Thursday, January 01, 2009

Y'all Know How I Love Goals!!

"Trinchera Morning"
Oil on Panel

I freaking love New Year’s! Not the whole New Year’s Eve party thing (I’d rather be asleep at midnight, honestly), but the whole idea that it’s a new YEAR, with a fresh, clean slate, and oodles of potential!

There’s something totally appealing to me about the idea of packaging my life into neat one-year long increments, and measuring my progress against time. I think it must be the analytical engineering side of me, ignoring the fact that sometime life is messy and that the most important things in life aren’t measurable.

So this year, I’m going to do my “resolutions” in two different ways. To satisfy the numbers-driven engineer in me, I’m going to set some goals for the year like I always do. These are things that I can measure and status and use to make me feel like I’m making progress. To satisfy the sensitive artist in me, I’m going to follow the suggestion of Christine Kane and choose a word to live by in 2009 (inspired by Lisa Call’s successful year in 2008).

So, I’ll start with the goals. Last year I made a commitment to status these here on the blog once per month throughout the year. It kept me on track but felt like overkill after a while, so this year I’m going to commit to reporting my status quarterly. Anyhow, in 2009 I would like to:

1. Get comfortable with working larger.

I really want to get to a point where larger paintings are a more important part of my studio output. At this point, I haven’t worked larger than 30x40”, but I really enjoyed the process of doing some larger paintings this summer. In 2009, I’d like to concentrate on getting more comfortable on a larger scale, and brushing up on all of the skills necessary to successfully complete a large painting from a small study. I’d like to complete at least 10 30x40” paintings, 2 36x48” paintings, and 1-2 40x60” paintings.

2. Find one out of state gallery to show my work.

This is pretty self-explanatory. I’m extremely grateful to be working with four galleries in Colorado right now, but that’s pretty much the upper limit of what I’m comfortable with in the state. Right now all of my galleries are in resort towns and sell mostly to tourist and second-home clientele, so I don’t feel as though they are competing with each other, but I don’t think I can do much more in Colorado without my galleries encroaching on each other. So, I need to expand my representation out of state. Specifically, I’d like to be able to place my work in one of the larger western art markets – Santa Fe, Jackson Hole, Scottsdale…

3. 10 commissions/studio sales.

I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to have such great galleries representing my work, and pretty much every decision I make in this business begs the question, “Will this affect my gallery relationships?” As such, I don’t sell much from my studio (I’m not a natural salesperson), but I’ve realized this year that I really love the interaction that comes from working one-on-one with a loyal client, and that sometimes I miss out on that relationship when I’m depending 100% on my galleries to sell my work. So this year I’d like to increase my commission business, just to increase the amount that I get to work with collectors. I rarely do commissions through my galleries, so I think this is a way to increase studio business without stepping on toes, and simultaneously make my art business more people-oriented.

4. Increase my yearly profit 25% over 2008.

Self-explanatory. I have a dollar amount that I would like to reach this year which would be about 25% more than what I made in 2008. Ambitious, but achievable.

5. Branding - update website and associated materials.

I’d like to do a better job at branding my business this year. That’s going to entail an update of my website template/design by someone more qualified at design than me. I love using FineArtStudioOnline for my site, and intend to maintain my site through FASO, but I need to figure out a way to give it a facelift and some individuality (I can find tens of other artists using the same template as me) while maintaining the functionality that I love. Once this is done, I need to get business cards, letterhead, and notecards that match my site design.

6. Get/stay active!!

I don’t think I’m going to make any big fitness related goals this year. I live in the mountains now, and I just want to maintain enough of an active lifestyle that I get to be outdoors on a regular basis, and that I’m in shape enough to be enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, etc. without my fitness limiting me. So I’ll aim to workout a few times a week, but it’s nothing competitive.

So, those are my goals for 2009. Just enough to keep the engineer in me on track and happy!

For the side of me that knows that life is often more nebulous than all of my plans would have me believe, I’m choosing a word to live by in 2009, and that word is “open”. I thought long and hard about what I want this year to be about, and what I think has held me back in the past, and I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to be reserved in 2009 - I want to be open.

I want to be open to new experiences, new adventures, and big changes. I want to be open to God’s guidance in my life. And I want to be open to people and relationships. I want new people I meet to see me for who I am – present myself openly, rather than holding back like I so often do.

So, there it is – 2009 holds a lot of hope and possibility, and I plan to make it a good one!!


