Business Art Different Job

business

 

 The Business of Art is a Different Job

I recently had a business question from an artist friend who asked

 “How do you suggest dealing with my anxiety and fear of being too needy and a beggar with my art?”

This kind of question is front and center to many artists. They have not yet learned that doing art and selling art are two different activities. The business of art is a different job from the making of art and should be separate in my view. There are artists who go too far in either direction.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

One group lets the process of art dominate their thinking, giving little thought to how to make an honest living. Another group thinks only of the thrill of selling and being in business. They produce copies of known artists styles, follow color and decorator trends, painting what they don’t even like, or use the used car salesman approach of in your face selling.

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The business of art is a different job from the making of art.

In my view, finding something in between those approaches is the key to success in being a viable artist. I wear two hats as a painter. My work hat is worn in the studio, where I dream of the masterpiece right around the corner. I work at my easel almost every day of the year. I study technique. I paint the subjects I truly understand and love in my own unique way. I experiment with a variety of mediums, sizes and tools to stay fresh in my approach to painting. Sometimes I paint things that I know will be of little interest to my collectors. I give myself permission to paint for myself, never worrying about whether paintings will sell. I never think about the business of my profession when I am at the easel.

When I am in my office, I put on my business hat and think about how to make a living from my profession as an artist. Artists have trouble realizing that they are in business. Businesses must sell products in order to continue. That is just a fact. We are long past the days of enormously wealthy patrons who support artists out of kindness and class obligation. In our current climate, we must sell art to survive. I believe that I have a unique product to sell to those who treasure individuality and beauty. I don’t sell reproductions. My paintings are one of a kind, as art should be. I am not a commercial artist, selling cheap reproductions to the folks who only want a poster on the wall. I sell in every price range from 15.00-6,000.00 but they are all original.

I have an obligation to pay bills, just like everyone else, so I must sell to continue my work. Why feel guilty or needy? I am not a beggar by inviting people to see my art. I am proud of what I do. It is a noble profession I can be proud of. Artists are the true historians of their time and culture. We reflect our own time in the world. We should celebrate our profession and feel gratitude for the unique gift we are given.

The business of art is a different job from the making of art.

More Musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Cold Soup

1/2 European cucumber, coarsely chopped
1 Hass avocado, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 lb honeydew chunks
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons presliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 teaspoons Greek yogurt with honey

 

Peel cucumber and chop (1 cup); chop avocado, jalapeño (remove seeds), and garlic.

Squeeze lime for juice (1 tablespoon).

 

Reserve 1/4 cup each honeydew, cucumber, and avocado. Blend remaining ingredients (except yogurt) in a blender (or food processor) until smooth. Chill soup 20–30 minutes or until cold.

Divide soup into 4 bowls. Chop reserved ingredients finely and sprinkle over soup; top each with 2 teaspoons yogurt. Serve.

 

 

Ideas Interests

ideas-interests

Ideas Interests Notes

New ideas and interests will make you a better painter.

How open are you to new ideas?   Being open to new ideas and subjects will make you a better painter. Artists often have a bad habit of insular thinking. They get comfortable. They get very good at the painting style, brushwork, and subjects they have done for years. All of their friends are other artists and all of their social activities are art related. 

Landscape Paintings

I think this is a big mistake. I think the more variety you have in ideas, interests and the more open you are to studying new subjects and methods, the fresher your work will be. Many of my friends are not artists. I like a variety of subjects including science, nature, history. I like to learn about physics, law, business, etc from friends. I am lucky to know many very smart and gifted people who are not artists. 

Linda’s Etsy Shop

I learned some time ago that it is ok to like a variety of ideas and interests without being able to actually participate in them. When I was young, I thought I needed to do what I was interested in. I bought a potters wheel, because I had taken ceramics in art school. I soon found that it wasn’t really my cup of tea.  I like looking at flowers, but I hate the actual gardening. I like bonsai , but don’t have the patience to grow them. I love motorcycles, but I’m too short to drive one. I read about physics and science but I don’t have a brain for science and math. I have become a hobby naturalist, but couldn’t be a certified naturalist.  None of those issues keep me from enjoying a variety of subjects from a distance. We don’t have to be good at things we enjoy.

