Although my life still orients around the school calendar because my kids are all at home, I do like to use the beginning of the year as a chance to check in on how things are going in my life — do some reflection and goal setting. I had made an effort to reframe some of my thinking about my work in October, and it was good to reflect and maybe reframe.
While my goals in October made sense, the main way to measure success was in terms of revenue… And while I do want to focus on increasing revenue, I noticed that any time I spent on efforts that weren’t clearly tied to revenue was accompanied by guilt and a sense that I was wasting time. This also discouraged me from taking risks in my painting because I was too-often asking myself if it would help or hurt sales.
People often say to me, “But it’s not about the money!” I think most of them may have actual paychecks actual jobs. I used to have normal jobs; I was even the prime breadwinner for a few years, back before kids. But it’s been a long time since I made a direct financial contribution to our family coffers and, while I don’t want to obsess about money, feeling like I was moving in the direction of generating net-positive revenue would be pretty great.
Anyway, last week I set some process/practice goals for the next 5 months (realistically that’s about all I have before school starts winding down and my independent schedule crumbles for the summer) that I hope will value not only getting paintings finished (for sales or shows, etc) but also learning new things and exploring new ideas.
The figure sessions are an example of something that felt important and valuable — plus really fun and stimulating — that was not likely to generate direct sales. In my old plan, it was hard to justify the time because it kept me from working on paintings that might actually sell. The new plan acknowledges that these figure sessions are something I value and are a good investment of my time in the long run — for skill development, meeting other artists, and staying really engaged in my work, among other things…
Katherine. Oil on canvas, 9″x12″. 1/7/19
That thought-work made it even nicer to be back at the figure session this Monday. I felt pretty pleased with the painting I pulled from the canvas by the end of the 4 hours.