Or so my Astrology sign claims… it seems that whenever my life begins to get easy, I throw a wrench into my own wheels.

I’ve finally finished my Mr. Darcy Dommie portrait, and he is listed in my shop,
www.taraflyphotos.etsy.com. My next project in the Regency Cat series will be this beauty, shown above in the rough beginning stage.
It’s based on a piece of my own modelling stock from our regency photo shoot. You can view the original on my Deviantart account www.tarafly.deviantart.com . My plans for this piece include handmade bookmarks, using my heavy decorative paper (and possibly the satin ribbons I’ve utilized for my greeting cards). That’s one the main reasons why I chose the reading pose.

The bookmark concept came to me while I was trying to brainstorm ways to promote my artwork offline. Aside from the usual ways: business cards, door magnets, T-shirts, postcards… I’ve done all that. I’ve even purchased a nice travel mug for my French Vanilla coffee addiction, with my signature Fire-Breathing Dommie printed onto it, in the hopes that someone might comment on it.
However, artwork isn’t like jewelry or fashion, craft categories that are easily marketed. Countless times in the forums, I’ve given the advice to jewelry and accessory artisans: wear your stuff! Give your necklaces as gifts for friends to wear!
But how do I market my own stuff? I considered pendant jewelry… even though I don’t normally wear necklaces and such (they get in the way – anytime I bend down, they’re hanging in my face). I could cope with the inconvenience if it meant showcasing my work for potential customers. Artwork printed on pendants and earrings is small and difficult to see.
Although I’m still looking for viable ideas for self-promotion, the one thing I realized is that I normally carry a book with me. I’m considering book covers as well, however my books are various sizes – from paperback pocket-sized to large hardcovers – so creating templates to fit all possible books might be time consuming. In the meantime, I’ll begin with beautiful, eye-catching, hand painted bookmarks! That way, I can lay it beside me on the table while I’m reading or eating my lunch. When I get the first prototype designed, I’ll begin selling them too. 🙂

Which leads me into another heavy decision, one that I’ve been pondering over for months now. I began my business selling photomanipulated artwork – hence the “TaraFlyPhotos” moniker. Actually, I began with custom portraits, but expanding on my artwork under the title wasn’t difficult. I’ve been gradually phasing out the fantasy portraits, although I still occasionally do them for people. I was content to focus on manipulations and expand my knowledge of Photoshop, making fine-art Giclee prints of my finished pieces to sell.
However, in the last few months that I’ve spent on Etsy, and conversing with traditional artists on other forums, it leaves me with an unfulfilled feeling that can only be satisfied with a paint tray and some brushes of my own. I stayed away from traditional art for so long, because it’s difficult to paint around my children without them interfering or making a mess. A simple project like Darcy Dommie takes days to finish, because I’m forced to put everything away when the kids wake up.

I’ve started feeding the beast, now, and I feel I should continue … but it leaves me wondering where my business is headed. I suppose I can do a combination of both – manips and traditional – or else I’d have to reinvent my entire structure, including my business name (as “photos” doesn’t seem to imply what I’m creating anymore). I have alot of money, time, and legal crap (such as licenses) already tied up in “TaraFlyPhotos” so scraping it completely doesn’t make sense.

Perhaps …and I’m just brainstorming out loud, so excuse me… if I created a subsidiary called “TaraFlyArt” – “a division of TaraFlyPhotos”. ??? I had considered phasing out my entire Giclee collection (of photomanipulated pieces) to replace with hand painted works as I create them, but what if instead I open another shop devoted to traditional art, and keep them separate in the future?
*sigh* Just when I thought I could concentrate on one branch and scale back… I somehow talk myself into even MORE WORK!!! Why do I do this to myself? Why????
I can answer that. It’s because I’ve known since childhood that I would eventually manage my own business (someday…) and coupled with this Capricorn-esque curse to over-work myself and micro-manage every detail, I can’t allow myself to step back and let someone else do all the work. So, I become a self-promoting artist… instead of opening a normal business (i.e. a craft store or bookshop) and hiring employees, I want a career where everything from start to finish depends on ME!

I will most likely drive myself and my family nuts before this is over… unfortunately, my family will probably succumb first.