Precision Marketing

business of art

Precision Marketing

Precision Marketing Notes

I know a lot of artists who have been caught up in the idea that getting large numbers of followers on social media ,mailing lists and newsletters, is precision marketing. These artists also follow lots of other artists and share lots of art around on their accounts. I have not found that to be useful at all for my own career. In fact, I follow very few artists on Instagram, and few galleries. There are a lot of artists who are friends on Facebook, but I actually follow very few.

Linda’s Bird Art

Precision Marketing

For some reason, artists pay attention to other artists more than the do collectors and potential collectors. They often assume that collectors will be found if one hangs around with artists, and art events. I have found that most of my collectors are not artists and most of them don’t attend gallery events.

Precision Marketing

I have done the opposite of many artists. I rarely attend artist events. My focus has narrowed down to collectors, potential collectors, and areas of interest to me such as science, botany, birding, nature, hiking, tea parties, agriculture,ranching, land conservation, dogs, and cooking. Stories and the history of my career attract certain groups of people that are not related to artists, galleries,museums, etc.

Precision Marketing

Monthly Painting Offer

I no longer look at lots of art around the Internet. I have narrowed down my focus on my own work. It really helps me to not be distracted by everyone else’s ideas. I have been a painter for a long time. I don’t follow the latest color schemes, styles or subjects. My interest is truly in recording the subjects I love and treasure, improving my technique as I work.

Precision Marketing

Letting go of most of the distractions has helped me to treasure my life, my work, and the kind friends who support me. My collectors are so important to me. Most of what goes on in social media is fluff and I don’t waste time focusing on frivolous relationships.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Cream cheese biscuits

8 ounces full fat cream cheese, softened
⅔ cup butter, softened
1 cup self-rising flour*, plus more for dusting

*To make your own self-rising flour whisk 1 cup of flour with 1 + ½ teaspoons baking powder plus ¼ teaspoon salt

Pulse together the cream cheese, butter and flour in a food processor until combined, about 10 pulses, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
Turn out onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper and pat it into a disc. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Place an oven rack on the highest rung and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour, unwrap the dough and sprinkle the top and a rolling pin lightly with flour.
Roll out to ½-inch thick and cut with a 1 + ¼-inch thick biscuit cooker. Place them on the baking sheet about an inch apart.
Stick the scraps together and make more biscuits. If you can’t fit them all on the baking sheet refrigerate and bake them in turns.
Bake about 14 minutes on the top rack until golden and puffed, rotating the pan halfway through. You can brush the tops with melted butter if you like.

 

Balance Art and Marketing

Balance art and marketing

Balance Art and Marketing

Balance Art and Marketing Notes

I’ve always considered it essential to balance art and marketing In my career. I read a lot of books about art marketing and they are all good, but to accomplish all that they recommend would take 24 hours a day in organization and effort. We have to be careful not to put marketing before our real work which is painting. It is a delicate balance.

Balance Art and Marketing

Landscape Paintings

I think compromise between the two is essential for success. Frankly, I used to care a lot more about it than I do now. I needed to. Emerging artists must market to make a name for themselves. I suppose after you get to a certain stage in your career you may not need to work as hard to be known. I have given up some things which I used to do because my focus has shifted more toward painting. Moving toward self representation has changed my focus too. I don’t spend a lot of time anymore doing museum or gallery shows, though I still do a few each year. That took up a lot of my time. I’m not saying I’ll turn down opportunities that come my way, but I don’t invest a lot of time looking for them anymore.

Balance Art and Marketing

Another thing I have done is to really think about what I wish to accomplish and what my goals really are. I think that is one of the more important things to do at least every few years. What I wanted 10 years ago has little to do with what I want now. I thought about what I want right now and I want to sell enough work to pay my bills, do commissions because they are a challenging, stable source of income, and I want to paint.  Add to that a bit of teaching now and then  and research and I’m a happy camper.

Balance Art and Marketing

Twenty  years ago, I wanted to be a leader in the Florida plein air community, a well known painter with lots of gallery and museum affiliations and a long and impressive resume. Fame and glory were foremost in my mind. My hubris knew no bounds :>) I accomplished a lot of those goals but to what end? I can laugh at myself looking back. It never occurred to me that being a good painter and selling enough work to survive would be more important.

