Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Resolutions (vs Reality)

Comfort, 2007, Oil on Panel, 9x9

Last year I publicly announced a list of New Year's resolutions. I was sure that if I said them out loud I would be more likely to accomplish them. HA!

I am listing my resolutions for 2007. What actually happened is in italics after each item.

1. Organize and then KEEP my desk and paperwork up to date.

Not even close. I still have not filled out an inventory sheet for most of the paintings that I did in 2006, let alone 2007. I do have all the info in various place on my computer, but have I even backed that up? No. I will be renewing this resolution for 2008.

2. Keep my studio clean and tidy.

Ha again! I did what I usually do-clean it thoroughly, then let it get so messy that I can barely get to the easel. Right now it is very tidy though, and I am loving it.

3. More studio time, less computer time.

Double ha! I totally spent way too much time on the computer in 2007, however I did get rid of the sore elbow that I had last year, by switching the use of my mouse to my left hand. It took some doing to get used to that but I figure I have at least another year of daily use before the radiating pain begins in my left elbow.

4. Attend weekly figure drawing sessions at the local art association, even though the models are usually clothed rather than unclothed and even though it's on one of my favorite TV nights.

I went once in January and once last fall. A spectacular failure.

5. Develop new imagery for my oils.

I started to work on some different things last January but then I got really busy with the landscape work again and so experimenting fell by the wayside. I feel sad about this but I was pleased with how my landscape and barn work evolved, so I am not too bent out of shape here.

6. Pull out some of the 7 million pastels sticks that I have (that are hidden from my kids who LOVE sidewalk chalk, if you get my drift) and play around with them a bit, without worrying about the following:

a). how to store the pieces
b). how to frame them or
c). how good they are OR
d). how bad they are and
e). whether the galleries will want to show them or not.

My pastels are in exactly the same spot as last year. Again, I didn't have enough time or energy to experiment and the thought of confronting a,b,c,d,e, was too overwhelming.

7. Work on getting some coverage in publications such as The Artist's Magazine.

Didn't even lift a finger here.

8. Update my info and start sending my packets out again to galleries in cities such as NYC and Boston.

Or here. Well, that isn't quite true. I did email the link to my website to a gallery in NYC, who now shows (and sells) my work. So technically I did lift a finger after I hit send. Does that count?

9. Save as much money as I can, in order to pay for a new building for my studio in 2008.

I did save a little bit, but because of our personal expenses (like having the house painted and property taxes) I didn't save as much as I could have otherwise, However, just being able to write that sentence is monumental and I am proud of it. I went for a dozen years with a big fat zero in my earnings column on our tax return and to now be able to claim a real income, let alone being able to pay for something like a new roof or paint job makes me feel a bit teary eyed. However, a new studio will have to wait until 2009.

10. Um, earn more money for #9.

This one I accomplished!!! My income for 2007 was a respectable number, especially for an artist, and it was a 70% increase over my income in 2006. I was hoping for a 20% increase so more than that was just icing on the cake.

With the notable exception of #10, I think I can safely say that my resolution list was pretty much a bomb. But that's ok. I didn't really feel tied to those goals, especially since I had so many positive things happening, things that kept me accomplishing those specific items, but allowed me to achieve things I hadn't really thought about yet.

These are some of the things that I did do last year:

1. My badly kept records (I can keep track by how many jpegs I have made) indicate that I painted about 170 paintings in 2007. About two dozen of those are currently in the inventory of the galleries that represent me, I have a few pieces here in my own inventory, plus the 23 pieces for the show at The Harrison Gallery. Which means that...

2. I sold 111 paintings in 2007!! A few less than in 2006 (114 that year), but....

3. 2007 was the year I painted big! I did 16 paintings that were 24x36 or larger (that's big to me) and working that large was a challenge to me in every way. And all of them have been sold so I guess it was a good direction to take.

