Want to make you aware of a change I will be making with my August newsletter (which will likely be sent out this weekend). Up until this point, I have posted my monthly newsletters on this blog. Starting with the August newsletter, I will be using Square to send it out. If you have signed up to follow my blog with your email address, I will sign you up to receive my newsletter. If you would rather not receive it, you can unsubscribe in the email. If you have not signed up to follow my blog with your email address, you can sign up for my newsletter here. I will still post other content on this blog, just not my newsletters.
June In Review
Compared to the previous three months, June was a pretty quiet month. The early part of the month was spent finishing up preparations for the Vinita Route 66 Festival, with most of that time devoted on trying to figure out how to get everything packed in the truck. I ended up having to built some custom carrying racks for some of my framed prints to make things fit how I wanted. I’m super happy with how they turned out. Once I got those made, it was tight, but thankfully everything fit.
Long story short, the Vinita Route 66 Festival did not go well. I wrote a blog post after the show with the details. However, not all was lost. I learned some great lessons from the show, and definitely came away with some things I can improve on for the next show.
The second half of the month has been spent making repairs to damaged prints/frames from the Vinita show, making some improvements to my custom racks I built, and trying to figure out shows to apply to in the coming months. The slowdown has been pretty nice, but I’m itching to get into some shows. Haha.
Looking Forward To July
Right now, July appears to be a pretty quiet month outside of vacation. However, I’m crossing my fingers I can get into An Affair of the Heart in Tulsa last minute. Not too confident that will happen, but it would be nice to get in a show in July if I can.
Our annual family vacation to Wyoming is coming up this month. Hopefully my brother and I can get in a backpacking trip during our vacation, and at the end of the month or early August I’ll have some great mountain photos to share. I’m thinking the snow may limit where we can go this year, but hopefully not.
May In Review
Show prep was the big focus for the month of May. Outside of certificates of authenticity, I didn’t do much printing. I didn’t do much mat board cutting or foam board cutting either. Those three had taken up a lot of my time the couple months leading up to May. Time was instead spent on figuring out how to pack everything, practicing setting up my display, getting my point of sale system set up, etc.
It was exciting to finally get my display set up early in the month. The first time I set it up it took most of a day to get it set up and taken back down. It felt so good to see things come together and see the art displayed. It was also a great feeling knowing that I could finally start applying to shows (since most shows require pictures of my booth to apply). Thankfully the next couple times setting it up and taking it down went much faster.
Unfortunately I missed the flurry of spring shows, but thankfully I was able to get accepted into a show in June, and hopefully I can get a few shows in during the fall when the next flurry happens. More info below on the two shows I have been accepted into thus far.
Finally, I made a trip up to my parents’ place in NE Oklahoma over Memorial Day weekend. I took an out of the way route on the way there to get some fire hydrant pictures in, and I got the picture above of the Pensacola Dam on Grand Lake while I was up there. It was pretty spectacular to see the water being released from the dam. The other pictures from the trip can be found in my Fresh Off The Card gallery on my website.
Looking Forward To June
The first half of June will be spent getting stuff wrapped up for my first show, which is the Vinita Route 66 Festival in Vinita, OK on June 15. See links in the section below. I keep thinking I’m going to get to a point where there isn’t a lot to do and I can take a little bit of a break, but I keep finding more and more I need to do. Haha.
After the show, hopefully I’ll have some more printing to do to restock sold prints. I’m sure there will be lessons learned from the show as well, and there will be some time spent later in the month figuring out how to make adjustments to hopefully improve the following shows.
And finally, there will likely be some more show applications submitted during the month. I’m sure that will become a fairly consistent occurrence. I will post new shows on my website and Facebook page as I get accepted.
April In Review
Inventory, inventory, inventory. That was pretty much the story of my April. There was lots of printing and lots of mat board and foam board cutting. Thankfully April was much less frustrating than March was, and I was able to actually make a lot of progress on getting inventory built up. I didn’t have near as many problems with mat board cutting as I had in March. That helped a lot. And because of that, I was able to get a lot of prints made and not waste a bunch of time on mat board cutting.
The second half of the month I finally got around to ordering art show display items (tent, lights, print display racks, etc.). The last week of the month, I got most of this delivered, and I got all my framed prints back as well. That was really exciting. It really made it feel like I was starting to make some good progress. I’m to the point now, though, where I have my art show stuff scattered all throughout the house. Haha.
And last, but not least, I was finally able to get out and get some new pictures in April, one of which is shown above. My family went on a camping trip to Sardis Lake mid-month. For the trip down there, I took the “scenic route” and stopped in a few towns along the way to try and get some fire hydrant pictures. I got a few decent pictures, and I was able to get a few more pictures of other things while at the campground. You can see the rest here. It’s always nice to get out with the camera after a while of not using it, and it makes it even better when you can get some good pictures as well.
