36" x 48" abstract
Spruce up a Tired and Neglected Blog
If you have had a blog for quite some time it is probably ready for a face lift. Look at the widgets on your blog and delete the ones that aren't working for you. Next, add some new ones.
Try creating a weekly recurring post so that your followers will look forward to this information. If you can get them to come to your blog looking for information, then you have succeeded. Use a broken link and spell checker program such as dead link checker. Finally, pick a theme every few weeks to talk about on you blog. That will also get your followers to check back once they know specific information will be appearing on your blog soon! It takes some effort, but you can spruce up your blog.
"The Sea Glass Collection"
These nine 20" x 20" abstract paintings are part of my sea glass collection. T?hey can be combined in any way - two, three, four, six ... paintings on a wall!
Blogging can be a wonderful way to share your art with others. But if you are going to blog there are things you can do to me more effective. I put together a list of that I think every art blog needs.
Click here for more information.
Abstract triptych, 24" x 24" each.
It's so easy to be a loner as an artist. Everyday we paint. In our studio or en plein air. We don’t have an "office" to go to as there really aren't any places to go on a daily basis to paint. Yet, if you want to propel your business and skills as an artist you need to find a team. Your team. Put together a mentoring group. Find a local art group to join. Take a local class to meet other artists. Start a Facebook group to find other artists. Whatever you do, don’t be an artist all by yourself. You need other artists to have fun, motivate you, challenge you and support you!
Isn't it hard to achieve anything all alone? It's not that much fun either. Most of us receive some guidance or help from others. Support, information, a sense of shared experience, encouragement, advice, and a well-timed pep talk are all invaluable as you set off on your adventure. This is where having a mentoring group of art friends can be important. Review your art contacts or look on Facebook and see if there are artists in your area, or ones online, who want to talk art. You can meet at a coffee shop monthly or meet via google hangouts or using a free conference call service.
Find your team and support each other! That way you will have someone to share your training, accomplishments and successes.
Abstract, 30" x 30".
As I mentioned the other day, being an artist doesn't have to be competitive. Stay focused, work hard, learn from others and have fun. That's my best advice.
But there is one last thing we all need to do and that is learn as much as we can from our "competition". What on earth do I mean from that?
First off, you have to know who "your competition" is. To be honest, I don't even like the term "competition". But you know who I am talking about. It's that group of artists who we all place on a pedestal who are really successful and awesome. I have a list of these artists that I really admire and wish I could be more like them. I admire mant of them for their painting skills, others I admire for their marketing success and others I like because they are just really great people.
Some of these artists are really great friends and some of them I have never met. But I follow all of these artists on a regular basis. I watch what they do, where they go and how they do it. I follow them on social media, visit their websites regularly and keep up to date on who follows them. It's not stalking (I promise). It's just a way to understand what makes them successful and learn how I can do the same. This is the way I am leaning from my competition. But I never consider them as a threat, or do I compare myself to them. Rather, I just try to be more like them!
Do you know who is your "competition"?
Abstract, 36" x 36"
Being an artist isn't easy. Being a successful artist is even harder. But just like an athlete we need to train every day to be better. We can paint. We can take classes and workshops. But what can we do everyday to be a more successful artist?
Success is measured in a lot of different ways. I think success should only be measure in each of our own eyes. Some of us measure success by how well we paint. Others measure success by how much we paint. Many artists measure success by how much we sell. Just remember, whatever I may think makes me successful is likely very different from what you think about yourself. And that's a good thing. Don't ever use any standards but your own to measure your success. That's because only you know your own capabilities, accomplishments and definition of what it is "to be successful".
It's hard to be a successful artist if you don't have any goals or ways to measure your success. It's important to come up with a list that identifies your goals and where you want to be in perhaps, one year, with your art. Once you know what you want to accomplish then it's a lot easier to figure out how to get there.
I have a very specific list of goals for my art every year. I look at them often and modify or update them when necessary. On a weekly basis I have lists of things I hope to accomplish that will help me reach my goals. Many of them are completed but some of them get "shed-ded" (which is what I do when I can't get everything done). I need these "to do" lists so I can keep my head up and not forget the big picture. Without them I am afraid I would just paint. And organize my studio. Ha.
How do you train yourself for success?
Oil, 11" x 14"
Sunday's olympic coverage was heartfelt. On the one hand we watched a cyclist from the USA, who was in the lead for a good part of her four hour race, get passed in the last hundred meters by three cyclists. She ended up taking fourth, just out of medal contention. The agony of defeat.
A few hours later we saw the USA men's 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay on the medal podium. After winning the gold we all watched the USA flag raised to the star spangled banner. During the national anthem one of the USA swimmers, Ryan Held (who had just swam his first Olympic event ever), broke down and cried during our anthem. His overwhelmingly happy emotions brought tears to most of us. Ahh, the thrill of victory.
