Got Any Plans?
Believe it or not, there are only 31 days until 2017. Yikes! What that means is you kind of need to start thinking about goals for next year. Like this week. Or today.
As artists, we aren't naturally inclined to put together a list of goals for next year. Rather, we would more likely come up with some really cool ideas for new paintings. (And there is nothing wrong with that.)
But in order to focus on growing your art business, you kind of need some goals. The idea is that goals give you a path to move forward. They can motivate you to try new ideas. They can help you get organized to finally accomplish all those things that you know you need to get done.
Sound good? (If not, please reread my last paragraph. If that still doesn't work, try reading it again.)
At this point you still have 31 days to get your list together. Ideally you might want to come up with 4 - 5 goals. Some can be short term and some should be more long term. Designate a place to write down your thoughts. In a week we will revisit this and see what progress you have made.
Time to get to work.
I know. It seems like we just finished the September Thirty Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. Well, that's because we just did! I wasn't that smart when I picked the two months to host this Challenge. January makes sense. But September?
Last time I checked, there are only three months between September and January. Not to mention they are three REALLY BUSY months. Of course on the flip side, there are seven months between January and September which is really good. Somehow this feels a little but like daylight savings time. One good one (more sleep) and one bad one (less sleep).
This is where I am supposed to say that this is the good one. Because we only had to wait three months to paint thirty paintings in thirty days again. Not.
Actually, to be truthful, I had more fun in the September 2016 Challenge than I can remember. Seriously. My Project Runway theme was a blast. So the bad news? I am completely freaked out trying to come up with a theme for January 2017. I want it to be as good as my last one. But I am not sure that is possible!
Anyway, enough about me. It's time to do some soul searching and decide that you need to do this challenge with me. January is the perfect time! Imagine ... you could have 30 new paintings by February first. That's right. Thirty new paintings!
Head on over to the Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days page on my website. Read all about it and sign up to join me. If you are already familiar with the Challenge, then you can just sign up here.
Just do it. (We will pretend that I made up this slogan. Because it totally works here ... and you really should just do it.)
Please Don't Think I am Crazy
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
It is not too late to order some great small gifts for the holiday season that showcase your art. I sell notecards and a yearly calendar that feature a lot of my paintings. What's the best thing about a calendar? There is a good chance the owner of the calendar will look at your art every single day. That's right!
Head on over to my favorite online printing service Vistaprint. They have already started their Black Friday sale and their calendars are 60% off if you use the coupon code BESTDEALS. Their full color 8.5" x 11" wall calendars cost only $7.20 with the discount. If you order any of the wall calendars be sure to pay the one time upgrade charge to get Premium Glossy Card Stock. It's totally worth it. Their full color notecards are only $6.00 for 10 cards and envelopes. Don't wait because their sale is on until 11.29.16.
You can sell these on your website or just order them for your customers as gifts. Of course it's up to you!
Today is the perfect day to slow down and be grateful for all of the gifts we have in our lives. Turn to the people you love and thank them for making your life complete. Recognize them for all that they do and don't be shy about expressing your gratitude.
We have so many things to be grateful for! As artists, we are blessed to have a gift that we can share through our art. We have so many fellow artists to thank that give us daily support and encouragement. We have clients who have parted with their hard earned money to purchase our art. And we need to thank everyone that has helped us get to where we are today.
I truly believe we all need to express our gratitude more. On a daily basis. Yep. Like every day.
This is my chance to reach out and thank my family for making my life complete! I am so blessed to be surrounded by such a wonderful family including my parents, in-laws, husband, siblings, children, nieces and nephews. My four boys are the absolute love of my life and the reason I am on this wonderful planet!
Finally, thanks to all of you for joining me on this incredible journey. I love my life "as a working artist" and am grateful I can share and hopefully help some of to enjoy more success.
I have a tendency to make things way harder than they should be. I have to remind myself to just open my eyes and look right in front of me. The answer is often right there.
I tend to over think, over research and spend hours looking for a better answer. I think I am afraid to trust my own instincts and thus I have to make sure there isn't a better answer. It's silly because most times I end up right back where I was days earlier.
