Thursday, July 03, 2014

Thursday Confessional #4 - 5 Things I Will Probably Stop Doing for the Next While

Well, as the Wycliffe project wraps up I've been forced to have those "what do I want to be when I grow up" conversations. One thing I've noticed is that I have a tendency to say "yes" to pretty much everything that lands on my plate, whether I'm inspired by it or not. I was reading this on the Red Lemon Club site and it lead me to today's confessional.

I've had to send a few emails this week about upcoming project ideas to let people know where I am at right now and while it was tough, I also felt a huge sense of relief. This list isn't about regretting things I've already done. It's just more what I've learned about what I like/don't like in my experiences and seeing that it can be very easy to let others fill your calendar up with projects they are interested in. Plus we are a one regular income house right now with three kids who keep growing out of their clothes.

So, in no particular order....

1. Doing things that are solely "good for exposure". Passive exposure alone has actually rarely has built my business and I think sometimes when my work is hung in a non-selling-art-environment it tells people it isn't for sale. Plus often putting my work up in places results in grimy spots and damaged corners etc. I'm good with networking stuff, things that are valuable for my C.V. but not everything that comes my way does these things.

2. Volunteering my time/talents to create new things. Volunteering for an event is different than doing creative work in the sense that creative work can deplete you creatively as well as use your time. Right now I'm finding I'm tapped for creativity for my own stuff let alone others. When I'm contributing to someone else's project, I find I don't do anything of my own because I can't focus well on two different things at once.

3. Special pricing (for myself and for others). I've decided to try moving to a pretty bland pricing system based on price/sq inch. Most of my prices have actually fallen into that over the years but if I've been attached to a piece I've tended to over inflate its value. Also, while I will still discount friends and family, I'm just going to be sticking to a generic reduced price/sq inch for y'all because that causes me too much agony to decide how low I should go for you.

4. Donating stuff to charitable causes. I love helping people, often to my detriment. However, I'll confess (this is a confessional afterall) that when I donate a painting to an auction, it often goes far below market value. Like embarrassingly under market value. Given that I have had to give my time to paint the item, spend money on materials and sometimes even paid for shipping... I lose inventory and it isn't good for my collectors to see the discounted paintings others are buying and its personally painful. If I support your charity, it will be by selling some of my work and cutting you a cheque. We both win.

5. Being a hermit, afraid to sell stuff or stuck in a rut. If you only knew how many times I've changed the topic when people have asked about buying stuff for the past few years, you'd realize how much I hate talking numbers and thinking about that sort of thing. Very awkward. Same goes for making new friends, getting out there and trying new things. Now that I have more time to paint, I'm looking ahead and kind of at a loss of where to go with it next.

In summary, I've decided for now that in order to move ahead (and be able to afford to do new projects) I have to treat my time more seriously. I read recently that the moment you stop giving away your art for free is the moment that people start paying for it.

What that looks like in the coming months, where I"ll sell, what I'll paint etc I haven't totally decided yet.


Carol Allen Anfinsen said...

Loved this article, Michele. I've been going through this same analysis and process this past year. I came to the exact came conclusions as you. All this belonging to a League stuff and donating your time and talents is highly overrated.

Good luck to you!

Michelle Wiebe said...

Thank you, Carol - it's a process to arrive at these decisions for sure. I do believe there is a season for everything, I do hope one day I'll have enough security/inventory to help some causes, I just know right now I'm in a build my business season.