Celebrating your wins both in art and life.
Why is it we tend to let the negative overrule or dominate over the positive? Generally, we are quick to take on negative comments and dwell on them whilst almost ignoring the compliments we receive. I have been very guilty of that at the end of this year.
Things haven’t been great in my life recently. I have been very unwell for some weeks, which is draining at best but with all the Christmas preparations has become really tiring. I have fallen asleep at my desk more than once during this time. My osteopath stands to make a small fortune out of me. 😊
I have lost a few friendships this year. I realise now that it was down to their inability to be pleased for me and my progress; jealously has to be the most uncomfortable of the deadly sins to live with. Thankfully it is not one I indulge in but because of that it can take me a while to realise that so-called friends are suffering from it.
Whilst I realise that these types of friendships were not really friendships at all, I still found the losses difficult. On top of that I have been struggling to make a particular group of people understand things which are fairly straightforward, but they can’t or won’t open their minds. Trying to battle this kind of stuff, whilst being ill, is not a good idea. It just adds to the feeling of being drained.
Finally, I decided not to get involved in a large exhibition event which I coordinated last year for over 50 artists. I tried to reach out to them all to take some of the load from me for next year’s event and didn’t get a single response. The head coordinator appeared to miss the point about the help I was asking for, so because of their apathy and my illness I decided enough was enough. It doesn’t sit well with me that I have left them to it, but I only have so much energy left to give right now.
With all this negative stuff going on, finding the positive was essential.
I have a weekly online meeting with some wonderful ladies at which we share our highs and lows, wins and losses and generally support each other. In our last meeting we were all feeling a bit down in the dumps for one reason or another. One lady’s parent had died; one had their home broken into; another is suffering during pregnancy and another has had major surgery so none of us was having a particularly good time but we decided to blame the winter weather (for want of a scapegoat).
As a rule we are usually a pretty upbeat, positive bunch and we are great at making each other feel good. So, since we were all feeling low, one lady suggested that before our next meeting we should look back at the year and see how much we have achieved. I will be honest, and I am sure you will agree from what I have written above, that I really didn’t think much good had happened this year, particularly in my art life, to celebrate. Boy, was I wrong!
The first thing I did was to look at my accounts. Fortunately, I am really good about keeping my accounts up to date, but as they run in line with the UK tax year from April – April I had to go back into the records for 2018 as well.
Looking at my sales this year reminded me of the events I have taken part in and the contacts I have made. I am not trying to show off here, but a highlight is that I have sold five large paintings to one client. All very exciting, though I expect that now his walls are full of my art, I will need to find some new clients for the large works; I do enjoy working large.
I took part in the Contemporary Art Fair at Sandown Park for the first time and sold three paintings. Although it was an overall loss financially I learned a lot, met some fascinating people and I have decided to take part again next year – only this time I will be sharing a space (and thus costs) with another artist.
I designed and painted three hearts for St. Catherine’s Hospice which went on to raise over £15,000 at a charity auction, so I am really delighted about that.
I didn’t do well showing as a guest artist at Strawberry Hill House, but a lady came back to me afterwards and commissioned me to do two pieces for her, so all was not lost.
None of the paintings I produced sold through the two art groups which I am a member of, but my original screen-prints did sell and I sold three in all. Prints tend to go well with these groups, so I must remember that for next year. Overall then, artwork sales went well.
On the teaching front, I love teaching and have been reminded of some great sessions this year. I held a few classes here at my home in screen-printing and another using resin which were great fun as all the ladies taking the classes are so lovely. The highlight of these was listening to one lady literally squeal with delight as she watched her work develop. That has to be one of the best sessions I have delivered.
Another highlight was that in July when I had a fabulous time teaching mainly children to produce mono prints at the County Mall in Crawley. One little boy enjoyed his session so much that he gave me a big hug and kiss before he left. It was such a wonderful feeling having made that kind of impression on a young boy.
This class was part of a series of promotional events which St. Catherine’s Hospice ran throughout the summer. The great part about this was not knowing who would turn up to take the classes or how the work would turn out, which is always true of printmaking – you never know what will happen – it is part of the excitement of producing prints.
As I said it was mainly children, some of them very young and because children have no fear some of their work was amazing. Some adults put their fears aside and had a go too and were really happy to take work home that they never imagined they would be able to create. All in all, it was an incredible event to take part in along with a number of other artists who also taught during the weeks of this series.
During 2019 I continued with my distance learning BA; it does tend to get pushed to the back-burner whilst all the art fairs/exhibitions are taking place, but I did manage to take some interesting on-line courses.
The most incredible of these was the Creative Visionary Program (CVP) which is run by the very talented Nicholas Wilton.
This 12-week online course was worth every penny and reminded me of things I have learnt but don’t always remember to think about when making art. I do believe my artwork has become stronger as a result of changing my thinking, something I will be testing out with works I have and continue to produce for next year’s exhibitions.
I also joined a membership group with the equally talented Alice Sheridan. This group has provided a wealth of valuable information and advice about running my art business. Absolutely amazing – and if you are interested in finding out more about either Alice or Nicholas – they both have Facebook groups – you can join. Alice, together with her friend Louise Fletcher, also has a weekly podcast called Art Juice, which is well worth a listen.
Looking forward to 2020 I need to get work made for three exhibitions I’ve signed up for, I am taking up a new teaching post in a school and I am intent on getting through my BA work more quickly. I still have six years left of the 12 years allowed but I would like to finish sooner if possible.
So, looking back on 2019 I realise just how much I have learned this year; how far I have come in terms of promoting my art business in such a short time; all the amazing people I have discovered and all the fun I have had along the way.
We all need to remind ourselves of what we have achieved on a more regular basis so that when the rough times hit, which happens to us all, we have lots of really positive things to lift us back up. Being reminded of all this has really helped raise my spirits and now I am looking forward to taking on all that 2020 intends to throw at me.
I will be taking a week off from writing my blog, partly because I feel I don’t have a lot to say at the moment. I am feeling happier, but I still need to get better and with a full house over Christmas I need to concentrate on that.
I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions but for 2020 I have, along with one of my closest friends, decided that next year I/we are just going to be kinder to ourselves.
My next blog will appear on 5th January and will be my featured artists spot.
I would like to thank you all for your interest and support during 2019 and I wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.