The Second Annual Plein Air Convention

The Second Annual Plein Air Convention

The day before the official start of the convention, a day was added to have a Basics Course and a forum for Event Organizers. I gave the first presentation of the convention, talking about plein air equipment and supplies. (The next post will be about my presentation).  With mine over, I could sit back and enjoy the rest of the convention.

After Eric Rhoads opened the convention on Wednesday, Joe Paquet gave a talk on authenticity. I've taken two workshops from Joe, he is a man that loves words and thinks about things. His talk was very good.

I spoke to Joe after his presentation telling him my story of taking time off of shows and selling for two years. He spoke about improving your art and believing in your direction. This was my intent. I downloaded a letter to artists written by Joe about our changing economy and belief in ourselves. Click here to view the letter. Jean Stern of the Irvine Art Museum gave a slide lecture about the life and art of Franz Bischoff. I didn't realize that he was better known for his porcelain work, beautiful. It was also interesting to see the progression from porcelain painting to oil painting.

One of the demos that I was surprised with was Michael Godfrey's. He used such a small brush. His painting was half finished when he came to the stage. so he may have blocked it in with a bigger brush. But he did use a small brush a lot. That would drive me crazy, but love the results in his work.

Kathryn Stats work is always a treat to see. She brought, I think it was three paintings of the same view. She felt the lighting in one was right on, so she recomposed and used that painting for her bigger work. It was the start of a beautiful painting.

I was really impressed with Don Demers ocean painting. Even though I'm not much of an ocean painter, I'm considering a workshop from him. He has the ability to show movement and depth in his work with small nuances in color differences. His quick painting was impressive.

Ken Auster's HUGE painting was even better than last year. He is a showman and fun to watch. I didn't make it up early enough for the marketing classes. We had a house full of 6 women, which kept us all up nights talking.

I talked to Ed Terpening about his social media marketing class. He posted his notes on his blog which I found very informative. To view the notes click here.

Of course, Jill Carver's and Ray Robert's demo paintings were great. I'm familiar with both of their work. Ray was the first artist I studied with about 12 years ago. I was trying to move from detailed paintings to looser and larger shapes. His compositions are very strong.

Mian Situ received a standing ovation after speaking to the audience about his life and slides of his awesome work. Incredible work. Then the show closed at 1 pm with bagpipes. Then it was out to the field for plein air painting on the beach at Asilomar. I painted my demo painting out of the wind behind the dunes.

Since I knew I would be in Carmel for a week or so, I didn't feel the need to rush out there and paint the ocean. That came later on a calm, windless day. "Asilomar Tree"  11"x14"  oil On Sunday we all went to the paint out at the Monterey Wharf. I painted on each side of the wharf morning and afternoon. "Wharf Shadows"  11x14" oil "Monterey Wharf"  14"x11" oil

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Email Marketing Ideas to Ponder

Email Marketing Ideas to Ponder

Art Marketing Monday I recently read an article from CopyBlogger about email marketing. Listed were 3 marketing tasks for email newsletters. I have included two of them with a few more that I like.

1. Add a dedicated page for subscribing to your newsletter. I thought this was a very good idea. When you post a link or send the email opt-in to someone, it simplifies the process by just sending the link. You don't need to explain the opt-in box on your website. I've used the email link to mailchimp, but it doesn't send them to my website. With a dedicated page on my website I have room to explain the benefits of your newsletter. So, I have added the page in addition to the opt-in box.

2. Another interesting point that was given was to send your email list more often. Statistics show that once a month has more unsubscribes than sending a newsletter more often. This seems scary to me. I always feel that I shouldn't overdo the emails. The idea is that more emails get more engagement from subscribers. That may be true. I'll have to ponder that point.

3. Use compelling subject titles in the email newsletter so that the open rate is higher. I know this would make a difference, but I haven't spent much time thinking about it. I did read about the words "You are not alone" as one of the best words to use. That would be difficult to use on a regular basis.  Recently I received a newsletter from another artist. In the subject the artist wrote her name in all capitals with space between each letter. It does stand out above all other emails. But, it didn't make me want to open it. I wonder if the artists' open rate was higher.

