The View From Above0
Sometimes it’s a good thing to change your perspective.
Today is warm and the breeze is lovely. I’m sitting on the deck, basking in the sun.
I’ve been thinking about my series that I’ve been working on with Leisa. I have 2 that I’m quilting now, and then 2 last ones planned. But I have an idea for a new series brewing in my head. I know that having done this abstract series will change my work. It’ll be interesting to see what comes. I certainly have changed my planning as well as some of my methods, but I do still want to work in portraiture — but faster, with pieces that build on each other. A thread, working through each consecutive piece and holding them together.
I spy . . . With my little eye. It’s really all about perspective, isn’t it?
I am late in publishing a post regarding my art goals for the year. The truth is that I have been struggling with them, but this morning, it occurred to me that that’s because 2015 is going to be different. I can’t just copy my goals from last year and have them work again. I am preparing for a two-person show. I can’t share pieces once they’re final, and since they’re abstract, blogging about their creation is not the same. I can’t break the process into manageable portions anymore. Currently, my ironing board is loaded with fabric, and I’m applying pieces as I go, no longer by color alone.
I am also challenged by what I can enter into shows in the coming year if I am dedicating a chunk of work to the two-person show. There’s only so much that I can produce.
I did make a leap and finally a purchased a time keeping app called OfficeTime. I had been using the timer on my phone, then entering it in a Notes app, then transferring it later to a spreadsheet on my desktop. That became unmanageable. Now I have a timer that keeps track of what I’m doing by project & by category. It doesn’t sync with my desktop, but I can export my reports to a spreadsheet. I haven’t decided if I’ll stick with that or purchase the desktop version too. Right now, there’s no backup of my hours which makes me nervous now that I’ve come to rely on this app so much.
Anyway, let’s give this a shot.
— Create spreadsheet to keep track of hours by project and by category — as well as social media goals.
— Print blog books. I didn’t get to that last year. I keep hoping they’ll upgrade Anthologize into a better app — or a better app will come along that turns my blog posts into better publishable material. I’m not thrilled with what I get from Anthologize — it doesn’t give me published dates as a reference on page headings. You can only put them in chronological order by hand. I already have the PDF’s created — I just have to send them to the printer. I’ll commit to printing 3 years worth.
— Create a printed book of work created. This is more easily said than done. I want to create a page for every piece on my website. Ultimately, it would be great to have every piece I’ve ever done. I thought about a scrapbook with prints of my work, but then none of my artist statements or information on sizing would be on there. I’ve reached the point where my inventory is getting away from me. I want a place that I can bring it all together and have even if my website would one day go away.
— Increase web traffic. Last year my goal was 5% — which at this point seems like a bad joke. I innocently thought that the best way to increase your traffic was to write regularly on your blog and post regularly to social media. Silly me. Apparently, all you really need to do is get your name or work published somewhere in mainstream media — OR do something that other people find offensive and talk about endlessly in a social forum. LOL! Well, it seems funny now anyway.
While I have no desire to attract negative attention, I do want to continue to grow the traffic on my website. I cannot, however, use 2014 has a year for comparison — so let’s say a 10% increase over 2013 traffic.
— Complete at least 6 large pieces. I will definitely stick with this goal. I have at least 5 large ones to complete for the two-person show.
— Participate in two-person exhibit.
— Enter at least 6 other exhibitions. This is the same as last year’s goal which, given the two-person show I’m working on, sounds like a lot, but I’ve already entered 3 as of today.
— Continue to work on collaboration with Leisa Rich.
— Publish at least 1 blog post per week. Last year this was 2.
I spent a lot of time last year combing through articles about art — which I tend to do anyway — and then tweeted them. They then syndicated to my personal Facebook page — and at the end of the week on Sunday, I would write a weekly Tweek! summarizing all of the tweets I made in the week. I’m not certain how popular those blog posts were though.
And then in a pinch, I could also make a Wordless Wednesday post with a photograph I had taken somewhere for inspiration. Did I tell you that my camera was recently stolen? <sigh> I do intend to replace it and will probably still do some Wordless Wednesday posts.
I would like to write more on my blog, but I’ve been faced with more challenges for my time in the past year. I started doing some freelance work, and when I’m not doing that, I want to be in my studio creating work. I have deadlines I have to meet. So my blog has suffered as a result. If I’m being realistic, though, I don’t see that changing, so I’m only going to commit myself to once a week.
— Write at least 4 FaceBook posts per week on my professional Page. This is the same as last year.
— I don’t think I’m going to continue a Twitter goal. I am going to keep my account, but in the scheme of things, it don’t think it was adding much to me professionally.
— Spend at least 15 hours per week on my art. Last year I said 15 hours in the studio — but in the end, I counted all dedications of time to my work. The truth is that a lot of time is spent entering shows, shopping for supplies, working on my website, curating, etc.
