Like all artists, I go through the frustration of people around me assuming that I have a lot of "free time" in my hands since I "work" from home. Mostly I have gotten around to ignoring comments like "you are painting as a hobby" or "its not like you have a job", sometimes I put my foot down and say, well it might be easier if I have a job, but instead I run a business! This week in review - actually just the last 3 days and this morning, is to give an idea on what it takes to be a professional artist these days.
Monday was cleaning day in the studio: I moved all the stuff around that needed to, filled up the trash can, cleared all the tables so I can start my coasters project next week, organized all the paints, cleaned brushes & palettes. When S got back from work, he helped with vacuuming the place & re-do the carpets and floor coverings.
I had to finish a large 36"x48" commissioned painting & ship it this week - I was waiting to hear from the client for the go ahead to put the sealant coating and when it came through, here are some of the finishing steps:
|Drying on the Easel|
- On Monday, I removed all the sketch lines that were still visible
- On Tuesday morning I did a second coat of black gesso on the sides and did one coat of sealant
- On Wednesday morning I did a second coat of sealant, & signed on the back
- Tonight I have to buy hangers with double screws for it and attach them
- Tomorrow I have to cling wrap it and take it to UPS for more packing & shipping.
- I also spent time FB messaging with the client
I have also re-started and finished this painting of a name on a cabinet door for a little one, a much delayed present, and need to have it ready by Monday. As of now, it is waiting for a second coat of sealant and needs to be wired on the back.
I had another friend bring by this Krishna statue for a little fixing that took a good chunk of an hour on Tuesday. This is one of those instances when a good 2 days worth of work for which I get paid, could restore this beautiful piece. But this is the best I could afford to do during a crazy week. (I have a policy of not doing unpaid professional work, but sometimes find myself making concessions for friends).
- Time spent on phone calls and chatting with the friend during drop-off
Here is another commissioned painting that is in progress that I have hardly managed to make much progress on in the last couple of weeks. I did put two base coats of gold color on the birds this week. It has been staring at me from the table evoking a little guilt every now and then! At least I am not on a deadline to get it done in the next week or so.
I was hoping to get this dragonfly painting completed for my last outdoor show of the season this weekend, but that's not going to happen! Oh, dragonfly has to wait a couple more weeks for some flowers & leaves to appear.
- Time spent messaging with a potentially interested client regarding this painting
And on Tuesday I painted these two wooden planks with black gesso (as I was working on the large piece) and yesterday they got these color coats. Now they are also staring at me from the table, waiting to be painted with geckos.
In addition to all these - I applied for two holiday shows (filled out applications, wrote checks, mailed them, worked on editing and sending pictures for jury by email), followed up on another application from 2 weeks back, posted a few pictures on FB, updated my website with the Sugar Skull painting finished last week (http://www.artbybala.com/paintings/henna), planned for a holiday open house at my house -- for this I researched printing door hangers and distributing in the neighborhood / using the USPS small business promotion options to send out postcards -- all till S came home and vetoed the idea of the open house! Not to mention the 200 notecards I ordered this week during a sale at the printers, updated my inventory of notecards & prints, updated my newsletter mailing list and work on a template & a plan to send one out next week (you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/ShQLz).
I am not complaining, but trying to explain that in addition to the time I actually spend holding a brush or playing with paint in the studio, there is a ton of other responsibilities that goes with being a professional artist. Unless I invest time in marketing, I cannot put my art in front of people who appreciate them or can afford to buy them. Then there is the element of networking - though I am not doing much of it offline, there is still time spent online to connect with people. There is always social media that takes a good amount of time for promoting the works. I also have to spend time researching what I am going to work on next - ideally creating sketches for the flowers on the dragonfly painting, and ideas for the geckos.
Hopefully I have now managed to convince you a little bit to not ask me about my "free time" or "hobby" :)
Off I go to prepare lunch!