Vineyard Silhouette, 12x12, Oil
I recently got an email from an emerging artist asking me for advise on how I go about selling my artwork online. If only I knew the answer to that, I would do it more often. But the inquiry had me thinking about all the things I have attempted in the pursuit of sales. Some failed, some succeeded, some where a draw, but each one helped me better understand how to market my work. I didn't follow the traditional route by first establishing a local base of collectors. Instead, I entered competitions outside my area and traveled to plein air events, cutting my teeth on that demanding circuit. It was a swift learning curve with successes and failures.
My efforts have evolved and I have branched into other marketing areas. One of the most rewarding has been the recent cultivation of a local home base of collectors. This small but growing group is invaluable to me and I recommend every artist take another look at going local. I have found these connections have a cascading effect that feeds one on the other. The power of the community to spread the word is amazing.
The same can be said for my online activity but on a larger scale. My websites, blogs, newsletters and social media all help to position me and my work in front of more people. I view it as just an extension of my personal friends, another community that can have a much farther reach, but in the end is just another group of people connecting and helping each other.
Talking about going local, I have two receptions this Saturday, November 10th, 2012.
Whites Fine Art Gallery at 2414 Honolulu Avenue in Montrose, CA from 2 - 5 PM. I won Best of Show from the San Fernando Valley Art Club and the second reception is at the Santa Paula Art Museum, Art About Agriculture, at 117 North 10th Street in Santa Paula, CA from 4 - 6 PM.Comment on or Share this Article →
Along the Kern River, 8x16 Oil
Thank you to Penny Schwartz for writing a great story for The Press-Enterprises. I am looking forward to the art festival this weekend, meeting more enthusiastic people and showing more than forty of my paintings.
REDLANDS: Painter Sharon Weaver to be featured artist
The red and purple light we have here in California at dusk or in the morning is like the light in Italy, where all the artists flock to paint,” said Weaver. Her paintings will be featured in the upcoming “Art for Heaven's Sake!” show Oct. 12 to 14 at the Redlands United Church of Christ.
Weaver is a devotee of plein air painting and finds herself out in the field at least once a week painting landscapes. She favors scenes with water, where she can highlight the reflections, as well as solitary scenes of mountains and deserts.
“It's amazing the beauty we are surrounded by in California, from beach to mountains to desert,” said Weaver, who lives in the San Fernando Valley.
She doesn't like to paint from photographs. “You're doing the art a disservice by being already one step removed from the original scene,” she said. “You are interpreting an interpretation.”
Preferring the immediacy of painting from life, Weaver feels that the weather, the changing light and other variables on site play an important part in plein air painting.
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, she loved being surrounded by woods. Her passion for art drew her to the city, where she studied at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, then at Parsons School of Design in New York City.
She worked for a decade as a New York fashion designer, a job that enabled her to travel extensively and learn about the cultures of Europe and Asia. Buying trips throughout the United States brought her to Southern California, where she moved about 20 years ago.
“My background in art history, figure drawing and color theory helped me when I decided to become a full-time artist about six years ago,” Weaver said.
A plein air painting class with California painter Karl Dempwolf opened her eyes to the beauties of landscape painting. “That class got me hooked, hooked, hooked!” she said.
As a novice, she was juried into the Carmel Art Festival and found herself painting next to nationally known artists.
“The learning curve was enormous because you had to paint in such a short period of time,” she said. “Painting from life is the best way to learn.”
She enjoys painting outings with other artists and is now teaching at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art. Inspiration comes from her colleagues in various art clubs as well as the group known as California Impressionist artists. “Admiring their work and emulating them has been a fun journey,” she said.
Weaver's medium of choice is oils, which she finds to be rich and natural. “The paint does a lot of the work for you, showing off those thick, juicy brush strokes,” she said.
“I like the paint to speak for itself.”
Weaver plans to show some 40 of her works, many of them relatively small canvases, in the AFHS show. She said she was “excited and honored” to be chosen as featured artist.
“There is such a great list of artists in the show,” she said. They number about 60, most local to the Inland area, and will be showing and selling works ranging from assemblages and bird houses to gourds, jewelry, stained glass and woodworking, along with painting and photography.