4. When to send emails? Not sure. Me either. I keep reading, send during the week, before 5 pm, not during lunch, etc, etc. I would guess that it depends on the industry. That means testing times and to view the open rates. I did send an email out on a Satuday one time. My rate of opens was lower than other newsletters. I only know I wouldn't send it out on the weekend again. I always have thought that Mondays wouldn't be good, too busy. Fridays, everyone wants to be done with business or catching up.

What is your experience? Morning, Night? Which weekdays? These are a few of the things in newsletters that I have been thinking about. What about you? Do you have some good ideas that you would like to share?

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The Tents Went Up First....

The Tents Went Up First....

The tents are going up for the Celebration of Fine Art and I'm home getting ready for the show. Each year right after Thanksgiving, the crew starts erecting the tents, 3 tents placed in a "u" configuration.

While the tents were going up, I was home working getting everything in organized and finished, at least as much as I could. Besides the paintings, I've got "products" ready to sell, greeting cards, giclee prints in both paper and canvas, my book, small paintings and giclee prints with easels.

The show opened to the public on Sat, Jan 11. The Monday before the show, Jan 6 we (the artists) were able to get into the tents to start construction on our booths. I intended to post some photos of the booth in progress. But with some of my frames coming late, I was scrambling to do some last minute framing on my larger paintings. So, I will show you the finished booth and tell you a little about the construction.

The overall view of my booth.

The right side wall

My giclee corner

The first thing that we did in putting our studios together was to have carpet layed. Three of us that share this area went together in purchasing and having someone else lay the carpet for us.

Then we started the construction with two walls, each 8 foot high and 12 foot long at about a 120 degree angle. I have a sculptor next to me, Bryce Petit, from Utah. We (actually, he did the work) constructed a wall 8' x 8' between us, then put a wall 6' wide and 9 foot high at the end. This is where you see my large vertical sunset painting and his table below it. Eventually, one of his fabulous wildlife sculptures will be on the table to complete the scene.

The 6' wide wall has 4 feet of it over on my side. I then (ahem, my grandson) constructed a 3 foot wall on my end of the wall. This is where I mounted a wall easel for my studio. It is behind the black taboret in the top photo. These two walls made a small "u" section behind them, where I display my giclees separate from my originals.

After constructing the walls, I did all the painting of them. My grandson and I constructed a small cabinet in the "giclee section" which hides some of my extras. We also made a bin for the paper giclees. Next came the beams for the lights and the mounting of them. I really had trouble with my lights and connections this year for some reason. I was REALLY getting frustrated. But, one of the young guys at the show came over and helped me with some of it. I also had to reconfigure the lights and buy some new connectors and lights.

We cut and painted baseboards and finished painting the beams. After the construction, it was bringing in the paintings. But, first, I had to frame my large paintings all day Thursday. Some of my frames were late coming, because the framer had trouble getting some of his products he needed. But, after working really hard for me, he got them to me just in time. We had to have the booth finished by 12 noon on Friday,so that we could be back in the "white tents" by 4 pm for the preview party for VIP's and the media. I made it! Whew!

I have participated in the show for 16 years with a total of four years off. Over the years my booth as well as every other booth in the show has evolved, improving each year. This afternoon I finally had time to walk the show for the first time to take a look around at old friends' booths and to see who was new. Each year the show surpasses the last and this year is no exception.

Over the years I have made some great friendships with artists in the Celebration family. You can imagine after 10 weeks of going to the show every day, you really get to know some of the artists. The camaraderie amongst the artists and staff is wonderful. If you don't know anything about the show, visit the website of Celebration of Fine Art, http://celebrateart.com for more info.

To read about the history of the show click here.

More about the show as it continues from now through March. I hope some of you can come to visit the show. Everyone is "blown-away" the first time they see the art show.

Later,

Becky

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Preparing for the Celebration of Fine Art

Preparing for the Celebration of Fine Art

The Celebration of Fine Art is a 10 week art show that is held in Scottsdale, Arizona, everyday from 10 am to 6 pm with about 100 artists participating.

That's right, it's open every single day. This year the show is opening on Sat, Jan 12 and ending on Sunday, March 24.  We will be open for a special preview party for collectors on Friday night. So, that means that our booths need to be up and ready to go at about noon on Friday.