— Sell at least 2 of my pieces. This is the same goal that I had last year, and I’m comfortable continuing it.
— Be a positive and constructive energy within the art world. I’m okay with competition, but I don’t agree with stepping on other people to get ahead. I want to share what I know through speaking to guilds, and I want to share the work of other artists so that others can experience their talent. Be the change you want in the world — I choose the brighter path.
I have been neglecting my blog. Instead, I spent the week briefly looking at the vitriol on QuiltArt, and then turning to my studio. The best thing to combat all of the crushing criticism was a deadline.
Although among all the negativity, I received a lot of surprising support. I had some Atlanta friends that stood in the gap for me when I couldn’t, and for that, I am truly grateful. I also had some internet friends stand up and proclaim their support, and I received many emails of support and encouragement. I heard from people I never expected to, and I made some new friends. So out of the fire, there has been some good.
My last blog post has been read, I believe, almost 2,000 times. People have been combing my website, and I’m certain that a good deal of it was in judgment, not support.
There is something about the Migrant Mother photograph — and my use of it — that brought out a lot of strong emotions in people. And in that regard, I think it has been successful. Not all of the PR has been good, but it’s certainly been a topic of discussion.
Regardless of all of that, I have deadlines to meet. I have an entry due at the end of the month and guests coming next week — so this new piece has to be completed this week. I finished the quilting yesterday and am almost done with the handwork. I hope to complete it today and block it.
And then there are new shows to consider. I have another piece based on a Dorothea Lange photograph that I’m considering entering in AQS — at risk of the ivory tower elitists coming to hunt me down for having the gall to (gasp) use someone else’s photograph as the inspiration for a piece of work. I also have to prepare for Sacred Threads which is coming up as well as the local East Cobb Quilt Guild Show.
Furthermore, all of my studio efforts after finishing my current portrait will go back to the abstract pieces for the two person show I’m debuting with Leisa Rich in October.
One foot in front of the other — moving forward. There are people that don’t like my decisions, but life is too short to spend time worrying about them. They don’t understand me — and I don’t understand them. It’s like the school playground all over again. I think I’ll just go back to my studio. It’s peaceful there.
Reach for the Stars1
I was giving an interview yesterday for a local paper. She asked me, now that I had won a prize in Houston, what was my next goal.
I am a firm believer in having goals. I’ve spoken before about always reaching for the next rung on the ladder. But I didn’t have an answer for her. It sounds silly to say that I’m still stunned by having won in Houston. It was 7 months ago. Surely I’ve made new plans.
I’m not sure where my brain has been on this one. I know it should be doing something, but it seems stuck. I have applied for professional juried membership into an artists organization and I’m hoping to be accepted — I’m re-entering the same shows — but what am I going to do next that is different?
I have some distant things I’ve thought about — a shot in the dark. If I tell someone, will they be more likely to come true? Or less likely?
A couple of years ago, I entered the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery in DC. I was not accepted. I was not surprised — but because I had entered, they continue to send me emails on the competition and other events at the Gallery. I was surprised to see a LOT of mixed media winners in last years competition. I want to say that last year’s top winner was made from salt. It may be time that I hang up that lack of confidence and enter again. The only way to guarantee that you will never get into a show is to never enter. (I need to keep telling myself that. It’s true but sometimes it helps to use it like a mantra.)
This week, in the process of writing this post, I did make a change. A friend of mine told me about an opportunity for exhibition with a prestigious gallery in Brooklyn, NY. If I entered, I would be unable to enter two other shows that I’ve entered in the past. I would be competing at a much higher level with other artists — this is not a quilt show. It’s about time I change — reach for that next brass ring — so I sent in my application last week. The great thing about this show is that it only required that I be female — and there was no restriction on when the piece was made — so although I entered a couple of new pieces, I also entered a piece that has timed out for most quilt shows. It’s still a great piece and should still be exhibited. My mom was represented by a couple of galleries in NY at one time — so why couldn’t I also have my work shown there? If it was possible for her, it’s also possible for me.
So — this year, my exhibition list may not be as long as last year but hopefully I can shake things up a little and enter some new markets. If nothing else, I’ve pulled myself out of my rut of doing the same thing that I did the year before. Change is good. Carpe diem!
The girls finally went back to school today & I’ve pulled together my goals for the year. I reserve the right to alter these as the year progresses — but hopefully I can get close to my goals.
– Make 2014 goals.
– Refine spreadsheet to monitor goals and progress (create one for 2014).
– Print blog books: 2009, 2010, 2011. One day I’ll catch up. I have all books through 2012 ready to print — it’s really just a matter of sending them to the printer.