Looking Forward To May
May is off to a rough start already. Haha. Yesterday after work I was planning on making a couple stops after work that were out of the way of my normal route home. While I was at my first stop, I realized that some severe thunderstorms were headed my way, so I skipped the second stop and headed home. The thunderstorms ended up fizzling out quickly just as they got to OKC, so I could have made the second stop after all. And then I did some digging into a metal print order I placed this past weekend, it looks like it didn’t go through. I was hoping to have the prints back by tomorrow so I could get my tent set up and take pictures with the prints, but it appears that won’t be happening now. Hopefully it’s not a sign of how the month is going to go.
The goals for this month are to get my tent set up and get some pictures so I can start applying to shows. I would like to have a “trial run” show mid-month for family and friends so I can try and work out a few kinks prior to a real show. And I’ll slowly be adding to my inventory in the meantime. It should hopefully be a slower month compared to the last couple, but there is still lots to do. I will be focused a lot more on getting ready for shows as opposed to the inventory side of things.
It should be an exciting month if I can get everything done that I would like. Hopefully I got most of the bad luck out of the way yesterday.
March In Review
March was all about learning, patience, and preparation. The picture above is symbolic of how the month went (keep reading for more details). I don’t think I got my camera out a single time in the month of March. My focus was on getting the business up and running. After getting the business officially registered and set up early in the month, it was off to the races to get everything else set up and start purchasing the tools and supplies I needed. There was all the business stuff (accounting software, business phone, checking account, etc.) and then there was the art stuff (choosing paper, picking sizes, printing, mounting, matting, etc.).
I was more worried about the business stuff being a pain than the art stuff, but ironically the art stuff has given me way more problems and frustration. How hard could it be to print a photo, mount it, and mat it? The Youtube video I watched made it seem so easy. Come to find out, it’s not so easy. The printing part has been pretty straight forward thanks to taking the printing class back in February. However, there were still a couple learning moments over the last month (figuring out how to create custom paper sizes, using roll paper, and adjusting margins when using roll paper).
The mat cutting has caused me the most frustration. I never imagined cutting a mat would be so difficult. You just set the measurements and cut. But it turns out you need to have the blade at the correct depth and you have to correct for over/under cut. There have been a couple instances now where it has taken me 2-3 hours (and a lot of wasted mat board and frustration) to try and correct for over/under cut. If I hadn’t put a good chunk of change into a big mat board cutter and custom mat board wasn’t so expensive, I may have said forget it with cutting my own mat board already. Hopefully I have all the kinks finally worked out.
And then comes the mounting and matting. Once again, just mount the photo using photo corners, apply the mat board adhesive, and then mount the mat board. It looked so simple. However, making sure everything is lined up just right is time consuming. There were a couple of my print sizes where I didn’t leave enough room for the mat board adhesive, so I had to cut some of the border off those prints (and subsequently change how I had those sizes set up to print). And the image/mat board dimensions on my first panoramic prints didn’t work well. And then, to top it all off, I discovered the pen that I was using to sign my luster prints didn’t work very well on my matte prints.
So, as you can tell, there has been a large (and very frustrating at times) learning curve over the last month I wasn’t expecting. There have been some highs (getting my first open edition prints ready for sale), and there have been some lows (trashing all of my first 8 limited edition prints for various reasons after spending hours trying to get them ready, to name one). But with each low has generally come a learning experience. So hopefully, after a month full of learning experiences, I have a lot of the kinks worked out in regards to creating the art. I’m sure there will be a whole host of new learning experiences and kinks to work out once I actually start selling the art, but that’s a little ways down the road, which leads into the next section.
Looking Forward To April
I was hoping to be a lot farther than I currently am headed into April, but between the unforeseen learning curve and some delays in getting some supplies, progress has been slower than I had hoped. I was initially hoping to have a lot of my initial art work finished by the middle of the month, and then start applying to shows and possibly have a “trial run” with some friends and family. That’s not looking very likely at this point. Hopefully now that I have learned a lot over the past month, I can start making faster progress, but unfortantely I’m guessing it’ll probably be late in the month before I’m ready to start applying to shows. As mentioned before, I would like to have a “trial run” with friends and family to try and work out a few things with my booth and selling before I do an actual show, but I’m not sure when I’ll try that at this point. I’ll likely shoot for the last weekend in April, but we’ll see how things go.
Hopefully in April I’ll actually be able to get out and get some new pictures at some point as well. We have a family camping trip planned for later in the month (assuming the weather cooperates), so that should be a good opportunity to get some new pictures. It will probably be much needed by that point.