Artists come from all over to participate in the show. which has been ongoing for over 20 years. It's a show like no other. Three large tents connected into a "U" shape will be the studio and gallery for the artists for 10 weeks.  

It's a juried show in which we display our art in a booth and set up a studio space so that we can work while the public comes through the show. The patrons can watch art being created and interact with the artists. I have done the show for about 12 or so years (I can't remember exactly how long). I took  the last two years off to pursue some other things with my art, but I'm back this year. I did miss the interaction with the other artists and I also like the interaction with the customers.

I've made some lifelong friends through this show and see some of the same customers year after year who stop by my booth. I'll be posting more about the show, so that you can get a sense of what it is about. But, right now, I've been getting ready for the last 6 months and working very hard at it for the last two months.

My booth has two walls, each 12' long by 8' high, standing at about a 120 degree angle. My booth is about 10' deep. On one side I will construct a short wall about 8' long that will divide my space from my next door neighbors.

The walls are the only thing that will be in the space for me. As I said, there will be some construction going on. I'll add a small closet for storage, put track lighting in, paint the walls and then carpet the whole space. This is the basics. I made my list of things to get together  some time ago, both functional things and products. Some of the things on my list are as follows:

  • 1 gal. of paint
  • lumber
  • siding for closet and wall
  • track lights
  • wire, receptacles, switch
  • carpet
  • carpet tape
  • name sign
  • booth number
  • qr code (something new for me this year)
  • broshures, cards, promotional materials
  • greeting card packs
  • my easel
  • smaller taboret than what is in the studio
  • paint and paint supplies
  • chair and stool
  • small vacumn
  • music while I paint
  • easel light
  • canvas, frames, framing materials for use while at the show
  • hammer & hanging tools (I need to replace those paintings that I sell)
  • cushioned mat for standing on the cement
  • coffee cup
I'm sure there are a few things that I am forgetting here, but you get the idea. I need everything I can fit into my space to make it workable and comfortable without going overboard. Then, of course the paintings and some prints. I've been stacking the framed pieces, ready to go and hang on the walls.

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6 Simple Art Marketing Tips

6 Simple Art Marketing Tips

  1. Send out 5 post cards a week to designers, clients, galleries, anyone you want to know about your art. If you make a commitment to send out a few each week, it won't be an overwhelming job and it doesn't cost a tremendous amount of money.
  2. USE your mailing list. I know that I'm guilty of letting time pass between emails. As artists we constantly need to get our name in front of those interested in our art.
  3. Write thank you notes to all those that buy your art and ask for referrals.  Also write notes to galleries and shows that sell your paintings.
  4. Network wherever and whenever you can. Go to places and events that your clients would go to. Give demos, volunteer. What can you do to get noticed?
  5. Send press releases out whenever you have shows, news, etc to share. Make an email list, send the press release out with a click. Just be sure to use the bcc.
  6. Donate to charities that will use your name in their promotional materials. Put you best foot forward. Don't give them an old painting just because it has been around for a long time. Consider making giclees of your best paintings. The idea is to get people interested in your work and that would be your best work.