Balance Art and Marketing

Linda’s Bird Art

I direct my marketing toward the goals I have at different stages of my career. I don’t spend overmuch time in building my name brand or my resume now because it is not as relevant to my goals. My artist statement does not fit the proper formula because I want to tell people about me, my journey as an amateur naturalist and why I paint. It is written  as a mission with no artsy words, not cool, but I like to give my collectors an honest look at a real artist’s life. Basically I tend to break most of the marketing rules, but manage to survive in spite of it all.

Balance Art and Marketing

I think reading the books is important, especially for emerging painters. I just think a word of caution about going overboard is warranted. There is nothing more important than studying painting and putting the time into the work. Without that all the marketing in the world will not make you a true success. You may get away with it and fake your way to fame, but inside you will know you can’t paint.

If I have to choose between organizing files,keeping my inventory up to date or putting the time in at the easel, I have to choose the easel time. The rest will take care of itself. If my work gets better, people will notice. More people will buy it if it is good.

So,I think we have to set our priorities carefully,realistically and focus specifically toward our goals, in terms of time and financial investment. If we wish to be noticed then Internet exposure is vital and should have a priority. We need to use our mailing list effectively and we need to work within our budget.

Balance Art and Marketing

After that, we need to decide what is more vital, painting or marketing. If you have a studio full of work and no sales, then you must decide whether your work needs improvement or whether you need to spend more time marketing. If you have reasonable sales, keep improving your work to generate more.

We ignore marketing at our own peril, but we don’t need to be obsessive about it to succeed.

There is a danger in spending more of ones time doing press releases, and worrying more about nice stationary than painting. Many emerging painters hide behind doing all of the marketing activities to avoid painting because they are afraid to face the easel. They don’t want to do what it takes to improve. They don’t want to go through the tedious time of study in order to be a good painter. They would rather spend their time churning out poor work and focus on selling.

Balance Art and Marketing

Believe me, I am not at all anti-marketing. Those of you who know me realize that I have spent many years studying art marketing. What I am saying is pick the things that will do you the most good and let go of the small stuff, until you start having some success. Then you can add the small marketing chores as you have free time. None of us are super human.

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe:

Corn Pancakes

10 ears of corn
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup milk
Pinch salt
Corn oil, for sauteing
1/4 cup sour cream, for garnish

Remove kernels form husk of corn using a sharp knife. Puree in a blender. Mix in the sugar, milk, and salt. Heat griddle to medium heat, lightly coat with canola oil. Spoon mixture onto hot griddle to form “pancakes” of your desired size. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Garnish with sour cream.

Business Fasting

business fasting

Business Fasting

Business Fasting Notes

Business fasting has become a nice way to save pennies here and there. I’ve read that a body is improved by fasting for 12 hours after the evening meal. I fast between 7:00 PM and 11:30 AM each day. I have gotten used to it. Who knows if it helps my body?

Linda’s Bird Art

. Business Fasting

This gave me the idea of business fasting. I fast from buying art supplies, studio supplies, advertising, studio parties, postage (except for shipping paintings), or studio maintenance for a month. I do this mostly in the summer months, when my party schedule is off, but now and then throughout the year. I’d say I’m business fasting for about 5 months per year.

 

The lowered costs are more significant than I realized. It is a great way to use up all of those weird colored paints that I seem to accumulate in boxes. I make brushes last longer by cleaning them more carefully, knowing I can’t buy that month. I use odd sized canvases that are in storage. It is amazing what seems to be useable when you can’t buy anything.

Business Fasting

Psychologically, it is useful because I feel thrifty and I have a few bucks to put into my emergency fund, which seems to be emptied out regularly. The ultimate goal would be to business fast for about 8 months a year, leaving myself four months of purchasing power for my entire year’s  studio function.

Monthly Make an Offer

I try to purchase supplies when they are on sale when I’m not fasting. I’ve just gotten started with this idea this year. So far I’m sticking to it. The hardest time is about the last week of a fasting month. I start to run out of paint colors, or canvas sizes I like, or ideas for marketing. I have to be patient and wait, always a good lesson.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Sweet and Sour Coctail

1 1/2 oz tequila
4 oz sour mix
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz maraschino cherry juice
Maraschino cherries, optional for garnish

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients (except cherry juice and garnish).

