Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Goals and Intentions

I had intended to do this post fairly soon after my 2012 year in review, but the flu came back again for a 3rd round and delayed me.   That took me right up to my first weekend retreat with other creative people and here we are, three weeks into the year already.

I suppose I can feel good that I got a great start on my major studio goal for this year - creating a body of work based on my bird photographs.  I have two pieces that have been well received that used my bird photographs but I've been somewhat stymied on how to expand on this start.  So, this is my first and most ambitious goal.    The two pieces I've already done are Backyard Bushtits #3 which I posted in the year in review and Quantum Lake seen just below this text.  Quantum Lake is now matted and framed so the binding doesn't show anymore.

I have some ideas about how to pursue this series and trying them out will bring other goals to the forefront.  The other major issues in my goal setting for the year are my various health issues.  I have knee & back problems from injuries that are decades old and will probably continue to decline.  What that means right now is that I need to focus my effort in ways that do not require me to personally travel extensively or lift lots of heavy things.  So, I came up with goals that minimize my physical effort and travel time.   Here's the list of those related goals.

  •   Using my new camera which will allow me to take photos in RAW mode 
  • Learning to use Photoshop to more precisely manipulate and enhance the photos 
  • continue creating my own cloth using dyes and various surface design techniques
  • experiment with different styles of work using my photography as a major component (this might include adding text elements or even doing things that are primarily writing)
  • Explore online ways of teaching or sharing my experience in various techniques
  • Explore other ways to market my work that minimizes my physical effort

These goals don't easily lend themselves to measuring so I also came up with a list of easily measurable items that will set my habits and give me some sense of accomplishment no matter how the exploration in the studio goes.

  • Put in 700 hours in the studio for the year.  Aim for 10-15 hours in the studio per week on average.
  • Blog twice a week.  I did that for a couple of years when I started and once I got the habit going, it worked well.  My knee replacement surgery and moving disrupted that habit so now it's a matter of getting it back in place.
  • Write my newsletter at least every other month, aiming for 6-9 times a year.  Shameless self-promotion:  Send email to subscribe@lizcopeland.com if you'd like to get it.   I mostly use the newsletter to talk about the shows I'm in and new galleries that show my work so they're short with lots of pictures.  
  • Submit to at least 6 relevant shows.  I want to more tightly focus my marketing efforts so I'm going to be looking for regional and national shows with thematic relevance.  
  • Do one marketing/admin activity each day, Monday through Friday.  
  • Read art related magazines or other material on Sunday afternoons.  I have a huge stack backed up, it's time to whittle that down a bit.
Then there are the personal goals.  
  • Work the back pain issue.  It's time to get another look at just what's going on;  is there still a bulging disc or is it just the leg length difference from the knee replacement surgery irritating things?
  • Exercise regularly and do this first.  If I don't do it first, I tend to skip it.
  • Meditate daily.  This too got irregular over the last few months when I was putting more energy into working at a co-op gallery and traveling enough to really aggravate my back.  
  • Lose weight.  Aim for 4 pounds a month on average.

So, now I have a list to check back on and help keep me on track.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 - a year in review

Whew!  We made it through 2012 with a few bumps, several challenges and some losses.  As I do every year, I spent some time at the end of the year writing down my artistic accomplishments to see how I did compared to what I thought I wanted to do at the start of the year.  This was a big year for me despite the physical and emotional challenges the year presented.  What did I get done?  Glad you asked!

Biggest accomplishment was taking and implementing lots of the material from the Artists' Trust EDGE Professional Development Program.  This class met once a week for several months for a full day of intensive work in particular areas such as portfolio creation, gallery submission, legal stuff, pricing.  All the nuts and bolts of being a working artist.  We had a guest speaker each time and then spent the rest of the day boring down on the material and how to apply it to our work.  My class was a dozen artists working in different material and we really gelled as a group and have continued to meet and support one another twice a month.  This class helped me clarify my artistic vision, my personal goals for the next 5 years and gave me the tools to do what I want with confidence.

Next up, I sold more than I've sold before in six months.  The class ended with a group show at the ArtsNow Gallery in the Edmonds Conference Center.  I had 4 pieces in the show and three of them were bought for the Permanent Collection at Edmonds Community College.  (Our group sold over 10 pieces, a new single show record for the gallery.  Just sayin'.)  I sold 3 more art pieces before the end of the year, and on top of that I did another batch of sales of accessories, including a commission, another first.  One of the pieces that sold to ECC is below and will be part of the direction I go in the next year, but more about that in the next post.

Backyard Bushtits #3
Then there was showing my art.  I joined Gallery North, also in Edmonds, where I learned a huge amount about presenting art, got to practice talking about art, and relearned how to sell to individuals.   I also  joined Artists Connect and was in their member show, ArtSplash, in July.  And I had 3 of the 4 pieces I submitted to the Edmonds Art Festival accepted into the show in two different categories.  Another area show in November finished off my season.

I updated and improved my webpage and my marketing materials.   This is an ongoing process for an artist and I'll be doing another pass at it this month.

Last, but certainly not least, I took an online class from Lisa Call about Working in a Series.  I've been struggling with where to go with the pieces that incorporate my bird photography and this class helped me focus my intent for the series and gave me some process tools to make my studio work more productive.  Again, material that I will be using in the next year.

Then my back called a halt to this mad gallop I was doing.  So now I'm resting and thinking how to work within the physical constraints imposed by my health issues.   I have some ideas and I'll talk about them in my next blog post.

I hope your year was as productive!