Monday, December 31, 2007

Goals 2008

The tone of my intentions is evolving. I seem to be getting down to the serious business of what it'll take to become rich and famous...

For business:

  • Practice aggressive marketing and promotion. Act immediately before someone else does when a lead, contact or opportunity presents itself. I've been laid back in this regard and will be more alert and attentive.
  • Michael and I have merged on the same page with our attitudes regarding marketing techniques. Extensive discussions resolved any possible misunderstandings while maintaining our individual philosophy, so, it's okay to disagree. Respect for instinct is also paramount.
  • Continue with promotional mailings, both e-mail and conventional. Strive for free publicity via newsworthy events by writing our own news releases, announcements, etc.
  • Enter the Appleton Museum's Biennial Exhibition.
  • If unable to become an exhibitor (it's $$$$), at least attend the ArtExpo in New York in March.
  • Expand outdoor shows. Contacts acquired are too valuable to limit the number per year. Apply to Equifest, Horse Expo, and add Virginia to the steeplechase circuit.
  • Investigate feasibility of setting up stores at eBay and CafePress (last year's foray into the auction portion of eBay was disappointing).
  • Invite more commissions. I used to despise them but now that I've produced a zillion, I've gotten quite good at it and don't mind them at all. Cash flow is great.
  • The giclee market is outstanding for me. We'll continue to expand our client base and concentrate on the "open editions". The technology just keeps getting better...
  • Devise a system for keeping track of the race meets throughout the country. This way we can contact them a few months before opening day to proposition merchandise and promotional ideas.
  • Ever onward with my relentless obsession to gain access to the huge players in the racing biz. This includes corporate as well as individuals.
  • Experiment with generic equine themes that will increase more widespread appeal.
  • Continue exploration in the direction of the "Diagonal" nine canvas piece, remaining in the spirit of an innovative, cutting edge and contemporary attitude. Audacity rules.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I Did 2007

It's that time. I know I've bored some of you with my multiple Year in Review posts. Here's what I actually accomplished in the past year. Being a high-strung overly ambitious type, this exercise reassures me that, yes, things are happening and I'm making headway.

Group exhibit: "Masters of Horse Racing" sponsored by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association.
Gallery Central, Hot Springs, Arkansas: two person exhibit during April, coinciding with their monthly Art Walk and the big stake races at Oaklawn Park.
Equidae Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York. Group exhibit during the summer race meet. I also painted on the sidewalk for a week in front of Soave Faire who carried my giclees.
Fayette Gallery, Lexington, Kentucky: solo exhibit through October during the Fall Keeneland Racing Meet.

Cover Art:
Program cover for Horse Shows in the Park. Great publicity and networking opportunity.

Marketing Workshops:
Alyson B. Stanfield at Manatee Art Center, Bradenton, Florida
Southern Regional Conference on Self-Employment in the Arts, University of Tampa.

Outdoor Shows:
Little Everglades Steeplechase, Dade City, Florida
High Hope Steeplechase, Lexington, Kentucky

Out of Hand Artists Salon
I kicked this idea around for a couple of years and finally did what was needed to launch. One of my proudest accomplishments for the year. Eleven (total) dedicated, hard working artists determined to succeed, supporting and promoting each other. Our salon focuses on business and marketing with the emphasis on networking and sales. Our first exhibit as a group was held this past summer at the Bank of America in Ocala, Florida.

2007 custom ordered 6'x12' Lark Cargo Trailer. Initially, this was purchased to deliver a very large commissioned canvas to Connecticut, with the intention of being resold. It's so versatile and easy to haul - we think we'll keep it!
Santa Fe III double masted easel with a marine-type winch. Holds huge canvases and saves my back adjusting the canvases up and down.

Acquired numerous new clients and commissions.
Made very good friends with the North Florida Farm Credit. They included me in some of their very fun events. I always have some pieces hanging throughout their offices.
Visited and made great contacts with the Museum of Racing at Saratoga Springs this past summer.