Show hours are 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 13 and 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 14. The Redlands United Church of Christ is located at 168 Bellevue Ave. at the corner of Olive Avenue. There will be a gala reception during the Friday evening hours, with music, food and demonstrations available throughout the show days. Admission is free. For information, visit www.artforheavenssake.org.Comment on or Share this Article →
I just received an email from the California State Parks to purchase one of my paintings. This bit of good fortune was not something that just happened but instead was the result of a series of unusual circumstances.
It all started because it was hot, very hot. My original location for my Friday plein air group wasn't going to work in this heat so I decided to head toward the beach. I looked and looked, not wanting to drive over on the 405, but finally decided to meet at Will Rogers State Park located in the Los Angeles hills above Sunset Boulevard. The traffic over was not pretty but five of us made it and where painting away when Ranger Lynette Brody came over to talk. Lynette must have liked what she saw since she became very animated about an opportunity with the State Parks to submit artwork. She explained that they were looking for paintings of the local area that would be included in a visitors center display. It seemed like a long shot to me but I gave her my card and asked her to email me the information.
She did and luckily I immediately emailed some of my images to the contact at the State Parks Service. I later found out that the CA State Parks had a meeting later that same day to decided what paintings to include in the project and Trail to Echo Mountain was one of the paintings that was picked.
How sweet is that? Seize the moment. You never know what will happen.Comment on or Share this Article →
Red Light is available at PR Gallery and Gems
I am always searching for places to show my work. My reasoning goes like this. The more places I show my work, the more people will see my work and that will lead to more people buying my work. This single line of reasoning is the most important part of my marketing strategy. Thus, I am always expanding my exposure through my online network, galleries, art clubs and juried shows. This year has been especially fruitful with many of these connections maturing into tangible results.
Listing my online venues, I realize I have at least 20 different sites that have information about me and my work. With my personal website, Facebook, LinkedIn, different clubs I belong to, FineArtAmerica, Squidoo and a host of other websites, my online presence is pretty impressive, especially considering that I haven't dedicated that much time to it. This online network has not only resulted in sales but also gotten me bookings for art demonstrations, teaching classes and an invitation to be the featured artist at an upcoming event.
In addition to my virtual marketing, I am always looking for ways to expand in the real world too. An opportunity can crop up when you least expect it. Earlier this year, friends I only recently met showed my work to Phillip Francisco at PR Gallery and Gems in the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. Thanks to this twice removed connection, I now have a solo show that will be at the gallery from July 15 through the end of August.
So if you are not actively pursuing opportunities, there is always someone else who will grab them. Who knows maybe that someone else is me.
757 Market Street, Four Seasons Hotel Lobby
San Francisco, CA 94103
Art and money, big money, are in the headlines. "The Scream" by Edvard Munch sold at auction for $119.9 million last Wednesday night, setting a record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction. Makes all our work look like we are selling them for mere pocket change. This outrageous price would be news enough but I uncovered some startling facts about the artwork. I am wondering if the mysterious buyer, via phone, got what he thought he was paying for.
You see there are actually 4 versions of "The Scream." The Munch Museum in Oslo owns a pastel as well as a painted version, while the National Gallery of Norway holds the earliest painting, dated 1893. But the one auctioned at Sotheby's was best described as a crayon or pastel drawing, not a painting at all, on board. This information was easy to find online, but one wonders if the buyer who bid via phone realized he was buying a sketch in crayon on board. The art market has been all a twitter about this monumental amount with an art expert even denouncing "The Scream" sale as "a freak show." With the ever-increasing wealth of high-end art collectors, the price of art will continue to skyrocket but this sale seems, well, crazy. Who knows where this madness will end.
Saturday, May 12 there is a reception for the SFVAC 2012 Spring Juried Show at Gallery 800, 5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA from 5 PM to 8 PM. My painting Reflections in the Harbor won 2nd Place. I hope to see you at the Historic Lankershim Art Center.Comment on or Share this Article →
Storm Over the North Rim
Storm Over the North Rim 11x14 (The Grand Canyon)
Art auctions are big business. Just how big you ask? Well. The recent Scottsdale Art Auction set all time price records for both contemporary and historic Western artists. With the largest crowd ever at the auction in Arizona on March 31, the bidding was fierce with many paintings selling for well above the estimated sale price. Make no mistake, these paintings are probably being sold by collectors (not the artists) and I doubt that the artist is paid anything from the sale but still the artist does benefit. When your brand is in such demand, seems to me it's time to raise your prices.
