Unless you are wealthy, you will need to have a day-job if not for a part, then for all of your art career. It is just a fact of life for creative entrepreneurs, and you are an “entrepreneur” if you are trying to make a living from your creative abilities.

The ideal day job is one that has health insurance, retirement, paid vacation and sick leave. It also needs to not mentally or physically drained, so you still have the energy to create when not on the job. Even better is one with the flexible hours. Cream on the top is one that does not drain you but enriches your creativity.

There are plusses and minuses to having a day job. If can drain you as mentioned above, but it can also give you the financial freedom to explore creative areas you may be hesitant to look into if not for the security of knowing the necessary bills paid.

I currently have a day job, in a small rural public library. It forces me to step away from my house and out into the world of humans. If I did not have it, I’m not so sure I would step out of my home office/studio nearly as often as I do. My plan initially was to work there for one year. That was roughly fifteen years ago.

One of my coworkers retired over the weekend. It has made me stop and REALLY look at where I am in my work. Honestly, I am not where I want to be at all. There have been some personal hiccups the last few years I could use an excuse. But, the fact is I have not been giving it the attention it needs to thrive.

So what do I do?

  • I look at where I am right now, with open and honest eyes. I need to ask myself where are things are going and what do I need to change? This is continually happening if you are in charge of creating your own income.
  • What new skills do I need to obtain to get things back on track? Where can I receive them to fit my budget and schedule? This is somewhere where my day job is aligned almost perfectly with my side hustle. Many things I can use for one, I can use for the other. There are those sweet times where I get paid to learn something that benefits both.
    Day-job for creatives

    Inservice for day-job meant getting in on a Skype conversation with the Managing Editor of Snopes.com

What makes the perfect day-job for a creative entrepreneur, from your perspective?

Just a quick recap of the past week:

This past Saturday was the opening of my show at The Bowlus Fine Arts Center. A collection of oil painted portraits on stretched canvas.

Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

Panoramic View – Exhibit At The Bowlus Fine Arts Center

I can not say enough good about the staff at The Bowlus! The day we were to hang the show my back was out, and I was walking like a bent-over-little-old lady. It reminded me of a “Evolution of Man” chart.  The more vertical throughout the day, the straighter and more upright I became. But the employees were all extremely helpful, positive and dependable.

Oil Painting Portrait Exhibit

1396020_10151950759636291_23125933_n

We had a decent turnout and other than my social awkwardness things went smooth.  Note: I am much more comfortable in front of an easel than I am in front of a crowd.

Tip: I forgot to designate someone to take photos that evening. I wish I had! Hubby and I were so caught up in everything we both overlooked it. So if you can find a trusted friend to take some candid shots during a reception it is a good idea.

For a long while now I have thought, “If I can just get this show together it will be smooth sailing for a bit”. HA! Was that ever a chance for God to laugh at my plans.

The very next morning (Sunday) my Dad was admitted to the hospital, in ICU sixty miles away. By the time I got there, an hour later, he was sitting in bed joking around with nurses. By Tuesday he was released and going for his daily walk at the local Wal-Mart. (SMH) Thankful, but NEVER boring around here for long!

What is next? I want to finish up a couple of pieces that I wish I had had completed for the show. Try to take things up a notch as far as size and skill.  The immediate time pressure is off on these two so it will be interesting to see if they come out as I envision.

Still obsessed with knitting, and now that it is getting cooler it is calling me louder. I am sure lace will not add much warmth in a Kansas Winter, but that is what I am hooked on of late. It helps me clear my head. This is particularly true of knitting shawls. They are large enough to hold my interest between painting, but small enough to carry with me.

Also, if there are any writer’s reading this I am sure you are aware that as of today it is National Novel Writing Month! If you are not familiar with NANOWRIMO, it is a non-profit program that encourages people to write fifty-thousand words during the month of November. I have participated in the past, and want to this year. But my want, and hours available are not cooperating. I have not openly committed to participating yet this year.  Then again, November isn’t over yet either.

Last but not least, in a little over a week I have vacation time from my day-job in a public library. Nine days in a semi-open time frame to paint, knit and write! Aside from a day trip to Wichita and perhaps KC, I plan on being in full hermit mode the entire time. Ahhhh bliss!

Tutorials will begin again soon, I promise! For now I have deadlines on paintings that need to be completed. Below are a couple oil paintings that are currently in progress.