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How to Handle a Commission

How to Handle a Commission

Wondering how to handle commissions? The brief steps that I outline for the client are as follows:
  1.  Decide on the size of painting that you want.
  2. Select what you love.
  3. Approving your commission.
  4. Contact
My main purpose on this page is to reassure the client that it can be done, I'm easy to work with, professional and they will be satisfied. I really want the customer to contact me before all the payment details and contract are worked out. I like to talk to the client first to get a sense of what they want, help guide them and reassure them if need be. Successful art commissions are a collaboration between the artist and the client.
  • I want to make sure that I can work with the clients and that they can work with me.
  • It is my responsibility to listen to and communicate with the clients
  • Be professional and confident. Leave the customer feeling confident that they chose you.
  • Meet with the client in person or by phone. I have had commissions both over the internet and in person meeting at the client's home.
  • Take good notes, find out the size. To help them visualize the size of a painting, I have put making tape on their wall of the overall dimensions. At this time, they don't need to worry about the size of a frame. You can figure that out. Get a good sense of the colors that they want using fabric swatched, paint samples or going through your artwork.
  • Ask questions:
              What colors do they like?
              What do they like about my paintings as a whole?
              What do the like in individual paintings of mine?
              What is their initial concept?
              Do they want a mood?
              Make sure that they know you are in charge of the painting.
              Tell them about your process.
             Ask them if they have any concerns or questions.
             Let them be assured that they will be satisfied.
  • Make pencil drawings. Give them a few choices, not too many, to narrow it down. After they have chosen the initial concept, I will often paint a small painting, about 8x10 to show them. I found that this will save me time and make sure that we have communicated well with each other.  Many people have a hard time visualizing things. This gives them something to see, make corrections and to give them confidence in the job.
  • Once all details are worked out, it's time to sign the contract. I have included a sample contract. Of course, there can be changes to the contract. Just make sure that everything is spelled out and agreed upon.
  • During the process, I  will email the client when the block-in is done. This is a good time to make changes. They also get excited about seeing the work in progress.
  • I personally don't like to send to many images to them. I don't want them to start managing the project. But I also need to remember that this is the clients painting.
  • I will send them maybe 4 images of the progress. I also will take more photos as I paint. Then I put the images together in a C'D to give to the client as a gift with the painting. It makes it more special for them and another small marketing opportunity. They will show some of their friends the process and talk about it.
Here is a youtube video describing some of the process that I go through.

This is a "sample contract". If you have any legal concerns or questions, please contact a professional for advise.

 

Commissioned Art Contract

This Agreement is made the _________ day of _____________ (month), _____________ (year), by & between: (The Artist) Name: ____________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________ Phone: ___________________________ Email: _________________________________ And (The Collector) Name: _________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________________ Phone: ____________________________ Email: _________________________________ Agreement between Artist & Collector as follows 1.The Artwork:Collector is commissioning artist, _____________________ to paint a painting with the following guidelines:
  • title:
  • description:
  • dimensions:
  • support:
  • price: (include taxes, if appropriate)
  • frame:
2. Payment Schedule: The Purchaser agrees to pay the Artist one third of the total Price:_____ which is_______ upon affixing their signature to this agreement. The Purchaser further agrees to pay the remaining 2/3 of the total Price:______ which is _______ plus any other agreed upon fees on delivery of the Work.
  •  The Purchaser shall pay this amount immediately if Work is picked up or delivered in person.
  •  The Purchaser is required to remit payment upon notification of the Artist if the Work is to be shipped.  Upon receipt of payment, the Artist will delivery Work to shipping carrier within five (5) business days.
3. Copyright: Artist retains the copyright to all works commissioned by Collector that was created by Artist, including all reproduction rights and the right to claim statutory copyright. No artwork may be reproduced or altered without the written consent of the Artist. 4. Right of Refusal: In the event that the Collector does not wish to purchase the commissioned artwork, the Collector may refuse. In that case, the Artist will retain the refused artwork and the non-refundable deposit. This is free of any claims or interests of the Collector and the Collector will not owe any additional fees to the Artist. IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Artist and Collector have executed the Agreement on the day & year written above. ____________________________________ Artist ____________________________________ Collector

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Featured Artist at the Plein air Convention

Featured Artist at the Plein air Convention

I was recently asked by Stephen Doherty to be a featured artist painting in the field at the 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention in Monterey, CA (and I accepted). I'm thrilled to have the honor of sharing my joy of plein air painting with others. Such exciting news.

This week I have been participating in the Sedona Plein Air Invitational. It has been an exhausting, but exilarating couple of months with shows and travel. I will be posting more on the Sedona Plein Air Invitational in the next day or two. It's late now and I need to get up at dawn and paint some more red rocks. Talk to you all later.

Just had to share the good news.

Becky

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Market When You Are Plein Air Painting

Market When You Are Plein Air Painting

When I'm out plein air painting, I'm wearing a t-shirt to advertise my website. I used Zazzle to order some t-shirts with an image of one of my paintings and my website printed on them. You could also do this with a baseball cap or an apron.

I found when I'm wearing the t'shirt I have had people automatically start asking where I show my work, what galleries I'm in. I get more response and questions from people. I always have some cards with my equipment that I hand out. You should always be prepared.

You never know when someone will be interested in your work or better yet, ready to buy. This is an inexpensive, painless way to advertise. Check out my youtube video about the t-shirts.

