Dare to Be Different
Abstract sample, available for commission.
It's pretty obvious that I made a big change in my art in 2015 when I started painting abstracts. There are a lot of artists that think I am crazy. That I sold out. And that I am not really painting "real" art. So why did I choose to go down the "abstract path"?
I did it for me.
I wasn't necessarily bored with painting traditional palette knife oil paintings. I just wanted more. And it seemed as if everyone was painting landscapes and seascapes. And seascapes and landscapes. Plus, I was intrigued with the popularity of abstracts in all of my decorating magazines and my ideas to paint abstracts with a palette knife.
So here I am a year later and I am happier than I ever imagined. I wil admit I am still trying to juggle both painting abstracts and painting traditional palette knife oil paintings. I certainly favor the abstracts but I am trying really hard to also paint with my oil paints. And this past year has been hard. My marketing efforts have doubled. Both types of paintings appeal to different types of buyers (with some overlap). So I am working harder at marketing than ever to build a huge new client base of abstract collectors and artists )who want to learn how to paint abstracts). And it hit my pocketbook a bit last year.
But it's so worth it! Why? Because it's magical in my studio every day.
I know it sounds corny. But I am not kidding. I practically run in to my studio every morning. Painting abstracts is fun, challenging, exciting and absolutely unpredictable. In my abstract workshops I use the words "play" and "fun" all of the time. And even though I have worked really hard at finetuning my approach to painting abstracts, I am still often blown away with the outcome. In a really good way.
It's a big change but I have never regretted it for one second. Can you tell?
Are You Backed Up?
36" x 36"
What's the two most important physical items in your art business? Mine are my paintings and my computer data. My paintings are pretty safe and located in many different locations. My computer data is also very secure. Is yours?
Stop for a second and ask yourself what would happen if your computer disappeared tomorrow. Do you have everything backed up? And what if your computer was stolen or what if there was a fire in your house? Both scenarios require different backup plans.
Let's talk about your photos first. Do you have multiple copies of your photos? Are they on the cloud as well as safely stored on a hard drive that is kept away from your office or studio?
And what about your website? Is it online or on the cloud, meaning if you lost your computer could you still make updates to your site? Or is your entire website sitting on your computer?
How about your art business files? Documents, workshop data and all of the years of files you have created and reference every day? Are they backed up?
And finally, are all of your backed up files up to date?
I doubt any of you can come clean on all of the above questions. So what should you do?
You need multiple back up systems to protect your business. Carbonite is an inexpensive service that backs up your computer remotely. It's cheap and it does it automatically so you don't need to remember anything. The backup is also located off site which is good protection against a fire or catastrophic loss.
Your photos can easily be backed up on the cloud. But making a back up file every month on an external hard drive is also a good idea.
I also have a Time Machine hard drive back up that backs up my computer every day. I guess you could say I am conservative. Cautious. And paranoid.
Don't wait to back up your data. Do it now. I mean it.
Building Your Mailing List
30" x 30"
Building your mailing list should be one of your top priorities. (And if by some chance you don't have an email list then you should sign up for Mail Chimp. It's free until you have 2000 on your mailing list so sign up for a free account. I use Constant Contact but there is a monthly fee.)
If are a Mail Chimp user then you have probably already created created a list. If you haven't already done it, then go to "Create a List". (If you need help then go to this video as it shows you exactly how to create the list.) Next you will need to create a sign up form. Go here to see how to create one. Then check out the Mail Chimp suggestions to build your mailing list. Be sure to add Mail Chimp Mobile to your iphone or Android so you can add contacts to your mailing list on your phone.
If you use Constant Contact then on your home page click on "Sign Up Tools" or "Grow My Contact List". Here you will find all of the tools you need to add a sign up box on your website, blog and Facebook page. You can even entice followers to sign up for your mailing list via texting and your iphone. Go to this great Constant Contact page which has all of the video tutorials on how to build your mailing list. You should also add the app Constant Contact Quickview to your phone so if you meet someone while you are out you can have them fill in the info on your phone and they will be added directly to your list.
