The Best of the Best
"The Best of the Best"
Scheduled Air Date: Thursday, December 29, 7:00 am PST, 10:00 am EST
On our last Artists Helping Artists show of 2016 we are going to feature all of our (and your) favorite things! Thanks to everyone for their input on their favorite art supplies, apps, magazines, blogs, websites, gadgets, etc. This show will be very valuable to help you plan for the new year!
Click here to listen to this show.
Visit the AHA Forum.
The January Thirty Paintings in 30 Days Challenge starts in a few days. You can still sign up and join us for an incredible experience!
Click here for more info.
Approaching the New Year
On last week's Artists Helping Artist's show we proposed a unique idea for setting goals in 2017. Instead of making a list of a few goals we proposed a twelve-month plan to organize your art business. We proposed twelve ideas you can accomplish each month to organize your art business. Of course in a perfect world we all would like to complete all of these items in January of 2017. But it's just not possible. Because some of these projects are really big.
I do think we all need to pick twelve projects specifically suited to our own art businesses. But feel free to use as many of our ideas as you want. Just pick twelve and then schedule one for each month of the new year.
For January we proposed the goal to "Organize your art office”.
This means organizing your file folders. Throw out the ones you don’t use and don’t need. Set up new folders to organize the piles of information sitting on your desk or in your studio. You also need new 2017 folders for expenses, art shows, etc. It’s time to get the business side of your art business organized. And this shouldn’t take too long. (Which is a good thing because month #2 is a big one.)
Are you going to give it a try? I am so excited to get started right away.
Breathe Deep and Don't Panic
Five Days. That's it. OMG.
The January Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days starts in five days. That cannot be possible. And just so you know, I just sent reminders to everyone who signed up for the 2016 September 30 in 30 Challenge so please sign up if you haven't done it already.
I am a bit intimidated by my theme for this year's Challenge. I am painting paintings that fit on the show Fixer Upper (which means I am creating paintings that could hang in any of the renovated homes from the show Fixer Upper). This will be a very different look for me as so many of the Fixer Upper houses are designed in the Industrial Farmhouse decor which means no bright paintings this month. Ugh. (Ok, maybe I will sneak in a few.) But it's about time I pushed myself out of my comfort zone!
If you would like to participate in the January Thirty Paintings in 30 Days Challenge just click here for all of the information on how to participate. It's a lot of fun and a really great thing to do (it changed my life!) so give it a try.
And please remember the only requirement is that you HAVE FUN. If you don't get all thirty paintings done you will be the only person that knows. So enjoy yourself!
So I am curious. What is your theme for the January Challenge?
Reaching Outside of Your Comfort Zone
It’s easy to stay comfortable. We all do it. Cook the same recipes, paint the same type of paintings. Travel to the same plein air destinations.
But sometimes we need to reach outside of the box. Push the limits and try new things.
Last night my family and I had a lot of fun cooking a gourmet dinner. We decided we could only prepare new recipes (that we had never cooked before) and they had to be hard. Difficult. Like a zillion steps difficult.
So we pulled out my cookbook from The French Laundry (that I have never opened) and we picked two recipes that looked yummy (and difficult to make). Then I found a recipe on Epicurous for fresh ravioli that would allow me to use my new pasta attachments for my Kitchen Aid Mixer. (One of the gifts that said "To Leslie, From Leslie" and never made it under the tree.)
The hardest part was the grocery shopping. Yes, I had no idea what a parsnip looked like. (Apparently it’s just a white carrot.) I also found out that Black Sea Bass is an endangered fish and not available. And I was really happy to learn that you could buy a really good fish stock in leiu of having to buy 20 mussles and make your own. So we improvised. Which was fine.
Then we cooked for over two hours tonight and made an awesome dinner. It was very gourmet, a bit “out there” and a lot of fun. And it was completely out of my comfort zone.
I think we are going to try it again on Christmas Eve. When was the last time you pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone?
Ugh. Goal setting. Most of the time I hear "goal setting" I want to run in the other direction. But it is important. Really important. But it’s hard.
I usually psyche myself out when it comes to setting goals. I mean, seriously. How can you pick a few goals that are supposed to last for the whole year? What if the goals are too hard? What if they aren’t really the most important things you need to do in 2017?
So do you see why I find this goal setting task almost impossible? But I have good news. I think I found a way around this problem.
Today's AHA show is going to change that. It's titled "Goal Setting … A 12 Month Plan to Organize Your Art Business". I think you really should listen to this show. And honestly, if I can actually do this in 2017 my life (and art business) will be changed forever. I mean it.
You can listen to the show here.
Three Common Lies
Selling online is a good thing. But I constantly hear and read three misconceptions (i.e. lies) about selling online. I thought I would share them with you ...
1. If I Build a Store I Will Get Sales
There are over a billion websites online. So just because you build an online store doesn't mean you will start selling the minute you publish your site. You have to market your art. You need to promote your store on social media, through your blog, newletter and everywhere! You need to tell everyone. All of the time.
Once you promote your online store then you will get sales. That's just how it works. I promise.
2. I Don’t Have Enough Product to Sell, So I Can’t Start a Store
Seriously? All you need are 5 - 10 paintings to open your online store. And every artist reading this blog post has five or ten paintings. You do, however, need five or ten good paintings to put in your store. Paintings you really like and paintings you think are good enough to sell. Don't panic. I think most artists reading this have at least five good paintings to sell. They are probably hanging on your walls right now.
