Week in Review 2020 – 02/06

How should I spend my time… making art?

A question I’ve been asked more than once is how much time I spend in my studio. Sometimes, but not always, this question is coupled with a comment that the one asking doesn’t have the time to make art, but longs for the day when this will be the case. I am fortunate, I don’t need to make a living with my art. I do view my self as a professional, part of being a professional is showing up to do the work. Most artists, myself included choose to share their art. The trick is to find a balance between getting one’s art into the world and making the art itself.

I created Balancing Act as part of my exploration into Shifting Values. I was thinking less about how best to balance my art and promoting my art, as I was how to balance art with the non art side of my life.

When I began sharing my art the only way I knew to learn about calls for entry for quilts was through advertisements in quilting magazines. Now calls can be found through organizations, galleries, and arrive in my in-box almost daily. Currently, images of artwork accompany calls for entry digitally. Then, one had to submit slides. Every slide was marked with a red dot in the corner specified, an arrow indicating the orientation, and often copious amounts of information, such as the title of the work and your home address.

This is my latest weekly drawing. The tutorial I followed to create it is available through Circle Line Art School. Doesn’t it represent balance well?

…Or marketing my art?

The internet has opened up a cornucopia of ways to share artwork. This, too, has evolved with the times. I started with a website. Now, I have a website, write this blog, and post to both FaceBook and Instagram. I could be doing a lot more. That is the point of this post. How does one strike the perfect balance between marketing one’s art and actually creating it. I can’t say I have the answer. Do you?

Sometimes the best way to promote one’s work is by attending artist functions. This is precisely what I will be doing, Friday, February 12th from 6 – 7 pm ET. I am a member of a group of exhibiting artists who live in my town and host annual open studios. Since opening our studios is unwise at the moment, we are hosting Virtual Artist Receptions once a month. I will be one of the three featured artists in February. If you would like to attend, let me know and I will send you an invitation.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

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By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.

8 comments

  1. I think you made that Shifting Values when we were in Fiber Revolution. It’s terrific!
    I would like an invite, too, altho I’m not entirely sure I can make it. I have a Zoom meeting weekly at 5. I can always leave early.

  2. I’m torn. I sell my art, but I detest “marketing”, so aside from SAQA exhibits and donations, I’ve chosen “small” — as in local art/gift shops and an annual local art sale (thankfully/hopefully on this year after the 2020 cancellation) — and I generally take commissions if they come my way. I sell it because it piles up in my small house, and because I like to see the smiles it brings to those who buy it. But I will never “market” it in a big way. Not my style.

    1. I understand, Margaret. I doubt there are many artists who enjoy the marketing side of getting their work seen. Working with a gallery/gift shop is a great way to go. They do the marketing for you. The trick, that you have aptly resolved, is to find what works best for you and do it.

  3. First of all, YES PLEASE send me an invitation! :-). I’d love to attend! Second, in response to that question about how much time I spend in my studio or “how long did it take you to make that” — coupled with a remark about how the person asking “wishes they had time” to create — All of this annoys me in an era when people have plenty of time to binge through entire television series on NetFlix. People today have more leisure time to create than at any other time in human history. I think about how our ancestors found time to create the ancient art and artifacts in museums even though they had to expend a tremendous amount of time and energy just to survive. Tell the hunter-gatherer cave painting artist about how you have “no time” to make art, even though you’re able to order your groceries and takeout meals online from your comfy living room sofa. Yes, it’s a choice to use the time we have to be creative, just as it’s a choice to spend hours a day watching television. As for the chore of marketing one’s art — have you read Margaret Atwood’s novel “Cat’s Eye?” The main character is a middle-aged painter and the plot centers around her going back to the town in Canada where she grew up because a gallery there is doing a retrospective of her work. There are some interesting passages where the artist is deciding what to wear to the opening, almost as if she’s choosing a costume to fit the public’s perception of what an artist is supposed to look like, and some lovely bits where she’s being interviewed by the local newspaper and is torn between the things she knows she ought to say and project in the interview in order to best promote her work, versus the things she really WANTS to say to the reporter.

    1. I have been checking my Spam and Trash “Comment” bins regularly, but somehow your comment from last week didn’t appear until today. So sorry, this means I missed being able to send you an invitation to the Artist Reception.

      Thank you for the suggestion to read Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye. I tend to be in the minority when it comes to Atwood’s work. However, how I can resist reading something that features the internal dialogue of what an artist knows she should say versus what she would really like to say.

      Years ago, I taught a one hour workshop on time management. I began with a statement that we all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. It is how we choose to use that time that differs.

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