This was the biggest year ever for my giclee reproductions according to my books. Wonderful cash flow. Just when I'm thinking we're not getting them in enough venues...I sold to several commercial clients who are exhibiting the giclees in very public places. I also released my first "open edition" or "print on demand" and it was extremely well accepted by my galleries and clients.

Participated in the Marion Cultural Alliance's "Artist Within" fund raising project. I was teamed up with Executive Chef Randal White (of the Ocala Hilton and cable program "Dishin It Out"). Randal created a great painting and was a blast to work with.

I had another commissioned filled year. What a blessing. I also established working relationships with some major VIP clients. That's my main focus.
I'm very happy about my breakout piece "Diagonal". It's about 13'x13.5' and says I'm way more than a 4-F painter (foals frolicking in fields of flowers).

Entries for Competitions:
I entered Art Business News Emerging Artist Competition for an exhibit space at ArtExpo in New York. No word yet on the results.
I applied to the 2008 Professional Development Workshops sponsored by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. No word yet on the results.

Books, movies, etc.:
I read Barney Davey's "How to Profit from the Art Print Market". Great info for those in the reproduction business. No movies or other books really standout and I don't read nearly as much as I should be. Studio all day, crashing at night.

Michael and I logged 25,000+ miles traveling to and from galleries, shows, delivering artwork, etc. No moss on these two stones. I still love the road trips where I'm able to get away from the business and studio and - think! Some of my most creative brainstorming occurs during extended hours on the blacktop.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


May you all experience a blessed day of relaxation, reflection and recreation!

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Canoeing Instead Of Pontooning

Morning brought dense fog, cool temps and a strong breeze so we shifted plans to rent a pontoon boat out at Cedar Key. Instead, we headed back to the Ocklawaha River and put in at the Outpost. The river was a bit busy on a Sunday but the weather turned out gorgeous. My friend Lynn came with and as I've stated before, she is photographer extraordinaire.

oklahawa riverWe only saw a few gators due to the boat traffic. This was the biggest we spotted, about a four footer.

alligatorsJuvenile ibis were plentiful. Lynn didn't see the gator behind them until she edited the photos back at home. One of those rare, lucky events.

gatorsTurtells abound.

When we we got back to the boat ramp, we met Capt. Natural-Lee who had rigged his canoe out quite creatively. A self-described author, adventurer, philosopher and all around nice guy, which he is, it was a hoot to spend some time talking with him. Moments like these are what make life so fascinating.


<---This kills me.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Snow Ponies

Apparently I've b-o-r-e-d some of you with lengthy ruminations of my Year in Review posts. Yawn. Allow me to make amends: these pictures are worthy of Christmas Card status. They're from the lovely photographic blog of Andrea J. Anderson who graciously gave me permission to post.

snow horsesThe thought of snow+cold+horses generally makes me cringe due to frigid years of over wintering at racetracks in the north east. But these photos brought back pleasant memories of my childhood in New England.

horseback ridingOn weekends I worked at a local riding stable. Inclement weather was the only time us kids could could go for "free" rides through the woods in Lincoln, R.I. We were wild and reckless, the horses were full of themselves and somehow, all of us were impervious to the cold.

snow poniesBareback was the norm, and some of us took terrific falls only to jump back on with passionate abandon. I'll bet there were more than a few unreported concussions.

thoroughbred racetracksNow old and warm in Florida, I look forward to my pontoon boat ride at Cedar Key tomorrow.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Year in Review #6

To conclude my review of Goals for 2007, here's the Personal category:
  • Work harder, study harder, manage my time more efficiently, excel at managing my money - do whatever it takes to get rich and famous!
Doing it and then some.
  • Balance that work ethic with playtime. All our road trips are for business only. I intend to take an extra day on these trips to relax and enjoy.
We managed to take two extra days in Saratoga for a drive in the Adirondacks. Whoopee. This is a case of old habits dying very hard. After spending more than half a lifetime at the race track working day after day for months on end without a break, it's something we've become familiar and comfortable with. Even when we get fed up and take a day off, it's difficult to relax. Can't be healthy. This is an ongoing issue that I'm not sure what to do about...any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

thoroughbred artI received an extremely pleasant e-mail from Dan at this morning notifying me that he had written a review regarding my paintings. Check it out here.

