What I've Been Working On (January 2020)
by Anne Kostecki
Now it's officially 2020! Do you have any resolutions? I usually don't do resolutions. It feels arbitrary. And my resolution would most likely be: "work harder, make more money." I know, not exactly focused on wellness or fulfillment or whatever. Do you remember how everywhere on the internet it said "say no to things"? Honestly, those are never resolutions for me because I think I make enough time for those things. I made it a daily habit a long time ago to set aside time in the evening for reading, meditation, a warm bath, or a game with my husband if I need to. I say "no" to whatever doesn't make sense for me. Saying "no" can be great sometimes! That's just the brutally honest part of me showing itself.
So at the beginning of the year, I was in Hawaii until January 6. It was an amazing trip: my husband and I spent the time on Maui, because we found a great flight deal. We saw a lot of waterfalls, drove the entire circumference of the island, After that, I took some time to regroup, and then I had some administrative things to do.
Did you know that I officially became a business in December? I am now Anne Kostecki Design, LLC. I have a business account with my bank, a company credit card, and I'm registered with the IRS. I'm glad to be official now - it will be a lot easier to track financial data this way, and I won't be tangling my personal bank accounts with business purchases and income. I just have to link my Minted payroll somehow...it won't allow me to link it on Paypal, so it's not clear what I should do at this point. Speaking of Minted, I sort of worked ahead on a Minted challenge, but I haven't devoted a lot of time to Minted lately. I really should do that though.
My free time during the day has significantly decreased. Why has that happened, you ask? My daughter has decided to go to 1 nap per day...and cut her usual sleep time in half. I already had barely 2, maybe 2.5 hours a day to work, and now it's like 1 hour 15 minutes. It is kind of stressful, and my productivity has taken a hit. Running around chasing her, plus the psychological toll of ALWAYS watching her, making sure she's not eating rocks or getting her hand stuck in a cabinet, is taxing. When I do have that 1 nap, it takes me like 10 minutes just to breathe. I make my bathroom breaks very quick, and my showers are like less than 5 minutes. That's just life as a stay at home mom.
Ok, so one painting I worked on that took a very long time (relative to its size especially, which is around 9 x 6 inches) was this coconut chocolate caramel cookie shake painting. I wanted to make a delicious, over-the-top drink painting that looked so good you'd want to eat it. So I took a lot time sketching it out, and an even longer time making sure the colors and light quality was exactly right. The background looks like a beaten aluminum backdrop, and the cool gray contrasted nicely with the warm browns and golds. White flake coconut and cookies add a level of texture. I was very happy with the result, but pricing this original is going to be tough. Since I spent so long on it, I will have to list it at a certain price, so I don't know if it will sell at my next show. I hope it will, because it's a fun piece!
My cold press watercolor paper looked lonely, so I decided to draw some garden roses. I painted very carefully, taking time to count the flower petals and painting each individual one. Wow, I did not ANTICIPATE at all the response I got on Instagram! My first image received over 10,000 impressions, over 850 likes too! It was the top image in some big hashtag categories. I was so, so happy that people liked it. I felt silly posting incremental progress, so I mixed it up with other paintings. It's funny, the engagement on those posts is next to nothing compared to the flowers. I wonder why that one did so well. Is it just because of the realism? Do you know? Please tell me in the comments. I doubt I can catch lightning in a bottle, but I'm just happy that something I make resonated with people.
Surprisingly, I got my digital art assignment done early! I wanted to submit to They Draw and Cook's Beans Around The World contest, and the deadline is Feb. 2, so I wanted to get going. I wanted to do a Mexican black bean recipe, so I found a good one and modified it to my liking. First, I drew the finished dish on my iPad using Procreate, and I spent a while getting the right amount of texture and detail for each layer (beans, onions, tomatoes, lime, cilantro, etc.!). I was very diligent about creating layers. Then, I wanted to add some Mexican-style papel picado art, so I chose 4 colors and drew floral and curved shapes and accents. The typography was actually the first thing I drew, and I just drew on top of an engraved typeface and drew the shaped counter spaces and finials to make it resemble papel picado. The recipe and ingredients flank the sides of the illustration. Overall, I am happy with this, and it's a vast improvement I think on my map illustration, only because it fulfills the contest objective much better. You can see my submission here.
I worked again on Susan Chiang's Paint With Me challenge, and I painted a photo of bright autumn leaves on a peninsula with a reflection in water. This was a quick one for me, since it's a relatively simple image. I focused on accurately contrasting light and shadow, and matching the reflection to the trees and architecture. The final painting is about 9 x 6 in.
Exhibitions & Shows
I applied to Webster Art's Small Works XIII, and was so happy to be one of the 18 artists selected to show! My piece, "The Witch's Garden," will be on display this week, and the opening reception is this Friday, February 7. It was not easy wrangling this painting into a frame - it's a weird size, and the only one I had that was gallery-ready was too big.
What am I planning for the future? I've had 2 requests for new folded stationery. One set that would be kid-friendly (animals or something) and another with sites around St. Louis. I think I will work on the St. Louis one first. I have multiple uses for that set! I researched printing on tote bags and temporary tattoos, but most vendors are cagey about pricing. Luckily, I have some investment money set aside for adding new inventory. In fact, I have 2 new prints coming this week! They will be small, 5 x 7 inches. And I have a buyer for some of them already!
I would like to work on more Minted projects, and I have a list of ideas for the next art challenge. I feel like the art challenges are where I will have the most success, since my wall mural design is my best seller. Something that has been on the back burner for me for years is my passive income stream. I applied to Creative Market, and was waitlisted :( I have, as of now, 1 completed vector set (available here on my site and on Etsy). My constellation vector set needs 6 more drawings, but other than that, is complete. And, I have several ideas for more vector illustrations, graphic elements, and theoretically, Procreate brushes. I would love to learn how to create fonts someday, but I would need to buy more software for that. So, that will be for later.
As always, thank you for reading my absurdly long thoughts and recaps. This month I'll be heading to Costa Rica for a week, so it'll be quiet around here. Hasta luego! -Anne