2018 Year in Review
Happy New Year! While I’m definitely looking ahead to set goals for 2019, I want to share with you some of the happenings that made 2018 such an amazing and memorable year.
Teaching in Ireland
My watercolour workshop in Ireland was definitely the biggest highlight of the year. Being able to bring my husband Wade and work with eight dedicated fellow watercolour lovers in a beautiful unfamiliar country was a wonderful adventure on many levels.
I taught one other workshop in 2018, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I am trying to limit my travel workshops to no more than three annually so I can spend time with my family, although it’s difficult; in 2018 I had to turn down invitations to teach in France, Croatia, and Tuscany! I look forward to teaching in Arizona in March of 2019 and in Ontario and Quebec in the fall (dates to be announced).
It’s always exciting to see personal artistic growth, and I think my word for 2018, looking back, has to be “fearless.” I really felt like I embraced the unknown as I painted, looking for ways to make watercolour even more exciting. My paintings have become simpler and more abstract and I’m breaking rules right and left as I push my boundaries to see what kind of colour and movement I can achieve in my art. This excitement affects both my painting and teaching; I want all my students to know the same rush of absolute freedom in expressing themselves artistically.
The Next Level
Early in 2018, I really started to feel as though my business was in a transitional stage. After creating courses for four years, I have grown stronger and more confident in teaching, but with over a dozen courses listed in my online school, I felt like it was time to start working on making fewer courses so I don’t have a confusing mass of content where no one knows what course to choose!
I created my signature course, Watercolour Mastery, and launched it in April 2018. I’ve run this six week program three times now, and the response has been amazing. My Mastery students are truly seeing huge surges of growth as they develop their artistic skills and personal style during the six week program. I’m so proud of every one of them! I’m looking forward to the next series in April of 2019.
When I started teaching watercolour online in 2013, I learned what I needed to know via “Google University.” I’m so proud of what I’ve been able to learn over the years, despite living in rural northern Canada, building a business that operates on my principles of generosity, trust and positivity. Being self-taught means that I have been able to build a business that reflects who I am, and without being distracted by the “rules.” However, it also means that I don’t always know the most efficient way to operate, and so throughout 2018 my goal was to put some systems in place so I don’t have to be quite as busy. Cloning myself is not an option! I attended a conference for course creators in Boise, Idaho, in June and for the first time was able to meet people just like me, sharing their passion on the internet and making a difference. I learned how to better use services to support my course content and the second half of 2018 was spent implementing what I’ve learned so I can feel maybe just a little less like I’m running in circles around here!
I’m so thankful for Robin, my assistant, who joined my "team” (I guess with two of us we can call it a team now!) in August. She has willingly leaped into the fray and helped to work on so many of the projects that were important but not urgent. She’s my big picture person and together we’ve been able to implement some exciting plans that we look forward to revealing in 2019. Robin’s so much more than an assistant; she’s my project manager, voice of reason and support system, all in one.
I made a few friends in 2018! Or maybe a few thousand?! Community is another key word, and through 2018 I got to spend so much time responding personally to emails, commenting in Facebook groups, Instagram, YouTube and blog posts. So many new friends from all over the world have become a part of my life through watercolour. It’s a huge challenge sometimes to stay approachable and personal when my circle has grown so large, but it’s one of my core values and worth the effort.
The interactive nature of Watercolour Mastery has really helped bring that sense of community even closer. In the past, I’ve gotten to feel like I have friends all over the world, as I email and interact with my students, but what has been even better is seeing my students interact with each other during the course. The way you encourage, advise and collaborate with each other is truly seeing the internet used for its greatest good.
A Daniel Smith Brand Ambassador
Another huge milestone happened right at the end of the year when I was able to connect with my favourite paint manufacturer, Daniel Smith. I reached out via YouTube and asked them to consider working with one of their biggest fans, and my students backed me up; you hashtagged, emailed and even phoned to encourage them to work with me. How could they say no?! I’m excited to be their newest brand ambassador and the opportunities this will provide in future, starting with my own dot card in early 2019.
A Fearless Future
2019 is going to be another memorable year. My goals are to:
create more Friday painting club watercolour lessons for YouTube
run Watercolour Mastery at least twice in 2019
build a watercolour community where we can learn together on a daily basis
create interactive course content in my student community and update some courses
write a book(!!)
teach 2-3 in-person workshops
draft and teach a workshop on artistic mindset
I’m excited about what the future holds and so thankful for the lessons learned in 2018. Thank you for being a part of the adventure!