Work In Progress On Easel

Work In Progress On Easel

Portrait Oil Painting In Progress On Easel

Portrait Oil Painting In Progress On Easel – 18X24″ Stretched Canvas. Patron from day-job that agreed to pose. :0)

A scarf recently completed that I am rather proud :0) So soft, so fluffy, so light, such a good head clearing project when painting is not going the way I want!

Knitted Lace Scarf 37X14" Made With Jagger Spun Zephyr 50% Wool / 50% Silk

Knitted Lace Scarf 37X14″ Made With Jagger Spun Zephyr 50% Wool / 50% Silk

How to stay motivated in the art studio

Recently I have noticed trouble maintaining my motivation to paint. I work a day job at a small rural community Public Library, where being motivated is rarely if ever an issue. I just do what I need to do and go home.  But at home in the studio it is more of a challenge.  it can be tough to stick to a working schedule when the reward is may not come for months, or even years.

For me I see myself as a marathon runner. At first it seems easy. as long as you put one foot in front of the other I will eventually arrive at my destination. but as you near the finish line the motion can be as if you are slogging through molasses.

I posted this quandary on my personal Facebook page. Here are some of the suggestions given to “…pulling yourself out of a funk and staying motivated”:

  1. Exercise
  2. Listen to Music
  3. Aromatherapy
  4. Use Incense
  5. Step away and try another art form
  6. Organize your studio
  7. Spend time with small children to gain perspective
  8. Give into the need for a break and relax
  9. Use Qigong
  10. Think positive thoughts
  11. Get out of the studio and get a change of scenery
  12. Meditate
  13. Wine or other alcoholic beverage
  14. Do research instead
  15. Stop trying to swim upstream, grab your camera and look for inspirational photos

Over the past few weeks I have been re-releasing tutorials from the old site. A few of them include:

I also have been painting, and adding new work to the collection for an upcoming exhibit at the Bowlus Fine Art Center! The show is due to go up October 20th, giving me just over five more weeks. This is very doable! Wish me luck <3

Portrait OIl on Canvas

9X12″ NFS

Portrait OIl on Canvas

9X12″ NFS

Last month I showed how to make a simple light box with a cardboard box.  Here is another example, made from manila file folders.

A light tent can be purchased, but of course I prefer to just make my own.  Here I started with 2 discarded manila folders taped together so that they would stand as shown.  The extras are lying in front of them but only two were used for the main frame.

Folders are not terribly strong so you may want to use a thicker cardboard if you will be using it a great deal. Foam core works well, is inexpensive, comes in white and can be cut down to size.

In order to cut down on the yellow color coming through I covered the surface with 11” x 17” white printer paper by folding it over and taping it to the back.

Next a large piece of white fabric was laid down and over the top edge, press out wrinkles as you do.  I put a cloths pin on the top edge to keep it from dropping down, then folded it back over itself to drape over the top. I have seen folks use white trash bags, paper, tissue paper or whatever was available to get the desired effect.

I set up the tripod as shown in the camera testing example and then draped the material over the top of the camera.  This created a ‘white container’ to take the images inside.

After taking a few shots similar to the previous test, the image below was determined to have the correct setting at ISO 80, Macro setting, -1 flash.

Not bad, but I would like to get rid of the grayness of the white fabric.

 To do this I need to play with the exposure index.  After trying out -2 through +2 test shots this is the end result. I have to say that I like the change in the second photograph.

  

Continuing to experiment and see what works.

 

 

Just for comparison the image above was shot with Macro, -2 exposure, -.75 flash and a view of the image in black and white

  In my opinion the diffused light from lamp, on black, and same settings as above makes it appear much more three dimensional when compared to the other example. But I found some people preferred the images taken in the light tent and found it ‘softer’.

 

   

Hand blown glass paperweight shot in light tent compared to taken with flash on white background (paper towel)

Of course with some tweaking I am sure one could get much better shots here!

This is a wonderful item to have if you paint on location or are taking classes. You can purchase a similar item but why not just use left over canvas and pay a fraction of the cost? This makes a wonderful gift for fellow artists, and of course you can paint the surface however you choose for added flair!

1. Cut a piece of canvas 18″ long and 1″wider than you need it to be.

2. Cut two strips 12″ long and 1″ wide. (As an alternative – a strong fiber or ribbon)

3. Fold over a 1/4″ hem on all edges of the large piece, pin it into place. Fold under all raw edges.

4. Sew along hem.

5. Fold over 12″ strips so there are no raw edges showing. Sew along the seam.

6. Pin one end of each 12″ strip into position along the edge

7. Fold one end up to create the pocket area for your brushes. Be sure that the end of each 12″ strip is between layers of fabric. Sew pocket and strips into place along sides.