So where can you find new contacts to add to your mailing list? Once you have reviewed (and hopefully tried) all the suggestions above, you can try these ideas too:
1. Go to your email inbox. Start a new email titled "Please join my mailing list". Then start copying emails of all of the people who have recently sent you emails. you will be surprised how many aren't receiving your newsletter. Send out a group email to all of these contacts asking if you can add them to your monthly newsletter list. When they say yes, just add them in. You can also put the link in the email so they can sign up on their own. It's up to you.
2. Go through your art sales list and/or workshop student list and email all of these contacts. Most of them are also probably not already receiving your newsletter. Send them an email inviting them to join. And just to make it easier on you next time, add the "Join my Mailing List" link to your invoices so your new clients can sign up right away!
3. There is an app called Quick Import for Outlook. It's free and it will import all of your contacts in to Constant Contact.
4. Add the mobile app to your phone for either Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. This allows you to add contacts to your mailing list while you are at art shows, galleries and painting plein air. you should even ask the new contact to fill in the information for you!
5. Make "adding email addresses to your email list" a high priority. Set goals to add five a day or 20 a week. You will be amazed how easy it is to add names to your list when you focus on it!
Time to get to work!
Planning an Art Consultation
I have four marketing consultations this week. In case you are wondering, a "marketing consultation" is a service I offer that is a private consultation with an artist. (You can find out more about them here.) I thought it might be fun to share how these consultations work.
Every artist consultation is different. Of course the goals of my clients are sometimes similar: sell more art, begin teaching workshops, get in to galleries, plan an art sale, sell more art online, build a mailing list and send out a newsletter. But each consultation is only about my client. And no one else.
When an artist signs up for the consultation, they fill out a comprehensive survey that outlines their art business history, goals and accomplishments. Once I receive the results of the survey it's time for me to begin my analysis.
Based on the information in the completed questionairre I review all of my clients websites, social media sites, etc. I first look at the information as if I am a potential buyer and then a gallery owner. While I am doing my review I complete my own ten page outline that covers just about everything an artist needs to know about marketing.
Then I schedule a call with my client. We spend about an hour and forty five minutes (or longer!) and review everything. It's fun and one of my favorite things to do. One of my clients told me she took 32 pages of notes. Now that's a marketing consultation!
This Week's To Do List
This is supposed to be what I call an "off week". I taught a workshopo last week and I have another one next week (in Ventura). So this week I am free.
But I am confused. If it's an off week then why do I have 28 items on my To Do List???? Are you kidding me?
Rather than bore you with a list of all 28 items, I think I will just break it down for you instead. Three items are related to filling and shipping merchandise orders. Two items are paintings that need to be shipped. Four items are related to workshop to do's. Five items are related to commissions. Two are about next month's Monday Online Studio. Three items are about upcoming commissions. Eight items are good old computer work. And one item is for the AHA show. So, it's end of the day on Monday and only six items are crossed off. Why do I keep doing this?
In order to stay sane my next "to do" is to organize the remaining 22 items on the list. All I need to do is add the day of the week each item will get accomplished.
OK. That is done. Wednesday is going to be my longest day. Ugh.
But now I can relax. All of the things I need to do this week are written down and scheduled for a day this week. Even though it's a crazy amount of things to do I know when and how to get them accomplished. No more pressure. Whew.
How do you manage your to do lists?
Telling Others About Your Art
"Its not about telling others about your art. It's giving them a reason to ask about it."
I read this quote a few years ago and have thought about it or repeated it a hundred times. Sadly I don't know who wrote this but I love it.
Talking about your art is something that artist's really struggle with. I am not sure why. Maybe it's intimidating. Maybe it feels like bragging. Who knows. All I know is that I love talking about my art when someone asks about it first.
So I know what you are thinking. How do I get people to ask about my art?
