hello 2023

i’m not really one for new year’s resolutions, but i did burn some affirmations and promises to myself in the new year’s eve fire while the neighborhood fireworks were exploding overhead.

one thing i’ve been working on that i’m committing to even harder in 2023 is to make making art a habit. a daily habit. otherwise called an art practice. the art2life spark program helped me get into a good groove through the fall, but my november sickness and then december holiday madness kinda interrupted my consistency. so i’ve recommitted and am using a printed out monthly calendar taped to the studio wall as a helpful visual – every day i spend even 20 minutes in the studio working on something, i can make a big red X for that day. simple and kind of ridiculous but it really helps me.

so far, it looks like this.

i haven’t managed every single day, but i got a good start and was only waylayed by the memorial i helped plan for my recently departed friend and art mentor nita. (you can read more about her via the tribute i posted on my personal blog.) but now i’m back and doubling down on showing up for myself in the studio every day. my pet schedule is slow enough that i really don’t have any excuses right now.

i’ve completed all the exercises and all but 3 of the free pages in my sparkbook (see previous posts to hear more about the spark program i’ve been doing), and have been working on some other canvases and wood panels. i spent some time working on a special pink/orange/white w/silver background “you are loved” canvas with the intention of donating it to the pussyfooters for their blush ball auction. unfortunately, it didn’t really turn out as i’d hoped and i wasn’t able to fix it in time to donate it. it was a good idea but i started on it way too late considering it was a new colorway that i’d never done before and i chose to experiment with using silver paint for the background and paint pens for the stenciled letters instead of spray painting. (it didn’t really work great, so the letters look fat and uneven.) it is more or less done now but i can’t really fix the lettering without starting completely over so i think it’ll just get scrapped. maybe i’ll get it together for next year’s ball. (sorry debra!)

i’ve almost paid off the spark program. to recap, it was a $500 investment that i used paypal credit to pay for so i had 6 months no interest to pay it off. i have til march on the promotional time period but i think i’m down to $75 to pay it off, which is great since i just had to charge $350 on my care credit card for stencil’s recent vet visit, rabies vax, bloodwork, probiotics, and pricey antibiotics. i’m sure i’ll be paying more on that soon, but they also give me a 6 month no interest option for anything over $200, so at least i have time to pay it off.

money is unfortunately on my mind right now because my pet biz is so slow. i lost a few pet clients to death in the fall, and now i’m losing another client due to moving at the end of this week, and yet another client will be moving in a few months. i’ve picked up one 2x/week walking client and have a few pet sits on the books but i could use a few more regular walking gigs to fill in the gaps. all of this is to say, i’m scraping by but barely right now.

which makes me really sad because i really want to sign up for the next art2life program that’s coming up, called CVP (creative visionary program). it’s a much more in-depth course that lasts 12 weeks and you have access to the program for a year. it builds upon the spark program that i’ve just completed and it’s on par with taking a college level class in painting/art-making. well, actually, most who take it say much of what is covered they never learned in art school. it’s a time for honing painting and discernment skills, really finding oneself as an artist. and i feel like i desperately need and want this and that the timing is right for me in my current art practice. but it costs $2300+ for the class and though i do barely have that much credit available right now since i’ve been paying some things down, to max out my credit card feels like a very irresponsible thing to do financially. (paypal credit wouldn’t really help me out cuz 6 months wouldn’t be enough time to make the monthly payments affordable to me.) i haven’t sold any art in a long time and if i take the class, it wouldn’t be a time that i would be making things to sell, just as the past few months have been not about making sellable art but about exploration. i’d like to think taking it will bring me to a place where i can actually recoup the cost in future art sales but again, that seems like pie-in-the-sky thinking and it makes me scared to think of piling on the debt at a time when i can barely pay my bills.

sigh. what to do. i can try to do a sale of all the old work i have sitting around, but at best that will only net me a few hundred bucks. i wish i had any ideas for a new t-shirt design, but since i’ve been in the painting mode, my brain hasn’t really been thinking in design mode. and even if i did, again, it would probably only make me a few hundred bucks. i don’t know how to come up with a few thousand that i don’t also need to just survive.

CVP doesn’t start until february 23rd, and is preceeded by a free 5 day workshop that i’ve already signed up for. the timing is not great though as it’s right at the height of carnival, feb. 13-17. i love a free workshop but basically the whole point of it is to give a preview of what CVP is and to convince you to sign up. art2life has a good marketing game going on, they know how to hook you in. but i’ve also seen so many artists who’ve taken the class give glowing testimonials and produce amazing work. and it just feels like taking classes is an accountability measure that speeds up the progress i can make vs working on my own. i really like nick wilton and his whole woo woo vibe and schpeal – it resonates with me. and i feel like spark really helped plant some seeds and helped me find some threads i want to keep pursuing with my art. (i wish i would have found something like this in my 20s or 30s cuz i’d be so much further along in my art process, but i guess i’m here now for a reason.)

so. i have my thinking cap on and am open to any suggestions on how i can come up with a couple of thousand dollars in the next very busy social mardi gras month. i can’t ask people to donate money to me – not after that giant go fund me that got me through brain surgery. i just can’t. if i had known about art2life then, i would have gotten on board with some of that money at that time. but i didn’t. and i have to believe it’s happening now for a reason, that i am actually finally ready for it now. it feels like a test of my commitment – can i figure out a way to (wo)manifest this money so i can sign up for the class? or will i let this opportunity slip by and have to wait another year to do it? (they only offer cvp once a year at this time.)

well i guess stay tuned to find out what happens!