Monday, January 21, 2008

Celebrating 2007 Accomplishments

Warning! Long post. I found an interesting article in December on celebrating accomplishments in a blog written by Alyson Stanfield, an artist business guru. I was following up on my December show, and life was still a little chaotic, so I decided to come back to it. For any perfectionists (or recovering perfectionists) out there, I have to say I can't recommend this enough. It made me feel great, and I'm pretty stubborn on not stopping to get excited when I finally reach my goals. Still hesitating? How about a bribe. Doing this gives you enough of a boost to tackle your business plan with energy to spare.
For me to truly celebrate, food and wine had to be a part of it. I glory in it. I was also thought a ritual of sorts would help me to succeed with acknowleging my hard work.
These are my ingredients and part of the finished product. It's a good thing it was never my cherished with to become a food photographer...

For the menu we started with Artichoke and Asiago Tapenade. That was a cheat. It came out of a bottle and went on crackers. For an entree I made Barley Risotto with Wild Mushrooms, Roasted Tenderloin of Beef, with Ginger Beet Sauce and vegetables from Chef Cary Neff's book Conscious Cuisine. Our friend, who is also a sommelier, recommended an Argentinian wine "Vino Reserva Malbec by Finca Flichman." She was right on! The first mouthful was so good I laughed. Jace likes a fruitier red, and I like dry. This one made us both happy.

During prep and then dinner we listened to Jazz from Tonic- on CBC. It was particularly good. Dessert was pumpkin pie with whip cream followed by Roquefort cheese and port. Yummy! I used to hate blue cheese. It wasn't until I tried it with port that I fell in love.

So far so good! I had worked the day before answering the questions Alyson had suggested in her newsletter and finished them up while things simmered. After supper I read them out loud. Ok, time to take the plunge and share. Wish I did not feel so naked.

2007 Accomplishments
I Promoted my art by entering 4 group shows and doing two solo shows. One of the group shows, "Cabaret d’É-marginaux,"was a new experience. I set my painting up on stage and performed the music on my flute that had inspired the painting. Another breakthrough for me was an interdisciplinary group project I organized with 3 other artists, called "Growing Roots." Paintings were based on a dancer, actress and singer I had met. The "three muses" performed surrounded by the paintings inspired by them to a crowd at Moncton City Hall Gallery. I entered the Shediac Artists' Festival and saw sales go up 800% over last year. I promoted my art by entering Max III Atlantic Canada Juried Art Exhibit in which I received an honourable mention. Promotion involved networking with the Chamber of Commerce, Women in Business, Café des Artistes, and AAAPNB. I gave a speech on understanding abstract art at the public library and for my Toastmasters club. I did a "soul portrait" of Here magazine’s journalist, Melani Taylor and was published 3 times in major newspapers. I met Sylvie Mousseau, journalist for the provincial newspaper, Acadie Nouvelle, who interviewed me and was one of the most cool and influential people I met this year.

I enhanced my online presence by entering Illustration Friday twice, blogging regularly (a new and initially intimidating task), changing the images on my website and sending out 7 newsletters. Some little things like putting the web address on my answering machine and at the end of my email signature also generated traffic. I had 18031 visitors to my website last year. It started averaging 10 a day last January and peaked in November at around 225 per day.

It was a major year for learning new skills for my artwork. I discovered mix media and found my voice. I tried out too many materials and methods to mention. A few highlights were working with the recycled coffee filters, mixing in spices with my paint, sewing with wire, and carving my own stamps.

I added 68 people to my mailing list this year. The remainder top 10 cool and influential people I met in 2007 were Claudine Hellmuth, Leah Piken Kolidas, Bernie Berlin, Alyson Stanfield, Elayne Amyot, Marie Pierre Valay-Nadeau, Manon Melanson, Olivia Pacaud and Nadine Lipton. I didn’t meet the first four in person, but I mention them anyway because whether it was through a book, a blog, or the phone they had more impact than many of the people I met in a more traditional way.
Other new things I tried was painting to serotonin producing music and writing a proposal for a grant for a non-profit art gallery.
I visited the following new art galleries and art events: Ingrid Mueller, Terrace Amour Passion, Charlotte St. Center for the Arts, Smartist Telesummit, Le Grand Rasemblement, Les Prix Eloizes, Les Parloirs, Magnum Opus and Cercle des Créateurs. Business wise I attended a marketing seminar with Rolof Kiers.
I read Collage Discovery workshop, Artist Trading Card Workshop, The Chinese Brush Painting Bible, Selling Art 101, A Gallery without Walls, Finding your Visual Voice, The Artist’s muse, White Hot, and The Business of Bliss. I found some great resources. The best were blogs linking to other blogs. The online community is an amazing resource. One blog of note was for The Publicity Hound by Joan Stewart.

My new studio habits are productive art wise. I found I need solid chunks of concentrated studio time or my work will loose its focus. Minimum of two weeks no business. The best things to happen to my art career were selling my painting at top dollar in the Magnum Opus art auction and getting representation at Heron Bay Gallery.


claudine hellmuth said...

this is a great post! So important to stop and remember all we have done in the past year. I am honored to be included in your list!!!

Shayla said...

Thank you so much, Claudine. :) After taking my art too seriously, your book helped me to play and have fun again. You're a great inspiration.