Archive for December, 2009

Art Business Goals For 2010

Recently Angela Finney was asking about goal setting on her blog (and has since posted her goals for the upcoming year.) And from that post sprung some deeper thinking (I tend to keep to the shallow end of the pool when thinking) about how I feel about goal setting. Here’s a few thoughts of mine from the comments section I left on Angela’s blog.

I work very hard. I set goals to accomplish things above and beyond my current standing. However, life and relationships (including that with one’s art) are ebb and flow. They move, change and evolve.

My goals in my younger days were become a vet tech and work in a zoo, which when accomplished turned out to not be what I wanted. When we moved to Iowa I got a lung infection . . . When just barely recovered my husband got severely burned. Our plans to be organic farmers while not ended, were definitely changed by our financial issues over [farming] start-up costs and paying off the hospitals.

It was a wild card that I started a gallery and pursued my art. It was never a plan or a goal. It was more like what can I do out here in the boonies to help make some money. . .

I’m a survivor type. So for me, not punishing myself for failed ambitions (which is what I’d do if I took my goals too seriously) is how I cope with change.

I set goals and work toward them. But mostly it is my intentions sent out to the universe (or God if you prefer) saying this is what I want. But I’ll roll with whatever you give me.

So with all that in mind, Here’s my goals for 2010

  • Increase gross sales by at least 10% This has been my course of action for several years. Of course each year the gross goes up so I must earn even more to make that 10% Once we appear to be leaving this recession behind I will bump up the percentile. 10% means I am doing slightly better than keeping up with inflation, which is a must to stay in business. But really I want to strive for more.
  • Write an article for every Apples ‘N Oats issue. I’ve yet to do this and this is gonna be the year. I can feel it.
  • Update my Inventory Paper work. This hasn’t been done in a few years and I add and delete so much artwork it is getting to be a nightmare to keep inventory records.
  • Stretch my comfort zone. I think for this year I’ll try to learn more computer stuff. Like how to update my website myself. I tend to rely on Mike quite a bit especially since he actually writes the code for stuff like my blog and website. It’s not like I can read a tutorial. I need him to show me.
  • Create 20 new paintings. I didn’t manage to do this last year but will give it another go. It’s a big number for me to do, but seems worthy of a good stretch to try it.
  • Continue to do 4 blog posts a week. Since last year I was 3.846 this year I want that number to be over 4. without having to round up.
  • Create more Squidoo lens. I’ve already begun that, see sidebar for new additions. I think I’d let to have a total of 20 lenses by year end 2010. I started with 7 and now have 9. So just 11 more to go. Still, it will be challenging.
  • Business Expansion. No new expansion planned for this year. Mike is planning to take classes on massage therapy and this will be a big financial commitment.
  • Remember to take “me” time.

    Read Full Post »

  • Tuckered Out
    Original Painting Size 12 1/2 x 16
    Print Image Size 11 3/4 x 15

    Finally we are getting a few minutes to get back to updating the website and such.

    This means you can now order prints or get more information about Tuckered Out from my website.

    Also a big thank you to everyone who offered suggestions to help name the new print. Especially to Angela Finney who was the one who suggested “Tuckered Out.”

    As a special thanks, Angela was sent a print of Tuckered Out.

    Read Full Post »

    As yesterday was Sunday and we finally got enough of the Christmas blizzard snow moved, I went into the gallery and finally began some preliminary drawings for the next horse portrait.

    I Initially did a full body shot and while I liked my composition well enough, the angle I drew made him look too quarter horsey. I really like the concept of the body shot, but I am pretty sure I’d wind up with a horse with Buddy’s markings. Not Buddy’s portrait. Not to mention I drew an angle that was slightly different than any of my reference photos. And with a pinto type that adds an extra degree of difficulty. So I scrapped that drawing and began again.

    I have only 6 reference photos to work with and of those, these were the two most usable. In the one he looks quite pony sized (see photo left) and in others he looks horse sized. (photo below) I’m assuming this is due to his young self and his 20 year old self. I know Chicory’s 2yr old photos make him look a completely different horse than he is now at 14.

    I contacted Troy to get his thoughts. He said they were both “awesome” so not really any help there though definitely gives me the breathing room I need to move forward however I so choose.

    The easy (but less interesting for me to do artistically) will be the head shot. Plus I’m pretty sure I can make it look like Buddy. I will probably alter the cropping on my drawing a little. I choose to crop it at an unflattering place where I made his neck look huge at the the base. But for all intents and purposes this is what I’ll be working on.

    Note: Both photos have been heavily doctored in Photoshop to pull out as much information as possible.