3. It’s Expensive to Sell Online and I Can’t Afford It
Sorry, but this just isn't true. A website costs about the same monthly cost as a few cops of coffee. It used to be really hard to get a website built to sell your art. But there are a lot of great online web builders and most of you can build one yourself. (Or you can take my webinARTs class. Just click the link above to learn more.)
If you don't have an online store (or you have one that is outdated and you can't modify yourself) then you need to think about making this one of your goals for 2017. And don't pay atttention to the three misconceptions (lies) mentioned in my blog post.
Are You Ready For the Holidaze?
Ok. So it's been 24 hours since our big "party day". What that really means is it is time for me to catch up.
First, I got some sleep. Then I did a little shopping (online). Then I worked on our Christmas cards. I actually got a lot done. It's a good thing. Because none of these tasks required me to get out of my jammies. Of course I didn't get near enough done today. The are way too many things I have to do for the holidays.
I am curious. Are you ready for the "holidaze"? It's a stressful and crazy time for everyone. Especially if you are dealing with painting commission deadlines for customers who need their paintings before Christmas! Not finishing in this case pretty much doesn't work. A deadline is a deadline and you do need to get things done on time. It's not really an option to deliver one late. Bummer.
So what do you do?
My best tip for getting things done (when you are behind) is to wake up early and head immediately to your studio. Well, after you get coffee of course. That's an automatic. It's very important that you leave your cell phone in the kitchen. (Or if you absolutely have to have it nearby at least turn off the volume.) Just tune out the distractions. All of them. Music is ok.
Then start painting and paint and paint and paint. Take a break for lunch (or more coffee) and paint again. Before you know it, you just might be done. I know this approach sounds simple but it works.
Putting It All Into Perspective
Wow. Yesterday's Artists Helping Artists show kind of knocked me off my feet. My friend and co-host Carrie Waller introduced me to our guest Sue Takomot and the Nozomi Project. Sue's story is remarkable.
The Nozomi Project was started as a result of the triple disaster in Japan. Many of you might recall the earthquake, tsunami and nuclean meltdown that occurred in March 2011. In her story Sue explains "Our family is part of a team called Be One that moved up to Ishinomaki following the 2011 disaster. This team is composed of Japanese and American Christians whose desire has been to walk with the people of Tohoku and committed to seeing our community transformed. The first time I came up, I was cleaning out a park and began saving the many pieces of broken pottery. I thought, “What if we could make something beautiful from this devastation?" I couldn't shake that thought."
Sue's story continues. "In July 2012, we started gathering women together to make accessories from the broken pottery. Hundreds of volunteers helped to gather the pottery. Several professional jewelry artists came and taught our staff. A web designer volunteer offered to help us get a website started. Our Be One team worked together with our different abilities to do the finance, computers, and behind-the-scenes work that it takes to pull off starting a company." And that's how the Nozomi Project started.
Sue shared her story yesterday on the Artists Helping Artists show. You can listen to the Artists Helping Artists show here.
You can also visit the Nozomi Project website and see the beautiful jewelry made by these amazing women. They set up a special 10% discount code ARTIST for all of our listeners. Please consider helping their amazing project.
Free Photo to Use For a Painting
I love sharing photos with all of you that can be used as inspirations for paintings. I think it's great to share photos ... but to be totally honest, it's a great idea for a quick blog post. Especially when you have no time!
I know. It's pretty lazy of me but I am swamped!
I found this photo and it's 100% free and able to be used for anything! I love the compostiton and I think this would make a great painting. So enjoy!
And by the way, I am really stupid. Many of you are aware that I am cooking and preparing for our holiday party this week. I am basically a complete maniac. So just to make things even crazier around here I booked a commercial to be filmed here ... IN MY KITCHEN!! ... this week. I know, it was a really bad idea. But it was a great deal for us and I negotiated really hard. They are not allowed to take down any Christmas decorations and they are only filming in our kitchen and in my art studio. I have no more paintings to paint this week (I am done for now!) and I have planned to stay out of the kitchen the day they are filming. But right now I am having a total panic attack.
What was I thinking?
One of the things I spend a lot of time researching is "who is my customer?". I sell a lot of art online and through interior designers. So if I don't always ask questions about my customer it is likely I will never know anything about them.
About a year ago I started asking more to learn "Who is my customer?". If I am working with an interior designer I always ask the designer "how they found me". Then I ask what they think of my website and what I can do to make it easier for them to work with me. I also ask about "their client". I am not looking for their name or email address but rather I just want to know about them. What is their house like? What are their interests? What do they like most about my art?
A lot of artists sell art through galleries. And I hear from most of them that they know nothing about who buys their art. I think it is time to start asking your galleries "Who is my customer?".
Of course you don't need to know their name because the gallery most likely will not give it to you. But you should ask the same questions I listed above. You should ask the gallery "What are their interests?" and "What do they like most about my art?". Ask them "What was the most important thing that led to them to purchasing your art?". If you think about it, there are a lot of questions you can and should ask to learn more about your customers.
Because if you don't ask, you will never know the answer.
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
My Favorite Things
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