  1. Stacey, I like the idea of having a theme for the year. That, in itself, is a worthy goal. I can relate to the "holding back" since in 2008 I finally really put myself out there with postcards, a gallery show, etc. People were shocked by the extent of my work, people who had known me for years had no idea. Thanks for being so open with your wonderful blog!

  2. I like your ideas! I too would like to be more "open". What a wonderful idea to find one word to consentrate on, thanks!

  3. Happy New Year Stacey!

    Seems like 2008 was a banner year for you (last post) and I know that '09 will be even better for us all!

    I, too am following the same path of having my traditional measurable goals/objectives along side my Kane word for the year (though I may have to do more than one and risk the attention splatter). Hopefully posting these by the weekend.

    I also want to thank you for turning me on to Eric Hutchinson's music (from a post a million miles ago). My fave at the moment. You already had my other fave of Newton Faulkner.

    Thanks for all you do and best wishes for the new year!!

  4. great painting stacey, i particularly love those two big trees and they way they contrast off the mountains.

    and great goals. i love goals, set a ton of them for all areas of my life every year. i've always loved working large, i much rather work big than small. i actually have a canvas stretched that is 44"x66" i never got around to using. next year.

    i didn't realize that all of your galleries were in colorado, it will be good for you to stretch your wings and start branching out of state.

    happy 2009!

  5. Stacey,

    If you want to customize your FineArtStudioOnline website there are a couple of things we can do. 1 is to create a custom color scheme, you can edit colors in the "edit color scheme" part of the site, or we can assist if you have a page somewhere with the colors you like.

    Also, we can customize the site to a certain degree, depending on the complexity we do charge for custom work, but if you have a simple html page as an example we can see how close we could come.

    Anyway, happy new year!


    Clint Watson
    Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic

  6. Janelle - it's hard to put yourself out there - nice job doing that in 2008!

    Carol - thanks, but I have to give the credit for the one word idea to Christine Kane! She gives a great explanation for it in here post that I linked to.

    Tracy - I think it's fun to do the word and the goals, since the word can encompass so much. Oh, and I love Eric Hutchinson - isn't his music great?!

    Christine - yup, I learned this year that it's pretty easy for me to find mountain resort galleries where my work does well (since that's where I live and paint!), but I definitely need to expand out of state.

    Hi Clint - yeah, I'm planning to update the color scheme, and I'd like to do something more custom for my heading. Nothing too fancy - I just need to think about what I want!! I love my website, by the way - you guys make it so easy to have an up-to-date, good looking, and well organized website, even for those of us who are crunched for time!

  7. Happy New Year Stacey. I hope that you reach your goals and beyond, and that '09 is a great year for you and your family.
    Open is a great word for the year.
    I think that going for an out of state gallery is a good idea.

  8. Your goals are wonderful as usual - we must both have engineer brain liking goals so much.

    Open is an excellent word.

    Here's to your fabulous 2009.

  9. Hard to believe you feel you need to be more open. Your honesty and courage are inspiring. And, of course, your paintings are awesome.

    I am curious about the large scale work. Is it the personal challenge to control large scale work or something in the marketplace you feel is calling you? Maybe a little of both?

    I know you will have a great year!

    Peace, health, joy and love to you and your family.

  10. Happy New Year back to you, Frank! Apparently everyone agrees that I need an out of state gallery =)

    Thanks Alina - this is a terrible photo (glare - ugh), so I'm glad you still like it!

    Lisa - yeah, it must be a technical thing. I'm glad I'm not the only one addicted to goal-setting.

    Michael - with the large-scale work, it's a bit of both. I really enjoy working larger, and the challenge involved (you can get away with a lot in an 8x10" that won't fly in a 30x40", whether it be bad drawing, or bad composition, or just laziness). I also think there's a market for the larger stuff - people with big mountain homes want big landscape paintings to make a big impact hanging on their walls!

  11. Your first resolution is a thorn in my side also. I am terribly uncomfortable with larger work and I guess I should make it my first resolution also. I am a plein air painter and hate painting in the studio but it is nice to know we all share the same struggles. I will be watching your post and expect to see large paintings posted soon. Hopefully they will inspire me to do the same.

  12. Kevin - I think that's one of the downfalls of doing a lot of plein air painting - getting comfortable doing a lot of small stuff!! I checked out your website and your work is beautiful - great sense of light and place. I look forward to seeing your larger works this year! =)