– Change all icon references to eye on business card. Years ago, I made a small card with the blue eye of a pic I took — which I then used as my online icon — but last year I made business cards with a different eye. I need to change all of the online references.
– Update personal FB Page with new banner from business page.
– Increase web traffic 5%. Experience has shown me that this is a really hard stat to move. The biggest jump I’ve had in the site was from having my blog listed in the top 55 blogs by Quilter’s Home Magazine in 2011. Last year, I had work in two books and a magazine and traffic only increased just under 6%.
– Complete at least 6 large pieces.
– Participate in Journal52 with at least 40 journal entries. I have several journals lying around the studio but I’ve never participated in a regular one with a group so I thought I’d try it. My work is very different from the paper collage artists though — I may just show my pages on the Facebook Page or in blog posts.
– Enter at least 6 exhibitions. This is really a function of funding. I would love to enter everything under the sun but I can’t.
– Learn how to use the camera lucida. I bought one of these in a Kickstarter campaign and gave it to myself for Christmas. I haven’t had time to play with it yet though.
– Apply for SAQA Professional membership.
– Publish at least 2 blog posts per week. This is a big one for me. I think I may start another weekly concept post — maybe Wordless Wednesday. I think it would motivate me to work on my photography skills.
– Write at least 4 FaceBook posts per week (professional Page). Last year my goal was 3 per week — much easier than I thought it would be.
– Write at least 6 Twitter posts per week. My Twitter persona is about passing along information to other Creatives. In my reading, I find a lot of articles and encouragements that I think are helpful to others.
– Spend at least 15 hours per week in the studio. I thought about making this 20 — but the truth is that life gets in the way. Some weeks I can make 20 easy — some weeks I won’t come close to 15.
– Sell at least 2 of my pieces. I really debated whether or not to put this one on here — but I consider last year very successful in terms of making marketable work. I sold 3 of the 6 pieces I made — and I think that 2 of them will also be sold but just haven’t been exhibited enough yet. Time will tell. Concentrating on making work that I know is marketable subject matter is something I plan to continue.
I don’t have a goal to win anything or be published but I accept any of those opportunities fate throws my way. Maybe I should consider those more aspirations than goals. I also accept speaking engagements & lead workshops if they aren’t too far from home.
Here’s to a prosperous year! Let’s go forth with hope in our hearts and the wind of determination beneath our wings!
Now that the new year has begun, it is time to start looking forward. This year, I’m planning more than I have in the past. Maybe by sharing goals on my blog, I’ll feel more accountable.
I went back and forth on some of these. The truth of the matter is that as much as I would like gallery representation, I know from my mom, a very talented impressionist painter, that the galleries in Atlanta typically demand 20 of your newest pieces with a regular rotation. My current mode of working requires a month or two to complete one piece. Last year, I completed only six pieces. So it comes down to the desire to enter exhibitions versus gallery representation (even if I could produce enough work to satisfy the inventory demands of a gallery). I could put both on my goals list, but I know that realistically, only one will work. I chose exhibitions.
I am, however, considering starting a different series of smaller pieces that I could complete more quickly and that I could then list on some online galleries. I’m going to experiment with that. You’ll notice I put it at the bottom of the list with asterisks as caveats. I’m uncertain about these goals for several reasons — we’ll see how it goes.
I’m also planning to start writing more on my Facebook Page and my blog — and I’ll be visiting my local galleries, getting to know them, and then I’ll share all of that local flavor with you. There are a LOT more galleries than I thought in my town — but I think that it’s important to get to know your local art scene as intimately as possible. I’ve been cooped up in my studio a bit too much. Time to get out and shake things up a bit. EVENTUALLY I hope to add some galleries in downtown Atlanta — but for now, I’m starting small.
- Have at least 2 years of my blog printed into hardback books (plan to use Blog2Print.com).
- Design & print new business cards.
- Take a photography class (probably lynda.com).
- Develop a workshop on Choosing Fabrics Creatively.
- Finish a piece to enter Sacred Threads 2013.
- Develop new method for designing quilt labels on the Apple platform so that I can finally pitch my PC.
- Complete the first draft of a book about Textile Portraits.
- Join Southeast Fiber Arts Alliance.
- Increase blog posts to once a week.
- Create at least six portraits.
- Create an Art Contact email and snail mail list.
- Double the number of Facebook Page fans.
- Enter at least 6 different exhibitions.
- Update Facebook banner with newer work.
- Post to Facebook Page 3x per week.
- Visit at least 12 art galleries in Roswell and write a review of at least one exhibition per gallery.
- Increase web traffic 20% from last year.
- Make spreadsheet with goals and dates to monitor progress.
- *** Make two small pieces per month.
- *** List small work on artfire.com or artfulhome.com.