4. I had 4 solo shows and participated in 5 group shows.

5. I donated 3 paintings to local fundraisers.

6. I applied for and was accepted to the Vermont Studio Center for a one month artist residency.

7. I read too many books to list, not as many as I would have liked, but more than I have been able to read in the past few years.

8. I raised 8 new baby chicks, saved them from being killed by the older hens, and we are now enjoying their eggs each day.

9. I knitted 5 scarves and one sweater. Again, less than I used to do, but more than I have been able to do lately.

10. I traveled more than usual. I went to New Mexico (twice), Atlanta, spent a few weekends in NYC with Doug, and had a week long family vacation in New Hampshire.

11. I was able to spend some time with my mom before she died last August, and am now happy to have my sister back in my life.

12. And my best accomplishment was keeping the kids, household and husband on track for another year.

These things were so much more meaningful and important to me than the resolutions I had made. But, because I am an idiot, I will extend the 2007 resolutions for another year and see what happens. Maybe I'll end up with a museum show. Or a field of sheep. Or a new baby. heh.

I shouldn't even joke about that last one.


Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

Happy New Year Tracy! I am awed at your resolutions and accomplishments.. I am too chicken (heh) to list mine publicly just yet. I do hope that one day I will be able to follow in your and Lisa Call's footsteps. Meanwhile I wanted to thank you for inspiring me with your art and I hope you don't mind if I give you the "Make My Day Award". and you don't have to give it to anyone else if you don't want to, it is not tag.. thank you!

Angela Wales Rockett said...

You were even busier than I suspected! Congratulations on such a successful year, and best wishes for continued success in 2008.

I got the painting and I LOVE IT! Thank you so much!!!

Happy New Year!

Kris Cahill said...

Your work is beautiful, and you accomplished so much in 2007, you are amazing!! I wouldn't even worry about what didn't get done, you are already a success. Glad I found your blog on 101 Artists Blogs.
Happy New Year!

Christine DeCamp said...

You go, girl! Congratulations! I think the actual accomplishments outweigh the resolutions.

Lisa Call said...

You rock! Congratulations on the very awesome year.

I skipped the comparing part this year - I didn't want to go there and didn't even read what I wrote at the beginning of the year.

Happy New Year! I hope 2008 brings you what you want. Sheep!

Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

Happy New Year Tracy! Congratulations on all your successes. Your paintings this year have never ceased to make me stop and just stare at the screen. :) I hope to see one in person one day as I know the screen doesn't do your work justice. Thank you for being a a never ending source of inspiration!

Tracy Helgeson said...

Oh, thanks, Natalya, that's so nice of you to include me on your list. I am flattered. Happy New Year to you too!

Hi Angela, so glad you like the Pay It Forward painting. It was a busy year, but I got enough down time too, so that was good.

Hi Kris, thanks so much for stopping by! I am not too worried about what I didn't do, with the exception of the figure drawing-I really should be keeping up with that.

Christine, I agree, I am pleased with what I did do!

Thanks, Lisa, and puh-leez, don't you accomplish ALL of your goals, while the rest of us look at our lists and bail out?:) I need a nap after just skimming through your goals:)

Thanks Bridgette, and you never know, I may just do another Pay It Forward again!

Anonymous said...

Your paintings are gorgeous and I congratulate you on your success in 2007. For you, it seems your inner self cut off the "critic" that would have directed you to accomplish your goals. Instead, you painted and painted and painted and look what happened! Maybe 2008 goals should just be to repeat 2007 plus some!


Jason Waskey said...

Always remember: No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.

Sounds like what you did make progress on was great! Congrats on what you accomplished, and great luck moving forward to 2008.

Happy New Year!

Chris Rywalt said...

One hundred eleven?!

Good Christ. I now feel like a complete and total loser.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Marsha, I think I WILL just keep painting this year and see what happens again:)

Jason, good point! I am very happy with what I did manage to accomplish and it was much more enjoyable than those dreary goals I always set up:)

Chris, don't feel bad, in 2003 my sales were a big fat zero and in 2004? Seven. After that it ramped up, but I still remember the zero years.