Trip Reports

May 2019 Trip Report

Another month in the books! May was awesome, and you’ll see why:

STRUGGLES

  • Fewer new Patron sign-ups than I hoped for. I did get some new patrons joining the Print of the Month Club, but of course I wanted more! The more the merrier (and the more = the lower my cost of producing the prints). Still working on getting the word out about this… follow-up is tough.

  • Depression. This one hung around for a couple of weeks into May, but…

WINS

  • I started taking anti-depressants. The drug I started on had some annoying side effects (restlessness, twitchiness, weird muscle tension) but so far my mood has improved and stayed consistent. I met with my doc about the side effects and we’re trying something new… we’ll see how it goes!

  • I made my first “art therapy” painting in years. I’m not ready to share it yet, but let’s just say it was actually really fun and very cathartic!

  • I’ve got opportunities lining up. I haven’t even had to LOOK for them, they just keep showing up in my inbox! An artist residency in Italy reached out to me, a cool AR-hosting site offered me a free artist account, my friend Ann sent me an art fair application, and another friend Michele hooked me up with a gallery up in Fairfax that I’m planning a trip to visit and in talks with.

  • I feel like I’ve got a handle on life. It’s a great feeling, lemme tell you. I have energy, I have clarity, I’m letting myself do more of nothing and using my screens less and with more intention (I highly recommend “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport which I got from my library and could not put down!!)

  • I’m painting consistently. I have two paintings almost finished, a third completed, and a fourth started. That feels great! I’m saving the new work for a big reveal at my Durango Art Center (DAC) show in Durango, CO, in September!

  • The Art of the Cosmos updated their site (and I’m on it!). This is a show coming up in April of next year in LA that I am really excited about!!

THINGS I DID

  • I made several updates to my site throughout the month, including adjusting links, adding images, and migrating my entire “Scoutaroo Zine” site onto my main site and upgrading it.

  • I started two ad campaigns, one for pet portraits (and have received lots of great inquiries and even a couple of orders from it!) and one for the PotM club.

  • I reached out to Olly Olly Art Gallery, Hey There Gallery, and submitted to Create Magazine, Banditto Art Residency, and an art fair in NYC.

  • I followed up with a couple of past buyers to see how they’re liking their work and if they’re interested in anything else I have available.

  • I started and (have almost) finished three paintings and started a fourth

THINGS TO TRY NEXT MONTH

  • Keep a consistent art practice going

  • Book a First Friday venue in 2019/2020

  • Stronger promotion of Print of the Month club in June

FINANCES

  • Income: $875.84

  • Expenses: $443.06

  • Profit: $546.88

  • I have flights to book, a car to rent, and art to ship for Durango in September - profit is going toward those expenses and to supplies (been buying a ton of canvases and new paints this month!)

I’m looking forward to a quiet couple of months this summer to put my head down and focus on making some new paintings! I’ve also discovered Waller Mill Park which is just five minutes from my house and has a few miles of trails and KAYAK RENTALS!! I went kayaking for the first time in years last weekend and I can’t wait to do it again very soon (as soon as my shoulders aren’t sore anymore from the first time, haha).

Thanks for being along for the ride!

April 2019 Trip Report

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!

Struggles

  • 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).

Wins

  • 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.

Finances

  • Income: $663.57

  • Expenses: $351.51

  • Profit: $312.06

  • 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!