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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Project Plan For Summer

So, I've had this idea churning away in my mind for a while now, it's so easy to come up with ideas and plans in your mind but never actually see them prosper so I thought that if I put it on paper it would make it real and get me motivated to act on it.

Last Summer I visited various counties, many 'local' National Trust homes, stayed at hotels, travelled miles and paid entrance fees and memberships. On my return from every visit, I would drive through my neighbouring villages and soak in their beauty briefly before finally pulling into my drove.

It gradually began to occur to me, that we often fail to notice or appreciate what is right in front of us!

This Summer I plan to open my eyes to my local surroundings.

Not in just any old form though. I won't just be hand picking the huge, decadent houses and the historical landmarks...Oh no!...Although they may feature here and there they will not be my focus.

I will be sketching 'normality', peoples homes, old, new, big, small, fancy gardens and skips. All the ingredients that come together to generate the 'flavour' of the village.

The title 'CLOSE TO HOME' emphasises the fact that these are peoples homes as well as highlighting where I have worked all Summer.

I thought it may be interesting to show my thought process behind this project. I am thorough when I consider anything, I imagine the worst, the best, the angles and the pitfalls.
Here they are:

Art is very difficult to sell in my area. There is little done in the villages and the Town to promote the arts and therefore most people tend to pick up a mass produced print or a shabby piece from a charity shop...It's a fact! They want affordability at their rate and this causes problems when you work very hard on a piece and have to consider selling well below it's worth.
Therefore, it will come as no surprise to learn there are no local galleries. These are situated in more tourist areas such as Ely and Cambridge itself. Local exhibitions seldom create a huge number of visitors and most are there to browse.
Prints that do seem to sell are location landscapes and landmarks.

I seriously believe that art should be affordable to all. I love what I do and no amount of money will detour me, so I treat it simply as the icing on the cake with the realisation that someone wants to wake up to something I created in their home being far more thrilling to me than a cheque.

* Start in May
* Create sketches, in pen and watercolour, to keep them atmospheric, full of character and affordable!
* Concentrate on my three neighbouring villages: Doddington, Benwick, Wimblington.
* Produce an average of 3 sketches per week
* Look into self-publishing to create a picture book of the project as a whole
* Produce greeting cards with images
* Mount originals and have them shrink wrapped for protection.
* Arrange exhibitions in the 3 village halls - A mini tour, with the possibility of a final exhibition in March (Our local town)
* Exhibitions to take place near Christmas, November time?

By creating plein air sketches that are unframed, I can keep the costs affordable to everyone.
By publishing I increase sales chances both locally and over the internet.
By creating greeting cards, I give the opportunity for choice and enable clients to purchase numerous pieces to perhaps share with friends and family outside the villages.
By focusing on 'normal' homes I create a curiosity, a personal reason to visit the exhibitions...Planting the idea that 'your very own home may be part of this exhibition'
By exhibiting near Christmas I raise the chance of sales as gifts.

No one visits the exhibitions
No one purchases a thing

Ok, it's not ideal BUT...

Self publishing means that I haven't paid a penny until I make a sale, all I need is to purchase A BOOK for my own bookshelf and show it at the exhibitions, taking orders...Paid in advance.
No loss!

I have a heap of sketches on paper sheets that I would have sketched anyway. I sketch daily, I like it!...No...I love it!
No loss!

I send the cards I ordered to family members on various occasions throughout the year until they are gone.
No loss!

So...There's my plan, my best shot....May it is then!


Carol C said...

Anita, I love this idea! From your sketches I would agree that you can find the beauty around you. I wish you excellent results from this pursuit! I'll be checking your blog to see your progress.--Carol

no way said...

Wow Anita! Great planning process! I am actually in putting together a similar project-featuring my area and all the beautiful little details that I've noticed around here. I like how specific your plans are, and I might have to use your framework to lay my project out...if you don't mind! Writing it down makes it more "real." And your planning page is beautiful too!

caseytoussaint said...

Sounds like an excellent plan? Anita! Please keep us posted on your progress.

Anonymous said...

Like your idea of having a "summer plan". I usually think of goal setting as an annual event in December. But the seasons do change our thoughts and activities. Will have to think this idea over and perhaps adjust my plans for the coming months.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

What a GREAT idea... Don't forget those of us across the pond might be interested in such a book too... hint hint...

Capt Elaine

bec said...

Anita--great project idea... and I love the way you've thought it out!

Robyn said...

Extremely well thought out, Anita. Your newspaper profile will be a great help too! Inspiring project and we'll all love watching it unfold.

Desiree said...

I love this idea, I did start painting the local sites in my home town too, with a similar idea of putting it together as a book of local things worth seeing. I like your idea, just the common houses etc. My problem is that I have the great idea but I dont have the follow through to see the project to its completion! I just hate that about myself! Good luck I will be applauding your efforts in this while I watch.

