Ok, first official monthly “trip report” for those of you interested in following along in my journey to becoming a full-time artist. I have a lot of background to get through and a lot to report this month, so BUCKLE IN for some long-ass, radically-transparent bullet-points!
Depression - I am seeing a therapist and seriously considering medication. My depression is actually relatively mild but it can be debilitating and it seems to be happening more and more regularly, and I don’t got time for that.
No Sales at my Glen Echo Park/Park View Gallery show - This was a huge blow for me. I knew I needed to manage my expectations better and I should have realized the space was too out-of-the-way for a lot of foot traffic, but I still had too much hope and self-worth banked on selling something. I always do. I’m working on it.
Scarcity Mindset > High Expectations > Self-fulfilling Prophecy of Perceived Failure - I’m realizing how much this pattern affects my mood and my day-to-day activities, and I’m actively working to change it. For example: I give myself way too much to do on a daily basis, can’t do it all/feel overwhelmed, and then feel like there’s “never enough time/money/energy” and I feel like a failure. This madness has to stop! I am starting by only giving myself one “extra” task to do a day (writing this blog post counts as a big extra task), and also trying to repeat mantras and affirmations that there IS enough time/energy/me to make it happen, whatever “it” happens to be.
Rest - I suck at this. I’m trying to be better about letting myself rest.
Dropbox - For some dang reason my dropbox has been having syncing issues. This is stressing me out and I need to schedule some time to just deal with it already so I know my stuff is safe & sound (that stuff is my livelihood!)
Making time to create vs. time to make money - I have a couple of clients who I do virtual assistant work for and I am SO grateful to them because they are basically bankrolling my artistic endeavors, and they are awesome to work for, but I always wish I had more time to make. On the flip side, I have a bad habit of using client work to procrastinate on my creative work (because let’s face it, creative work is HARD and it’s easier to use the “too busy” excuse than to maybe waste a whole painting session).
An Amazing Opening Reception at the Park View Gallery - which also happened to be my birthday! My friends were there and all super supportive, I gave my very first Artist Talk (so fancy!) and I got lots of great feedback and comments from the folks who wandered through! I was walking on cloud 9 after that event.
Learning About Myself - between The Artist’s Way, therapy, and my new favorite planner and the amazing team behind it, I am figuring out the mental traps I find myself in and how to get back out of them (see “Struggles” section). I’m also realizing that maybe I need medication.
Got myself a Totem - his name is Noah (they have a medium-sized, multi-colored one at my therapist’s office and I got an identical one and I love him)
Got myself a mani/pedi - I’m trying to be more generous with myself and treat myself more. Also I forgot how much I love pedicures.
Sold 2 pet portraits - My most expensive options, too! That felt good! I love doing those so this was definitely a win.
Got some new Print of the Month Club Members - Always a win! I love it when people love my work enough to want to buy stuff on a monthly basis, it feels great!
Things I Did
Talking to people at my art reception (a novel idea!) - this worked WELL. I approached almost everyone who came through armed with the question, “which piece do you like best?” which requires a positive response and is not a yes-or-no question… I got some great feedback that way!
Pet Portrait Ads on Facebook - did not work well, partly due to budget. I did get a couple hundred clicks on the ad, which is promising! I do have more of an advertising budget going forward so I’ll be able to experiment more with this in the near future
Started the Print of the Month Club - I got a couple of new patrons and several upgrades out of this re-structuring of my Patreon page! Definitely worth it. My husband and I came up with this new tier structure together and I am so grateful that he shared the initial idea with me, because this is so much more sustainable!
Applied for the Harpo Foundation Grant - funny story on this one… I remembered I had written down some grant urls and thought, huh, I should check the deadlines on that, and this one was due THAT DAY. So I stopped everything and applied! It was an easy application and only cost $15 so we’ll see what happens!
Started a painting of Craters of the Moon - I like how it has turned out so far! I’m not 100% on what I want to do to finish it, but we’ll see. I’ve got plenty of time before Durango and all it needs is the final finishing touches.
Consolidated ScoutarooZine.com into my main website/upgraded my main website - Thanks Squarespace! Also, I am SO grateful to myself that I decided to stop making Scoutaroo for a while. It’s allowed me so much more time and mental space to try to figure out what I’m doing next “fine art”-wise.
Things To Try Next Month
NOT sharing everything on social media - It feels like if you aren’t posting something new every day/week you aren’t doing enough, and it drives me crazy. Between now and the Durango show in September I’m keeping my works-in-progress close and only sharing in my newsletter.
Follow up with previous buyers - I need to go back through my Etsy shop and send out little convos here and there to folks who have left good reviews and have purchased from me in the past, and maybe redirect them to the new site & the newsletter. I’ve actually made sales doing this, so it’s worth it!
Apply to First Friday Events - Between Richmond and VA Beach there are plenty of places that I’m sure need artists to fill their walls! I need to make a list of the participating galleries and start sending out feelers (I’ve already got a good conversation started with a gallery up in Fairfax, maybe for a 2020 show!)
Experiment with FB Ads - I mentioned I have a budget now (thanks to a friend & benefactor on the inside at Facebook), and it’s on my list next week to spend some time thinking about an ad strategy for pet portraits and for print of the month club. This was another reason for upgrading my SQSP site - now I can use that powerful Facebook Pixel tool and put my ads to work. Muahahaha!
Related to above - integrate MailChimp and SQSP - I know I can do a lot more here, too. It’s on my calendar in May to take a look into.
I am planning on saving money for the Durango show going forward (I have to ship the work and get myself halfway across the country) so I am grateful for that profit!
I really have a lot to be proud of from the last month, despite not selling any original paintings! And that just means I have less to do for the Durango Art Center show in September, anyway, so I can’t REALLY complain. Till next time, keep on keepin’ on, friendos!