Wow. I have been pathetic at keeping up with the creative goals I set for myself. Can I blame the holidays? My husband and I did a great deal of traveling and socializing, but there were certainly opportunities to be just the slightest bit productive. Oh well. I guess that's what New Year's resolutions are for, right? As this crazy year draws to a close, I thought I'd share a few of my hopes and intentions for 2018.
MY FUTURE IN ART:
I've dabbled in a variety of painting styles, with subjects ranging from landscapes to nature close-ups to still lifes (and yes, that is the correct plural...I had to look it up!). The most enthusiastic response from viewers, however, has been for my classic automobile series. From photos I take at car shows and museums, I paint a realistic portrait . . . not of the entire vehicle, but a vignette of a hood ornament or a headlight or the sleek curve of a fender. These works are definitely challenging. Any auto enthusiast would immediately notice a lapse in perspective or detail, so I have to be diligent in getting it just right. That takes time. A LOT of time! So far, I've completed three portraits, and am about halfway through another. My plan is to paint four more before I market them as a cohesive exhibit.
But how to present them? The gallery option is certainly attractive, as the business aspect is taken care of for me. It requires no marketing, no publicity, no paperwork. Unfortunately, it DOES require I give up a good percentage of my sales. When I exhibited in Scottsdale, Arizona, the gallery commission was 50%. Ouch! Not to mention having to deal with a seriously flaky owner, but that's a story for another time.
The other option is to sell it myself. Classic car owners are my target audience, and the best place to find the ones with deep pockets? Barrett-Jackson auto auctions, of course! I've done a bit of research, and an indoor booth would cost a couple thousand dollars. It would run another thousand to make and package prints, plus I'd need to cover my travel expenses. Pricey, yes, but oh, the exposure! Hell, Jay Leno is a classic automobile enthusiast. Perhaps he might wander by my display, stop in wonder and awe, and immediately buy my entire stock of paintings! Yeah, right. But I may find some buyers who want their sleek chrome treasures immortalized in oil paint, and offer them (very expensive!) commissioned works. The more I think about it, the better I like this plan, and hey, it might even be a lot of fun!
MY FUTURE IN WRITING:
It's daunting. Every time I breathe a sigh of relief thinking my novel is perfectly edited and ready to go, I discover it's not! That isn't a bad thing, however. Before I submit the manuscript to a new round of agents, I want it to be flawless. I want it to grab them by the collar, throw them into a chair, and compel them to read it all in one sitting! Fortunately, I still have a few friends who are patient enough to read it, and then offer outstanding suggestions, leaving me saying, "Well, damn. Why didn't I think of that??!"
I'm also impatiently waiting for my short story 'Defiance' to be judged. I entered it into an online contest run by James Patterson's Masterclass. The voting was supposed to be over December 3rd, but apparently the staff underestimated the sheer volume of entries: over 700! The top eight to ten will be published in an anthology, and . . . well, this may sound a wee bit cocky, but I think my story has a pretty solid chance of being chosen. Yes, I read most of the competition. Some were simply awful from the first line, so I moved on. Most were just forgettable. A handful, however, were well-written and provocative, and if the judges decide mine is among them, the honor will be a nice juicy plum I can throw into my query letters to agents. The old saying about not being able to get a job without experience, but how can you get experience without a job rings true in the publishing biz. Many agents won't even consider a query by a debut author. Fingers crossed that I can conquer that handicap!
Yes, 2017 has presented its challenges, but I've learned so much, and I'm ready to put its lessons to use. After all, the new year is a pristine white canvas in front of me, ready to be painted in splashes of bold, bright, optimistic colors. Or . . . wait . . . maybe it's a crisp, blank sheet of paper longing to tell a story of intriguing characters on amazing adventures.
Whatever. Either will do nicely.