Exhibiting Your Art Work

January 16, 2016

I know…its been quite awhile since I've posted. I've been using the time to make my own work which really is a good thing. But I came across this article today – thanks to Cynthia Tineapple, for pointing it out! I think it is important enough to share since it's about the 5 crucial things to do AFTER an art opening. It's great info and really made me think about the exhibition process:


Typically we work like crazy to finish the work for an exhibit. Everything leads up to the exhibit and then once we get past that blip on the calendar we pat ourselves on the back for getting through the work of it. But there are some really good things you can do to stretch the momentum of an exhibit and resulting PR. Alyson Stanfield is known as a creative ArtBiz Coach. Check out her simple ideas here:


To add to her ideas would be to:

1. Photograph the exhibit in place. Photos of an exhibit are useful for showing a professional display, future PR and adds credibility. Images for future postcards, etc. are always useful.

2. Always thank the gallery formally: send them a nice note. The personal touch from you recognizing their effort in your behalf helps to create a good relationship with the gallery. Fostering that relationship can only help you in the future.

3. Ask the gallery for PR materials to help promote your exhibit and periodically see if there are other times/other exhibits you can help to promote for them. This is good pay back and will ultimately pay YOU back in the long run because you have made a lasting impression with the gallery.

Good impressions, positive relationships, great connections accelerate an art career.



Garson Kanin said it: Amateurs hope, professionals work.

So what does that mean? Think about the words 'art practice'. To have a practice infers consistency, regular hours, a schedule. It also implies that there is practice going on – a masterpiece isn't made every time one creates.

There is a great blog article on this here: http://jamesclear.com/schedule

Creative Focus

December 12, 2013

This time of year brings reflections: reflections on time past, photographs of moments captured in time of things that were and looking forward to what will be. How you feel is where you're focus will be. You know: buy a Prius and all you see on the road are other Prius. That's focus. Unconscious focus, but focus nonetheless. So how do we direct our focus for better results? I know my focus is so fractured lately that I'm continually surprised that I'm getting anything done! It all comes back to awareness…

Gigi Rosenberg has some great advice on creative focus in her blog here:


Art Inventory

December 5, 2013

Oh-oh, a loaded subject. I can see eyes glazing over and thoughts of: do I have to??? I know I've blogged about business for artists before, in a lot of different ways but inventory deserves it's own space and time. It isn't that hard once you're set up for it. The advantages are knowing where your pieces are, what you priced them for, what sold or what didn't plus make it so much easier for a gallery or sales venue (and you, too) by having a together inventory. If you refer to the picture below of one of my past inventory sheets you'll see how it easy it is for the person making the sale to mark off which item sold. It helps to provide a small picture for them to identify the item at a glance so all they need do is mark it sold with the date or a check mark. Having this information is invaluable for me to match items to a particular sales venue. If something doesn't sell at one place it might at another so I increase my odds of making some money from my work. Plus it makes it simple for the venue to track my items.

For mixed media artists I suggest sitting down with everything you've made and categorize it. Create a table for each category. If you have paintings and collages then you would have one table for each. This makes it much easier to refer to the appropriate page for more information when a customer asks a question or for you to track items. I can't tell you how many artists show up at a gallery without an inventory much less an organized inventory of their work. The goal is to make it easy for you, a gallery or other sales venue to sell your wonderful work.


Artisan craft show in Switzerland, Nov. 2012

Big topic for a Friday! As an artist's coach, speaker and teacher in the business of art I know this is a hot topic. Artists struggle with pricing their work more than anything. Why? Because it's so close to home. Being intimately familiar with the creation of their work makes it hard to be objective about pricing that work. How do you price your soul? There is also the extra added feature of anxiety: 'am I that good?'. Somehow pricing our work gets tangled up in our self worth issues (everybody has those – not just artists!). This is where things go really sideways just about every time.

I know we all hear about pricing formulas such as: cost of materials + time = cost of goods but this really over simplifies the whole equation. The cost of overhead isn't really in that formula. Okay I see your eyes glazing over… Here is what it costs you to paint a picture, shoot a photograph or make a thing:

Equipment (brushes, camera/computer/memory cards or tools)

Space to compose what you're making (studio, office, etc.)

Education (art school, school of hard knocks, workshops, seminars, books, magazines, late fees at the library, etc.)

Health (shelter, food, clothes, shoes, vitamins, coffee, etc.)