Here is a brief list of some of the artists who sold.
Tom Lovell ($402,500), Bob Kuhn ($230,000), and Clyde Aspevig ($99,250)
Bob Kuhn, “Game Watchers”, (estimated at $200,000 to $300,000) that brought $230,000
Howard Terpning set a world record for the artist with total sales of over $5 million for six paintings and a drawing. One painting, "Captured Ponies," was estimated to sell for around $500,000 brought over $1.9 million.
WOW! The overwhelming appeal of Western art translates into top sales. If you are into painting the American West there is an amazing market out there. All you have to do is get on the list of auction houses as an artist they want to sell. Right. I'm working on it.Comment on or Share this Article →
Lily Pond Afternoon showing at Art and Antique on Lake 16x20
While many areas of the arts are suffering because of the economic downturn, the Los Angeles Times reports that museum attendance is way up. That is reason to celebrate for all artists. The Art Newspaper stated that for the first time LACMA attendance in 2011 broke the one million mark. It also said that LACMA has approximately doubled its attendance from five years ago. The Art Newspaper also went on to say that when it started the annual survey in 1996, about 4 million people went to the top 10 shows and in 2011, that increased to almost 6 million.
Now you may be asking, why should I care how many people go to museums? I believe that the more interested the public is regarding art the more likely they are to want to acquire art and that can translate into more sales to more people. Learning about art becomes the first step for every collector, so I see all those museum goers as potential future collectors. Anyone who loves art can become a collector, regardless of income or knowledge.
But how do you take the step from art lover to art collector?
1) Don't be intimidated by the galleries and dealers. They are there to help you find something you love.
2) Don't dismiss your finances and assume you just don't have enough to buy. There are all levels of art prices from a hundred to hundreds of thousands and everything in between. Also many galleries and artists will accept lay away so you can have the flexibility of paying over time. If you are interested in putting one of my original painting on lay away please
3) Discover what you love. There’s only one way to do that: look, look, look. Go to museums, notice the art in other people’s homes, drop in at galleries, look at magazines.
4) See how it looks in your home before you make your final decision. Many galleries offer the collector the opportunity to take the piece on approval. I have a Satisfaction Guarantee for my paintings listed on my website page,
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Bigger is better, at least that is what the folks at LACMA think. For the last week Los Angeles has been obsessed with a giant, three story, 340 ton rock that is slowly making a serpentine route from Riverside to its final resting place. Transporting this massive behemoth is the latest earth moving project of Michael Heizerfor for the LACMA exhibition "Levitated Mass." The rock will be installed on the lawn of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where visitors can walk underneath it via a concrete ramp.
Last night THE ROCK came up as I was talking to another artist and I think it is a good example of why I am not sure I agree with my friends argument. You see, he was telling me that I needed to paint LARGE in order to be taken seriously. He asserted that the difference between "art" and "crafts" is scale. He asserts that artists who make art on a grand scale (like the rock) are more likely to be taken seriously while small works are seen as hobbies. There is some truth in his statement but is bigger always better? Is our obsession with all that is huge a reason for me to stop painting small paintings and concentrate all my efforts on oversized, record-breaking, huge paintings? Moving a ridiculously huge rock doesn't seem so much like a work of art as a publicity stunt, and abandoning my bread and butter small works to pursue an idea led me to ask for a second opinion. I decided to talk to a gallery owner and see what they thought.
Not surprisingly, the gallery owner had just the opposite opinion as my friend. He explained that from a sales perspective large paintings are not selling but smaller paintings, no larger than 16x20, are. So what should I take from these two opposing opinions? I think realizing that both views are valid and finding a balance is the key. In order to be recognized as a serious artist, major works are an important part of an artists portfolio but in the current climate, small ticket items help to pay the rent. I have concluded that I will increase the number of larger painting I do every year while still replenishing my plein air work.Comment on or Share this Article →
I was scheduled to go up to San Francisco for an art seminar this past weekend but bad luck, I came down with a sore throat that developed into a sinus infection which needed antibiotics. After seeing the doctor, I reluctantly decided to eat the cost of the plane ticket and cancel the trip. Bad luck but wait, it seems that not going was the wise thing to do. You see because of the uncharacteristic bad weather this last weekend, the flights where horribly delayed and what should take one and a half hours took well over 7 hours up and 5 hours back. If I had gone, I probably would have returned with pneumonia. So after the fact, I was lucky to have cancelled.
