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

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?

Writing an Artist’s Statement

I just heard a Country song, “I’d Like To Check You For Ticks”.  Pretty much says it all doesn’t it.  It speaks to a specific audience and gets the point across in a few words that he would like to see more of her, in that special way’.  How does this relate to art? Well as an artist you should have an Artist’s Statement on hand that says what the audience needs to know. It needs to be short, no more than a page in length and to the point.

Have your audience in mind when you write it. If it is for the general-public, avoid ‘art speak’, and use language your viewer will understand. The best thing is to use the KISS method of ‘Keeping it short and simple’.  You most likely would not like to veer into the Tick area….but you get the idea :0)

Write a draft of your Artist’s Statement and try to have it reflect the real you. Then let it sit for a bit.  An hour, a day, a week, whatever you need to come back to it with a relatively fresh eye.

Sample Artist Statement

Herb R. Ian

Artist Statement Draft

In the turmoil found in today’s world, many find themselves returning to what they know best.  They begin examining people and things with new eyes, as Herb has also done.

Her current work of oil on canvas, explores the personal meaning of items she surrounds herself.  She uses art materials or Raku pottery (an ancient Asian process of firing ceramics) created by another local artisan, John Audley, as subject matter. She blends the pottery into a setting, that includes either art materials and/or more commonly found vessels with a dramatic light and shadow.

__________________________________________

Then divide it into three paragraphs;

1. What you do

“Her current work of oil on canvas, explores the personal meaning of items she surrounds herself.  She uses art materials or Raku pottery (an ancient Asian process of firing ceramics) created by another local artisan, John Audley, as subject matter. She blends the pottery into a setting, which includes either art materials and/or more commonly found vessels with a dramatic light and shadow.”

2. Your Background

Herb has a Master’s Degree in Studio Art and has won a number of awards for her work over the years.  She began working as an artist during her teen years, and over the years she has worked in a variety of mediums from polymer clay to oil paint.

3. How Your Work Affects Others

Because of her vast interest in different mediums and techniques she has begun to turn her attention to putting the information in writing. A virtuous reader she sees this as a way to pass on what she has learned over the years to those that come after.

_________________________________________

The length of your Artist’s Statement should be no more than one page.  Keep it updated to reflect what is accurate.

Use the information to pass out at shows, to clients, on your website, and ‘elevator speak’.  That thirty second blurb to keep in mind for when someone ask, “What kind of artist are you?”

Go back and edit your Statement at least twice before releasing it to the world.  Read it aloud to yourself and have a trusted friend read it before you consider it complete, to see any errors you may have overlooked.

Then put it all together.  I will want to continue to edit this, but at this point it would be alright to release to the world.

Artist Statement

Herb’s current work of oil on canvas, explores the personal meaning of items she surrounds herself.  She uses art materials or Raku pottery (an ancient Asian process of firing ceramics) created by another local artisan, John Audley, as subject matter. She blends the pottery into a setting, which includes either art materials and/or more commonly found vessels with a dramatic light and shadow.”

She began working as an artist during her teen years, and over the years she has worked in a variety of mediums from polymer clay to oil paint. She has a Master’s Degree in Studio Art and has won a large number of awards for her work over the years.

Because of her vast interest in different mediums and techniques she has begun to turn her attention to putting the information in writing. A veracious reader she sees this as a way to pass on what she has learned over the years to those that come after.  She can be found conducting workshops, creating art and working in her Kansas home that she shares with her husband of 15 years.

Now go forth and create that Artist Statement! You will be glad you have it on hand.

Things to keep in mind as your writing:

  • Avoid Jargon
  • Use simple sentences
  • Keep your audience in mind
  • Describe your intentions
  • Avoid cliche’s
  • Choose descriptive language

Time management image1. Set Goals – Know what you want.  Look at the big picture.

2. Make Lists – If you know what you want, making lists on what to do is the next logical step.  I am a big list maker. This helps you to see how you are going to reach your goals.