 

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11 Reasons to Write the Artist Statement for YOU!

11 Reasons to Write the Artist Statement for YOU!

Article first published at ezine.com. The mysterious artist statement, is it really necessary? Is it outdated or more important than ever before? I propose that it is more necessary today in this economy than it has been in the past. I had never put much time or thought into my artist statement until recently. And now, I find that it is an evolving statement just as my art is, constantly refining and improving.

I’m still working on that statement. But, as I have been working on it and answered some of the questions that art coaches put forth to reveal in my statement, I have come to the realization that the artist statement has helped me as an individual and as an artist. I have listed eleven things I discovered that I gained by spending some time seriously thinking about my artist statement and writing down those thoughts about my art.

  1. It has helped me to clarify an overall direction in my art, what I expect and want.
  2. I have taken a serious look at my art, realizing my strengths and weaknesses.
  3. I’m clear on what my art means to me and how it makes me feel.
  4. It has helped me to find my voice (my brand), knowing what is unique about my art.
  5. I know what I will be focusing on in the near future to improve as an artist.
  6. I know what I want to do differently.
  7. I’ve learned more about painting and art in general. I have found that the statement is a learning tool.
  8. I know what inspires me and how to be inspired.
  9. I’ve learned more about myself both as a person and as an artist.
  10. I have been able to more clearly articulate to clients about my art. It is no longer “What you see is what you get.” I am not longer painting just images.
  11. Ultimately, and possibly the most significant,  is that I have gained more confidence in myself as an artist.
All of these points will improve my art and the selling of my art, which is vital in this economy So, in the end, I have concluded, that if I am honest and really introspective in writing my artist statement, I will have gained much. I will also come across as being open, honest, and true to myself which  will help clients connect with my art, me and to get to know a little more about me as an artist and person.

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Art Business – Trying New Things

Art Business – Trying New Things

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve been working on the questions: What can I get rid of or delete? What works? What do I like doing? What do I dislike? Do I think it is the direction I want to go with my business? Where do I want my business next year, two years, five years from now?

As some of you may know, last year was a difficult year personally. I dealt with some legal issues, moving, driving grandkids around and cooking more dinners. It was difficult juggling everything and frankly, I didn’t juggle some things at all. This blog and the video lessons was one thing that was put aside. I have since built a new studio (still struggling to finish some of it), dropped my involvement in some organizations, and worked on reorganizing things in my life. Things are getting much better and less stressful.

Anyway, selling online has been a large part of my income the last few years. I tracked my income in 2014 and found that about 30% came from working online. Last year I wasn’t nearly so organized. I realized that this was a part of my business that worked so I needed to continue and try and build that part of my income. But, with an online business in which social media is used extensively, continuity and and constant is very important. Visibility online is what it is all about.

Last summer I had someone work on my website after I screwed it up and created a mess. Once it was cleaned up, I had a hard time keeping out of it and again redesigned it. But, the company that worked on my website did set up an auction site for me. I started using it intermittently, but found that I had a hard time being consistent at that time and there were also bugs to be cleared up. I think now that I have the bugs cleaned up, but no promises.

Your website should always be thought of as your store. All advertising (social media) should lead back to the website. So, instead of using ebay or another auction, I decided to have it set up on my website. I’m sure it has a slower start (lower bids) than if I used ebay, but I think for the long haul, it will be better having it on my website.

Some of things I am implementing this year:

The weekly auction starting every Monday

4 online sales on my website

2 of which will coincide with a physical open studio

Concentrate on more local opportunities

Teaching workshops in my studio

Continue to build the online painting workshops

Blog more often.

Advertising on facebook

Once I get the facebook going, I will try twitter and pinterest.

I’ve just tried two advertisements so far and it looks good, but I’ll let you know what I learn and what I think after a longer period of time.

The workshops in my studio are also slow going. After I booked the workshops, I realized that my studio wouldn’t be completely done and the storage would be a problem. So, I didn’t work on getting the word out. Since the storage isn’t finished, space is an issue right now. I think it should be solved within a couple weeks. Hopefully.

I didn’t sign up for the Celebration of Fine Art this year. I’ve done it for about 17 years and it has been a major part of my income, but I found it difficult being tied down last year. I wanted to move on, so online is the part of the business to build!

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