My motto is "If you don't try you can't succeed," but making the decision not to do something can be just as important.
Juried Shows: You don't want to enter every show since not all shows are appropriate for your genre. First check award winners from previous years. It is the easiest way to see if the show is compatible with your work. Another clue is the judge. I will look up the judges work and if I like what I see, it is usually a good indication that the judge will like mine.
Joining an Art Co-op: Showing your work is the only way to make sales so it is very important but every venue needs an evaluation of the cost verses exposure. Art Co-Ops are springing up all over but not all are created equal. A good location is essential, costs need to be balanced by the possibility of sales and many require a time commitment. You may not mind sitting the gallery but you need to factor that into your costs.
Art Walks and Sidewalk Shows: Many artists make a living doing these shows but they may not be right for you. The initial cost of the setup, tent, panels, etc. will cut away into the profit from any sales the first year. The show fees are high so that will also subtract from any sales you make. In the current economy climate, trying just one would be unwise so think more long term. You need to make a commitment to the show and decide to do it for at least two or three years. Find more insights into this venue at Art Fairs: Another Scam or the Best Way to Market Your Art?
Studio Tours: The only down side to this venue is the chance that you will not sell enough to make back the application fee but many local studio tours have very reasonable entry fees. Clients come to your studio and someone else does the organizing. The most you can lose is a weekend and the admission fee.
Plein Air Events: One of my favorite venues but be warned it is not for everyone. Painting in strange locations, under unknown conditions is stressful. Being able to adapt to any situation is an imperative. You'll be away from your studio for a week and there are travel costs. Some of these shows have great sales while others struggle. I love doing these because even if I don't sell, I still learn a lot from every show. You can find more information on plein air events at Painting on Location.
Website, Blogs, Facebook, etc.: A wonderful promotional tool for every artist. There are long discussions on FASO about all the different ways to use social media and the internet so I won't get into it all here. I know only one artist who sells consistently through Facebook. I agree that you need to have some online presence and I love my website through FineArtStudioOnline. My site is easy to use, has a built-in audience and is reasonably priced. I enjoy blogging but it is time consuming and you should post at least twice a week. For me, the return is well worth it but again it is not for everyone. Don't let this one venue take over your life, because it will if you let it.
Galleries: You walk into the gallery and they need to replace an artist. Your work is a perfect match. What luck. You are thrilled but... Worst case; you find out from other artists who have work in the gallery that the gallery is a year behind in paying their artists and the reason they need new work is because many are pulling their pieces out of the gallery. Usually the red flags are not this obvious but take the time to find out some information about the gallery. There are many reasons to overlook problems in order to have your work in a gallery but there can be good reasons to pass when a gallery calls.
I want to restate that you will never sell anything if you don't have your work in front of buyers so always be open to new venues. Just make sure you do your homework before making the commitment.Comment on or Share this Article →
Young Artist Hoping to be Discovered
"One art adviser who works at the top of the market says that a collector is “like a diseased human being ... these people love to buy, and they love to buy art. The process is a very deep-seated urge. This idea of hunting and gathering—it’s not a new one.”
This is a quote from the article " Why is Art So Damned Expensive?" by Blake Gopnik in the Daily Beast. It is an insightful look at the top-end buyers of the art market. Gopnik discusses what motivates the super wealthy to spend vast amounts of money for art. According to Gopnik there are five reasons why, in a down economy, sales of high-end art is up 34% from 2010. It is a fascinating read.
This look into the motives of the 1% top art buyers gives some insight into our own customers and may help us to better understand our clients. Below are my insights into the five reasons Gopnik lists about why art is so expensive:
- The Prestige Factor
Art and prestige have always been partners. The very idea of being an art collector gives status to spending. It is a feeling that we are using our money for something loftier than a big flat screen TV or a luxury car. Art gives the image of culture, supporting an artist with a purchase is another way to patronize the arts and the art itself enriches the collectors life. Catering to the prestige element is why some galleries have stayed successful. Even museums have added prestigious exhibitions to their yearly calendars. The art reception for these events is a coveted ticket where collectors and corporations want to be seen buying high-priced art. Buying online will never have that kind of prestige factor and maybe the price points you and I buy and sell at are not in the same arena but I still contend that keeping the purchase of art in respected surroundings is important to maintaining that "Prestige Factor."