3. Be Organized – Be reasonably organized is a big time saver. You won’t waste your time looking for something you need every day. Just be sure you don’t spend all your time organizing and avoid doing what you need to do to meet your goals.

4. Schedule – Have an idea of when you want to meet a goal. Without deadlines you can flounder and not feel a need to complete anything.

5. Do Not Multitask – studies show that the human brain is not designed for multitasking. In face it takes you 50% longer to complete a task if you attempt to do it this way. Instead focus on one thing at a time. Do what is front of you and then move on to the next.

Recently I worked on updating a price comparison list that I keep on hand for personal use. It includes oil painting materials from popular art suppliers such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, Jerry Artarama, Cheap Joes among a few others. Because I find this useful when ordering, I want to share this information with you. It is available in both a .xlsx (MS Excel includes comments related to product comparisons) and PDF file.

If you are already a subscriber we will be sending this to you shortly.

If you’re not – Get on the ball and subscribe today!

Click here to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/tuUtj

 

Basic Color Theory

The following information is intended as a basic understanding of color for the painter, general crafter or for the photographer.

Basic Color Wheel

Primary Colors – Red, Yellow and Blue are the basics of  color mixing. They can not be made on their own, but in theory you can make all the other colors on the color wheel

Secondary Colors – Violet, Green, and Orange are the colors that are created secondly by mixing the primary colors together.

Examples of  – Subtractive Color Theory  / Additive Color Theory

Subtractive Color – if you add its three primaries (Red, Green, Blue), the end result is white.

Additive Color – when the primaries cyan, magenta and yellow are mixed the end result is black. This is the color theory we are using here.

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Color Schemes


ComplementaryColors are opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance the compliment of Blue is Orange, the compliment of Red is Green etc.

Split Complementary is made by using a color and the two colors next to its compliment. Such as by using Red, and then using Yellow and Blue.

Triadic Color Schemes are made by any three colors that appear an equal distant from each other on the color wheel, such as Red, Yellow, and Blue.

Analogous Color Scheme is made by colors next to each other on the color wheel.

Monochromatic Color Scheme is made from one color or hue with multiple values and intensities.


Warm colors are colors that represent a feeling of warmth or heat such as Red, Orange, and Yellow.

Cool Colors are colors that represent a feeling of coolness and chill, such as blue, blue green and violet.

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Value Scale the amount of light and dark that is shown. The less value the lighter it is.

Contrast is the difference in values. The strongest contrast can be seen by placing the two extremes next to each other. When two lesser extremes are next to each other they are said to have low contrast. The closer they are in value, the lower they are in contrast.

Tints are created by adding White to a value. In the case of hand-coloring a print the white would generally be added by using the paper and having a transparent color wash.


Tones are created by adding Black to a value. In the case of hand-coloring the artist will either add a bit of black to the color or use the existing shades of grey already in the image.

Blogging Organization Notebook

Blogging Organization Notebook

In an ongoing effort to be organized and prepared, I have created a Blogging Notebook for myself. In case you are curious, and why wouldn’t you be curious? (Insert sarcastic expression here)

It includes the following:

  • 3 Pocket insert – 1. For goals (traffic and content, among other things) 2. Scrap paper/small notebook (thin moleskin type)/pen and highlighter. 3. Random notes in topic section
  • Monthly Calendar – Broad view of editorial plans.
  • Weekly Calendar – Break down of the week ahead.
  • To-Do Lists – Ongoing without any set time frame.
  • Topics – Outlines for series and notes for upcoming posts.
  • Blog Topic Forms – Helps me see I am meeting goals with each post.
  • Contests – Possible giveaways
  • Advertisements – Information on who, when, where and necessary steps.
  • SEO Information – Record of where I am and ideas on how to improve and get where I want.
  • Product Reviews – Ideas on upcoming reviews – once blog is better prepared.

For some people this may be overkill.  For me it is a place to start and see how it goes. :0) With it all in one place I can easily grab it as I am headed out the door.

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