Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What I've Learned So Far in Transition

by Kate Dardine

So here I am, a few months into my “transition” from full time employment to full-time self-employment. I am currently working three days at Fine Print, and two days in my studio. In my last post, I wrote about coming up with a schedule for my studio days, to keep me focused on producing and marketing my paintings. 
So, what have I learned?  That I still don’t have enough time!  That I much prefer painting in daylight than under artificial lights – but since two full days of painting/marketing doesn’t give me enough time, I must still paint at night.  I’ve discovered it’s better to start the painting at night and finish in the day – my colors are more true.  Also, finishing a painting takes much more mental acuity – a slower, more analytical process.  Beginning a painting is when I can let raw emotions loose, and it is much more physical – perfect after a day at the computer.

Speaking of computers, I’ve also learned I need a new one.  Not that I didn’t know that before (heck, mine is almost 10 years old and is still running XP!) but having to rely on the old, bogged down machine causes me frustration.  I guess I’d better write a letter to Santa!

I’ve learned that it is better for me to get computer/marketing work done in the morning and paint in the afternoon, so I’ve had to modify my self-imposed schedule to accommodate this preference.

I’m learning how to paint more consistently, in that I am discovering repeatable motifs and processes. I believe this comes from more consistent painting time and an evolving appreciation for my own “voice”. Self-doubt (my inner critic) still plagues me, but I’m learning to step away from a painting when self-doubt strikes – distance and time let me look at the painting with fresh eyes and an open mind. At the same time, I’m able to assess my compositions better and determine how I want the eye to move through the painting. Now for some of you, this skill comes easily.  However, it’s been my nemesis. I “knew” that I needed to direct the eye, but for some reason never gave it much consideration.   Now I liken it to a treasure hunt – what delights can I (and the viewer) discover?

I have discovered Pinterest – and have created a board called “inspiration”. On this board I pin paintings by other artists that intrigue me – either by use of color, composition, technique or subject matter.  I refer to the board when I’m feeling stuck on a painting. It really helps to see how other artists have solved similar problems. Click here to follow me on Pinterest.

Another trick I am trying is keeping a small sketchbook with me at all times for painting ideas – sometimes the title of a painting will pop in my head, with a vision of what the painting could look like.  If I don’t write it down and quickly sketch it, it’s lost.

And how about the other side of my business –the marketing end? That has proven to be a bit of a struggle as well. I am trying to be more consistent with posting on social media, writing blogs, writing my newsletter (you can sign up for it here).  On my “to-do” list for this week is to come up with a master schedule for posting, blogging, newsletters, mailings.  Applying to galleries is something I plan on starting in January – instead of a hit or miss way of contacting galleries, I want to create a schedule and method.

And lastly, for now… I realize how hard it is for me to talk about my work. This is something that has plagued me throughout my life – the fear of public speaking! (Hey, I’m a visual artist and a writer, not an orator! ) However, the time has come for me to face my fears and get over it!

Kate Dardine has been helping artists and photographers with their marketing and printing needs for over 26 years. She is now making the transition to full time artist, and invites you to follow along on her journey. You can see her work at