working on art more than anything else. I find much personal satisfaction and sense of purpose in doing commissions, also. This is the ultimate goal with which I find myself still sitting on the fence in 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dressed for Christmas

Here is this year's Christmas card. It is a portrait of the latest barn kitty to find his way to the farm. He is a little grey spitfire. I thought he was a half grown kitten, but he has only gotten a little plumper with time -- so he is a little cat. He was named "Slim Pickens" because he was so skinny when he arrived. Though he is a little cat, he unfortunately chases the bigger barn cats out of the barn. He better be good at mousing! He likes to playfully chase the dogs and chickens. I will try to get some photos/videos of his antics to share. I made up his outfit--I think his portrait shows a slight bit of disdain for such un-cat-like duds. It is 5x7 on colored pencil on board.

The Christmas Season is fast approaching! Are you ready? I am getting there, slowly but surely.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giving Thanks

An 8x10 commission that was a Christmas present last year.

I hope you all had a Happy Turkey Day! I had a nice one with my family. I am most thankful for family and friends along with having my health! Though I worry about my finances -- I feel very fortunate in the big picture way -- I am not worried about losing my house and can currently meet my, as well as critters', every day needs without going into irreversible debt if I am careful.

The coming of the end of the year means I need to review what I have accomplished during the past year and formulate goals for next year. If I don't know where I am trying to go, it is not likely that I will get there. It is important to make art business goals that are specific and measurable. If you are an artist looking to grow your business, do you do this?


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