Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A lot to be thankful for

November is probably my favorite month of the entire year.  For me, it marks the true beginning of the Fall season; is the month my niece Kim and nephew Richard were born; and is host to the fabulous holiday, Thanksgiving.  November is the time I tuck away the cool cotton sheets and go for the comfy flannel ones.  It's when I can wear my soft leather boots with the fuzzy fur inside.  I get to pull out the knitted caps; leather jackets and gloves; and brightly knitted scarves and wear layers of old t-shirts.  This month is also my time to slow my usual frenzied pace long enough to settle down with a hot cup of tea and a good book or magazine and exercise another area of my brain a bit......the part of my brain that sort of goes dormant when I'm off in Painterland. 

As I look back over this past year I am filled with gratitude to all of my readers and collectors.   Without each and every one of you I wouldn't be able to continue pursuing my dream of being an abstract painter.  Knowing I have my "peeps" anticipating new work and blog posts makes me accountable and forces me to get outside of my head for awhile to recognize and appreciate the world around me right here and now.

Pursuing the artist's career is a lot of hard work and full of challenges -- especially during these difficult economic times.  When I first began turning this lifelong dream into a reality I mistakenly thought I'd be happily painting every single day and night and collectors would line up on my doorstep vying for the opportunity of owning a "JJ" original.  What I didn't anticipate was the extraordinary amount of time required to market my work properly in order to get people to see my art in the first place!  This marketing includes photographing the art; properly finishing the piece (final touches; multiple coats of protective varnish; signing and inventorying the work; creating Certificates of Authenticity; listing the works on numerous internet sites including ETSY, EBay, FineArtAmerica, Daily Painters for Abstract Artists; my blog, etc.); answering emails and meeting with other artists/designers/gallery owners and networking like crazy.  Sometimes it feels as though I'm spending more time marketing then I am painting -- and then there's the nagging little doubts that start to pop up in my mind....."are my compositions strong enough" "did I overdo something" "do these colors work OK or should I try adding...?" "does my art suck?"

At times these questions and more seem to scream in my mind and block out any semblance of reason.  I feel like I'm spending more time in front of the computer than I am in behind the paintbrush and anxiety sets in.  Lots of doubt follows quickly then a couple of self-inflicted blows to my ego show up to say "I told you so!  What are you thinking leaving your day job to be an artist?  You don't have enough training....you need to go back to school.....without an art degree you can't be successful....." 

I know I sound like I'm whining and feeling sorry for myself but truth be told I knew it wouldn't be easy.  I knew lots of hard work and sacrifice would be involved if I had any chance of being successful.  I also knew it would take time to start building an art business and that if I could sell anything during these crazy times then I'm way ahead of the game.  I discovered I needed to make some difficult choices -- should I spend more time at the studio painting and waiting for customers to find my studio/gallery?  Or should I concentrate on trying to build more virtual galleries and create a stronger internet presence?

November 2010 answered these questions for me and more.  In the past week and a half I have sold paintings on EBay, ETSY and FineArtAmerica.  I just shipped my art to residences in Arizona, Ohio, Maryland and Canada.  I was contacted by a local nightclub to hang my art for two months.  I was featured in at least 5 Treasuries on ETSY and got some awesome feedback on new works from fellow artists whose work I admire greatly.  Four of my paintings are going to be shown in the Art Foundry Gallery for December and January and I'm one of two featured glass artists for a show next month at Arareity Jewelers.  Lastly tonight I was notified that this blog was named one of the top Abstract Painting blogs in America by "Online Graphic Arts School." 

I don't know what December will bring for me but without each and every one of my readers, collectors and art friends I wouldn't be dancing this happy dance or giving oodles of thanks to the Universe for granting me this tremendous opportunity I've been given. 

Many, many thanks and blessings to you all.