 

Shake well; strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.

 

Top with cherry juice. Garnish with cherries if desired.

Working with Atmospherics


working with atmospherics Working with Atmospherics

Working with Atmospherics Notes

I’ve always been so fond of working with atmospherics in painting.  It takes some time to do that effect successfully, creating atmosphere and depth in paintings. I practice it all the time. In fact, it wasn’t until I learned to handle that technique in acrylics, that I felt my acrylic work was valid. I study atmospherics as I walk along my Deer Woods nature trail early in the day. I think good atmospheric work makes a painting special. Knowing when to do hard edge work and lost edgework is so important to create distance. Color temperatures change with atmospherics, along with using land color in the sky and sky color in the land.

Working with Atmospherics

Learning to soften edge work and create atmosphere with acrylics made all of the difference. I have always hated the hard, illustrative, plastic look to many acrylic paintings. It took me a long time to overcome that problem in my own work. Surprisingly, I borrowed techniques that I had taught myself with oils to learn to do the same with acrylics.

Working with Atmospherics

Rustic Wood Paintings

I have always felt that using two different mediums has helped me greatly to learn technique. My goal all along has been to make my work almost seamless between oils and acrylics. What happened unexpectedly, is that my acrylics are technically more successful than my oils at this stage of my career. I can’t tell when it happened exactly, but it has. At one time people always knew which were my oils and which were acrylics. That is no longer the case. Most of my patrons prefer the acrylics now, not realizing or caring that they are not oils. Who knew?????

Working with Atmospherics

Linda’s Bird Art

Being onsite is the key for me, not painting, but observing distance and how fore, middle, and back ground spaces relate to each other in the landscape. There are subtle changes that are evident in onsite observation. I like to mull them over as I walk along the trail.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Peach Salsa

6 peaches cored, peeled and diced

1/2 cup white wine

2 T honey

1 T ground horseradish

1 teaspoon chopped mint

Cook peaches with horseradish wine and honey until tender. Top with fresh mint, serve with chips.

 

Compromise Mindset

compromise mindset

Compromise Mindset

Compromise Mindset Notes

To compromise mindset for me is quite difficult. I have a type A personality, always very busy and have my own set of high standards. I am a devote of Seth Godin. Recently, I read one of his posts and the follow quote was profound to me “Absolutism is a form of hiding. Perfect is the enemy of good.” How guilty of that I have been in my career. I really had to save that quote to refer back to as a lesson in humility.

Landscape Paintings

Compromise Mindset

I have been the captain of my own art ship for a long time now. One of my dealers said to me one day,” Linda, you are the only artist I know who answers to no one but the tax man and God.” He was right. My daughters are grown with their own abodes. I have to answer to no human really. I am my own boss, but Seth makes me wonder if I am a good one?

Compromise Mindset

I have over the last four or five years, distancing myself from situations like art openings and paint outs where compromise of one’s desires and standards are inevitable. I have let go of most formal galleries, art organizations, and any and all programs where compromise is necessary for the good of the group.

 

Compromise Mindset

Linda’s Bird Paintings

Recently I have become involved in a committee to work for a foundation I am thoroughly committed to. It has been quite difficult for me to compromise on some of the issues for the event, but I am trying. I have thrown myself into the areas where I can do some good, trying to distance myself from parts that I disagree with entirely. I suspect that this has been good for me, to have to play with others in this sandbox.

Compromise Mindset

I find that I have no difficulty at all working with  my friends an collectors. It seems to be the art community that is difficult for me. I suspect that too many years of my career were spent in stressful situations in art festivals, gallery openings, and paint outs. I stayed too long at the fair if you will. I have some form of PTSD due to memories of these events. Too many big egos from that period of my life, unfortunately, including my own.

Compromise Mindset

I’m happy as a loner, but I do feel that it is important to get out of my cave occasionally to try to compromise with others for important work behind the scenes to make the world a better place. I am frequently going to refer back to Seth Godin’s quote to keep my “my way or the highway” attitude tamped down. I am ever hoping to make myself a better, kinder person. It takes tremendous effort but hope springs eternal.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Corn Salad

4 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 limes, for juice
Cooking spray
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle-garlic seasoning, divided
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup pre-sliced green onions
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat grill (or grill pan). Remove husks and silks from corn.
Chop cilantro (1/4 cup) and red onion (1/3 cup); squeeze limes for juice (3 tablespoons).