We all have good and bad experiences in the studio. In any given week we have good days and bad days. Sometimes our paintings suck whereas on other days we can't believe we created the fabulous art sitting on our easel! I believe we have to go through the lows to really enjoy the highs. It's important that you don't let defeat get you down. Instead, use it as a motivator to get right back up again.
There is a US olympic swimmer (her name is Kristy Kowal) who has a heartfelt Olympic story. In the 1996 olympic trials she placed third in the 100 breaststroke by 1/100th of a second. Since only two swimmers make the olympic team in the event she missed making the team. But Kristy was a competitor and kept swimming for another four years. At the Olympic Trials in 2000 she swam the 100 breast again and took third again. By 1/100th of a second. I am not kidding. No one could believe it. One one hundredth of a second ... again?
Fortunately, she swam the 200 breaststroke two days later and placed second. She finally made the olympic team! And the best news? She won the silver medal a month later at the Sydney Olympic Games!
Abstract, 24" x 24"
Now that the Olympics are here (and I am totally obsessed) I thought it might be interesting to talk about the competitive side of being an artist. It's scary to me how competitive our industry is. Of course, it's competitive only if you want it to be.
I love sports and all of my boys (including my husband) are very athletic. I am a huge sports fan and I love cheering on my boys and my favorite teams. But when it comes to competition in my art business? No thank you.
I don't really enter art or painting competitions. I have in the past but it's been years. I think art competitions are great for other artists but they just aren't a priority for me. Instead my biggest competitor is myself! I have an internal desire to succeed and I pretty much motivate myself. In fact I have a tendency to pull away from other artists who are really competitive. Art is such a personal journey that I am uncomfortable when I sense it's becoming a competition. Usually I just step out of the "race".
My internal competition is mostly based on my personal art goals and how I hope to accomplish them. I spend a lot of time thinking about getting better and I like it that way. I also don't mind sharing my journey with other artists which includes my success and my failures. I figure we all make mistakes along the way, right? So why not share them with others if they can learn from my failures? Plus sharing them outloud really makes me what to do better next time. Ha.
Do you fell that your life as an artist is competitive?
"Duo at the Cape"
Oil, 12" x 12"
Click here to purchase.
I think the most important tip I can share about saving money is to take care of your supplies. What does this mean?
Take a minute to think about all of the times you have damaged a canvas, ruined a frame or found a "bad" tube of paint in your supplies. How many times has a brush "died" without proper cleaning? All of these losses can be prevented. We just need to focus on taking care of our supplies.
Make sure your canvases are stored in a way that punctures can't happen. Get them off the ground and if they aren't stored in plastic then wrap them to keep them clean and dry.
I hate storing frames. It seems I am always finding a small ding or ship on the corner of a frame. My best tip is to wrap them in plastic or bubble wrap and get them out of your studio. Find a good storage spot and don't move them again unless absolutely necessary.
Store paint in a dry place and in mild temperatures. If your studio has extreme temperatures it may make sense to purchase a small refrigerator to store your paints.
And a good, thorough cleaning routine for your brushes is really important. Create a place in your studio where you have a system to store wet brushes and clean them before it's too late.
It seems pretty simple but taking care of your supplies can really save you a lot of money.
Abstract, 36" x 36"
I mentioned a few days ago that you can stretch your own canvases and save money. But what if you don't want to stretch your own and are looking for pre-made? Where can you get the best prices? (I have to come clean here ... this applies to me!)
There are a ton of options when it comes to buying stretches canvas. Let's talk first about purchasing standard size canvases.
Sadly, your local art store is probably the most expensive. Larger local craft stores (such as Michael's) are a great option but only if you buy them on sale WITH COUPONS. You can get an app for your phone that keeps you updated with all of their discounts. You should always wait until you can get at least 50% off. I like the green label stretched canvases which are their premium quality option. Aaron Bros and other large stores also have great specials.
If you want to buy your canvases online then stores such as Jerry Artarama have great prices and deals. Never pay for shipping as they always offer free shipping. Their "Edge three-pack canvases" are always really well priced. Just be aware that many of the sizes over 36" have a huge shipping surcharge. If you want larger canvases such as 48" x 48" you are better off finding them locally.
For custom sizes it is really important that you spend time finding a local supplier, especially if you need large sizes. I have found a few here in Los Angeles that I am really happy with.
The most important thing is to do some research now so that you know where to purchase your canvases when the need arises!
"Circles of Life Trio"
Abstract Triptych, 20" x 20" each.
Click here to purchase.
The second tip is that you should always check for coupon codes before you buy anything online. I started doing this years ago every time I bought anything online at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. There are coupon sites such as retailmenot.com but for coupon codes for major retailers (as listed above) be sure to check ebay. Typically I can buy a 20% - 25% off coupon for under $20 and most work on sale prices.
Finally, a lot of you asked which paints I use with my limited palette. I use the Windsor & Newton water based Artisan oils. You can decide on any color palette, I just encourage you to use a majority of transparent colors. My palette consists of Titanium White, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine, Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), Cad Yellow Medium and Sap Green.
You can find them here.
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
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