With the thought of 2011 coming to a close, and another birthday to celebrate tomorrow, I find myself looking back upon 2011 and the changes that I've gone though and what I hope to see happen in 2012. In some areas, I've seen marked improvement. In others, I'm seeing some growth but some stifling issues on creativity causing major block. While I struggle with the later, I'm focusing on the former hoping that when I am ready to return to creating for the later, I'll be ready to jump in head first.
This morning, I glanced back at my overall progress as a model horse painter looking at the marked improvement since I first started back in 1985. Here's a piece I'm just finishing up - these images are still progress photos but you get the idea. This little guy was commissioned for a paint job with "artist license" - in other words, I was able to let the piece tell me what he wanted for color and pattern and I'm so happy this client allowed me to do that. Sometimes trying to force a color on a model that "isn't feeling it" ends up in a less than stellar job - at least to me. But then again, I'm ALWAYS really hard on myself.
I also studied my progress as a greeting card creator. With the opening of my first online "store" at one particular POD, my overall statistics since joining there a few years ago have shown some improvement, quite to my surprise. I currently have sold 200 more cards than I did last year. It's not anything I can pay bills with at the moment but it's a step in the right direction. I've still got so much to learn, but hey, 200 more cards is still 200 more cards and the year hasn't finished out yet. Now, where's my bar chart??
I'll readily admit creativity in that department has waned significantly due to new "marketability" guidelines which I originally freaked out about, then embraced as I gained further insight into the need and reasoning behind. I took a great deal of time to study my own products and made changes I hope are to the better. But then, I started hearing stories of major inconsistencies in the review process for approval or denial. So, now I'm wondering whether or not my work will survive the culling process after all is said and done. While I fret with these problems, I started looking at other avenues as I prepare for a long winter which is promising to be cold and snowy. With some added support of fellow card designing artists, I'm looking at other avenues to market my cards while the changes continue to be made. I'm focusing efforts on a second store with a different POD at the moment since I also have the ability to create more than just greeting cards. When I opened up there a couple years ago, I sold I think but one item. This year, I've seen several more sales. Again, it's not enough to make a living on, but marked improvement.
My photography will be a great winter project to focus on when the snows fall - reorganizing my entire digital library for one, maybe entering a contest or two with my more successful images, and seeing how I can use them for future projects. I'm also taking the time to learn some new forms of art to add to my skill set. As a paraprofessional at a local middle school, I've been tickled with the creations the students are making using simple colored pencil drawings. I've been inspired to try my hand at it and I'll post later my first unfinished piece.
The moral of this story, keep trying. Sometimes it does take time to see the fruits of your labors take off. If one thing isn't working well at the moment, try something else until the inspiration comes back to find you.