    Read Full Post »

    2009 Goals in Review

    This is one of those posts which is of little interest to others but is a valuable tool for myself. I believe in the importance of not only setting goals but also being accountable for them at the end of the year. If I don’t review them, it’s hard to tell where I need to progress and when I can say “job well done” when I’ve earned it.

    So these were my goals for 2009.

    • Increase gross sales by at least 10% Of course the year isn’t over but we managed this by a healthy margin. Considering we did fewer art events and those that we did do, most were average to poor. This was a surprising outcome.
    • Write an article for every Apples ‘N Oats issue. Nope, once again was 3 out of 4.
    • Also again this year, try to do at least 2 new events be it horse or art.No again. A few months after I wrote this I decided the economy was in a downturn and decided to actually cut back on events. So no “new” ones though we did a few that we hadn’t done in years.
    • Update my mailing list. Done. Yay me!
    • Stretch my comfort zone. Teach a class, Give talk at an art group, Take on more commission work. All things I get asked for multiple times a year.) We did the talk in October to the Siouxland Artists Group.
    • Create 20 new paintings. I created 14 new pieces (worthy of selling that is) this year. Which is more than ever before but still short of 20.
    • 4 blog posts a week. Yes, though not every week. I actually did the math and I created over 200 posts for 2009 so the actual number is 3.846 per week. And yes I’m rounding up.
    • Learn more about Twittering and Squidoo lens. I created several squidoo lenses but did absolutely nothing about twitter. (and probably won’t)
    • Business Expansion. Look into getting (though not necessarily get) some new framing equipment. 2006 I bought the new business van, 2007 I bought my gallery building, 2008 I rested (if you could call it that.) For 2009 perhaps an Under Pinner (costs about the same as a cheap used car) or computerized matcutter. (Costs about the same as a new, rather nice car.) I did look into it but made no purchases.
    • Remember to take “me” time. “Me” time can be hard to quantify. But I think yes, I have done that much more this year than in the past. Though could certainly do more.

    Upcoming Posts

    In the near future I will post my 2010 goals sometime before 2010 actually occurs. (I’m sure you’re all waiting with bated breath.)

    Also I will finally start the new horse painting Preliminary Line Drawing (for real this time) and I have begun a post titled: How To Paint A Dead Horse in 5 Easy Steps. (Ummm . . . yeah, I may change the title.)

    Read Full Post »

    A Real Life Christmas Story

    I thought since I told you a Halloween story perhaps I’d continue the tradition with a very brief Christmas story. And since my family traditionally celebrated the holiday on Christmas Eve, I’ll post this today.


    I have many fond memories of Christmas as a child. I imagine most people do. As I have said previously we were rather poor when I was quite young. So much of our Christmas presents were of a practical nature or handmade. Still I always had a Breyer horse or two under the tree (I wanted these more than anything else in the world, except for maybe a real horse) Also coming from a talent filled family meant we usually had some handmade goods like wooden trunks (made by my father) or hand-painted jeans from my mom. (I still have both by the way.)

    I mention this as a preface to the the upcoming story. It might seems a little odd to gift the hams mentioned below, but it kinda falls in line with acceptable gift giving goodies from my family.

    Free Ham For Everyone! (It’s a Christmas Miracle!)
    So, many years ago we received a ham for Christmas from my parents. (we being Mike and I) It was a monsterously big ham. My folks being the proud bargain hunters (and occasional dumpster divers) that they were, had to share how they got such a wonderful ham.

    Mom likes to refer to herself as a dumpster diver. I suppose it would sound so much more classy (not to mention trendy) to call it recycling or better still . . . being green.

    That year was a particularly icy and cold winter and a semi truck (carrying you guessed it. . . ham) lost control and hit a bridge a few miles from my dad’s business. Hams went spilling everywhere. All over the road, into the ditch and onto the frozen creek.

    My dad (and from what I remember) several others sprung into action (like super hero’s) and went out and rescued all the little lost hams. It was hard and dangerous work (imagine retrieving a ham from a frozen creek) but they persevered and were richly rewarded for their efforts.

    My folks gave hams to everyone that year. In case you were wondering, they were completely wrapped and waxed so despite skidding down the highway and into a snowy embankment, they were in remarkably perfect condition, with almost no gravel. (kidding) Yes we ate ours and it was good.

    Yeah, it’s exactly like that.
    My story kinda gives you that warm fuzzy holiday spirit doesn’t it? It’s almost like that time on Little House on the Prairie when Ma Ingalls cut off her hair to buy her husband . . . something. Was it a saddle? And Pa Ingalls sold his horse??? to buy ribbons for Ma’s hair?

    That can’t be right. That would mean human hair would have had the street value of like cocaine (not that I would know, just guessing.) And that horses would be as valuable then as . . . well horses are now. So maybe that’s not quite how the story went. You know now that I think about it, it may not have even been a “Little House” episode. I should really research these things before I use them for examples.