I am a professional, art degreed painter. That is my profession and I need to be good at that to make a living. All of my away from art interests stimulate my imagination and give me new ideas to keep me excited about painting every day. Many of my painting studies are limited to three or four paintings of a subject, before moving on to other new subjects, or back to the subjects I adore for years. Doing a few paintings of subjects I don’t know helps me to stretch and grow, adding to my knowledge base. 

 I am always astounded by painters who say they can’t think of anything to paint! After 60 years of painting, I feel there is never enough time to do all the paintings I want to do. I believe my mind is eager to work at the easel because I am never bored and constantly stimulated by new ideas, people and interests. 

Step outside of the safety zone you have built for yourself as a painter. Don’t be afraid to do bad paintings in order to learn new things. The growing pains will improve your work in the long run and give you confidence. Inviting non artist friends into you life will give you new ideas and provide you with new collectors. 

Try mediums you are not used to. Change brushes, palette colors, canvas sizes and orientation just for the fun of painting and learning. Make painting fun and you will never be bored.

More musings for artists and collectors to come…..

Today’s Recipe

Pan Seared Pork Chops

3 tablespoons olive oil 2 (12-oz.) bone-in pork chops 1 teaspoon table salt 3/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 8 oz.) 1 large fennel bulb, cut into wedges, fronds reserved 1 bunch fresh thyme 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper, and add to hot oil. Sear pork chops until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side, lightly searing the sides to render some of the fat. Transfer pork chops to a plate.

Add tomatoes, fennel, thyme, and garlic to skillet over medium; toss to combine. Cook, scraping skillet to loosen browned bits, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard garlic. Place pork chops on top of vegetable mixture, and roast in preheated oven until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chops registers 145°F and vegetables are tender, 6 to 10 minutes.

Collectors Help

mission filled career

Collectors Help Notes

There are lots of small ways that art lovers and collectors can help their favorite artist. This is more important than they may realize. Most of my success as an artist comes from a small number of faithful friends and followers. Some of them have never owned an original painting. Many of them own several paintings by me and other artists they love. There is a fine loyalty by friends of artists and we would not survive without that loyalty and love. Being a painter is a very tough business indeed. I am a yearly collector myself. I buy two paintings a year from artists. I give one to each of my daughters for Christmas. I’ve been doing this since they turned 16 and were old enough to understand the value of original art.  Their abodes are filled with wonderful paintings by artists around the USA.

What if you have purchased all the paintings you can afford or have room for? Not to worry, there are other ways to insure an artists success.

Write a testimonial for your favorite artist. It can be a brief sentence or two about their reliability or how much you love their work. You don’t have to be a formal collector to write a testimonial. Testimonials are vitally important to artists. They help potential collectors to trust an artist and to know that others have faith in the work and personality of an artist. I use testimonials on my web site and I am so grateful for them. Some are long and others just a sentence but they all help me to build a bridge of confidence with people who don’t know me. Send an email testimonial to your favorite artist. it will make their day!

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Tell all of your friends and acquaintances about your paintings and the artists you love. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways an artist finds new collectors. You know hundreds of people both personally and professionally that may be influenced by your artist favorites.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Take photos of your paintings in your home and share them with friends.

Share an artists paintings on your social networks like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. This is so easy and quick. When you see a painting by an artist you know, hit the share button. It is that simple. The more an artist’s work is seen, the more chances that it will sell.

Share an artist’s business card with friends or leave them in the Dr’s, Dentist’s office on a table in the waiting room.

When you visit galleries, ask to see the artist’s work. If they don’t show that artist, tell them how much you love the work. It is an easy way to spread the word in the art community.