This past weekend we were in Venture and I spent some time hunting for sea glass. On Saturday morning I spent hours digging in the rocks with my foot trying to find that rare piece of aqua or cobalt blue glass. I came home with a lot of glass but it took a long time. On Sunday I decided to only look for glass on the top of the rocks. I literally stood there and waited for tone of the huge waves to come in. Then I collected all of the new glass brought to the shore with the wave. It was easy and fun and the pieces of glass were twice the size! And I found lots of aqua and cobalt blue!
In my workshops my students often claim "I can't find anything to paint!". That's when I tell them to head outside the studio and paint the first thing they see. The I tell them to turn to their right and paint that too. Then I suggest they turn again and paint that too.
It's amazing how the answer is usually right in front of us. So next time you are struggling, open your eyes and see what's staring right back at you. It just might be the answer you were looking for all along.
Another commission finished! It's my largest painting to date as the diptych measures 14' x 5'. I can't tell you how much satisfaction I get crossing a commission off of my "projects" list! I probably make commissions a lot more work than most but I think it's important to make sure my client and I are on exactly the same page before I start painting their abstract painting.
If you think about it, how likely is it that anyone in this scenario could possibly have the same abstract painting in mind? My client, the interior designer has one idea. Their client probably has another. And I might be thinking of something else! So how can I insure that every abstract painting is a success?
It's easy. I paint sample paintings. (And yes, that's sAmple, not sImple paintings.) Once I feel that I have a very clear direction from my client (which includes photos, fabric samples and lots of questions from me!) I usually paint 5 - 10 small sample paintings on canvas paper. These ideas are then sent to the client so they can choose in advance the painting they would like me to paint.
Once they have made their selection the final stage of creating the painting is a wonderful process. There is no fear, no anticipation and no worry that the client won't like the painting. And so far this method has worked every time.
A Bird's Eye View
We all get stuck in the trenches from time to time. It's hard when you are running your own art business and you are in charge of design, production, inventory, marketing, sales, shipping and collections. You would think we could have found a business that didn't require us to do absolutely everything. Jeez.
We all need to stop at least once a week and reflect on our art business. Don't think about what's on your easel. Or what deadline is next. Rather, take a step back. Think about your art business. Ask yourself, "Is there something I can do today that will make my business more successful tomorrow?". Start a list of all of the "projects" that you can do to help yourself be more successful. A little more effort now can make a lot more success down the road.
I have a list of all of my "projects" and "goals" in my Moleskin planner. I try to complete at least three of these tasks every week. It's Monday and I already have two tasks completed. It's gonna be a good week.
Pick Up the Darn Phone!
It is so easy to hide behind your email. I do it all of the time. I don't do it on purpose. It's just easier to email someone than pick up the phone and call.
So I am making a promise to myself. And I think you should join me. From today on, I am going to pick up the phone. And talk to my clients, students and friends. Sure, I will still email and text. But I don't like that I sometimes "hide" behind my email and text messages. My preferred method of communication is going to be talking. Not texting. Or emailing.
Of course this may not work with my three sons. They have a tendency to text me when I leave them a voice message on their phones. They are not big talkers on the phone. I guess I need to try to change that too.
Wish me luck.
How often do you take pictures in your studio? The answer should be "all of the time!". And I am not talking of photos that are just "of your studio". (Those are fine and I encourage you take them right after you have reorganized.) The photos I am referring to you need to take while you are painting.
Progress photos are very interesting and some of the most popular photos you can post. When you post progress photos you are engaging your reader and giving them a reason to come back and see more! Post your initial sketch or drawing in the morning and let your viewers know you will be posting more photos throughout the day. You can also share your paint palette (mixing colors makes a great photo or video). If you are teaching a workshop share photos of your students, their progress and some of your teaching techniques. And if you want to show off your studio then be sure to snap photos that show how you store wet paintings, how you organize your art supplies and where you get your painting inspirations.
Grab your nice camera, ipad or mobile phone and start taking photos. Then upload them to social media and share the magic that happens in your studio.
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
My Favorite Things
Some of my posts contain affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for full disclosure.