2009 was a good but sometimes difficult year for me (as most are).
It began in the midst of the greatest recession America has seen since the Great Depression and I was wary of how it might affect art buyers and their ability to purchase new work. As it turned out, the shows — at least for me — went well and I not only sold paintings to previous buyers of my work, but I managed to pick up a few new collectors as well.
By the time summer rolled around, the recession seemed to be easing up a bit and I was still selling work through galleries and directly from my studio. This turned out to be a true blessing because at the end of August, my wife was laid off from her job.
Like many artists out there in the early stages of their career, my income isn't as consistent as it needs to be to survive as a single-income household, so the loss of my wife's job brought much stress and fear about how we would manage financially. Thankfully, my sales continued and we really didn't experience any financial difficulties from her no longer working.
We did however, have to miss out on some painting trips we'd planned (and were very much looking forward to), including missing the Western Visions Show at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming. A consolation trip to Rocky Mountain National Park for a week at the end of September helped ease our disappointment a bit — and I did pick up some nice reference material. If everything goes well, we’ll reschedule those trips for the coming year.
A few of the highlights from this year included conducting an oil painting workshop in Nebraska, speaking in front of the Gilbert Visual Arts League (a local art group here in Gilbert, AZ) as well as judging their annual art show. And, being invited to participate in a show in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had tried to get into NatureWorks several times before and had previously been denied. I’m really excited about attending this show but it has definitely added to my workload. So goes the difficult life of an artist.
Since the trip in September, I've been working hard at producing new paintings for the coming show season and to replace older work in galleries. My wife is still out of work, but it looks like that will be ending with the start of the new year — she's very excited.
All-in-all the year was productive, rewarding and sometimes stressful. But to tell you the truth, I wouldn't have changed a thing. Although I'm sure my wife would have preferred to remain employed, I've really enjoyed having her around with me all day even if it meant she came down with a touch of cabin fever.