Saturday, December 19, 2015

Looking Ahead

The end of the year is one of the times when I take stock of where I am, where I want to go, and how to get there.  (The other times are the other 364 days of the year ...).  As we approach the end of 2015, I've been thinking about the balance in my life between the studio, my consulting business, and responsibilities around the family and home.  Now I don't see my family and home responsibilities changing, so any re-balancing will have to come between the studio and consulting business.  And what I'm looking at doing is taking time away from the consulting biz and spending it in on studio business instead.

This is a kinda big deal.  My consulting business has been doing pretty well for the past three years.  I've got a few clients that have routed a good bit of work to me.  It's been fairly lucrative and has paid for my studio activities.  The cost, though, has been in the lack of studio time.  I've written about this before - it's the primary reason the painting Cinderella's Seamstress took six months to complete, for example.  This lack of time, and lack of day-to-day continuity, has resulted in a scattershot approach to studio activities.  The balance has been good financially but less than productive creatively.

Changing circumstances are making this a time to reconsider that balance.  Looking ahead, I see that changes at one of my clients means that I'm not going to be doing nearly as much work for them.  So I will have to do a lot of marketing and outreach in order to develop new clients to keep the same income level.  My heart's not really into doing that.  I enjoy the work - it's interesting, challenging, and always something different - but it's not my calling.  Meanwhile, the economy in general is picking up and many artists I know are seeing increases in sales, teaching, and related activities.  If I have to do a lot of marketing and outreach anyway, I'd rather do it for my studio business.

To that end, I've been doing a bit of work already.  My online presence is growing.  I've had an Etsy gallery for a while that features drawings and other small works.  Recently I added a gallery on Saatchi Art.  This one has larger paintings.  I've added a sales section on my website that has both artworks and workshops.  And I've established a presence on Instagram (search for @skiprohde).  In addition, I've reanimated my newsletters and my life drawing sessions.  

Going forward, I'm looking to do more art workshops.  My first is scheduled for January 9 & 10.  This is a portrait drawing class that will be held in my studio.  Details about the class are on my website and you can sign up there as well.  I plan on doing many more throughout the year, with a goal of at least one per month.  They'll cover a variety of topics.  I don't know what they are yet as that will depend on what people tell me they want to learn.  What would you want to cover in an art workshop?

I've got other goals for the new year as well: more juried, solo, and group shows as well as more gallery representation.  It's ambitious.  I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not very good at marketing, but I have to get better at it, one way or another, so that's where I'm headed.

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