- Dollars Are Easier to Measure Than Beauty
Recently there was a discussion online about ditching the "never lower your prices" rule. After reading this article in The Daily Beast, I am even more convinced that lowering your prices to sell more art is a bad idea. Since collectors buy what they love, price is rarely an issue so I am not sure what is to be gained by lowering your prices? It is doubtful that a collector will buy a painting they like less than another because of a few hundred dollars in price. Discounts only lead to more discounts. I learned this simple rule working retail. Unless you want to get caught in a downward spiral of pricing (just look at retail for Black Friday; sales up, profits down) don't lower your prices. Art should be bought for art’s sake but there is no denying that collectors love it when the value of their art purchases rise. The price of your work is how a collector measures its value. If a work of art is perceived to be worth less, won't a collector look at that work differently. Is it an advantage for art to be a bargain item like a discounted sweater in a pile of discounted merchandise? The act of lowering one piece of art cheapens all the others. If a buyer can get a bargain rate on one work of art, why not all? It is bad for you and everyone to cut your prices.
- The Thrill of the Hunt
Gopnik brings up an interesting point. It isn't fun to hunt if there is no game. He concludes that with so few old masters available, collectors have turned to contemporary artists and specifically modern art. Why is it exciting to sit in a gallery and have the salesperson bring treasures from the back room only for you to see? Because everyone loves the thrill of the hunt and finding a treasure before anyone else, satisfies our hunters heart. But flooding the market with your work will also damage your brand. Diamonds are one of the most valued stones in the world even though they are also one of the most abundant. The idea that they are rare is only our perception which is controlled by a handful of supplies who keep tight control of distribution. This sounds vaguely like the art dealers who sell high-end art. Distribution is key. If the market has a glut of anything, the perceived value is diminished. During tough economic times some artists think that more is better and will throw more work out there hoping for sales. Again, this is self-defeating and will only continue to cheapen the brand. I would suggest that if the work isn't selling, pull it out of circulation and replace it with new work. Perhaps in a year or two these pieces will again be in demand.
- New Money Skews the Market
According to this article, high-end art is up 34% over 2010. Yes, he is talking about Eli Broad caliber collectors here. So while the high-end of the art market is enjoying a surge, the opposite problem is plaguing mid-priced and emerging artists. Very wealthy buyers are spending more than ever while the rest of us are experiencing a shrinking market. Fewer sales of homes means less walls to cover, less sales, fewer galleries, well you get the idea. In addition, as more and more of the baby boomers retire and pursue an alternative art career, more mid-level (some would say low-level) art appears on the market causing an unwanted glut of merchandise. I won't get into a cause and effect discussion here. Let's just agree that since most people have less disposable income there are less sales in art for the average artist. The circumstances are in place to eliminate a bunch of artists from the herd. In the long run, this may not be a bad thing but short term, it will be painful for some artists who find their work out of favor.
I can't make this stuff up so please read this section of the article. The High Price of Patronage
This paragraph expresses the amazing excess that is lavished on art but also confirms an emotional investment by the patron as well. It implies that once purchased, the art is too precious to just sell for a profit. All collectors are emotionally invested in the art they buy, irregardless of the price. It is that emotion which triggers the purchase. Without it, you can't give your art away.
Closing, I want to say that I am sympathetic to artists who are finding themselves in a financial pickle and are contemplating different solutions. Just remember that the basic nature of collectors hasn't changed. Buyers still purchase art for the same reasons. It is just that now there are fewer buyers and finding them is more difficult.
Chasing the Sun
It is a thrill to be featured in the upcoming September issue of American Art Collector Magazine. Look for my paintings in the Art Lovers Guild to California section with photos of my work and an interview. Following is part of the article.
Sharon Weaver’s goal is to transport the viewer to that special place and moment in time of the painting. “I always strive for the canvas to reflect my first impression of the scene. With every painting, I want you to share my excitement of discovery, sense the tranquility of a still lake or thrill to the pounding surf. The emotion I feel is what inspires my work.”
