Clean Up, Wrap Up, Gear Up

With less than a week to go before the New Year, we are all feeling the promise of a fresh start.
Oh, the anticipation of attaining big goals. But wait! There’s a lot of crap in the way of those promises and goals.
Wouldn’t it feel good if the New Year felt . . . well . . . new? Kind of like a blank canvas?
It can happen if you dedicate this week to clearing out and getting organized.
blank canvas to start the new year

Summon That New Year Feeling

Review your task list.
What has been on your To Do list for too long?
If you’re procrastinating, do you really need to do it? If Yes, then do it! Imagine how good it will feel.
Straighten up and file right.
Get those papers off your desk and off the floor. Organize them into some kind of system that makes sense.
Back up your computer files, and delete or archive those you no longer need.
Set up paper and e-files for the New Year. Recycle anything you don’t use or could find online.
Update your mailing list.
Take all of those names and business cards you’ve been hoarding and add them to your database. Ditto for the people whose holiday greetings you received.
Survey your studio.
Complete an artwork you’ve been neglecting, or break it down and recycle its parts. Fix something that is broken.
What materials aren’t being used that you could store or, even better, give away?
Catch up with correspondence.
Write your Thank You notes from holiday gifts and send New Year’s greetings to those on your list.
Dig through your website and blog.
Delete pages that you wouldn’t want anyone to stumble upon.
Change your copyright notice to ©2013. It doesn’t look good when someone comes to your site and it says that the site is ©2009!
How are you preparing for The New Year?

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28 thoughts on “Clean Up, Wrap Up, Gear Up”

  1. Catherine Newhart

    Hello and happy new, creative year. IMPORTANT QUESTION:
    Where do you get your inspiration?
    I am visiting websites featuring 2012 award winning artists and looking again at my own art.
    I discovered that most were what I call O-I vs I-O which for me has created “OOB”…Out of Balance! Too much of my life, energy, creating has been directed & initiated from Outside myself and then somehow, I have responded/reacted Inside, versus Inside-Out = creating. So, I am on a quest to discover what, if anything, INSIDE me needs or wants to “come outside”. As a past successful visual artist, painter, inventor, printmaker, publisher, I have created thousands(?) of pieces of art since 5 years old; ridden the success roller coaster up and down and fallen off that “ride”many times. Now considering returning to my art life after almost 10 year hiatus, I feel uninspired. For 2013, I am reviewing award winning artists of 2012. So far, Santa Fe artists are inspiring. Other suggestions welcomed. Happy 2013.

    1. Catherine: As someone who writes for artists but isn’t a practicing artist herself, I can only answer from what I know.
      I am inspired by YOU. Every artist who reads this blog, comments on my Facebook page, and enrolls in one of my programs is an inspiration in some form or another. You are what keeps me going. If I were just doing this for myself, I’d have stopped years ago. Helping others is the juice that fuels me.
      I think being inspired by other artists is not only healthy, but it’s the story of all art history. I think you have to digest the art, though. And that takes time. You can’t look at other art and go back and make your inspiration. It’s a much deeper study than that.
      For quick inspiration, get involved with other artists. Talk about art with them!
      Also, search “art documentaries” in my sidebar here. There are some excellent ones out there.

    2. Hi Catherine,
      Like your O-I vs I-O formula :-). I have often been inspired by other artists over the years. I made notes in my sketchbook and then nothing happened.
      You already have your fomula Inside-Out=creating.
      Without that step of creation on a regular basis, nothing happens for me. My suggestion for you (and me as well) would be create, create, and create.
      Happy New Year 2013!

    3. Hi Catherine…I just spent the past 15 minutes looking for this quote I saw somewhere today, earlier…Found it…It really speaks to what I have found about inspiration…Here it is…It came from Twitter,( iTweetArt ‏@iTweetArt) , here it is…
      “If you want to work on your art, work on your life.” ~ Anton Chekhov
      Comment: I have found that going out & doing cool life things is the pre-cursor to inspiration…My husband & I walk together, far, as a habit…Just walking brings in alot of life…

    4. I like your O-I, I-O theory. I’m a photographer. I’ve found over the years that if I go out with my camera with the intent to feed my soul first, customers see that and respond. If I go out to record images I think will sell, the images fall flat.

  2. Hi Alyson!
    I have been reading your posts for a while and want to thank you! I AM getting organized for the New Year. I am thinking of setting up a web site or blog to display my art. Can you send me in the right direction? Do you have a helpful resource or resources? I don’t know whether to choose WordPress or Blogger of FASO or whatever and am afraid I am wasting my time researching them and will further waste my time getting started on one, only to find out that I should have chosen another. Which is the least costly and most effective for artists? Thank you so much and hope you have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. Much appreciated!