Come to artist’s studio parties and bring friends with you. They are usually quite fun with no pressure to purchase. Good food, good company and beautiful art are a great way to spend a weekend.

I send stamped post cards to my favorite collectors with testimonials, so they can address them to friends. it only takes a moment and the mail box to help me. if you will send me your address, I’ll send you some cards to mail for me.

There are other ways, including taking artists out for a meal, buying art supplies or equipment for your artist friends, cash donations too if you wish to assist.

In essence, I am asking you to give support in easy ways to your favorite artists. Most of these take little time an no money. Artists are completely dependent on the whim of their friends and collectors. You can assist them in their career and keep them healthy financially with very little fuss or bother.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Cherry Crisp

2 (12-ounce) bags frozen dark sweet cherries
cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (or apple pie spice)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cherries in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until defrosted. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Drain cherries and return to bowl; stir in cinnamon (or apple pie spice) and cornstarch until well blended. Spoon cherry mixture into baking dish.
Place butter in same bowl; microwave on HIGH 30 seconds or until butter is melted.
Use fork to stir in oats, brown sugar, and flour; mix well and sprinkle over cherry mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Parties Thoughts

foreshortening tree limbs

Parties Thoughts Notes

I have four studio parties each year, and have for many years. Studio parties are a really essential part of my career. They are important for a variety of reasons. Parties are a fabulous marketing tool. They keep my paintings and my name in front of potential collectors for about 6 weeks. Daily reminders on social media, stories about the preparation for parties, stories about my studio, about my nature trail, about the studio special for the party, the post card mail outs, which put my image and studio address directly in front of potential collectors.  All of this reminds people of my work. Then there are the photo images at the party, and the after party stories. As a marketing tool, studio parties are hard to beat.

Linda’s Rustic Paintings

There is a more important reason to have studio parties. My relationship and friendship with my collectors, students, and people I don’t know yet is enhanced by a party. It is a way to thank the many people who support me career wise and on a personal level. I see and visit with people I only see occasionally and we catch up. Studio parties keep me from being a hermit. I tend to be a loner by nature. I don’t leave my land unless it is to be at the gallery once a week, or to go to painting residencies now and then. I don’t go to artsy-fartsy events. I hate that stuff. Preparing for and giving parties takes me out of my shell and forces me to have fun. I am a workaholic in the worse possible way.

Some may be surprised to find that selling is the least important part of a studio party. Sometimes I sell a lot and sometimes almost nothing. A lot depends on the time of year, the political climate, the attendees, whether there is a guest speaker at the party or a dozen other factors. I am a pretty good marketer, but a lousy sales woman. They are vastly different skills. I don’t push people to purchase. I will help them if they intend to, but I don’t do the hard sell. I have artist acquaintances who sell,sell,sell. They will push people to buy. That is not me. No visitor to my studio need ever fear a hard sell from me. They are my very important friends and guests in my home.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

My studio parties always have a food theme. No wine and cheese at my parties. I serve real food. I was raised in the South and we eat! My parties all have the same theme each year. The Hot Dog party in the fall. The Chili party in the winter, the Chicken and Rice party in early spring and the Cake party just before summer.  Naturally, the Cake party is my most popular. I don’t serve alcohol at any of my parties. I started that policy about 15 years ago. People told me it would never work, but they were wrong. No one who comes, seems to care. I don’t want to be responsible for someone having an accident on the way home from my party. My liability insurance company doesn’t want to cover booze related incidents. It is better for all I think. It also keeps the folks who just attend parties for free drinks from coming. For private parties I do allow people to bring their own wine or beer, but that is on them.

