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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best Is Yet To Come...and a Sale for YOU

It's the end of the year,  a time I like to sit back and truly reflect on the days that came before this one.  It's easy to forget how far you've come until you take  a few moments out and look back and give yourself a pat on the back or an 'atta girl for trying something new, maybe something out of one's comfort zone or dug a little deeper in the sandbox your were already playing in.    Today I thought I'd share part one of my year in review, with a bit of a pictorial flashback. 

The first 5months, wow...from January to May, I can't believe all the work I did and places I went. It truly was a precursor for what was to come.  
 My chosen word for 2013 to guide me and my pursuits was  "Evolve". I wanted to evolve as an artist, enhance my skills in both business and the technical aspect of my work and I think overall, that desire came into fruition.  I accomplished many firsts, such as having not one but 2 solo shows...small shows, but hey, I was the featured artist so they should count right?  I also continued evolving and growing as an artist educator, online and in person and that truly is one of my most gratifying accomplishments, one that I foresee being a major focus for 2014 and beyond.

Also in January, I fell in love with texture all over again. I had stopped using as much texture as I used to in my work, but starting with this first series of texture paintings in January, it became one of my most valuable and inspiring techniques utilized in so many of my pieces for 2014. 
Sometimes it's good to go back to the beginning and start again.


In a flash of an eye, February appeared and with it I received some new products from my 'partner' company who I work with (Splash of Color) to try out and come up with some new techniques, articles and classes with.   Working with Leslie Ohnstad has been a truly amazing experience, she is not only inventive as an artist, she has a "heart of gold" and has been more supportive to me than I could ever really even convey in person. 

 Also in February I worked on many classes that were coming up over the next several months such as 21 Secrets,  and in person workshops at Art Is You.  In case you can't guess from this picture, Gelli Plate Prints and mono printing played a HUGE role in my artist tool box as well.  Many good things have come to pass because of my printing and techniques..some yet to be revealed :))

In between getting ready for classes in February and preparing for upcoming trips all over the East Coast...I took a break and just painted because.  As a working artist, you are always working...but so many times its to meet a deadline or prepare for a class or show...and although they are all creative pursuits, they aren't always just to lift your creativity.    I was and am determined to really refine my skills around painting portraits.  This one...called The One used tons of texture and a grisaille method along with pan pastels. The softer subtle lines achieved with the pan pastels were so much fun to use. I haven't used them a lot, they are still something to refine.  My portraits over the year, did refine quite a bit and I'm going to keep the goal of evolving for 2015. Portraiture work helps with my overall evolution as an artist.  Working with layers, tones, shading and depth are all fine tuned when doing portraits (among other things).


My first of 2 (maybe three) features over the year began in March at a local shop in wasn't the biggest success as it related to sales but the focus on rebuilding my body of work was a good exercise for me. I was disappointed barely anything sold, I have to admit.  But, as luck would have it, I took all of these pieces to a show the first of April in Ga and I sold 6 pieces before the show even started. Big pieces.  It was like a huge message of the year coming down to me from above.  A message I found to be true over an over again throughout the year.

Not every place is right for me.  Not every show is going to knock it out of the park.
That doesn't define me as an artist, it just tells me to open a different door, spend less time doing the wrong things and more time doing the right things.

 Some of the right things include continuing to write for magazines. My Gelli Plate article appeared in the March/April issue of Cloth Paper Scissors (it never get's old seeing your name in print!!!)
That's where it all began and it has by and large, afforded me so many more opportunities and helped immensely to give me the exposure one needs to get my name and art in front of more people than I can ever do on my own.

The importance of partnerships and networking are a key learning of mine over the last few years. It takes a village in this world to make it not just in the art world, but in so many business entities.  
You can row the boat alone.

Or you can get on board with others and help to make each other successful   in your own way.

