As many of you know I have been heading off into all sorts of new directions this year. I made a deal with myself during treatment for cancer to take opportunities and just see where they led me, so it has been quite the ride in lots of ways. I have taken on lots of illustration projects... some huge, some small, most challenging, some I could share, like the amazing teas which are shown below, which totally fell into the fun side of the illustration ledger, and lots of others weren't shareable which has led to there being a lot less work shown on the blog etc. Most of the projects have been fun and challenging and the learning curve was really steep at times, an ant jogging up a mountain steep, but it has been pretty positive, except for one thing... it takes a crazy amount of my time. I work ridiculous hours now and life is one huge juggling act, and I cannot juggle people. I can barely catch one ball let alone the five squillion I have in the air all the time. Add to that launching a website and the opening of the etsy shop and some cracks have started appearing... not little cracks either, more like gaping canyons that need ladders lashed together to get over. I have not been an easy camper to live with at times, and while I still believe I have managed to be the innately charming soul I think have always been, it may have been a stretch to say that I haven't been prone to more than a few moments of behaving like a surly sod.
I am just going to say it... I am not a huge Etsy fan...not because I have only sold one print since it opened a few weeks ago, because I do believe that I would have sales in time because I have sold so many prints over the years, but it is lots of little things... these things are too numerous to discuss as this is wordy enough already, and I know a lot of people have a lot of success there, but it doesn't sit so well with me. I had set up a website as a hub for illustration, classes etc, and the Etsy store doesn't fit easily within it... the pricing structures don't encourage the really high quality prints I would want to buy myself etc... and don't get me started on the need to bombard your Instagram feed etc with your products... it just doesn't feel like me... and I was stressed... seriously stressed... I was finding I had
little no time to make any art for myself, for blogging or visiting blogging friends, and I have so many emails waiting for replies I considered actually turfing the computer in the pool and saying it was hit by a freak wave. Instead of painting and doing stuff that makes me bearable to the people who have to live with me, I found myself working on marketing plans and the like, and I am crap at all that... I just don't like it, but I was rolling along sort of half hanging in there, busy being stressed and thinking this is the path at the moment etc. But then in quick succession a few things have happened to make me question that it is the path.
Just for the hell of it I got some professional standard scans and prints done, and the quality was just so lovely, like perfectly lovely.... They were just so much nicer and I was proud of them, and would happily hang them on my wall. Are they pricier....yep... would they be hard to sell on Etsy... dear god yes... do I care... nope... I love the higher quality. I was madly wondering how to go about restructuring etc when an opportunity to apply to sell through a great platform that I love came up... the downside was they require only professional quality prints, which is hardly a downside after seeing the difference a great quality print makes... I can sell through my own website as well, so I was starting to feel a bit excited. I may actually have found the perfect platform... well as perfect as it can be in a commercial setting. Will I look like a bit of a goose because I just set up the Etsy shop, and all that.... probably... but I would rather be a happy goose, than a miserable one so the application process has begun. My nerves are shot, and I am juggling three illustration jobs at the same time, but it is all exciting and it feels more right if you know what I mean.
This was promptly followed by an out of left field opportunity to do with my painting... like a once in a blue moon chance that made my heart beat faster and has started an avalanche of painting ideas erupting out of every orifice like crazy. I have spent months saying I will have time for them soon, and taking illustration jobs, but all of a sudden I have to choose. I have to decide whether to wind back illustration... I have some contracts I have to honour, and there are some companies that I love working with and wouldn't change that for the world, but I can't do anywhere near the number of jobs I do now and chase the painting opportunity. It isn't really a contest and even though the chances of pulling it off are kind of slim-ish concerning this new opportunity I am taking it with both hands baby. Paint is starting to fly, my brain is fizzing and I actually feel happy... well happy and scared shiteless all rolled into one. So I have been playing with Inktober when I can squeeze it in, doing some watercolours like the coral and leaf above. These are very much works in progress at this stage, but I want to play a bit and start getting some painting mojo back while sketchbooks are filling with thumbnails and ideas and canvases are being primed. I am facing very little sleep in the next few weeks, but what else is new... So I am now a new path, work in progress, happy goose facing possible failure and creative humiliation on an epic scale... which adds up to all being right in the world in my books...
happy painting all.. xx