The secret to good parties is care. It is that simple. Care about how your studio looks. Do the cleaning and organizing properly. Serve good food. Do the promotion that will inform and entice visitors to come. Have a good assistant to take care of your guests, the sales and set up. My assistant Carolyn is amazing. She has worked for me for a long time and she does all of the detail work during the party, freeing me to enjoy time with my guests. I can relax and enjoy the party, knowing she will handle any problem. Care about your work and presentation. Be knowledgeable and helpful to your guests about framing, layaway payments, etc. I have a couple of framed price lists in prominent areas of the studio. People don’t like to have to ask about prices.  Try to speak with all visitors during the party, especially those who come alone.  It is not always possible. Sometimes there is a large crowd and you can’t get to all, but try your best. They have taken their valuable time to come and should feel special, as they surely are!

Don’t worry about having a crummy space for a studio. Believe me, no one cares. If your studio is in a closet or on the dining room table, have a party! My house is a 50 year old mobile home. It is strictly low class, but no one cares. My studio is in a concrete block building behind the house with concrete floors. It used to look totally ugly, unpainted with broken down furniture, a drop ceiling with tiles falling down, etc. No one cared. They still loved the party. After the hurricane Irma flood, I had the studio renovated and now it is beautiful. Lots of people who knew it when it was terrible, haven’t even noticed the renovation.  Your friends love you, not your house or studio. They want you to be successful. Have the party and they will come.

More musings for artists and collectors to come….

Today’s Recipe

Easy Eggnog Cake

1 (15.25-oz) package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 cup eggnog
3 tablespoons rum, bourbon, or 1 teaspoon rum extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat large bundt pan with cooking spray.

  1. Prepare cake following package instructions using oil, eggs, 1 cup eggnog, and liqueur (or rum extract). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  2. Bake 38–43 minutes, or until golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool bundt in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool thoroughly.
  3. Dust with powdered sugar before slicing. Pour additional eggnog over slices before serving.

 

Land Musings

think like art lovers

Land Musing Notes

I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to own my own land. Only 10 acres, but very diverse in its forestry and biosphere. I have upland, marshy bog, and  pasture area, known as my yard and Tucker’s playpen.

Studio Special

I truly believe that rural land owners are the most fortunate of souls. I have a friend who owns a vast tract of land about 50 miles from mine. He taught me everything I know about land stewardship in the eight years I was privileged to paint on his estate as an artist in residence.

There is much to learn and understand as an owner and much to maintain, even on a small parcel like mine. I have carved three sections of trails through the woods and swamp that must be maintained regularly. I like the idea of having wild, untamed land, as well as a yard that is mowed.

Linda’s Etsy Shop

Some people love gardening. I do not. If it doesn’t fit in a pot on my studio deck, forget it! I have become interested in growing some potted fruit trees this year. I’m having some good luck with my Persian lime tree, but the grapefruit and naval orange have not blossomed. My little lemon tree, grown from seed became food for bugs, sadly. My little olive tree is growing well.

As a painter, I’ve learned something really important. I’ve learned that I am a better painter by spending time observing and thinking about the natural world, immersing myself in it each day on my walk, rather than doing as much painting on site. I have evolved into a studio painter, who spends time every day in the woods and pastures looking at the land, observing the subtle changes of growth and seasons. I am a much more thoughtful painter than I was during my intense plein air tenure. When I look back at paintings from that period, I see marginal growth at best, with a lot of superficial understanding of light and atmosphere. 

I still paint in the woods, but only for fun. It doesn’t make me a better painter. My best work comes from observation and thinking on my walks every day. 

I think every landscape painter should find a few dollars to support their regional conservation organizations. The land provides us with our jobs after all. It provides the habitat for creatures, oxygen, building supplies, our crops and so much more. 

The land has shaped me as a painter over the last 30 years. My focus has been honed and refined by agricultural land and trees. It is ever important to respect, understand and love the subjects you paint. I am a rural painter, happiest in the woods and fields. 

More musings for artists and collectors to come……

Today’s Recipe

Easy Tomato Soup

Medium sized pot

2 cans tomato soup

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 1/2 cans water

1/2 can half&half

1/2 tsp dried or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried onion flakes

Salt/pepper

Simmer for 20 minutes, serve.