    Perhaps it was fiddle strings and Pa sold his fiddle. Hmmm. That’s gonna bug me now until I remember.

    At any rate, have a wonderous Christmas and may it be filled with warm and fuzzy memories of your own.

    Read Full Post »

    I got a very pleasant surprise today to find out Angela Finney has nominated me (more specifically my Spanish Gold painting of Big Al) for the Moose Award on Katherine Tyrrell’s blog Making A Mark. And no it’s not “a” Moose Award but “the” Moose Award. So named in honor of the first winning critter portrayed, Maggie Stiefvater’s Moose the cat.

    I believe the nominations close tomorrow the 24th and then it is open for voting as to who wins the award.

    I would like to say that being nominated is honor enough. I’d like to . . . but the truth is I want to win so get out there and vote!

    Okay all kidding aside. Thanks so much Angela. I really am feeling all blushy and “Ah shucks” about it.

    UPDATED: It seems that there is no voting in regards to the Moose Award. Nominations are taken and then Katherine determines the winner from those. So apparently I shouldn’t have sent you all stampeding over to Making A Mark.

    Now I know it may only be the imaginings of my quirky brain that allows me to think that everyone who read this post leaped into action. But as I’m so fond of saying “lets not quibble over reality shall we.”

    Read Full Post »

    The First Thing I See In The Morning

    This is my dog Cisco. She’s a collie/golden cross. And lately (and often) I’m waking up to find her nose just about touching mine, with her giant brown eyes staring at me. She seems to be standing there, willing me to wake up. It’s not like she wants to go outside or anything. She just watches me sleep until I wake.

    When I open my eyes, she usually shifts her eyes left and right like she’s unsure. (I can be a bit of a Grizzly Bear in the morning) But when I smile or mumble incoherently, she makes little happy noises and stomps around tail wagging excitedly. Then in a flash she slaps a big lick on the end of my nose. Which usually gets a squeal or an Ugh. (Though I’m an animal person I hate licking, especially on the face and she knows it.) So it’s a hit and run lick.

    I usually have trouble falling asleep afterward, even when it’s still in the middle of the night. Cisco however has no trouble falling back asleep. Now contented because she made me squeal she goes and settles down somewhere secure in the knowledge that her work here is done.

    Read Full Post »

    I’ve been working hard on getting my Christmas cards out (you know, like before the actual event) that I haven’t been able to blog as normal. So I thought I’d put up the start-to-finish of Big Al. Also I plan to have a Christmas story (since I did a Halloween story) that will post on Christmas Eve. And finally . . . with any luck I’ll get at the very least, a line drawing done of the new horse painting posted sometime this week.

    Read Full Post »

    Spanish Gold Andalusian Stallion
    17 x 22
    Watercolor Pencil on suede

    Since it’s Sunday I’m in the gallery and working at a leisurely pace. I plan to (finally) hang my Christmas lights in the window. (Here’s hoping they all actually light and I don’t spend hours replacing bulbs) and I wanted to finish up Big Al. because it takes way more juju to create a new horse painting than work on an existing one. I still have a little tweaking to do and will probably continue to, until we make prints of it. I want to start my brothers piece today but we’ll see how the day plays out.

    Derwent Aquatone
    I used one of my new trial purchases on this painting as well. Derwent’s Aquatone. It is another one of the barrel-less (all pigment) pencils. I had only bought one white because I was dubious. It turns out that I once again I like the way it lays down pigment, good opacity and it sharpens quite nicely. My big dissatisfaction with it is that I broke my pencil twice in less than five minutes. Clearly it was not designed to take my kind of punishment. So no new set of these for me. But other than that I liked it fine.

    Read Full Post »

    Okay I am not a big fan of Thomas Kinkade, he’s a little surgery sweet for me but I can definitely see the appeal. Much like Terry Redlin he presents a magical perfect view of what people would like to have as a reality. You look at the work and it makes you feel good. Which is definitely a great aspiration in life.

    I know a lot of working artists who mock both of these guys, but the fact that they are millionaires and have such a huge following usually keeps me from joining in. I gotta respect anybody who can sell hundreds of thousands of images.

    So when I found out (you know during my convalescence) that the Lifetime channel is doing another show about an artist (the first being the Georgia O’keeffe movie) I thought I’d again share.

    The program first airs Saturday the 19th at 8pm central. Though I’m sure it will be run again at least once. I don’t know if it’s gonna be good or not but the Kinkade blog, is promoting it. (Yeah I’m sure Tom is actually taking time out of his million dollar life for blogging.) But I guess it still is an endorsement of some kind.

    Read Full Post »

    Older Posts »