What's so gratifying is that Dan gets it: "Those extra strokes of color flying out from the racehorse’s sides and the jockey’s back are what give her paintings their immediacy and vitality—it’s like the ground is shaking so hard that your eyes can’t focus."

It's an ongoing study of how the eye reacts to a scene of rapid, complex movement. Add to the fray a mix of beating bass sound and you've got a fascinating fusion of how the brain reacts to intensive stimuli and what will be committed to memory. Focus is highly selective depending on the observer. Encountering this amount of frenetic activity within a fleeting moment requires visual editing. Some lines and forms will appear sharply delineated and others will blur. This is why I advise young artists to soften and even lose a line - the eye just doesn't see everything in it's visual field all clean and crisp.

So many thanks to Dan at The website contains a plethora of information for artists and art lovers. You are even invited to submit your artwork (as I did) and/or an article. There are some wonderfully noteworthy contributors.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Year in Review #5

I've finished with the "Business" category and move on t0 the "Artwork":
  • I read recently that one of the mistakes artists make is not determining what direction they want their career path to go in, i.e. becoming a museum artist or an artist that makes $50,000 yearly. (that's all?) I say why can't an artist do both - create museum worthy artwork that SELLS.
I believe in that goal more than ever. I plan on applying to the Appleton Museum's Biennial Exhibit for 2008 and I just received notification of acceptance to exhibit in a group show at the Elliott Museum in Stuart, Florida. The "group" is five other members of our "Out of Hand Artists" salon. I've met artists who create artwork dependant on grants and prizes to support themselves. Great museum exposure but they're struggling financially. I believe I can compete in these venues AND support myself through sales of my artwork.
  • I intend to learn e-bay once and for all and offer "painting a day" size originals from this blog and the website.
This is just not for me, period. My focus is elsewhere.
  • The book. The book will be finished and in print by...drum roll please...summer 2007. There it is in writing. About twenty-five more drawings and we've got ourselves a best-seller!
No way. As much as I've worked on the drawings and very close to that "twenty-five" goal, I have other priorities. I refuse to beat myself up over this. When the time is right it's just right.
  • I will consider...consider, mind you...renting a larger studio. I love working at home but realistically I outgrew my studio years ago. Plus, Michael needs more space for his office and printing which will move him into my current studio space.
This is still an issue. I did inquire about some spaces throughout the year that were either too expensive, too far from home or not quite the space I need which is a high ceiling height. Michael and I are now considering building a studio in our back yard or adding on to the house. This will increase the value of the property and I'll get the specific space required for my needs.

Tomorrow it the "personal" category...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Year in Review #4

Continuing on with my assessment of Goals set for 2007. Still in the "business" catagory:

  • This year Michael and I are poised to experiment with POD (print on demand). I'll soon offer an open edition giclee quality reproduction on canvas in any size requested.

Mission accomplished! The response from all my galleries and clients is all positive. I did change the first image I wanted to experiment with from a farm scene to a dynamic racing scene (wise choice). My galleries are thrilled and relieved, having their sales limited in the past by size constraints. They all report that clients are extremely receptive to the idea, aren't really concerned about "limited editions" or certificates of authenticity. Yes, there are some holdouts, but let's face it, with rapidly advancing technology the first giclee is as good as the thousandth or even better. Instead of increasing my prices due to escalating costs of ink, canvas and most of all - shipping, I maintained the same pricing structure but offered fourteen different sizes of the image (or whatever it would constrain to).

giclee reproduction"Harrowing", my first P.O.D. giclee reproduction.

This is most definitely a direction I will be pursuing. Tomorrow I'll tackle the "artwork" goal catagory.

Chow's stitches were easily removed this morning (I was concerned about that) but he required a "jug" before leaving the vet's office. "Jug" is race track for intravenous fluids.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chow's Ordeal

siamese catMy precious Siamese, Chow, is finally starting to feel better. He rolled around on the walk leading up to my front stairs and basked in the sunshine today.

