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Holy heck, I’ve started blogging again.

Gosh, a lot has happened since I last posted here. If you look at the previous blog post, I’d just released a class on ink hatching on Skillshare. Since then, I’ve released a total of sixteen (16!!) classes there and rapidly became one of their Top Teachers, which means I’m in the top 1% of their total teachers. This is kind of a big deal…

When I started Skillshare in late 2016, I had a long-term plan to ramp up my teaching income to become an important part of my earning a living as a full-time artist. I am so glad I did this. I knew it would mean putting my fine art creation and sales mostly on hold until I could achieve a balance between the two worlds. The time for shifting energy and creating more balance is now (2019).

Part of this transition is to bring the writing back, both here and on my personal blog. I’m tired of lazily blurting the news on Facebook or Instagram instead of really taking the time to reflect and share more authentically what is going on. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I bleddy love Instagram, but I need to do some stuff here. So, yeah, I’m blogging again. Expect to see the art side of stuff here including art business, art tips and techniques, posts about my process, posts about new work, and more.

Thank you for being here.

(Also, sign up to my newsletter for stuff. That’s a thing too. It’s an infrequent but quality thing that I’ll be putting out a little more often than the blue moon schedule I’ve been using so far.)

Teaching Ink Drawing Techniques on Skillshare

July was a big month for me as I jumped into the world of filming video tuition! I’ve recently released a class on popular learning network Skillshare, and I’m watching the student numbers and glowing reviews grow. It’s unbelievably exciting to be exploring this new aspect to my art career. If you want to try my class for FREE, hit this link and enjoy. It’s about ink drawing using hatching techniques, and will build your confidence with the exercises.

My new class on Skillshare - Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques by Jen Dixon
My first video tuition class! Exciting!

I plan on releasing another class in September, and at the time I write this, I’m thinking it will be a class on making miniature abstract art. It was actually one of the first ideas I had for a class – based on work I was producing at the time – but is a little more complicated, so Improve Your Ink Drawing with Hatching Techniques won out as my first class release. My goal is to release a new video class every two months, perhaps with some free mini classes in between.

The free class links above are for a limited number of students, but if you miss out on that, use this one to get 3 Months of Skillshare for 99cents. That gives you access to classes on all topics site-wide – including mine – which is also awesome.

Oh, one last thing. If you are taking my ink class and post things up to Instagram or Twitter, use #jendixonhatching so I can find your work. Can’t wait to see it!

Open Studios 2016 Time!

conservatory gallery
It’s Open Studios Cornwall time again and things at Penwarren are already in full swing. I held a preview party last evening to kick things off, and boy did it! Thought up and arranged somewhat last minute – and credit to Pete for the idea and much of the prep – we invited people to eat, drink, check out my art before anyone else, and have a good time. Mission accomplished, and though I hadn’t set up the evening to promote sales, work sold, and I have already had an email from a collector showing her purchase framed and hanging in her house! Still smiling about that as I write this.

As for Open Studios, the official event started a few minutes ago for my location, and I’ll be open 11am – 5pm everyday from 28th May – 5th June. It’s always a tiring event to be a part of, but so worth it. I love having people ask questions, see new things in my (mostly abstract) work, and of course, it’s great for sales. Art can be a fairly solitary profession, spending hours alone in a studio, but this event allows me to share my creative sanctuary for a while.

If you find yourself in the neighbourhood, do stop in. You’ll find a map and address on my contact page and additional information on the Open Studios site.
(Photo above is of my conservatory art gallery.)

Getting inside my own head

Been mostly doing jenporium.com shop website stuff today. There are at least a couple hundred more paintings, drawings, and illustrations to add over the next few months, and each of them requires some copywriting.

One copy task is to write individual descriptions for my works, and – alas – I’m the only one who can do it. Although slow-going, I’m finding it really interesting analysing my own art sometimes years since completion. I’m seeing connections I never understood until now, patterns in my marks, colours, and styles. Fascinating.

It’s still going to take me forever (at least) to get something written for each piece, but if I tackle a few a day, I’ll manage. In the meantime, here’s one I wrote up this afternoon that surprised me a little:

https://jenporium.com/art/107

(If you’re interesting in buying any of my art, let me know. Due to the complicated nature of shipping what I create, the site only supports UK shipping addresses for now, however, I am always happy to put together a quote.)

2015 and what’s ahead for Jen Dixon in 2016

Greetings! I have gone from being an almost obsessive (personal blog) blogger to a most infrequent long-form typist. This deterioration is the result of a few things: Twitter, depression, and a few major life changes. Dust has, inevitably, settled and you’ll be seeing more regular updates here both in the blog and in the portfolio pages.

2015 was perhaps the best and worst year for me professionally. I’ll explain. I sold a lot of work, both large and small, thanks to a great increase in exposure and hard work via social media avenues. I ended a relationship with one gallery, began (and ended) a relationship with another, had a very successful large, three-week, solo exhibition, followed closely by a well-trafficked Open Studios, great sales and conversations at the unique Cruel and Curious exhibition, and two additional exhibitions including a run (which is still going till the end of this month) at the National Trust in Boscastle.

“How tremendously successful and wonderful,” you might be thinking. And it has been. But… 2015 killed my creativity and led to deep professional depression. I barely painted or made anything creative in 2015 because the focus was on the business end of art, almost exclusively. I didn’t update my portfolio. Or Saatchi. Or get my sales site (minimally) launched until December. I was busy with dates, times, spreadsheets, appointments, sales, space planning, installations, tear-downs, contracts and left the art creation in the cold. I have vowed to myself that 2016 will be different. Here’s how.

Firstly, reclaim the title ARTIST. That’s what I am, and while the business of being an artist is woven into my chosen career, it is not to dominate as it did last year. I was terrible at achieving professional balance in 2015 – and I understand the psychological reasons, which is for my personal blog, not here – so, I am changing the way I operate this year. I am an artist. I need to make art.

Secondly, manage my exterior engagements and opportunities better. I intentionally have not sought another solo exhibition for 2016. I do not need to do one every year – that’s madness. I am doing Open Studios again [28 May – 5 June], but although the work involved is deceptively great for such an event, it is not all-consuming in the same way a solo exhibition is. I am interested in being a part of Cruel and Curious again, but that happens later in the year, so I feel I’m spreading the ‘public engagement’ load.

Thirdly, I am the best salesperson for my art. I have been included in two, very good galleries in Cornwall and have sold one – inexpensive – work through them. That’s after each had a selection of my paintings for – combined – a year and a half. Unacceptable. In the same amount of time, I sold thousands of pounds worth of my paintings, drawings and prints around the world. Direct sales is the way forward, as no one wants to sell like I want to sell. This is my living. I sell to pay rent, go to the dentist, eat, and buy materials to make more art. I don’t buy myself perfume, handbags, or go out to restaurants. I make art for living, and no one will ever sell my art with that in mind but me. So, no galleries this year; I can’t afford them.

Lastly, share the knowledge. I have a huge amount of teaching experience and have had two art book manuscripts started for years. Years. That changes now. I’ll get one written this year, possibly published. I’m also looking into becoming an online tutor with a specific site, and will have packaged, downloadable lessons on my own site as well. Private tuition will still happen in my studio, but growing my student base through online avenues and publications is the way forward.

In summary, 2015 was great and terrible, but that was largely down to me making it so. 2016 is building on all the tough stuff learned and moving very positively forward. Let’s go!