Coinciding with this article I will have a large body of my work in the Segil Fine Art Gallery exhibition "The Color of Light." Painting the atmosphere or light is always my goal so this theme is especially appropriate. I hope to see you at the reception on September 3rd.
It's been a great year. So far, I have sold more this year than all of 2010 and there are still nearly five months left in 2011. I have had two very successful plein air event, winning an award in one. I am now showing my work in three galleries and I was juried into a very important national show. I noticed that people were finally feeling good about spending money and positive about the future so it is not surprising that the economic news has put a damper on my forecast for the rest of the year. What will this mean to artists who depend on the discretionary spending of clients for a luxury item like art? If you are in the small group of well-known established artists whose customer base is not largely effected by the economic news, you may not have to do anything different. But for an emerging artist whose client base may not have the same resources, I need to consider the consequences of the economy. If the past is any indication, sales will suffer. I was wondering if there was anything I could do to lessen the blow.
I will be looking closely at my expenses and make cuts where I can. Spending on art trips, supplies, fees, workshops or any other art related costs need to be evaluated to determine if I can cut my expenditures but that is still not enough. I need to generate income. Since larger paintings are more expensive, I will switch back to a smaller format. I have always been very successful with my plein air pieces and the 11x14 is a great size that people love but it means I will have to sell more paintings to achieve my sales goal. Not an easy task in a slow market.
I was considering having a home sale. I know several artists who have done this with success and am looking into the possibility. It would be a lot of work but that isn't a big deterrent and I think it would be fun. I need to expand my exposure and research those venues which I have been procrastination about. The more people who see my work the more likely I am to sell. Staying active in your success is important and it sure beats waiting for something good to happen.Comment on or Share this Article →
Rest Stop (Study for Hangin' at the Mini Mart)
I have submitted a few articles to Empty Easel and they have previously used one of my pieces, Your Art Will Never Improve...Until You Embrace Change, in there weekly newsletter. Another will be published this Tuesday, July 19th in the art opinion section.
Tuesday in Art Opinion - When an artist does multiple paintings or drawings of a single scene, and sells them separately, what do the collectors think about it? Sharon Weaver was curious, so she made a point to ask. . . and she’ll share what she found out this Tuesday.
With so much talk about how to promote yourself and your work I think this is a no brainer. The last time my article appeared on the Empty Easel site I saw a very nice spike in the number of hits to my website so if you have something interesting to say, try submitting to an online art forum or art website. It is an easy way to get your information in front of a whole new group of potential clients.
Hangin' at the Mini Mart SoldComment on or Share this Article →
Last year Jane, an artist and collector, bought a painting at a prestigious art show. She loved this new addition to her collection and hung it over her computer so she could look at it every day. Recently, Jane decided to buy another painting from the same artist, so she looked online and was directed to a gallery website. When she clicked on the artist's name, Jane was shocked to see the same painting she had in her office again for sale. Well, it wasn't Jane's painting but it was a darn good copy. True, the copy was a few inches larger and it had a slightly different name, but when she placed the photos side by side, she couldn't see any difference between the two. In a matter of seconds, a cherished treasure had become nothing more than a mass-produced commodity. Jane felt hurt and cheated. When Jane contacted the artist directly, the situation deteriorated further. Now Jane was angry.
The initial reaction from the group of artists who heard Jane's story was to question the similarity of the the two paintings. When we compared the photos it was remarkable how identical they were. After seeing the evidence, we all felt that the artist's behavior was questionable, but was it unethical? Our main concern was that the smaller painting had not been done as a study for the larger painting, but instead one was actually a copy of the other. This conclusion seemed to be confirmed by the artist in his response to Jane's email. So the artist had deliberately reproduced his earlier painting. Our discussion raised several issues for me personally since I often use small plein air studies as inspiration for my studio paintings. Would my client understand the difference between a studio painting based on a study and a painting copied from an earlier work? And would that distinction affect the client's feelings?
Using a smaller study as inspiration for a larger studio piece is common practice by many artists. I don't know if other artists sell the study, but normally I post both paintings on my website for sale. Now I wondered if my actions might also be perceived in a negative way. I decided to take the initiative and contact a client. A recent sale was the perfect test. I emailed a client who bought a large studio piece (30x36) and asked if posting the study (9x12) for sale on my website was a problem for her. I was relieved by her response. She had seen them both posted on my site and at first was surprised, but she enjoyed seeing the evolution of her painting from a rough study to a refined painting. Instead of being upset, my client found it interesting. She saw a noticeable difference between the two paintings and she appreciated the process I was sharing with her by showing both paintings. My client was happy and as a result, so was I.