It's been a rough ten days. Tomorrow, his stainless steel stitches are removed. He's been in pain, depressed, not eaten, puked and just had a generally awful week. Depressed myself over his suffering, I called the vet last Friday and she gave us more painkillers which got us through the weekend. Today he's walking around, nibbling some food and looking much brighter. He's also begun to fuss with the stitches - good sign.

mast cell tumorMast cell tumor removed, matching surgery on the other leg.

Without doubt, this is the last time I will put him through this nightmare regardless...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Year in Review #3

Continuing with my review of year-long goals set for 2007. Still in business section:
  • I have over forty images in giclee reproduction. Widespread distribution throughout the country (and beyond) is imperative. The images should be in every race track, gift shop, tack shop, feed store, frame shop - and any other outlet we can get them into.
This was easier said than done. Michael and I attempted to acquire a state a week. In retrospect, the giclees are still relatively pricey as opposed to poster-type prints which abound. That cold hard fact eliminated many venues. We also discovered that potential clients desire to see the product in person, up front, for real, to be assured that it's viable merchandise of quality worthy of the price structure. Mailing the giclees for inspection is price prohibitive and invites all manner of possible complications. We've logged close to 20,000 miles of travel this year for marketing, gallery orders, client orders, moving work from one place to another, etc. As Barney Davey states: how do you acquire clients? One at a time...

  • 2006 was the first year that I made a concrete positive shift in my attitude about bookkeeping and marketing. I love the left-brained me that I didn't know existed! My first year of keeping books was a learning experience and is improving. As for marketing, my goal is to read books and materials, network, take courses, attend seminars - whatever it takes to continue to grow my business.
Done! Bookkeeping has become a pleasant habit. Tackled daily, it's a cinch. I accomplish a feeling of control and scrutinize my financial health (or lack). Marketing is an ongoing endeavor. I continue to read the latest buzz books and attend as many seminars as I can. I attended the Bruce Baker Workshop, Alyson Stanfield Workshop and the Southern Regional Conference on Self-Employment in the Arts. Founding "Out of Hand Artists" business and marketing artist salon was a huge accomplishment for me this year and it continues to expand. More on that one later...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Year in Review #2

From Goals 2007:
  • As the projects grow in physical size, I intend to seek corporate clients and representation. I'm thinking lobbys of sports books, walls of race tracks and other sporting facilities, boardrooms, any public buildings, etc.
Not there yet, but I'm planting seeds. A few designers are interested as well as my gallery in Hot Springs. One of my goals for 2008 will be directed at learning how to get to the people who make the art-related decisions at these facilities. I recently applied to attend a marketing workshop sponsored by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. In the application, I was required to state what marketing challenges I faced in my career. How do I gain access to these people?? I'm confident that once I can somehow arrange a meeting, I can easily sell myself. More goals from 2007:
  • The cash flow this year was great. However, I'm implementing a new business plan with Michael's help to increase sales. I intend to increase my income by ??? The amount is as large as I can envision.
I'm thrilled to say I've reached my financial goal even though I now realize my "vision" was too limited regardless that it was more than I've ever made from the sales of my paintings and related merchandise (giclees and gift items). I'll increase it by 150% for 2008.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Year in Review

I'd love to post photos of the commissions I've been working on but they gifts. Maybe after the first of the year.

