I finally have my goals written out! It's a relief to have my whole year planned out a bit now. It looks like it'll be a bit crazy for the next six months, but then it'll level out a bit more. I actually think I'm going to be more productive with these goals in place than if I didn't have something telling me I needed to complete six paintings in a month. It also means that I know I can't take any more commissions until August, or thereabouts, if I'm going to get all this done!
I've set goals to finish out my Alice In Wonderland Series, as well as opening up a new art series that might be fairy-like, although I'm not sure. I'm also going to experiment with some dragons. These last two will most likely be in watercolor because I'm so obsessed with them right now, but we'll see what happens. I also have set specific goals for abstract paintings this year, an additional 12 paintings specifically designed for a fun calendar, and to get some of my older prints rereleased (my goal is to have two calendars to offer for 2014: one abstract, one with paintings for a calendar in mind, and if I'm lucky enough to complete Alice early enough - that too for a third, but Alice will likely take me right through December and have to be offered in 2015.)
I also decided to only do one art show this year. I feel like I still need to build back up my body of work. When I purged a lot of the old work from my site and offerings, it left a gaping hole. I removed most of it because I felt I had grown beyond it, or it wasn't the direction I was moving in now. A lot of the paintings were actually abstracts, which is part of why I'm bringing back some of my old prints and may even list some of the older paintings for sale once again, depending on how I feel about them. Bringing back my abstract painting brought back some of the balance I had been missing, and I plan on continuing to go forward, but I think it's important for me to also include what was before now if it fits. Anyway, moving forward also means I need to build up more of a body of work that supports what I do as a whole. The abstracts will coalesce nicely, and finishing Alice out will complete that.
I have figured out that I am a series worker. Some artists, they have a theme or genre that they work in exclusively. As a matter of fact, all the advice out there suggests you find one thing and focus on being the best in that one thing, and selling that one thing in art. I see that it works, as there are many successful artists that only do houses, or children, or flowers. For me, however, I would be monumentally unhappy only painting one thing for the rest of my career. I have a friend who derives great joy from painting his stylized barns and cows, and he can paint them for the rest of his life in bliss. For me, that would cause tears.
Instead, I believe that working hard on a series or two each year and finishing them out will make me happy and bring the challenge and change that I personally need, without shooting myself in the foot by doing all sorts of themes and genres. If I complete enough of them to be a set, a series, I feel I can build my body of work that way. Yes, it may take longer and it may turn off some retailers and other potential partners because they're not always going to get the same thing from me over and over, but I've never fit in anyway. Why should art be any different?
This is what makes me happy, this is what will make me excited to get out of bed every day and go into my studio. If I stay true to my course, it will work out somehow in the end. I wouldn't trade painting in series and different styles for monumental success, because for me personally it would bring unhappiness.
And in the end? Happiness is what matters, not the money.
Here is the commission I'm working on right now:
It's in acrylic, 8x10 on stretched canvas. I tried not using iridescent paints on the peacock, and then I realized that I was being stupid. If ever there was a time to give into my addiction to the iridescent paint, it is with a subject that is actually iridescent in real life. Yes, I actually smacked myself upside the head on that one.
It was funny, because I have been struggling with this painting. I sketched it out, but wasn't overly thrilled with it. But I couldn't think of anything better (an alternative I have in my mind is actually going to be a watercolor, and will be very different.) I procrastinated, but finally put the sky and moon in and I wasn't sure how I felt about it. Then I started working on the bird's head, and I thought it was all going wrong... and then suddenly it clicked. It's starting to come together and I'm really starting to like it. I think maybe it was simply the challenge of having never painted a peacock before coupled with it being a commission that was causing me such strife. I'm happy to say I'm past the strife and enjoying it now!
I haven't decided what color my fairy's hair should be yet. A peacock's wings are actually full of coppers and browns and yellows, so I don't want her hair to get lost in the wings, but that doesn't leave a lot of choices, unless I choose something wild. She is a fairy, after all. She could, conceivably have blue hair to match the peacock. It's just an idea I'm playing with. I'm also playing with echoing the peacock tail feather design in her wings (they'll be curling up underneath them when I paint them in.) I rather like the idea of the fairy being a little peacock-like herself, but I haven't really decided yet. Perhaps coppery hair, but bright peacock blue like wings would create the division needed. Hmm...