Being a self employed artist is fantastic but at the start of a new year, after the winter holiday break, after the frenzy of making and selling that goes on before Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Yule, there is a gap, a creative slump. So what can you do to stoke the fires of creativity and your art business…apart from doing your tax return, (which, by the way, is very much helped by the “Reports” function of your Artlook system.)
I put together a few things that help me get through this time.
1. Tidy and sort my studio or workspace. When life is a rush, and I am juggling work with visitors and general merry making I find that things get put everywhere. Glue for example, I found a pot of glue in the fridge, tape in the sock draw and string in the bathroom. Don’t know why! So now, the first week of January is the perfect time to gather the mess together and really sort it out, so that I know where everything is, what works and what needs replacing (paint brushes, anyone else cant bear to throw them away?)
I also go through unsold work, works on paper, keep what is worth keeping, make sure its all on my Artlook inventory and catalogued properly by year and category, tagged as well, then stored safely…because things do sell, sometimes years after creation, so it’s a worthwhile exercise.
2. Prepare materials for the weeks ahead, I gesso boards so that I have a ready supply. I also cut them to my preferred working sizes, which makes framing a much simpler job. I go through all my paints making sure that I have the colours that I need and that I have all the tubes of Acrylic and Oils squeezed and the tops on properly.
3. This year I am spending some time trying to make my painting practice as green as possible.
I have found a great gesso for example, called “Sludge” Sludge is an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to a neutral ground and neutral colour. It is a by-product of their acrylic paint manufacturing – it is a combination of the solids from Tri-Art’s wash water, which has then been re-processed into thick and thin acrylic paint formats. By producing Sludge, Tri-Art are able to keep 100% of the water used in cleaning out of the local sewage system.
I am collecting material for packing and buying paper tape. Soon I will make a blog post about all the environmentally friendly products that I have found.
4. I am making a list of future projects and cunning plans that I want to achieve this year, and that list will end up on my studio wall to act as an incentive.
5. I shall set my self some personal challenges, a really good way to claw yourself up out of the sinking sands of creative block. Make them achievable and useful, simple things like a new sketchbook that must have a quick sketch in every day. Mine is combined with a daily walk, before breakfast, draw something, anything, its amazing how good it is for kindling ideas. Of course it doesn’t have to be drawing, you might be an embroidery artist, a ceramicist, a photographer, do it your way and with your thing.
6. I check my website, of course super easy with Artlook, make sure that it is up to date, has what I want on it. I often make collections of images so that I can change the home page according to the seasons. Perhaps change collections of paintings and what I have for sale.
7. Last but not least I make a new painting apron! Here is the pattern I use.
And that’s about it, New Year ideas to get you through the slump days and into full swing for a brand new and very successful and happy new year I hope.
Happy New Year
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