Wow, it looks like a lot and it really is. The last ten images were created between July 20th and December 21st of this year. There are more than fourteen individual art pieces since there are 2-6 versions of each of the above image. More like 50+ finished pieces so far. I'm still going to make a few more of image #21 and maybe a few more of my personal favorites: Fig. 17 and Fig. 20. Aside from making a bunch of art, I learned a huge amount while making these art pieces. The lessons learned can be applied to any art project, and any artist, even beginners just starting out.
- Deadline: Your project should have a deadline. At least this helps me stay on track and it might help you. It's all about project management.
- Practice: The act of making the art keeps your skills up. Even when you don't feel like painting or printing or whatever you do, do something- sketch, gesso a canvas, plan. You get better at being an artist the more you strive to be a better artist. Showing up helps.
- Schedule: Come up with a production schedule: how many paintings per week, per month, that kind of thing. Making art is a production process despite what you think it might be. The more you do, the more you can do.
- Work around others: Collaborate with other artists, work along side other artists, or just get out of your studio and meet other artists for an informal critique or coffee. Don't isolate yourself. Others will see what you are working on with fresh eyes and often can help with personal breakthroughs.
- Focus: For each of the days in my studio or in the print lab, I came up with a plan of what I was going to work on that day, usually the night before.
- Perseverance: I stuck to my schedule as much as possible, even with relatives visiting, the holidays, and minor setbacks. Even if it meant working on a Sunday or giving up a social engagement to make up for a unproductive studio day. I also tried to minimize distraction from family and friends- that means no phone or e-mail while in the studio. Art is my job.
- Communicate: During the project, especially this year, I added a newsletter and also blogged about the project. I even brought my camera with me to the print lab to record processes. You can't make art in a vacuum.
- Show it: I also entered and got into art shows with work from the project. If you can find themed shows your work fits into, more power to you.
- Keep going: even when the project is "done", it's not done. Promote it, show it, sell it. I may be doing a talk about this project in the next few months and I'm still promoting it. In my mind, it's not done, I just don't have to create more solarplates for the series.
- Think ahead: I have more projects I'm planning and even started to think about the next art project before this one was done. Always think of the next project, the next ten or even the next one hundred projects!
Happy New Year everyone and see you in 2013.