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Go behind the scenes with a career artist at the start of her career
View works-in-progress and read about the techniques and tools used by artist Christina Langman

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A bit on goals, and achieving them...

For those of you paying attention and following closely enough to note the date - it's now January 18th, and I have yet to finish a miniature piece. This is not at all how I wanted the first two weeks of my "one miniature completed every two weeks" goal to go! So I felt it required some discussion. Obviously, I had jury duty, and took some time out to do my taxes and such, but as someone who considers themselves a "professional" this should not affect me meeting my goals.

One way I intend to deal with this, rather than getting frustrated and simply give up on my goal, is to plan to make up for it in some way. In this instance, I can make up for it by creating more than my goal in the upcoming weeks. I am days away from finishing my "Moses" miniature, and that will count as my first miniature completed in 2009 (even though it was started in 2008). Once that is completed, I can immediately start another one, with intentions to finish it in a week. If I have two miniatures finished by the end of January, I have still met my goal - in a roundabout way.

I also want to mention some of the things I've been working on behind the scenes. Although I haven't been physically working on art, I have been making a lot of progress on the business side of things. I now have a complete and working spreadsheet to track my income, expenses, inventory, etc. which I created from scratch. I am proud of it, and each time I make a purchase or a sale, I look forward to entering it into my spreadsheet. Additionally, I am changing e-mail clients to streamline how I handle business contacts. The new system will allow me to have a full contact list and address book for all of my business clients, which I feel is important. No longer will I have to find an old message from someone so I can hit "reply" just to send them a new message! All of this takes time, of course, but as time consuming as it is, it's extremely important to me. On top of all that - I am sneaking closer to the day when I can unveil the new shopping cart on my website - something a long time in the making, and an exciting development for me from a business perspective. While these things are keeping me busy, it may look like I'm not accomplishing anything, but I want to stress that I am extremely happy with how productive I've been lately - even if I have nothing artistic I can show you!

Jury Duty Excitement!

For those of you who read the Regina Leader-Post, you may already know the story, but I definitely want to share what I can about my experience as a juror. Obviously - I can't discuss what happened in the jury room, or conversations that took place among us jurors, but anything that happened in the court room is public knowledge (as any of you could have attended the proceedings). Basically, in this case, there were two charges of break-and-enter with intent to commit an indictable offense, as well as possession of a stolen vehicle, and evading police with said stolen vehicle. The main case the defense was putting forth was a lack of evidence connecting the accused to the crimes and the vehicle, as he was apprehended after numerous police followed tracks through snow and there was ample (the defense's opinion) time for the actual criminal to get away. The accused was, perhaps, at the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the main discussion points was the fact that no glass was ever found on the accused - whether on his clothing, in his boots, etc. Imagine for me now, the shock (that's the only way to describe it - and even then it sounds like such an understatement) when the jury discovers GLASS SHARDS in the boots which were exhibited for evidence. That's correct - we found glass shards in the boots that the accused was wearing when arrested. Being the foreperson of the jury, it was my duty to write a note to the judge as that was our means of communication with him. Seeing as we had a court reporter present, my note was actually published in the newspaper! It said "We found glass in the boot!" followed by "(What can we do!??!)" as well as stating that none of us touched the glass - and we had put the glass shards into an envelope, which I sealed, and labeled for the judge. Both my note and the sealed envelope were then exhibited for the proceedings, but we were (of course) instructed by the judge to disregard the glass when deliberating, simply due to the lack of continuity - anyone could have placed that glass there, and in order to be valid evidence, the original investigation would have had to discover that glass - and I fully understand that. We also had no evidence that the glass was from any of the crimes we were hearing about.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed having the experience of being on a jury. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event (unless I get selected again, of course!) and unlike most people who dread jury duty, I quite enjoyed the break from my normal routine, and would gladly do it again. It was quite the adventure!

And so, I guess it's back to my normal routine!

Monday, January 12, 2009

An interesting excuse for a lack of production

Well I think this certainly tops the list as interesting reasons why I didn't get any work done today... I went for juror selection duty today! And, shocker of all shockers - I was selected to be on a jury! Starting tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow. Way for the government to give us some notice to get our affairs in order huh? Luckily for me, there's not much to "get in order" other than making sure my car will get me there and back each day. I may be relying on bus transport for a couple days - I don't think my car will start after being parked in minus 26 all day behind the courthouse. But that's what I get for driving an old beater car I guess. So obviously, I may not be getting very much art done the next few days... the trial is supposed to be over by Friday, but I'll keep you posted. Perhaps we'll even get sequestered over the weekend? I'm excited to experience the whole adventure of jury duty though, and it is something I've wanted to do for a long time, so I'm excited. I'll post again after it's all over!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More Tax Time

Well I did in fact finish my taxes by 4AM. Actually - it was 2:30AM. Not bad I must say! I've learned a TON of stuff about self-employment taxes, that's for sure. Even now, I'm not a hundred percent sure I'm doing things exactly right, but I am well on my way. And - I am very happy with my spreadsheet work that resulted in a massive workbook to sort and calculate all of my income and expenses as the year progresses. It's a little comforting knowing I won't have to go through this same level of stress and headache next year, as I'll be much more organized come that time. So I guess it's time to get back to some "real" work now! First on the list is to finish the miniature I am currently working on, which shouldn't take long. And next will be starting the companion piece to "Focus"!

Tax Time...

Just so everyone knows what I am up to... it's time to do my taxes for 2008. Yay. I am so very enthused about that. Basically, I have always been filing taxes as a dependent of my husband, in which we fill out how much I have made (incredibly minimal) and life goes on. No expenses, paperwork, etc. Very simple. However, as I've recently been taking steps towards becoming a registered business, with properly filed business taxes, 2008 was the year to start. Of course, I didn't really start and keep records like I should have. Don't get me wrong, I had piles of receipts and I have my bank records and PayPal history all printed out, but my goodness... just looking through the small-business tax guide was giving me heart palpitations.

The good news? I have spend endless hours at my computer working towards having an efficient and streamlined filing system. I love working with Excel and spreadsheet calculations, and have essentially created a filing system that I can use on a daily basis to track income, expenses, capital cost allowances, etc. It is based very closely on the actual tax forms, so my hope is that next year (January of 2010) I can just enter a few numbers and hit submit, and taxes will be done!

I really do like being an organized person, but at the same time, I am a horrible procrastinator. Usually the two of those do not go hand in hand. And so, one of my main goals for this year (please note: NOT a "New Year's Resolution" - I hate that phrase and the connotations that go along with it) is to be more organized with my business, and I feel like I'm well on my way!

So although I'm not putting colored pencils to paper, I am still very much busy on my art business. Currently (yes, at 12:00AM) I am watching American Pie (all three movies in a row, likely!) on my TV, and entering info into tax forms. With luck I might be done by 4AM.