So I'll start my review. Some of the goals that I set for 2007, beginning with business are: oh, and before I begin, here's a profound quote from landscape artist Linda Blondheim: "I stopped chasing my impossible goals, which were depressing me, and started refocusing on what I loved". I should take note...
  • I believe I can take this so-called "genre" painting and pull it into the mainstream.
    Confidence abounds thanks to the response from non-horse people who purchase my paintings and giclees. Continuing in the direction of the current multi-canvas project, the creations will increase accessibility to a wider, larger client base.equine art
I have only begun to market the multi-canvas project. I worked it to the end and it's beautiful. Thirteen and a half by thirteen foot. Plenty large enough for an impressive foyer. A couple of designers have taken note. Another multi-canvas project that I sold has recently been offered to me as an exhibit piece. I heard that the Appleton Museum of Art here in Ocala is issuing a call for artists next month for their Biennial Exhibit. These two pieces plus another could be good candidates. Hah! I'd become a museum artist! And I have another idea for a similar project in mind, something very innovative, but I'm thankfully swamped with commissions for now.

contemporary artIn 2007, I fully embraced this goal, in 2008, this is a path I intend to continue...

To all of you who e-mail, called, posted or otherwise offered your support to my physically challenged cat Chow, I say thank you, thank you, thank you. He's doing okay considering (good days, bad days). Bless you all for the love.

Friday, December 07, 2007

My Siamese

Our cat Chow had some mast cell tumors removed yesterday. Usually occurring around the face and ears, three tumors formed on his front ankles. This condition is dire with dogs - our prognosis is better. Apparently, this is somewhat common with Siamese which I did not know.

He's stitched and hurting even with the pain medication. I said no to chemo and a splenectomy. He's fourteen and a precious light in my life. We'll take this no further.

Dr. Jenny Salpeter of Brick City Cat Hospital performed the surgery. I have confidence in her talent and abilities even though I'm a holistic believer. We can take the best from both worlds, can't we?

This ordeal brings thoughts of how we're all affected by cancer in some way, be it through friends, relatives or ourselves. Is our planet so toxic? Or is the detection technology vastly improved? What I do know is that it's so damn prevalent.

Chow came to us in Oakland, California an 1993. We have a history together of travels, travails and hysterical joy. What a pistol and handful of cat he was when he was a kid. He made us laugh to tears.

He still makes me smile when nothing else can.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Goals and Accomplishments

At the end of this month, I'll make a list of this year's accomplishments. This is an extremely effective exercise to bolster confidence and affirm forward directives. Especially since I'm one of the most impatient artists in the world and desire everything NOW. This produces unnecessary angst for myself. The accomplishments list verifies that I'm doing okay and making steady headway in my goals. If you're interested: What I Did 2006.

Just today I discussed one of my goals that eludes me with a very sharp and prominent businessman. He pointed out that it sounded like a politically motivated decision not so much in my control realm. Dang, that's head-bangingly frustrating. More on that one later...

So, I thought in the next couple of weeks I'd review my Goal list for 2007. It's interesting to note that some of them are loftier and more difficult to attain that I perceived, while some aren't as important to me as they were a year ago. The interesting twists and turns, detours and distractions on life's path.

"One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one's greatest efforts". -Albert Einstein

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Weekend of Soirees

A few months back Jeanne Winslow of Horse Shows in the Park contacted me about using my artwork for their show program cover. I was honored. Then, she graciously invited us to the Awards Banquet and Dinner Dance at the Ocala Hilton on Saturday night. Over 220 families were on hand to reap the rewards of hard work and diligent horsemanship throughout the year.

horse shows in the parkA slide show continuously chronicled the events and participants.

hunter jumpersAn unbelievable array of ribbons, trophies, cups, plates, barn gifts and so forth was awarded to the winners of several categories.

gicleeMoi presented a giclee of the image chosen for the cover art to a top winner.

ocala hiltonAn enthusiastic and supportive crowd.

On Sunday night the Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers held their Annual Stallion Showcase and Silent Auction Fund Raiser, also at the Hilton.

florida thoroughbred farm managersA great turnout of bidders.

equine artMoi donated a small giclee of "Harrowing". I'm with good friend Moe Hahn who is the 2008 Florida Thoroughbred Farm Managers cover artist. She's standing next to the cover artwork - a slick, somewhat abstract driving piece.

thoroughbred horse racingMichael was the winning bidder on some books about historical thoroughbred breeding. I bought raffle tickets but didn't stick around for the drawing as I'm burning the proverbial double-ended candle.

Darn it, they were for stuffed meercats.