    1. Catherine: How much do you want to do yourself and how much are you willing to turn over to someone else?

  3. Dear Catherine, I’m asking myself the same questions and am ‘uninspired’ at the moment. I could easily dwell on it and get worked up but I ‘talk’ to myself about the peaks & toughs of creation as a reminder that both co-exist. I imagine you already know this. Alyson is right about talking to other artists as I truly find that I get all fired up when I’m among others who create. I was on an educational mission to Chicago in November with 11 other artists/craftspeople from my region and although the trip was one of the best professional experiences, it really was the group I was with that made it. After hanging out, dining, and drinking together, collaborations become topics of discussion as well as goals, wants and wishes. I’m trying to get myself back in that head-space to help get my butt in gear and to push the ‘self-doubting thoughts’ way down since right now they’re in the way. I plan on committing to a few shows/exhibits that put me in the arena with other artists to nourish that side that tends to be starved when working alone for a period of time. PBS has ‘Art 21’ videos that are interesting.
    All the best in the New Year!

  4. Happy New Year Alyson!
    To get ready for 2013 I will be connecting with my best art friends. I checkin via email with two of them every week. One is a textile artist, like me, and the other is a painter. I find it very helpful to get on the phone with them this week, one-on-one, to look back at what we achieved and where we fell short. Then we talk about our grand plans for 2013. To get ready for this call I wrote a list of accomplishments and a list of goals for the new year.
    I also will meet with two other textile artists in January to devise a plan for finding a venue to show our work together. This is new territory for us and is rather exciting.
    One tool I use to analyze my art is an excel spreadsheet to track all of my series. I look at that along with my sketchbook to think about what pieces I want to work on next. I will be buying a new sketchbook this week.
    Lastly, I am giving my studio a thorough cleaning and changing the artwork I have hanging on the walls. It will give my atmosphere a lift and inspire me.

    1. Excellent, Kathleen. I love that you’re working out a show together.
      When you track a series, what does that mean? Titles, sizes, etc? Or more than that? Sounds like you use it like an inventory database.

    2. It is actually very simple. There is a column for each series and I just number and highlight cells below each column as I add to the series. Each year is its own highlighted color. It allows me to see which series are growing the fastest and reminds me of other series I may want to revisit without the emotional distraction of seeing the artwork. The spreadsheet makes it easy to see all my series at one glance.
      You can see a picture of it on my blog post “Keeping Track of Multiple Series”. It will make a lot more sense when you see the spreadsheet.

  5. A week?! Hahahahaha. Pardon me while I pick myself up off the floor.
    I don’t think I have anything on the todo list which would only need a week. I am trying to catch up with bookkeeping, de-cluttering especially of old paper, and generally preparing for a glorious year of being a successful artist.

    1. Yeah, that’s true. But not as funny.
      Bookkeeping is probably the one that I actually can manage in a week’s time (or less, now) given the progress I’ve made so far. I’ll get back to it later just as soon as I’ve done this week’s eNewsletter.

    2. It turns out that a week in not actually enough time to catch up on bookkeeping when illness drops in. Ah well, life is nothing if not negotiable. I’m rescheduling bookkeeping in bite-sized chunks for today through Sunday. I’ll then be ready to file sales taxes, do my schedule C, and be all set up for ongoing 2013 bookkeeping.
      That WILL feel great!

  6. Theresa Grillo Laird

    I’m gearing up for a fresh start in 2013. I’m paring down all activity that takes me away from the studio for too long.I was so hopelessly lost with the how-to of all the tech stuff that I took an online course last September to get a handle on it. Now I recognise that all the computer tasks related to marketing that seem so effortless to other artists, are going to take me a while to get the hang of. So, I’m limiting the time spent on blogging, newsletters, facebook etc ,to no more than 90 minutes a day. Art production is going to be my main focus this year.

  7. This seems like a good week to go in and review and polish goals. I will continue to strive to balance my painting with nurturing my family. I’m afraid they feel I’m a little more obsessed with art than them (does anyone else have that problem?). I’ve discovered that to have time for both, children and art, I pretty much have to have the discipline to eliminate everything else from my schedule.
    Cheers and joyful planning to all.

  8. To All You GREAT creaters of ART:
    The New Year
    Well you are all on the right track but, what you should do is sit back like I do.
    Look at what you have been through this past year, and look at the Art that you have created and injoy it . I am also new ( as of Oct 2010 ) to the Art World and I am having loads of fun ,because I do not have to do art for the money (sorry) not that I can’t use the money but, I am still new and what I paint stays in my house, will sell if someone wants to Buy. I am 65 soon to be 66,and I just want to paint for my self, and for whoever, wants to get whatever, out of my work I will be thankfull . You see I look at what all of you GREAT artist’s offer me on your sites at FASO, and injoy all that you offer to us ( New Wan’na Bee’s) in the Art World.
    For the Artist that wants to get it all on one site, I think that FASO has it all I talk alot about my site, you can change things when ever you want to ,and did I say any thing about the Cost it is like pennys a day,you should try it, sorry I get carryed away but thats me, I also took time to clean out my studio for the new year,I put the computer in a new location so when I study my work I see it from a new.
    My 2013 goal is to try to paint like you all and someday be as GREAT as you are Thank You for what you offer to me.
    Beth keep painting it is your right to do what you need to do to keep your soul fresh it works ,they will soon get it OK.

  9. funny you mention this. i intuitively start organizing, cleaning the studio, deleting files, posting promo stuff up on facebook. when i cleared out and threw lots of trash out and set up the studio for another round of production, my wife says that i am nesting.

  10. Pingback: Organizing Financial Invoices and Receipts Electronically — Art Biz Blog

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