March was a hugely busy month for me. Not only was I getting ready for upcoming shows, I taught a class at Random Arts in Saluda NC (Graffiti Cityscapes),  prepared for year 2 of our Outer Banks Gallery Hop....and took a trip to the Outer Banks all in the span of a couple of weeks. March gave me a taste of what was to come for the rest of the never slowed down after that and I never really felt caught up.  

Reflecting back, I know that this year, I need to start preparing for these events MUCH earlier, and even  perhaps let some of the things go (mostly letting go of in person shows unless I'm at a teaching event).   You can do it all...but can you do it all well??

Before the month rounded out, I took a business trip to, The Outer Banks, Crystal Coast and the Grand Strand of NC....we did it all in just a few days. Traveled our coast and visited shops, prospective shops, and simply enjoyed the peacefulness our coast provides.  
While my work isn't traditional coastal inspired work, this trip gave me more ideas artistically then I could ever hope to have came up with had I stayed here between these four walls. 

Sometimes you have to go away to get inspired, it doesn't have to be a trip around the world. Drive a few hours from home and find something that speaks to you. You never know where that inspiration may take you.


Back from the Outer Banks, I left with just a few days to spare to go to Acworth Ga for the only street festival I was attending in 2013.  The festival as I mentioned started off with a bang...just the confidence booster I needed after having the lackluster show the month before.  But still....I started to question myself  as to if doing outdoor shows was the best use of my time and money.
I could write a whole post on that but it's suffice to say, I had a hard time letting go of doing outdoor festivals...maybe it was because I never achieved the success at them that I just knew I was capable of. Perhaps it's the competitor in me...did I do my best?  Did I have the right prices? Did I have good enough work?  Was it the location?   Like I said, this show was decent and I sold several pieces...but it was also a big expense to rent a trailer, travel 400 miles, pay for a baby sitter for several days, hotel, food...and not to mention the cost of the show and materials/time it took to prepare.
Now that I write it all out like that...OUCH.  Maybe I didn't do as well as I thought as I did!!!

No worries...there's another show around the corner, this time, in Nashville and my boy came with me to assist. That was the best thing in the world. He felt so important helping me and it was a great bonding time.  The show was for the first Art is You in Nashville. I didn't teach at that show but I did participate in the Artist Faire and I'm so glad I did.....

Here's the thing...the thing about shows is, not everything is an immediate financial success...sometimes it is but in addition to what occurs during the show, you also have the relationships forged and networking that evolves  during the event.   GREAT things can happen in the future and because of this show...I picked up a new gallery, made new friends, met customers who turned into students, and got invited back to teach at a different gallery in Nashville as well as invited back to teach this year in Memphis at Art Is You.
None of that or not all of that would have happened had I written shows off all together.

After all that that travel...I just wanted to do something close to home and out of the car.

I bought me a new set of wheels.

This started to set the trend for me that I fell on and off the wagon of over the year.  Getting back in shape...doing things that just simply requiring you to be quiet and at peace, explore with...all important things to me and continue play a big role in my life. 

The last week of April into the first week of May, we were back in Ocracoke for a trial run of our REME retreat which will be held in May of this year  (NEWS ALERT...we have opened ONE SPOT for May) and a new retreat just released in October of 2014.

This is event is one that I know so many have been waiting's not just an art retreat, it's an experience with so many creative, motivational, relaxing, and centering components shared in an intimate setting.   Our trial run was amazing....the launch of our new business has proven to be a testament that dreams can come true if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work it requires to get your dreams off the ground.

Here's me testing out the workshop space at the house we are renting for Reme on Ocracoke Island.

Did I mention you can ride your bike all over the island and drive your truck on the sand????
ahhhh.....the simple life.  I love it.

It doesn't get much more peaceful than this.

So there you go....From January through May 2013.

See what I mean, when you look back at things you start to say, I did all that?
Yep, all that and so much more.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3 coming this week in my year in a review!

Thank you for joining me today, I hope you take time to look back and reflect. Smile at the past and run towards your amazing future.

The best is yet to come!!!


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