2018 Year in Review Part 2: Art
Last week I wrote about my travel experiences in 2018. Check it out.
I love to do daily challenges. If I haven’t committed to something very specific, it’s too easy to realize that 5 days have gone by without doing any drawing. In 2017 I did a huge one my #365accordionproject – where I drew one continuous drawing in Moleskine accordion fold sketchbooks – resulting in one drawing that spans about 50 feet! In 2018 I did a couple of smaller challenges.
Starting in April I participated in the worldwide #the100dayproject and learned to do repeat pattern designs and basically made one a day for 100 days. Some days I did more than one variation of a simple one and some very complex patterns took more than one day to complete – but I ended up with at least 100 patterns. Some successful, some not, but it reawakened a love for surface design that had been lying dormant since grad school. I learned how to do repeat patterns in the early 90s, but we did them on paper with scissors and tape. It’s much more fun to create them in Illustrator!
In October I participated in the #inktober challenge of doing an ink drawing every day of the month. I did my own variation (cheated?) and used digital “ink” and drew on my iPad. I’d been meaning to start using it to draw and a daily challenge is the best way to get myself to commit to a project. I asked my followers on Instagram and Facebook what I should draw and someone suggested mermaids – so the first two days I drew some beautiful fat mermaids. But then I had a different idea. I’d been wanting to design a calendar and didn’t know what to put on it – and the idea to do birth month flowers came to me. So for the rest of the month, I drew flowers every day. I didn’t complete one each day, as they got more and more complex and detailed as I went along.
By the end of the month, I had 12 beautiful flower drawings that I turned into a gorgeous wall calendar that has been my single most popular creation to date! I haven’t completed the accounting yet, but I think I sold around 200 of them! I also put the flowers on pillows, tote bags, mugs, aprons and greeting cards and made prints of them and they were all hugely popular! I did more marketing and promoting of these products than I have ever done in my life, and it really paid off. I did really well with them. Now I have to figure out how to keep that momentum going throughout the year.
I have my work available for sale year-round in Paducah at Bricolage Art Collective and at Raven & Moth. I sell a little bit at each place every month, but not a lot. This was the second year that I participated in art markets at the Smedley-Yeiser – organized by Raven & Moth – and I did really well at most of them. I did one in October, two in November and one in December. They were all fun and worth doing – but by far the best one was on Small Business Saturday. A combination of great weather, a lot going on in town that day and the Birth Month Flower calendar and other products made it my biggest single day of sales ever!
Another project that I had thought would be my big one of the year took a back burner because of the surprising appearance and popularity of the flowers. My biggest patron and fan (my sister!) bought me a Glowforge laser cutter and engraver. I had thought my big project for the year would be making jewelry on the Glowforge and selling it. I did make a small number of really cool things and am excited about taking it further and seeing what I can do.
On the not-so-great side of art related things, I entered several competitions, submitted to several juried gallery shows and applied for a big grant that I didn’t get. That’s always discouraging. But rejection is a part of the job and I have a list of other things I will try for in 2019.
Also in the disappointing column, I did almost no encaustic work in 2018. I miss it. But there are only so many hours in the day, and I like to sleep for a bunch of them!
Up next, a post about my client/design work.