2009 is starting out pretty slowly for me, but that is fine. Outside the weather is alternating between heavy tropical showers and blasting hot sun. The temperature has been in the low 30's C (high 80-low 90s F) but the humidity has been 80%+. There's something about the humidity that just seems to sap the energy from you, as if by osmosis, so I've been staying inside sheltering in the air conditioning. I tend to think of this weather as our tropical equivalent of being snowed in!
The new year always starts off slowly for me due to the weather, and after the pace of last year, I really want to make sure I change a few things this year. For the last few years I've really been in a fairly unwise place when it comes to my health, always playing catch-up and resting just enough to keep going. The need to finally make it to the end of my masters coloured every day and it is really important to me that I re-evaluate and make some decisions that are good for me.
This sounds as if the masters was "forced" on me, and of course it wasn't, but it was something I wanted to do that was about achieving according to terms set by the outside world. Now I've done that, and I'm very pleased and proud that I have, but I do acknowledge there was a significant cost. So far it doesn't seem to be as serious as I feared it might be, but that doesn't diminish the realisation that I must look after myself much more than I have in the past. No more waiting till the warning bells are so loud they are deafening.
The end of my masters has placed me at a crossroad, at I'm peering down the alternative paths, wondering which to choose next. With the blossoming of etsy.com and the general online art community, I've realised that there are a lot of people out there who earn money from their art, and that being an artist isn't necessarily about getting really famous. I realize that sounds incredibly naive, but I have come from a very non-art oriented family, or at least one that saw an artist as the rare genius we read about in art history books. As a result I always thought I'd make money from my "real career" (OT) and this would allow me to pursue art without any thought of generating an income from it. Since my involvement with art came after I developed CFS, this just meant both of these would be on an extremely part-time basis.
Now I'm wondering about the possibility of gearing my art practice towards sale-able objects. For over a year, even without this consideration, I've been subscribing to Alyson B. Stanfield's Art Biz Blog. I receive the free newsletter weekly, and have joined a couple of the online teleseminars which piqued my interest. There's a lot of good information on this website free, and I have been enjoying the slow drip feeding of business/marketing ideas over time - it's an area that really makes me squirm, but I know it's important.
It's all inspired me to think about how I could make art to sell, in a really, really low-stress way. I don't want to be rushing around, trying to meet self-imposed deadlines and making life unbearable and stressy for everyone around me. So, is it possible to make a body of work and then just "release" it? Either online in a virtual store, or in a real one? Should I put myself up for commissions? Or maybe it's better to stick to making work for exhibition and leave organising the actual gallery until the work is completed. More thinking to do....suggestions welcome!