New Year’s Resolutions

I hope you have all survived the festive holidays and are looking forward to an exciting year ahead! I have to apologise as it has been a while since I wrote anything on here. It has not been the best of years as things haven’t quite gone to plan with health issues continuing to throw me off course. My resolutions for 2013 therefore revolve around ignoring any further problems as best I can and pretend they don’t exist – I should probably have done that in the first place!

Honey Bee in my garden

Honey Bee – Rough 12x12cm Sketch on Watercolour Paper

My garden took up a lot of my time last summer and while that work is far from finished,  following strict time allocations for my various interests and duties this year should – in theory – balance things out much better. Not that that regime will be easy to follow for someone as impatient as myself, who ideally wants everything done and finished yesterday!

To alleviate build-up of pressure, particularly in December, with the resulting burn-out afterwards, there are a number of things I want to address. Starting with my portraits I will need to look at my fees as I find I am putting far more time and soul into each work than the financial return I ask for represents.  On top of that it may be necessary to restrict what type of work I will accept in future. It has been a tough learning curve, from being supplied with challenging photographs to work from, either in size or quality, to being asked to draw unsuitably sized portraits. Of course this is entirely my own doing for saying ‘yes’ to clients in the first place, when they are looking to me for advice. Unfortunately, very often things look easily possible at first glance and the problems only surface once I am well into the commission, by which point it is not appropriate to back out. The arising difficulties then throw me into self doubt about my abilities which can be a significant curb on my creativity, –  a very unhelpful state of mind to be avoided at all cost!

Following a number of other artists on various social networking sites has been enlightening and I have learned that I should probably try out some different materials to work with, which could potentially render far better results than I am achieving currently. I am hoping to spend quite some time experimenting and can’t wait to see how I do!

Another avenue I am looking at is diversification. It can get somewhat stifling to be restricted to commission work with limited opportunity of self expression while being very time consuming and tedious in their execution. So to offset this I want to play with  a number of other techniques, primarily, but not exclusively,  involving colour, and using my own subjects, which may or may not involve portraits.

So there you have it, those are my main resolutions for the coming twelve months, without going into minute detail and not dismissing the usual ones regards trying to loose weight, better time management and organisation, eating and drinking less junk and all that! I think I will be a busy bee this year! How about you? Are you making any changes?

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11 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Lynn has said it all and I found this very interesting and may well refer back to your comments in the future as I try and decide what work I should taking on etc

    • It’s a bit of a tight-rope act I find, not helped by the fact that I can’t invest as much time as I should. I guess it very much depends who your target audience is, too.

  2. I agree with Lynn, you do need to charge enough for what you do, and the people who are shocked by that are probably not the sort of people you want to do work for. You want to have people who value your skills, and you certainly are very skilled. I hope you can find more of what you want to do and charge a good rate for it, I think people who appreciate your art will willingly pay for it.

    • Thank you, tearoomdelights, I guess I will see how the year develops as it goes on. I have long passed the stage where I worry about people not wanting to pay for what I do; I can usually detect them at first contact, though few have the nerve to tell me to my face – or ear, as the case may be. I sometimes wish they would so I can explain. No, my concern is that they can’t pay for my work, I live in Moray after all, not the most affluent part of the country! I am grateful for your endorsement though, I will do my best do it justice as I go along 🙂

      • I see what you mean. How do you get most of your custom? I would imagine that with at least some of what you do you could take commissions from anywhere in the world, and I wondered if you advertise at all.

      • Wow, that was quick, lol. In answer to your question, I used to place a small 2-line ad in the local rag until the credit crunch started. At that time the enquiries from that source started drying up so it became unviable to advertise that way. I now have a Facebook page with a small number of likers, there is word of mouth and also repeat customers, and I do the odd high class craft fair in the locality. Everyone in Moray must have my business card by now, so I hope at least a fraction of folk will put it somewhere where they can find it again when they want it!
        Worldwide commissions is something I need to look into, technically that can be done as others do it all the time, but could be a problem with regards to VAT as I am not registered and don’t intend to go to the extra bother (which would probably mean the expense of an accountant) until I see sales picking up.

      • It’s not easy, is it? Paying for advertising that actually brings in revenue is notoriously difficult to do. It’s just a case of getting yourself known as widely as possible I suppose, and hopefully the more people who use you, the more feelers will go out in all directions. Word of mouth is invaluable, but difficult to get on a large scale. Craft fairs can be a great idea, but I know you usually have to pay to be there, so you have to take that amount off anything you sell. I hope 2013 brings you new ideas for how to get your work out there.

  3. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with health problems. I hope this year is far better in that regard. This has been a huge learning year for me as well, and a busy one! I don’t have any specific resolutions but I do hope to maintain my writing, get an agent, and perhaps get a short story published. I am a huge fan of your work and, though I don’t know much about drawing, they’ve all looked superb to me! Happy 2013.

    • Thanks, Nicole, you are so kind as always. There is nothing to be sorry about regards my health, there have been no major issues thankfully. Just niggly things, lots and lots of them and no end to it, it puts you off being creative and runs you down when you are chasing your tail trying to find solutions and overcome physical limitations.
      Good luck with your search for an agent – now that sounds really exciting and I so hope it comes off! I love your stories, wouldn’t it be great to see them properly marketed! Here’s to a successful 2013! xx

  4. I think most people who work on commission or freelance, no matter what the actual work, tend to take whatever comes their way at the start and only realise over time, as you are, that they have to be more selective in what projects they take on. What to charge is another toughie – charging too little not only makes it difficult to make a living but also devalues the work you do, in your own eyes if not others’. It can be hard to stick to that, though, when people respond with shock at your rates, even when they’re not comparatively high. It seems to be difficult for people to grasp that those who work for themselves are still professionals and should be paid accordingly! Following others in your field is the best thing you can do to develop your own practice, including rates. Best of luck!

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