Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Making a Mark in 2007 - the plan

I find it really helpful to understand what people are trying to achieve when I visit blogs and see artwork - this is what I'm hoping to achieve in 2007. In 2006, I had broad goals for my various art activities rather than very specific objectives and I'm sticking to this way of thinking in 2007.

My overall goals for 2007, in order of priority, are:
  • learning – continuing my own personal development as an artist
  • doing – much more emphasis on ‘doing’ in 2007 and producing more artwork using what I’ve learned and the material I’ve accumulated to date. My travels support both ‘learning’ and ‘doing’.
  • sharing – a continuing focus on developing how I can share what I learn and learning from others who share what they do
  • selling – This had a very low priority in 2006. I now aim to introduce changes which might encourage and generate sales in an efficient way.
  • showing – besides showing work on this blog and my website, I plan to participate in a limited number of exhibitions and further develop local and on-line gallery arrangements.
I try to provide a structure for my learning starting from:
  • what interests me as a motif and reviewing how others have tackled this
  • artists (past and present) whose work appeals to me - and a wish to understand better
    • why I like what I like and
    • how this is achieved (and the extent to which this is media specific)
  • media which appears relevant to work I want to develop
Learning about other artists: I’ll be participating in a series of mini-projects with others (or on my own) over the course of the year which link what I'm trying to learn or do to specific artists. I've identified the artists listed below as having something to offer me (but this may change).
  • John Singer Sargent - composition, colour saturation and value; approach to plein air sketching, portraiture and drawing – project planned for January and I’ll be writing more about this very soon
  • Van Gogh – plein air drawings in pen and ink
  • JMW Turner – skies, water
  • Whistler – tonal colours, drawing techniques
  • Claude Monet – broken colour, series paintings, approach to plein air painting, gardens, skies and water
  • Degas – composition, series paintings, pastel techniques
  • Georgia O'Keefe – macro views of flowers
  • Holbein – portraiture drawings and paintings
  • Various – drawings of interiors of cafes and restaurants
Learning about new media/techniques: I may be getting get a brush out and trying acrylics for the first time. I’ve come to the reluctant conclusion that oils are probably impractical for me (allergies etc) and I’m still not convinced I work well with a brush in hand but we shall see………. I’d also like to find out about and become skilled at making prints in a way which will not present create or aggravate pain in my drawing hand.

Continuing development: work in my regular drawing class “Drawing the Head” will be linked to the exploration of the techniques of various artists. I fully expect to participate in other classes and workshops but have no specific plans as yet. I also aim to keep my geek credentials up to date with technological developments.

The priority for me in exhibiting and selling work is to be clear about themes around which I’m happy to develop a body of work while continuing to maintain some variety for stimulation. I’ve reviewed my work and developed two main groupings – ‘The Natural World’ and ‘People and Places’ with specific motifs within each group. Most of which need a rather more memorable name – suggestions welcome! I’ll also be focusing on style development – exploring ways of simplifying and abstracting subjects and keeping the sketchiness while also focusing on both pattern and colour……….I’ll also be sketching and drawing for fun!

The Natural World
  • Landscapes – typically larger works and likely to be more studio based in the first part of the year predominantly using material already acquired from recent trips to the USA. My current thinking is it might resolve into one series focusing on the coastline of New England and California – it needs a title.

  • Canary Wharf Skies – a series of small works and occasional larger pieces which will explore the endless variety of ways of portraying the sky in different seasons and at different times of day in one particular location. The series to date can be seen in the new small works gallery Canary Wharf Sky.

  • Botanical Macros – a series of small works and occasional larger pieces with a macro perspective on the beauty of all things botanical. I’ll be exploring composition and close crops with this one.
  • Gardens – I’d like to start developing this motif again if I have the time focusing on ‘landmark’ gardens and parks. I've produced work from Giverny before and I may return to collect more material. I also need to start developing my London Parks material and to find a series title(s).
People and Places
  • Portraiture – portraits done as drawings in the Drawing the Head class and/or as commissions. Given their popularity, I’ll also be developing the pen and ink catnapping series into a format which can be translated more easily into sales.
  • Drawings of people in cafés and restaurants – continuing a series I’ve already started in sketchbooks which explores how people relate to each other and their environment. I’m going to try changing the support I use to enable sales of sketches completed on site. I’ll also explore how others have tackled this motif and try to come up with a good title for the series.
  • Commissions: drawings of places – interiors, gardens or landscapes – which are meaningful to people.
This includes writing this blog, my travel sketchbook blog and my squidoo lenses and contributing to various internet art forums. I’ll continue to work on new ways of sharing including e-books; videos and articles (both on and off-line). I'll be investigating options for using my teaching credentials to deliver workshops in the UK and overseas. I’ve been asked to run a workshop in California and need to plan how to do this (probably not in 2007).

I'm giving sales a higher priority in 2007 and gearing up to do so with the emphasis on avoiding making my life overly complicated. Likely changes will include:
  • Changing the size/type of the support used to enable sales of sketches more easily
  • Changing how work is presented on my websites and continuing the development of a second website for commissions
  • Creating a cost-effective way of generating on-line sales – direct and/or indirect
  • Limited edition giclee prints and cards of small series of specific works
  • Developing a new database for inventory control, exhibitions and sales
In 2007, I want to avoid exhibitions dominating artwork development and to have a schedule which enables me to dovetail exhibitions with other activities. I'm not planning to attend any art fairs in 2007 (the circuit is not as extensive as in the USA). However, I will investigate subject specific shows (eg gardens) this year.

My travelling tends to be oriented around and in support of artistic activities – collecting material, producing art and visiting exhibitions.
  • I aim to make more excursions within the UK – linked to the development of botanical, garden and café motifs. The main narrative for these sketches will relocate to my travels with a sketchbook blog. The sketches will continue to be posted in Making a Mark with a link to the narrative.
  • There will be at least one big trip – which will involve (as always) visits to major art museums / exhibitions / art galleries but I’m still looking at options. New York is a possibility. Paris (now the Musee de L'Orangerie is open again) and Giverny is another as I haven’t visited either in the last decade
Phew – better get going!

I’d love to hear what you think about any of this – whether there is anything you are surprised about and/or whether you think I’ve made any omissions. And if any of the above is helpful to you in thinking through your plans for 2007 please let me know how it helps and what came out as a result.

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  1. Hi Katherine

    just wanted to wish you a happy New Year 2007 - you're really an inspiration! Thanks for sharing so generously!


  2. WOW! What an ambitious group of goals -- and I know you'll be able to achieve them all!!! I so enjoy visiting your blog -- and wish you the best 2007!!! I eagerly anticipate your new works!

  3. I like the simplicity of your goal outlines. I will be stealing those headings to see if I can match any of my goals under them.

  4. I see many similarities in your goals, mine and other artists for the coming year. We all want to grow and learn and be recognized for our worth.

    I'm sure you'll make great inroads into your goals Katherine. Happy New Year.

  5. Happy New Year from me too. What medium would your workshop be if you teach one in California? I realize you may not know yet as the time is in the future.

    I had just finished reading Jeanette's goals and saw the similarity with yours. I haven't really made a list of goals yet but I have reflected back to 2006 and realized what I have accomplished.

    I too enjoy reading your blog every day and miss you when you take time off. Any plans to teach another WC class? Jeanne

  6. this sounds like a very sensiblr plan. BTW, have you thought about water soluable oils rather than acrylics? you can enjoy the color quality of oil without the smelly solvants.

  7. WOW Katherine - your year is going to be busy, busy, busy!

    I see so much of myself in your resolutions. I will be watching to see what you achieve.


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