8. Sew the areas for beach rush pockets where need. If you have a large number of smaller width brushes, sew the seams closer together for smaller pockets, and further apart for wider.

* In order to store or carry your brush with you, simply roll it up and tie strips together.

Have you considered writing up an official business plan for your art biz? Below is an outline of a basic business plan to get you started.

  1. Cover sheet – Tell the reader the name of business and what is the plan for?
  2. Statement of purpose / Executive Summary – You will write this last as it says what all the reader is looking at in a brief summary
  3. Table of contents

                I. The Business

A. Description of business – Tell reader about your art and the history of your business

B. Marketing – Who will be purchasing your items & how will you let others now of your work? Will you do t-shirts? Have a webpage? Brochures etc… Target customer demographic information

 C. Competition –  Who are they and what do they offer that you can/can not do better then they are currently offering?

D. Operating procedures – How will the work be done? Will you be a sole proprietor? Or other?

E. Personnel – Who will do the work? Job Descriptions

F. Business insurance –  How will all business expenses be covered in an emergency that would be covered by insurance?

II. Financial Data

A. Loan applications – Any that you have applied for, or wish to apply for

                      B. Capital equipment and supply list – Inventory of all materials

C. Balance sheet – How much money do you have available? How much money do you owe? Regularly pay out?

D. Breakeven analysis – How much do you need to sell, what you need to pay out in order to break even?

        E. Income projections (profit & loss statements)

Three-year summary
Financial Goals for 3 years from now
Detail by month, first year
Financial Goal for each month for the next year from now
Detail by quarters, second and third years
Financial goals for each quarter
Assumptions upon which projections were based
Back up your goals and expectations with facts

F. Cash flow – How will you be sure that there will be enough money to cover all expenses? Will you keep your day job?

           III. Supporting Documents

A. Tax returns for last three years – If you are a sole proprietor have your last three years taxes on file. If not a SP, then taxes of all principal personnel responsible for the financial aspects of the business.

B. Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space – If you have a separate space to create, other then in home, copy of the lease or mortgage for space. If is in the home, copies of rent, mortgage receipts

C. Copy of utility bills

D. Copy of licenses and other legal documents

E. State Business License

F. Property tax information

G. Copy of resumes of all principal parties. If sole proprietors have your own resume on file

H. Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc

I. Who will send you supplies?

Art Business ChecklistBusiness Plan Checklist

  • Write up a mission statement so you know where you want to go. it does not have to be formal, be creative!
  • Describe as much as you can about what you will be providing your customers.
  • Keep good records of all aspects of your business.
  • Review the plan regularly and make necessary changes.
  • A three ring binder works well to keep all your papers in one spot, or one for each area of your business.
  • Keep extra copies of important pertinent information in a safe place, like a security box or in a location separate from business in case of fire etc… (business licenses, tax returns and other necessary papers).
  • Keep important days of when payments or projects are due listed on a business calendar to keep you on track.
  • To-Do lists that are prioritized are a good thing to make every day to help keep you on task.
  • Keep an ongoing list of specific information you need to look at closer.
  • Go back through previous notes and schedules from time to time to see if there was anything you could have done differently or negative things you could prevent from happening again.
  • Put everything you can into writing in order to keep you focused and clear minded. Take the necessary steps to make things happen.
  • Evaluate your day to day activities and to-do lists so you are always working toward your goal.
  • Remain positive about what you want to achieve

Business Communications Checklist

  • A separate phone line is nice but it may not be necessary for your particular business
  • Find the best phone plan you can, compare and shop around
  • Leave a professional out-going voice mail message on your phone.
  • A cordless phone/cell can be an asset when working at home, enabling you to not be confined to one area when on the phone.
  • Consider purchasing a fax machine for your business, especially if you find yourself using one outside of the home on a regular basis.
  • Purchase surge protectors for all of your electronic equipment.
  • If you are not already, get online as soon as possible! Consider it a priority. Email alone will make it worth it, not taking into consideration all the other aspects that the internet holds.

Profit Checklist

  • Realize that the only thing you can count on with the art business is that you never know what will happen next.
  • Educate yourself about all areas concerning your business
  • Use new technology for the good of your business
  • Bring in new products on a regular basis
  • Look at how you price items and make necessary adjustments
  • Always be on the lookout for new markets for the products and services of your business
  • Be aware of time management, make necessary adjustments
  • Set up a work schedule for yourself that YOU are comfortable with.
  • Take regular breaks
  • Work smarter, not necessarily harder
Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com