Coat corn with spray and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning. Place corn on grill; cook 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Move corn over indirect heat and cook 5–6 more minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from grill and let stand to cool.
Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, and remaining 1 teaspoon seasoning in medium bowl. Slice corn kernels off cobs into mayonnaise mixture, scraping cobs with back of knife to release remaining juices. Add red onions, green onions, cilantro, and feta; toss until coated evenly. Chill until ready to serve.

 

 

 

 

Styles Repeat

styles repeat

Styles Repeat

Styles Repeat Notes

In my long journey as a painter I have observed that styles repeat themselves, not just in fashion, but in art too.

Back in the 70’s when I was in art school the rage was to present paintings with drips and areas unfinished. I have noticed a fair number of those lately. There was a lot of airbrush work being done with abstracts too at that time so I expect that will resurface too at some point. As the saying goes, there is nothing new really, just repeats and reworks of former styles and explorations over the centuries.

Linda’s Drawings

Styles Repeat

I don’t really see a problem with these repetitions unless you happen to be on the tail end of the trend. That is the problem with trying to be in the cool crowd, either in fashion or art.  By the time a painter realizes that this is the “new” style of painting, it is no longer new. I know emerging painters who change their style like underwear. Each new workshop they attend makes them want to paint like the teacher, literally. They scour the internet to see the latest from well known painters and latch on for the ride. This copy, repeat style of painting goes on endlessly and has for a long time. This happens to me and many other professional painters who sell our work online. I will begin to paint a subject and format size, putting them on  social media, and within a week I will see the same subject and format repeated by others. I recently put my rustic paintings on rough wood in a gallery show. A few of them sold. In the next show at the same gallery, others had added their paintings on rustic wood, duplicating mine.

Styles Repeat

When you put your work out into the public on social media and galleries, you will have almost immediate style repeaters for your ideas. It happens all the time. All you can do is to be yourself and continue to grow and evolve in a natural way. You can either be an innovator without fear of being different, or you can be a trend follower, who hangs on, hoping to catch part of the trend before it is over.

Styles Repeat

When I was a paint out artist, the trends were painfully evident. Those artists who painted out of subjects that were popular, who used different palettes, whose styles were too refined or detailed, were shunned by the trendy at any given time.  I would walk around the wet room and see painting after painting with almost identical palettes and styles, because that was, or is popular with plein air gurus. Without signatures they would have been indiscernible.

Styles Repeat

Linda’s Bird Art

I think trying to be a trendy artist must take a huge amount of energy. I don’t think I could keep up with being cool. In many ways, I consider myself to be so lucky to be just a country painter. I live in the woods. I have an ancient house trailer but a wonderful studio. I rarely go anywhere unless it is to the nearby town or a couple of residencies a year. I don’t have cool clothes, or a cool car. I do have the best art supplies money can buy. I have a great life as an untrendy, unstylish painter.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe:
I haven’t tried this one yet but it looks so good I can’t wait to.
SHRIMP & CRAB  BITES From the Land O Lakes Newsletter
A hash brown crust adds a new twist to these savory seafood morsels.
Preparation time: 10 min Baking time: 30 min
Yield: 16 servings
Crust Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups refrigerated hash brown potatoes
2 tablespoons LAND O LAKES® Butter, melted
Filling Ingredients:
1 (8-ounce) container chive and onion flavored cream cheese
4 ounces (1 cup) LAND O LAKES® Swiss Cheese, shredded
1 (6-ounce) can crab meat, drained, cartilage removed, flaked
1 (4-ounce) package frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed, drained
1 egg
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Garnish Ingredients:
Italian parsley leaves, if desired
Salad shrimp, if desired
Heat oven to 425°F. Combine all crust ingredients in small bowl. Press into bottom of ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients except 1/4 cup cheese in medium bowl; mix well. Spread mixture over hot, partially baked potato layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese mixture is set. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Garnish each piece with parsley and shrimp, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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