Thursday, January 31, 2008

January Goals Update

"November Sunset, Indian Peaks"
Oil on Canvas

So, I didn't do very well at meeting my art business (and other) goals last year, and decided that to make my goals this year I need to check my status every month. I know it's boring, but I'm doing it here because it makes me feel more accountable, so bear with me. It's the last day of January, and here's where I'm at:

1. Get my work into three more galleries.

I sent out a couple of packets at the end of last week, and have made a short list and long list of galleries to contact in the coming months. I'm hoping to make more contacts in February - I was busy meeting other deadlines in January!

2. Complete 100 paintings.

This month I completed nine paintings which puts me right on track for this goal - 1 24x30", 1 18x24", 1 16x20", 2 14x18", 1 12x16", 1 11x14", 1 9x12", 1 8x10". One of them is probably destined for the trash pile, but that's okay - it was a learning experience. So - 9 down, 91 to go!

3. Sell enough work to pay our mortgage.

So far so good on this one. Just gotta keep the paintings selling on a regular basis (see goal #1)!

4. Update painting database and financial records monthly.

So far I'm behind on this one. I got through about 80% of my 2007 accounting this month (starting from scratch) and made a spreadsheet for 2008. I have all of my earnings/receipts organized for this month, so I just have to enter them in my spreadsheet to see how things look this month - I'm planning to get this done early next week.

5. Race in a minimum of three 5k's.

I've already changed my focus here and decided to train for a sprint triathlon this summer instead. I get bored just running, and then I quit, so I'm going to do the tri thing to keep me interested. So far so good - I was even disciplined enough to go to the pool last night in a snowstorm, when I would have been much happier going to bed!

In general, I think I'm doing pretty well so far. Knowing that I'm going to watch these goals monthly has really helped this month with my productivity.

In other news, I just found out that I got two paintings accepted into the Salon International show at the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio in April. I've got another opening to attend the same night, so I won't be able to attend, but I'm jazzed to be a part of such a high quality show!

Tomorrow I'm off to Estes Park for the weekend to scrapbook and hang out with some friends. This will be my first time leaving Aspen at home and going somewhere on my own - Nate and I have gone on a couple weekend trips without her, but this is the first time I'll have some quality girl time since she was born! I'm excited to get her baby book done so I can stop feeling like a bad mom...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Under a Big Sky

"Study - Big Sky"
Oil on Panel
12 x 16"

"The sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still — and there was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world. The plain was there, under one's feet, but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud. Even the mountains were mere ant-hills under it. Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky."

- Willa Cather

I love this quote because the words say so beautifully how small everything can seem under a western sky.

This painting is a small study I did from a relatively bad photo I took while I was out running one night this summer. This photo doesn't do the painting much justice, but you get the idea. It's a typical Denver sunset - amazing for a few seconds before the colors fade. I'd eventually like to do a larger painting of this - probably a 30x40" or 36x48". The movement in the clouds just captivated me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Caught Up

"Clear and Cold"
Oil on Canvas
14 x 18"

For the first time in months, I feel like I'm caught up with everything. I'm finished with show entries for now so the pressure to paint a masterpiece is off and I can experiment a bit. I delivered a batch of paintings to my gallery in Winter Park on Friday, so now my galleries are stocked for a while and I can spend some time just painting what I want to paint.

When I'm painting to a deadline I tend to paint things that I'm 95% sure will turn out well, which is a really effective way to stunt my growth as an artist. Now that I don't have any deadlines looming, I'm working on some paintings that are more of a challenge for me, and might end up being dismal failures. I just have to tell myself that I learn something every time a painting ends up in the trash heap!

I'd post some of this newer stuff as I go along, but I'm just too lazy to shoot and upload photos of my paintings on a regular basis. I tend to wait until I have a pile of paintings and shoot them all at once. This is, honestly, probably what keeps me from doing the whole daily painting thing. I just don't think I could deal with editing photos EVERY day! How do you guys who are daily painters do it without tearing your hair out? Do you have a designated spot in your studio where you photograph your paintings? Do you just have more patience than me?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


"Dream Lake"
Oil on Canvas

In an attempt to be industrious, I varnished a whole batch of paintings in my master bathroom this morning. It was too cold to do it outside, and I didn't want to stink up the whole house, so I figured I'd do it in a small room where I could open the window and close the door to air things out. The problem is that when I went to take a shower an hour later, the bathroom was forty degrees from having the window open and I had to freeze my butt off getting in and out of the shower. Maybe next time I'll have the foresight to take a shower BEFORE I take over the bathroom with my stinky varnish and paintings...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Something New

Oil on Panel
24 x 18"

This painting isn't really my usual style. See those BLADES OF GRASS in the foreground?? That's what we call DETAIL.

