Saturday, January 01, 2011

01.01.11 - Looking back (2010) and forward (2011)

Around the New Year, each year, I usually write two very long blog posts reviewing what I've done in the previous year and then set out a plan for the following year.

Looking back - 2010

This year "the plan" went out the window.

My time has been hugely tied up with my local residents association on matters relating to planning policy and planning applications affecting where I live and a developer who apparently thinks there's no requirement for them to observe any of the rules for how they should behave in a residential area.

As a result I now know an awful lot about the details required from developers when submitting planning applications and how to stop ones which are sub-standard from being approved and how to get work stopped on a construction site!  I write the letters and maintain the blog which basically has meant a lot of writing about things which are absolutely nothing to do with art. Without boring you absolutely rigid with the detail, we've achieved an awful lot - including initiatives we took resulting in the developer being served with Enforcement Notices by the local Planning Authority, the Health and Safety Executive paying a visit to lick them into shape and the National Considerate Contractor Scheme taking our complaints very seriously indeed.

It has however been both taxing and tiring.  I think I also forgot to give myself one of my regular breaks and I'm currently running out of steam so I'm planning a few days off in the near future.

If I review my general goals for 2010 this is how I did.

LEARNING: To look at and learn more about art which I find stimulating. 

Theme: Landscapes:  I started a new blog which has proved to have quite a few fans - and a ning site which has been less successful.  I'm probably going to close the latter down.  I've learned an awful lot more about landscape art and landscape artists and have very much enjoyed having a blog with a clear focus and theme.

Theme: Advanced Drawing:  No progress beyond reading more about drawing by different artists

SHARING: To celebrate what's good in art and to share it with others - whether it's art, artists, art techniques or art supplies. 

My emphasis throughout has been on making information more accessible - whether it's seeing what an exhibition looks like or knowing what a book is like or which artists work is worth taking a look at.

I've maintained four blogs of my own and contributed to two more plus ran the UKCPS News blog until I "retired" at the end of October
  • Making A Mark:
  • Making A Mark Reviews -  averaged one post a week - and I've got a stack of reviews to post
  • Travels with a Sketchbook - This really took a hit with the lowest number of posts to date.  They halved compared to the number posted in 2009 due to less outings and less time to sketch and not having enough time to post all those where I've done sketches!  (2010 was the year of the A4 Moleskine and BIG sketches.   Interestingly more people seem to have subscribed as a result!
  • The Art of the Landscape - 113 blog posts and 246 subscribers
In doing so, I've shared information throughout the year by:
  • reviewing exhibitions (but not as many as I would like)
  • writing reviews of books, art shops, art materials and tools (but not as many as I would like) and developing resources for artists information sites eg How to write an Artist's Resume or CV; How to Price Your Art and Makingamark's Top 10 Fine Art Books
  • writing about art business, the art economy and blogging for artists - and developing associated guides and information sites
  • highlighting - in 'who's made a mark this week' and the end of year 'Making A Mark awards' - all the other good people who share their knowledge, skills and information on their art blogs
I've got a stack of stuff which needs to be converted Making A Mark Guides.

Theme: Landscape Art:  I got about two thirds done of what I planned including making reasonable progress with the blog posts and developing a new site about Peter Doig and new resources for artists information websites:
There was no time to support the community which I had hoped could be developed on the topic of landscape art and that has rather fallen by the wayside. I'm hoping to do more interviews with landscape artists in 2011.

DOING: To make art worth making

The main thing which has suffered has been the "doing" of the art along with the exercise, both of which took time which was no longer available.  However I do think the lack of exercise has also contributed to feeling tired.  I know I become more energetic the more exercise I do - it's just getting myself out the door and away from the various demands on my time.
  • Theme: Mixed/Dry Media:  no time for the play I need to develop the effect I want.
  • Theme: Sketching: Much less sketching this last year than I usually do - just because there has been less time for outings and  time to sketch.  In the end I even had to take a break from Sketchercise which I was very sad about.  However I have enjoyed my A4 Moleskine a lot in terms of the space it gives me to create bigger drawings.  here's a couple of favourites from the year
West Smithfield (garden to the left and Smithfield market in background)
11.5" x 17", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
A Cheshire garden in early August
11.5" x 17", coloured pencils and pen and ink in Large Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
  • Theme: Landscapes: very little progress with the "doing" but some progress with the concept of a new series and I have found some new locations as subject matter
  • Theme: Botanical Macros - I developed and refined a set of macros for an exhibition in the USA and was
SHOWINGTo show artwork because it merits display rather than because it's the thing to do

Theme: Exhibitions to enter work: 
I exhibited in four shows and dropped the SOFA show from my list of planned shows as it just doesn't fit with my priorities for the type of work I'd like to develop.

I was really pleased with the way the botanical macros looked in our FineLineArtists show in San Diego and I'm currently planning to develop this theme for the Society of Botanical Artists show in 2011.

SELLING: To gear selling activity to income targets and the realities of the marketplace

Theme: publication of e-books - a topic I have continued to investigate during the course of the year.  I know a fair bit more now than I did before plus I've seen more examples of ebooks.

Theme: selling artwork - This still isn't a top priority for me and this activity really took a backseat.  Funnily enough I sold artwork when I didn't have any expectations of doing so! 

PLUS:  One additional item - I became an Apple fan and  
  • learned how to use an iMac.  I am soooooooooooooo happy with my 27" iMac - my spotty cataracts are clapping too!
  • I'm learning how to use an iPad and how to do digital sketches using the Brushes app on an iPad. 
Plan for 2011

I haven't even had time to think about this in any detail although I've got a couple of ideas which are bubbling away.  The problem at the moment is how to get my life back on track.

I think that rather than making any ambitious plans at the moment, I'm just going to "keep on keeping on" and work out whether I've got the time to devote to any new projects.

However 2011 will be influenced by one major event as "he who must not be bored while I sketch" has decided to retire this summer.  I'm guessing we may be planning a few things to do as a result of that.  As a result the back end of the year is a bit fluid at the moment and a number of objectives are not related to art at all.

Interestingly - the notion of an information overload and that it's all felt a bit overwhelming this last year - which I reported on in Reviewing art in 2010 (#1) - the art blog - is something which has resonated with very many readers of this blog.  Some of whom commented on the blog while others sent me messages.  

I'm thinking along the lines of:
  • making time available for "himself"
  • reducing my regular posts on this blog to 5 a week to enable me to find time to write other stuff
  • getting back to regular exercise and time to take a break
  • more "doing" of art
I'll also be reminding myself of the principles of which underpin how my activities SHOULD operate (see Making A Mark in 2009 - The Plan for a detailed explanation) - the headlines being

Life is too short
The journey is the reward
The original and the best
Variety is the spice of life
There are no shortcuts!
'Good enough' is good enough.
What goes around comes around
You get out what you put in

    and finally...........

    I'll be listing other people's 2010 plans in "who's made a mark this week?" in tomorrow's post.

    If you've got a blog post about your 2010 plan do let me know - no matter what the format or how long or short it is. It can be a twitter addressed to @makingamark2 if that's what works for you!