Teri C said...

Sounds a great project for you and your readers! So well-thought out too.

Anonymous said...

Anita!! This is the perfect evolution for you!! I think that many of us are so charmed by your "everyday" sketches...waiting for yoga class, waiting for Harry...waiting for the bank to open...*L* I think the project is a wonderful one....and like many, I've thought of doing something like that myself of my own small burg....perhaps you will inspire me to get off my bum and actually DO something...;)

Stacey-Ann said...

Sounds like a very good plan, Anita. I like how well you've thought this out and I know from personal experience that writing things down is a big step towards actually getting them done.

Thanks for sharing your process. It's inspiring.

Just because said...

Seems to me that in this day of the global marketplace, the Internet is your gallery. Everything you talk about is being done everyday. Self publishing is a great way to go! You may even have more curiousity from buyers who don't know what your hometown looks like so the perception of magic and charm is more prevalent. What the heck! Nothing ventured... nothing gained.


Anonymous said...

Good luck on your summer project Anita..this will be fun to follow!

Anita Davies said...

Thanks Carol!

I agree NoWay, writing it down does make it real, sometimes I think we can have the best ideas and do nothing because they are a little muddled in our heads, getting them down on paper clarifies them a little.
Of course I don't mind, look fwd to seeing where your plans take you.

Thanks Casey...of course I will!

Windblown, I am a little spontaneous, so sticking to plans I made in Winter through Summer would probably kill me. I think setting plans as and when ideas arise is far more exciting and, as artists, we are able to do this...We are so lucky and should take full advantage!

Oooh Elaine, as if I would forget you, my friends across the pond...I shall make it available for all have no fear.

Thanx Bec.

Thanks Robyn. Yes, now is a great time for me to do this with the paper behind me, I'm hoping my final exhibition will be held at the nespaper offcies in Town, the Editor has been keen to throw an exhibition of my work there...a first for them. I think this subject would work great for what he has in mind.

Desiree, don't beat yourself up, I am much the same. I have a fantastic idea every 3/4 hours, I think them out, plan them in my head...just like I have here...and do nothing. Sometimes I think we KNOW when the right time to act is. For me, now is good for this project because I have the local paper behind me, if I had of acted last year I wouldn't have...So perhaps it was meant to be put on 'the back boiler' for a while?
Write your ideas out, I found this really helped and I am now so ready to start this project that I can hardly stand the excitement!

Thanks Teri!

Anita Davies said...

Thanks Deni. I am very excited about it. Yes...Come that bum of yours and get to it young lady!!!

Thanks StaceyAnn, yes, writing it down really helped to bring it all together. I'm pleased you found my process useful.

Exactly Mark, sometimes you just gotta ride by the seat of your pants and go for it! Hell, the thrill of the ride alone is worth doing it for right? LOL!

Thanks Ronell!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

So glad you told your admiring blog public of your Close to Home plans - no way are you going to let this one lie. The time is definitely right. One day the same will apply to your Rags to Riches scheme as well... but meanwhile go for it girl - it will be a winner. Even though you wont be painting my home, I WANT AN INVITE TO ALL THREE VENUES +PLUS THE CAM TIMES FINAL EXHIBITION... so get that garden bedroom ready for me pal. Oh just thought it will be Nov !!

Anita Davies said...

LOL...November in the garden eh Joannie...You are keen!
There is always room in the house for YOU Joannie!

Sherry said...

Anita, you are just on fire, girl! Your art lately has been wonderful, and with your new column, your plans for selling your art sound good. I wish you lots of success!

Stacy said...

Anita, your plans are very well thought out and I think your project will be a huge success. Being known from the newspaper should definitely help the success of your exhibit and you are smart to take advantage of that.

I really enjoy seeing your daily sketches. They motivate me to increase the amount of sketching I do. Today's post gave me an extra bonus of an idea I could possibly use. I've been doing more sketching to prepare for a family vacation in Germany this summer. I want to keep a sketching journal while I am there. Reading this I had the thought that if I am happy with my sketches, maybe I can approach my local paper when I return about doing an article on them. Something to think about over the nxt few months!

seesue said...

You font of ideas! you creator of detailed goals! you Amazing, Inspiring, Creative Artist You! Thank-you for being close-to-home in cyberspace.

Serena said...

Wonderful ideas and great planning, Anita! I wish you all the best in this next phase of your art journey. :)

Fannie said...

You have a wonderful plan, Anita. I'm glad I found you. I wish you the best. I, too, have often thought similarly--"the grass is greener on the other side." Now I'd like to take action. You've inspired me to look in my own neighborhood. Thanks for sharing.