I don't do detail.

Well, not normally anyways - this painting called for a bit more than usual. I typically try to indicate things like blades of grass with texture and color changes, but I had to pull out the palette knife to get this one right.

Sometimes doing things different is good. I'm sure I learned something from this one!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Oil on Panel

Well, Nate and I officially made an offer on the lot we've been looking at up in Granby. The owners are in Spain, so we're waiting on their signature, but it's all been agreed on verbally and we should close near the end of February. The lot is currently under three feet of snow, so there will be a long time waiting for the snow to melt and the ground to dry before we can even break ground on a house. The plan is to rent something in Grand County for the summer while Nate builds the house. If we decide at the end of the summer that we don't like living in a small mountain town, we'll sell the house. If we love it, which we probably will, we'll move on in!

I've always wanted to live up in the mountains, and we've already passed up a few chances to buy property when it was affordable and have been kicking ourselves ever since. Now is a good time to try it out, and the lot is in a good location. Our house would be right over the hill from Sol Vista Ski Resort, which is a small family friendly kind of ski mountain. It backs up to open space with some ponds and wetlands, so the view should always be nice from the back porch. And best of all, we'd build a house with a nice roomy studio for me - yay!

This painting is a rainy day scene from an area a few miles from where we'd be living (and this photo is blurry and bad for some reason, so imagine it looking a bit better!). I did a plein air painting at this location, then turned around a shot a few photos of the view in the other direction. This was probably my favorite painting in my solo show, because when I look at it I remember being there, hunkered down in the rain on a foggy day when you couldn't see the high mountain peaks. Of course, I'd bet that the majority of people who came to the show didn't even notice it. Sometimes that happens with the more quiet pieces, and that's okay - I'm happy having just painted them.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Busy Busy

"Castle Creek Morning"
Oil on Canvas
24 x 30"

I'm at a complete loss for anything interesting to say about painting right now, mostly because I've got myself locked up in the studio every free moment I have.

January is always a busy month. Entries for the Salon International and OPA National shows are due this month, and I'm always trying to come up with a masterpiece at the last minute, rather than entering something I've already done. I don't know why, but I seem to do this every time I enter a show. I guess it's just a manifestation of the fact that I always believe my best painting is just around the corner.

I managed to escape the studio last night and go to the opening for the Coors Western Art Show at the National Western Stock Show here in Denver. It's kind of an odd venue for a high end art show, but it attracts some very good artists, and I always like to go an see the landscape painters. I was disappointed that Clyde Aspevig wasn't participating this year, but there were still some excellent pieces. I think my favorites were by Skip Whitcomb (as usual), Matt Smith, and Len Chmiel. Anyone who lives in Denver should definitely make a trip to the stock show just to see the art (the cows are kind of cute too).

Oh, and I think Nate and I found a lot to buy up in Granby (where he's building houses). We think we might build a house up there this summer and move to the mountains. It gets tiring having him work an hour and half away, and the amount of money we spend on gas is insane (I'm not joking when I say we spend almost as much money on gas as we do on our mortgage). Anyhow, nothing's for sure, but it seems like the logical choice, considering he works there fulltime, and I can paint anywhere. We'll see!

Anyhow, back to the easel for me now. I just needed a short break!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 Goals

"Looks Like Rain"
Oil on Panel

Now that it's 2008, it's time to come up with some goals for this year. I've been up in the mountains all week with plenty of time to think about what my goals should be, but no computer access to post them so that they're official. I always feel like posting my goals here makes me more accountable, so here they are:

1. Get my work into three more galleries.

This is my top goal for the year. I need to increase both sales and exposure to my work, and expanding my gallery representation is a good way to do it. As part of this goal, I need to make sure that a month doesn't go by without me making an effort to contact new galleries.

2. Complete 100 paintings.

Part of having a successful art career is consistency and productivity. Having a realistic goal for number of paintings is a good way for me to make sure I'm not being lazy. Oh, and anything smaller than 8x10 doesn't count toward the total number.

3. Sell enough work to pay our mortgage.

I think I did this in 2007, but I haven't run my numbers yet so who knows. Anyhow, the point is to make sure that my art business is contributing to the household finances.

4. Update painting database and financial records monthly.

I'm woefully behind on my records and accounting for 2007. In the future, I need to take one day per month to update all of my records so that I have a clear picture of how my business is doing as the year progresses.

5. Race in a minimum of three 5k's.

This is just a personal goal to help me get myself back in shape. My first ski day of the year last week convinced me that I need to do a better job of staying active - don't want my legs to be burning after only a half day on the slopes!!

I'm going to status these goals monthly to keep me on track, and I'm looking forward to a good year!!