Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year, New Blog, New Plan

This is it...this is the year...I am finally going to get back to concentrating on making and marketing my own art. For a long time I was creating everyday and doing well marketing my work online and in a few galleries. Then one day, someone asked if I did art classes for kids, as she was having a really hard time finding something for her child. Originally, I said "no", but after she asked me to consider it several more times, I finally thought, "Why not?" I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to combine my art knowledge with my background in working with children.

So I started a Saturday class and it filled up. I added another class and it filled up too. Next a student's mother told me that her daughter loved my class so much that she wanted to have an art party, would I consider hosting it? I was having a blast at this point and feeling so inspired by the children's enthusiam that I went for it. It was a huge success and the referrals started pouring in. Before you knew it, I needed a 1200 square foot studio space, was doing classes 5 days a week, parties every weekend and a summer scheme (summer camp). It just snowballed!

There were also hen parties (bachelorette parties for those not in the UK), workshops for adults, school just kept expanding and expanding! I couldn't complain. I was featured in magazines, got a regular feature writing an art and craft column for a family newspaper and even got some TV coverage. It got to the point that if you lived within 30 miles of my studio and had kids, you knew my name because your child had either attended one of my classes or been to one of my parties. Everywhere I went, I seemed to run into a child who knew me. I had to watch my language everywhere! LOL

I loved it, I really did, but it became so much more than I ever expected. One day I realized I hadn't picked up a paintbrush, except to hand it to a student for at least 6 months. I had stopped marketing my work online and had let my gallery contacts dry up. I was knee deep in art everyday, but none of it was my own anymore. I needed balance!

So I made the tough decision of closing my studio, and believe me it was one of the HARDEST decisions I have ever made. I ate, slept, and breathed that place for several years and it was a part of me. But in creating it, I had also lost the most important part of me...Jolie, the artist! I gave up the space, only keeping a few large workshop accounts and one private student, then set about rediscovering my creative self.

After joining some online art groups and workshops, connecting with other creative people and immersing myself in art, I'M BACK and creating what I feel is the best art of my life. I'm certainly enjoying it most I ever have, which is the most important thing.

So here's the brand new plan...concentrate on getting my artwork out there again. I'm going to blog. I'm going to twitter. I'm going to etsy. I'm going to flickr. I'm going to youtube. I'm going to finally update my website. I'm going to contact galleries. I'm going to stay connected with other creative people. Whatever it takes....and of course, I'm going to keep painting.

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