It's easy. You just need to share your art. Don't sit in your studio and paint beautiful paintings and not show them off. Share them on social media. Send out a press release about your art and be sure to mention something exciting that you are doing. Enter a local art show. Do anything to give others a reason to ask about your art!
The article above was featured in this month's South Pasadena Quarterly Magazine. They contacted me about doing an article after the editor attended my art show last November. It's been great because the phone calls and emails have started pouring in!
So don't be shy. Get out there and give others a reason to ask about your art.
The Joy of Teaching
Acrylic abstract, 48" x 48"
I love to teach. I absolutely love it.
Teaching is sharing. And motivating. And rediscovering the joy back to painting for many artists.
Tomorrow is day three of one of my abstract painting workshops. It's been incredible. We are having so much fun. My students are paintings incredible paintings. And we are all learning a ton.
That's right. I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. How cool is that?
P.S. I think this is my new favorite of my abstract paintings.
Trying Something Different
Oil, 24" x 26"
It's a really good idea to try something new. At least every few months. Last week I decided it was time to try a new shampoo. The old one I was using basically stopped working and my hair was really dry. (I am sure the 88 degree weather in February had nothing to do with it.)
But I was kind of surprised when the sales lady at my salon told me there was one catch. She said "You just have to remember to put the coniditioner on your hair first. Then rinse and then use the shampoo." Then she added, "That's why I have never tried it.".
Conditioner before shampoo? Huh?
So of course I bought it. And I have to tell you. Even if it doesn't matter which one comes first, it's brilliant marketing. Because now every time I wash my hair I am so focused on the process that I am convinced this shampoo and conditioner (wait, I mean conditioner and shampoo) are amazing.
Just by trying something new and different has changed my focus. And it's made it better.
The exact same thing has happened since I started painting abstracts. I am painting more loose, more carefree and enjoying myself 100% more. And, I am just painting better. And this is with abstracts and traditional oils.
Sharing Oldies But Goodies
"Resting at the Knob"
Oil, 12" x 12"
There is nothing wrong with promoting an older painting that hasn't sold. In fact we seem to do a great job promoting our new paintings but we don't do a good job promoting the older ones! And yes, the painted pictured here is from last September. It features boats at The Knob in Cape Cod.
Go through your gallery of paintings (hopefully you have one on your website) and pick out your favorite painting that is still for sale. It doesn't have to be a recent painting. Find one that has perhaps not been on your blog or Facebook in a while. Then post it on Facebook and write about it on your blog.
Please be sure to post the painting with a link that goes to the place (on your website, blog or group painting site) where someone can buy the painting. Ideally, this would be on your website.
Just remember, it's much easier to sell a painting if you ALWAYS include the link where it can be purchased!
That's my big idea to share today. Try it!
Using Google Alerts
My art featured on the cover of Professional Artist Magazine
That's right. Google Alerts. I know what you are wondering right now. What in the heck is a google alert? Google Alerts are email updates sent to you of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. A google alert is a great way to monitor what is being said on the internet about a particular topic.
For example, let's say you are really interested in a particular gallery. If you set up a google alert for this gallery then google monitors the web for interesting content and sends you an email anytime there is new news about the gallery.
So why do you need a google alert? It is important to know when there is news about something important to you on the web. Some things you should set up a google alert for are:
1. your name
2. any art galleries you are in or would like to be in
3. a particular style of painting, medium or subject matter that you would like to stay informed about
4. an artist you admire and would like to learn from
5. Anything else that interest you.
Every artist should create a google alert for their own name. It's a great way to keep up to date about what's being said about you on the internet. I find articles and blog posts that mention my name through google alerts and it's often the only way I know to thank people for mentioning me! To set up a google alert just go to this page and create as many as you want. You can determine how much information you want to receive and how often you want to receive the alerts. Google alerts are a great way to keep updated on what is happening on the web. I like the alerts because they let me know when my name is mentioned on a blog and I can then comment and thank the author for the shout outs!
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
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