The world has been hard on us all over the last 2 years. My life has been particularly challenging since June of 2021 as I have been struggling with more pain and mental health issues that usual. As many as you know, I struggle with an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Which is a bit like rheumatoid arthritis, but AS attacks the spine and pelvis. Despite a switch in medication, and cycling through my pain management toolbox, the pain had continued to be relentless. I finally managed to get the pain under control this summer and feel much better. However, this blog post is not about pain management (that is for a future post) but I wanted to share some updates on what I have managed to accomplish over the past year when sitting upright has been a challenge.
Besides drawing and painting in my sketchbooks, my time has been spent working on the business side of my art. I took some excellent online handmade business classes from Tizzit HQ, I hired a person to do my taxes for the first time in my life, and I finally bought a domain name for my website. The rest of the time I have spent trying to figure out how to run an art business when I have a full-time day job and a chronic disease. Mainly I have come to the conclusion that I need to better manage the scarce amount of time and energy I have available. This means making some changes in order to maximize the time I spend working on things which give me the most enjoyment.
One change I have decided to make is to move from plaques to panels. While the plaques are awesome and do well in my shop, sanding them is negatively impacting my physical health. The plaques I buy usually come from typical craft stores. The benefit is that they are very inexpensive and allow me to keep my prices down. But they also come to me very rough and require a lot of sanding to be very smooth. The sanding is not only time consuming but is consuming of my limited energy in coping with chronic pain. I still love the idea of offering artwork that is ready to hang on a wall and doesn’t need a frame. But I needed to find alternatives that could work better with my health issues. While the panels do not offer the nice decorative edge that the plaques do and are a bit more expensive, the panels are much better quality, and they require almost no sanding.
The second change I have made is to offer prints mounted on thick cardboard that can be framed or propped up on a shelf. The advantage of art on boards is that they don’t need frames. You can prop the art on a shelf in your curio cabinet or on your bookshelf until you get around to finding a frame for it. (Yes, I see you and your pile of art you have purchased, telling yourself that you will eventually get around to buying frames for them all. I see you because I have a pile of art in my house that needs frames too!) Mounting prints to boards also takes me no time at all, which is a win-win for artist and collector.
I think these changes will be beneficial for my work in the long term. My goal is to free up some time and energy that I spend in production, so I can spend more time being creative. I have already seen the benefits as I have had more time lately to experiment with different mediums, get more practice drawing animals in my sketchbook, and to think more about the message in my work and how to best communicate it.
I’ve also had more time to think about how to best connect with my followers. I would like to share my knowledge of weird stuff in addition to artwork. So I will be sharing more educational materials related to art, pain, death, nature, and the paranormal. I’m also growing tired of social media algorithms and I would like to spend more time making content that is permanent, searchable, and less fleeting. This means that I will spend more time on e-mails, blogging, and eventually YouTube videos. I hope you stay with me and follow my journey.
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