A typical creative person questions themselves asking "what next?" and "what now?". We have to keep moving because if we stop in this fast pace world we will often be considered "not serious" about our work. There is no time for breaks. Even if I wanted or needed a break I can't possibly do it. I'd fall behind or go crazy because I need to make art to stay sane. SO what to do, what to do? First things first, know your goal and know your worth. Be true to yourself or get swallowed up in the mess of trying to conform.
I don't mean to ask this question as if I cant decide what to make next. No no, I can honestly say I am not the type to run out of momentum or inspiration to continue to create. My problem is I have too many ideas and routes to take when creating. I know I must work through an idea or series till its been done out. I sometimes do this so much so that I tend to look compulsive about. I guess that's a good thing? But sometimes I have side projects that I'd like to complete also and to do it all at once makes me a but scattered looking.
For example my Zine. Yes if you have followed me I have discussed this Zine and how it will be "in the works now!" This IS in the works, I am not lying its just that it is a long work in progress because it's a different body of work than my paintings. It is also on my list to finnish the "House and Home" series book one day. However the "home" series is very personal and based on my life journey of finding a place through life lessons and dealing with the passing of loved ones who shaped my world. This is not something I can simply finish up and get over with. But this doesn't mean I am not faced with the issue of keeping tabs on all these projects to be sure that they all one day get completed.
What I really mean when I say "what next?" is what steps do I need to take next to continue to make, show, and sell art? How to continue my art career? I have a long list of things to do for this. I have to be updating my online presence, like this blog and my Instagram. I also have to watch deadlines for: group shows, juried shows, booth shows, gallery submissions, and print opportunities. All of these are things I have to keep up with or I only loose out on the opportunities themselves.
It is a lot to keep up with but its is also constantly being re-evaluated and changed. I sometimes shift my focus and change what I am doing so that I can one day find the right spot for me. I have yet to find the perfect solution to all of this so I am constantly evaluation myself to make the necessary steps. What I read online on what works for some artists may not works for me. We are all different making very different works and even having many varying goals. I try to re-adjust what I am focusing on most every quarter to give some time to try something new out. Whether it is focusing on booth shows over galleries or applying for juried shows over working on online sales.
I have found that if I create an "end goal" I can then experiment with how I may be able to get there. As an emerging artist I think this is important. I also believe that as a working artist if I don't re-evaluate and ask my self these questions then how will I grow and change? just something to think about when getting caught up in the grind.
Of course I love all of my artworks! If I don't love a piece I paint over it until I do. However I can't and won't hang onto everything I make. I simply do not have the room to hang onto all of the work I make. This is why I sell my art. I love to make art and to keep making art I need room to make art. So I need to sell the art to make more room and to help pay for making more art. I know Its a large, redundant, cycle but at the end of the day I'd rather see my art find a happy wall in a home than to see it wrapped in my closet.
There are many ways of selling art but all of them don't come with out lots of work on my end. You can't just put art out and expect immediate results. Nothing worth having will get handed to you. I have tried Etsy, a popular site for selling hand-mades, however it almost needs to be its own full time job to start it up and make lots of sales. It's also more of a challenge to sell art of my size and price rang on a site most dedicated to gifts and small items sales. Not saying impossible but just increasingly difficult.
I have found I got a lot of attention on the sales sites after tons of advertising, so from there I tried advertising on many different social media platforms including: Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. All worked out great however making that many posts multiple times a day was a lot of work. Not that I don't want to put in hard work but I work another job and need to use my time very wisely.
I tried to use scheduling apps (like Tailwind and a few odd others) but found I spent just as much time setting up and coordinating the schedule as I was making post throughout my week while eating lunch on my break. I also found most of these apps only run free trials on x amount of posts then they charge. So I make my posts a few times a day on my own, sometimes creating the wording ahead of time and copy and pasting into a note on my phone. I also am always creating my photo content ahead of time. When in my studio I take a large batch of photos as I work so that I can use them at a later time for advertising.
I find I am most successful at selling my work at booth shows, art fairs and artisan festivals. Here I get to display my art and buyers see the work in person. This helps them see the many layers of color and texture I use better than a photo. I am also able to interact better to make the sales not only through the look of the work but by describing the inspirations and helping to create a story for the work. A lot of art buyers by because they "fall in love" with a piece or the connect with it. The artwork has to show a little romance.
Although some shows are easier to make sales than others. I don't do well at every show and this can sometimes seem like a downfall but I need to keep finding the right shows and move forward. The few shows I have found that were successful, I will try to keep doing every year. The reason some shows work better than others can be due to a lot of factors. One is of course weather. If the show is outside and its miserably rainy or cold, you can almost always say bye bye to small buyers. The time of year can matter also, if its holiday time some are more likely to get their gift shopping done. However that is mostly in regards to the small works I sell. The larger works are almost always bought by those who buy art regularly. The collector types or those who love to decorate with original art. Not the reprints of basic colorless flower paintings I choke over in the home stores. But ill keep my personal opinion off that topic, for now.
