So much to think about. And perhaps – not so much to do. It strikes me lately, that a lot of the things on my own plate are optional.
I don’t weed the garden as often as I should. It’s a bit wet outside, so I’m enjoying the warmth of the house and the opportunity to rest a little.
Life can be like that too.
I have had times where painting has been all-consuming. Day and night. Colours swirling through my head, ideas for shapes, stories, series, solos. Endless shows, chasing sales, remembering all the PR needed to bring a crowd to an opening, and making sure the website is up to date and regularly refreshed. Maintaining a mailing list…
I confess, I have kind of dropped the bundle lately. Life has taken over, but it’s more than that. The energy required to keep an active art career in motion is exhausting at the best of times. In a difficult climate, it can be argued that one needs to work smarter – not harder, but it’s hard to know what that means in terms of ones own career, and how much energy to put into creating the work instead of promoting the work created.
The art market seems to have slumped. I’m not alone – artists and galleries have been feeling it for a while now, and while established artists are still doing nicely thanks, there are many of us who are early careerists who fall into a lower investment category, and our buyers just don’t seem to have the available cash for wall-enhancement.
I get it, I do, but the paradox, for artists like me, is that we need to have regular employment to pay the bills, and that eats into the time available for creating and marketing what we do that makes us sing. Most of us need the traditional gallery to introduce people to our work, but things are hard for them too. Most of us think very strategically about galleries that are a good fit and approach heart in mouth and hoping we are a good product – sometimes you hear, sometimes you don’t. Most of us do our best to provide exposure in a mindful way – appreciating that the internet can be a double edged sword, with images ‘borrowed’ and no credit given. It’s hard to ‘promote’ and know what will be a thankless gift, or a good investment.
Amid all of my art pondering in 2012 I have learned a lot about what makes me happy in regards to my art. And I know that I need to be more strategic about the business mechanics to make sure I can continue to show it. I need to prune my CV. I need to work on my website. I need to make a date with myself to take care of the business side so the creative side can work guilt free. Difficult stuff for someone as right-brained as me.
I need to find a new gallery, as my gallery in Flinders has recently closed (sad news I know). And I need to give myself permission to paint – even if the canvases stack up around me and just enjoy the act for the joyful thing that it is.
Because, for me, painting is a joy. Which it should be. And for all of it’s ups and downs, it’s my career of choice and a lifelong path.