Art bug, painting bug, marketing bug, blogging bug… stomach bug!!

I broke it!! I hoped I wouldn’t but I did!! However I look at why I broke it and it is all positive.

My New Year’s Resolution was to blog more (at least twice a month) about me and my work, but blogging comes secondary to my work as an artist and for the past month the attention towards my artwork has been more than I expected. Today is the first day in quite a few weeks that I have had an hour or two spare to write, unfortunately I have gained this hour or two as after a week of nursing a sick baby I have now got the stomach bug too.

Right now however I am trying mind over matter and therefore if I concentrate on the past month and writing, then my stomach bug will feel like it has magically disappeared, won’t it? Ah well here is to hoping!!

As I have said already, the past month has been a bit hectic. On top of my normal routine of being a stay at home dad by day and self-employed artist by night, as well as keeping the coffee companies in business, I have also had my original paintings placed in a local gallery on sale for the first time, my first gallery sale, confirmed a trade stall at the largest agricultural event in Northern Ireland – The Balmoral Show, as well as partnered with the organisers of the show for a competition to launch the 2017 tickets (and breathe). The competition request itself from the marketing team of the Show was a great compliment and the positive comments and messages following the launch of the competition was a lovely boost for myself, especially as a recently launched artist (with nerves particularly regarding my first major trade exhibit).

Since The Balmoral Show Facebook page launched their competition on 8th February I have had a great number of enquiries and comments regarding my work – and first of all I just wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to you all for the kind comments (feeling slightly overwhelmed)… and secondly I am now very excited (still nervous but perhaps slightly less than originally) about the stand at the up and coming show. Once this lovely bug has passed and I am able to stay awake for a few extra hours at night I will be back with the paintbrushes boosting my stock for the show. I am planning to have a range of paintings in a varied range of my styles at the show, hopefully there will be art that will delight and appeal to everyone. I am also planning to take orders at the show and will be willing to discuss commissions if requested so the next few months will be busy, busy, busy. 67 days to produce my stock with regards to original paintings and prints, get the logistics of the stall in order, discuss a few sponsorship opportunities as well as promote and market my work. Thankfully I won’t be doing this on my own as I have my business and marketing manager, my very own cheerleader always right by my side helping me out (thank you Déarbhla). Just over 2 months until the show and I must admit I am very much looking forward to the four days, showing my work, interacting and chatting with everyone, learning from the experience and other exhibitors as well as hopefully selling some artwork!!

As I said previously, on top of The Balmoral Show excitement I was also delighted to have four original paintings accepted into The Yard Gallery in Holywood, County Down. To top of the positive recognition of my work and messages from people who have seen my work first hand, one of these original paintings sold within two weeks of being exhibited. I was sad to see “Amos” go as he was one of the first ever highland cows that I painted however I am delighted that he is now brightening up his new owners’ home. I will be aiming to produce more art work over the next while that will hopefully also be accepted into the gallery so stay tuned (and I will be keeping the coffee machine on full power).

I must admit as a self-taught artist, I know I lack that bit of confidence that is built up through the chats with lecturers, teachers and other experienced artists. Sometimes I question if I am doing something right or if looks right… sometimes I spend more time questioning my art work than I probably should. However over the past few months and through all the sleepless nights, I have started to learn how to critique my own work efficiently and then trust in my decisions and my style. My wife believes in me, she tells me the truth; she works hard to promote and network for me and constantly encourages me. My family believe in me, 100% support from them (and frank honesty from my two eldest children which gives me a laugh and I very much appreciate it). Belief in myself sometimes is a struggle but I feel that the events over the past month have helped me to realise that I should believe in myself, in my style and in my art. The month of February therefore, despite me not keeping my New Years Resolution with regards to blogging, I feel I have achieved and learnt a lot about myself and my work.

I feel that the marketing of my work, the blogging, the website, the networking, the research and, of course, the work and late nights that I put into my art itself is starting to pay off. The fact that I can produce a piece of art that makes a stranger say “Waoh, I want that to be on show in my house/office/business” is a very nice feeling indeed!!

**And on a small side note, one of my aims of blogging was to increase interaction with everyone so feel free to comment and engage!

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