My goal for art sales in the future is to show in art galleries and sell art to a more serious buying market. Not that I don't appreciate my market now, I just think in the end showing in a gallery setting would be a nice reward to all my hard work I am putting in now. It would also help get my art into the homes of those who, like I said earlier, collect original art. In the end I have found a few of these buyers at booth sales but galleries would be a more direct way of reaching this audience.
To wrap up most of the art you see above isn't all works I am currently working on. I, as many artist do, have lots of older series and works that tend to take a back seat and not get out of the closet much. These are the woes of creating art sometimes. We experiment and keep working but in the end you may be left with a lot of work that in the near future also needs a new home or its about to be revamped into something new. I would love to find time to advertise these series and get them into the eyes of viewers but I also don't want to look like a potpourri basket. I feel some of these others works just need a little more to them to be considered a serious set of completed works.
Don't miss out on a chance to see 100+ Fine Craftsmen and Artists!
On Saturday and Sunday October 21st & 22nd all Artisans will have their artwork for sale and on display across the wonderful grounds at Tyler Park Center for the Arts. Food, music and excitement all sitting at the edge of Tyler State Park for two days only!
My art tent till be up and ready so don't miss your chance to get your hands on your favorite art pieces, because once they sell that's it! All works are original and not reproduced in any way. I have large paintings and small paintings for sale. I work in acrylic and mixed medias on canvas to create visual and textural abstract works.
Keep your eyes open around town for show cards to receive a discounted entry price ticket!
Don't see any art that you want? Want something more specific? Ask for a commission! I work one on one with you to plan, draft, and complete final commission works that fit the space you are looking to fill. Prices are figured and discussed before work on your painting begins, so there are no surprises. Please keep in mind I am an abstract painter and commissions for artwork otherwise out of my skills will be turned away.
As you might have read in the post before this one, a lot of steps go into the final work being complete for a show. Once all of those steps are completed the work is, even more, carefully wrapped to be protected during its travel (carefully piled into my van). This is a strategic process because once you spend all the time creating a final piece you DO NOT want to go back in for touch ups every time, if ever. What I have now mastered is the art of packaging and placing around my studio (currently my bedroom) so that it can be timely placed into the van. This also helps me keep the items that must enter the van first to be first on the list to grab.
Not all of my shows have been local so I have to be sure that I follow a strict packing plan to protect the canvas. If not properly placed the canvas will stretch. To avoid this I use a very simple method that's called "front to front, back to back." In this method of packing I take paintings similar in size and place the back against the wall of the van. I then take the second painting and place the front of it to the front of the first painting (now these two paintings have their face touching). However keep in mind the front faces of the paintings are still covered so the paint, if temperature is bad, wont stick to the other one. Now I take a third painting and place the back of it against the back of painting number two. I repeat this process making sure I move from largest to smallest in painting size. You ALWAYS want to be sure that when a painting is against the other one that the frames(or stretcher bars) are touching on at least two sides. If the frames are touching then the pressure will rest there and not on a section of canvas where it could push and stretch.
If you are unable to get two sides(MIN), of your stretcher bars/frames, to touch then you may want to get a thick piece of cardboard or any board to place in between. After all of that you can now carefully place all of your boxed work in and around it. Be sure to keep things tucked in and close together so that when you make turns and stops there is no wiggle room for things to slide around. This is not only dangerous for the art but will send your blood pressure through the roof worrying about the art with each bump in the road. Now its packed and its all ready to go to a show for tent set up!
When painting abstract works I am always asked "how do you know when it's done?" This is always a tough question to answer as every piece I create is different. However I have a bit of a method to my madness. As I have explained my process before in a previous post I create in stages but this doesn't always mean it makes the decision easier.
One step I take to help create pieces is by working on more than one at a time. I am always painting multiple canvases at once. This helps me to stop and switch gears and take my eyes off of a canvas and onto another one. I find I have an easier time deciphering what needs to happen next. It's like "stepping away" from a piece to then look at it again with fresh eyes. I find I work at a better pace this way, instead of staring at one canvas waiting for it to tell me what to do next.
I then paint, working on multiples at a time, until I am ready to stop for the day. I always leave them all sit where they lay and wait to give them a final look the next day. On a fresh day I then look at all of them again and this time with new eyes! Looking at all the paintings I begin to make two piles; a "done" pile and a "needs-more-work" pile. The "needs-more-work" pile gets another round of paint time or in some cases even several. The "done" pile moves to the final stages.
Now its time to complete it. I make sure that all my edges are painted and clean looking so that the owner can hang it directly on the wall with no frame. I add a signature and a picture frame wire for displaying it on a wall. Finally it gets a good coat, or two, of a varnish and now its ready to be logged into my records and portfolio. A price is given and its wrapped to be taken to a show!
When creating my abstract paintings I have a process for curating the colors I apply on the final canvas. I find these hues by searching around my daily landscape looking for color combinations that satisfy my eye. From here I tend to naturally saturate these colors as I paint; first in small watercolor sketches. I then reference these sketches as I create the completed painting, During this final process I add in textures to create another dimension to my work. I enjoy my work resolving in a visual as well as a tactile experience.