So many great things are happening this year! And now I must learn how to keep up the momentum.

I recently posted to Facebook:

My brain is finally in “professional artist” thinking mode, and I’m feeling very motivated to seriously make a career out of being a painter.
I’m excited about my upcoming show in May, and I’m feeling very honored and excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Artist In Residence program at the Sheboygan North High School Art Department this Fall.
Being amongst other career artists lately, attending openings and events, and engaging in dialogue with others who are on their own professional artist paths has been the spark that really got me thinking about looking into Artist In Residence programs for next year.
I know it will always be a struggle, but it’s not about reaching some pinnacle for me. It’s about exploring what’s already here in front of me, and making the most of it.
Even if that means appreciating the harsh shadows cast by a crumpled beer can on the beach, or painting a pile of tires.

My friend from undergrad has been back in the area lately. She recently got her MFA at NIU, and is the current Artist in Residence at Sheboygan North High School.
We’ve gotten a chance to really catch up again, and after carpooling to some exhibit openings and a workshop, her post-grad school ambition is really starting to rub off on me.
Right now, her life is filled with activity and work. She’s applying for residencies, answering calls for art, submitting applications for competitive and jurried exhibitions, preparing for internship and other interviews, working on her own residency, attending gallery openings and events, and I don’t know what else.

All the things going on in her life right now make me think, “I should be doing more,” and so I began to really think about what I can do. I came to the conclusion that as someone who really enjoys the tactile process of creating a piece of art, I should also pursue residency opportunities for 2016 and beyond.
It also occurred to me that some residencies are very expensive and have large, non-refundable application fees, which in part help to finance those residency programs. I might want to consider seeking a grant-writing-for-artists-workshop sometime in the near future!
Of course, I will start by applying only to those residency programs I can afford to. In the little searching I did, I saw several which have fees of $40.00 or less, and which also provide living space as well as a monthly stipend, or a stipend at the end of the residency term. Granted, they are competitive and limited to 10 or less applicants per year in some cases, but the opportunity to work as an artist away from home for a bit, making connections and interacting with other artists and art establishments in other states would be such a great experience. And I would hope that through my work, I can give back a little bit of that personal enrichment to those communities.

For now, I must keep pushing ahead on my paintings for a much closer deadline.
While I’m painting, though, I’ll be thinking about how to prepare for my own upcoming residency here in my hometown, and daydreaming about how to prepare for other residencies in faraway places.

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