The second question raised by Jane's story is one of ethics. When painting, an artist makes 2000 decisions every hour. Each of those decisions affects the quality of the painting. Take the same care on the decisions which have consequences to your career, no matter how big or small. When making choices, it is important to consider your responsibility to your clients and remember that the customer is always right. When in doubt ask, "What would my buyer think?" Questions of ethics are tricky and finding the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior isn't always easy.Comment on or Share this Article →
Curves Ahead (SOLD)
I have tried to paint in the rain before but have found that once the canvas gets wet the paint will not stick to the it, so today with the rain in Los Gatos I wasn't very motivated to paint. I know some artists will paint under the back of their SUV, but I have a regular old car. I would like to paint indoors but I am not familiar with Los Gatos so I don't know where to go.
I procrastinated as much as I could until after lunch and drove up into the hills where there are wonderful old Victorian homes. I set up my easel so I could sit in the car. I hate to paint sitting so this was a last resort but at least I was out of the rain and with an umbrella so was my easel. I had found a road with a lovely row of eucalyptus trees that I thought would work even with the moody lighting. The painting came out OK but during my struggles, one of the local home owners came out to see what I was up to and we talked a bit. She looked through the paintings I had brought with me and picked one, "Curves Ahead" and decided to buy it. Thank you Alison and Parvez for starting my trip with a bang and making a very challenging day end on a high note.
There are several lessons to learn from this experience.
*Always take a box of available paintings where ever you go. If someone wants to take a look you have them with you.
*Be open to talking to people when you are out painting. You never know when the opportunity will present itself to make a sale and meet a new client.Comment on or Share this Article →
Hangin' at the Mini Mart
I recently saw an article in The New York Times discussing the dozens of art fairs that are sprouting up all over the country. (Read here: Art Fairs Spring Up All Over this Month.) It started a train of thought about how the shift of responsibility to the individual is affecting every artist. We keep hearing about how empowering the Internet is for artists. In theory our work can be seen by potentially thousands, even millions of people. It is great "exposure." (See the article in FASO newsletter titled "Exposure: The Ugly Myth.") So we all have to have a website, a blog, a newsletter. The "exposure" is good and I enjoy it, but sales don't necessarily follow.
Then we hear that galleries aren't what they used to be. Many are closing, most are just trying to weather a slow market and maybe an artist shouldn't even bother with a gallery. After all, who can sell your work better than you can? Enter art fairs. Now the financial and marketing responsibility have completely shifted to the artist. There are all kinds of art fairs, from neighborhood sidewalk shows to large convention center extravaganzas. Some of the larger art fairs will attract galleries but many share the idea that the artist pays for the space and sells their own work. The business of art is now completely the responsibility of the artist. Some artists will like this idea and enjoy being in control of their own career. Others will be intimidated or not have the resources to jump into this arena. It is an interesting dilemma which only adds to the stress and pressure of being an artist.
How do you feel about art fairs? Have you had success? Is it worth the effort, time and money?Comment on or Share this Article →
Comment on or Share this Article →
The search for new ways to market my art is ongoing and never ending. With Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networks it is hard to know where to put your energies. About a year ago Marsha Robinett, another artist, recommended writing a "lens" on Squidoo. I tried to enter a topic at that time but had a lot of difficulty with the software and gave up.
A few days ago, I again made an effort to add a lens and found the process much more simple and easy. How to Paint with Color by Sharon Weaver is the result. In my first day, I have had 4 visitors and 2 positive reviews. Lenses are ranked so the more visitors that come to the lens the higher the ranking. I am hoping to become a Giant Squid and add more lenses so please visit my lens and if you like what you see leave a review.
If you are not familiar with Squidoo, take a look at the welcome page where you will find so many diverse topics that are available for further exploration. I am planning to add more lenses to other topics to expand my audience and meet more people.
Let me know what you think of Squidoo? If you are looking for new ways to find others with similar interests making a lens could be a good way to get the word out.