Transportation (car, bus, bicycle, teleportation device)

This is all besides your time. And you thought it was going to be hard to figure out what your time is worth, didn't you? If it were that simple then pricing wouldn't be such a hot topic. Everything that brought you to this moment, to this point to create this work of art comes into play in the piece you've created. You had to eat, have shelter and transportation, gain experience, and stay healthy to get to this moment to create this piece. All of these things are costs and someone paid for it. A healthy business recoups these initial investment costs. There isn't any existential self worth issues involved. It's a matter of business survival. If a business charged exactly what it cost to make a thing then all these associated costs wouldn't be covered. Heat, rent, lights, insurance and other things need to be paid so charge something for it.

Next time: Pricing Part 2!


I have to say that my life really is quite an adventure. The things that come across my desk (so to speak), are incredibly diverse and not what one would expect of a middle aged artist. Every once in awhile I stop and sum up what is in front of me and I have to say that more often than not, I'm surprised. I'm surprised by offers, opportunities and the details mixed in with the usual suspects that I expect in my business. Are you ready for this? In the past 6 months I've received:

An inquiry from a producer to be a juror on a TV show for…taxidermy art – just a forewarning if you Google that. It's very odd, some weird, some wonderful…some could cause nightmares…but I would do it. Why not?

A book proposal – me write a book? Okay!

Two requests for submission of my work in other people's books

Two video deals pending – one an interview and one to produce a how-to

A request to teach at Jewel School Institute for Jewelry TV – yup, I'll be there in March for Mixed Media Madness!

And then there's my every day work: a new business I'm working on, deadlines for submissions for next year, pictures to be shot, cropped and sent, contracts to read, revise, sign, galleries to get work to and somewhere in there I need to make that work. Then I have the day job: ArtWorks, which requires a lot of attention, too.

Then in January all at once both cars had to go into the shop, there have been some family situations requiring a lot of driving (I rented a car), and my house phone stopped working! Hmmm, no wonder my house is a wreck. I'm hoping this means I get past a lot of chaos and the rest of the year will be a calm oasis of island breezes…HA!


I Love Technology

May 13, 2012

I know the big tech companies are soaking us all for every last dollar. That’s pretty clear when Apple comes out with a phone that talks back using an app that was previously available to everyone in the App Store. Yes, Siri was there for the taking before Apple bought the software and put it into one phone model. An all inclusive piece of tech was hobbled to become exclusive tech; another carrot for a device that wasn’t earth shaking or innovative with new wing dings or googaws. I had Siri but once Apple got it they deactivated all previous versions of the app on Oct. 15 so we, the rabble out here with Apple devices other than THE iPhone 4S, could not use it. Selling out and shooting fish in a barrel has become a marketing strategy. How odd.

I do love technology despite humans with poor ethics giving it a bad name. I love my iPad. I couldn’t do what I do without it. So what do I do? I create and print my handouts for classes, create and maintain spreadsheets for the art center; sign, return in email and organize all of my contracts, and other forms or agreements; create art (yep! Paint, draw, collage!), process photos for PR, for fun and to share; I maintain multiple calendars: one for bookings and schedules for the art center, one for me (for classes, travel dates, appts., you name it); create PR pieces for myself and the art center, play games sitting in the airport and thanks to my iPad: I’ve read more books and magazines this last year than I have in the last three years because they’re always with me in my iPad or in my iPhone! So sitting in the Drs office I can read some of my current book while I wait. I love that.

A great app I found is called ReQall. It’s like Jot was but better because it integrates into your Outlook or Google calendar, automatically organizes things for you and reminds you of stuff. You talk into your phone and it takes it from there. For example: I recorded ‘Tuesday night dinner at xxxx’ and it appeared on May 15 in my ToDo list. You can arrange your own categories, tags and locations so that if you’re going by the store the app can remind you to get bread… I haven’t figured out how that works yet but I will.

There is also a setting to use it in ‘eyes free’ mode so when you’re in the car and think of something to note you can without having to look at your phone to do it.

There is an iOS and Android version so no one is left out really (well, you folks with Blackberries/RIM might feel left out but you have your own stuff).


  I had written a whole blog under this title when iPad crashed out and lost it…naughty iPad!  The title is actually a line from a Peter Gabriel song and it hit me like a ton of bricks…again.  This time it spoke to the constant striving I’ve been doing to get ‘there’, wherever ‘there’ is.  I asked myself: how do you know you’re ‘there’?  What if you’re ‘there’ and just don’t know it?  These seem like simple questions until you really start thinking about them.

  Some years ago I wished I were gainfully employed in the arts.  I wanted to be teaching artists, teaching my own art related classes, mentoring artists and making my own work.  I wanted my work in a gallery or two as well. 

  So I created programs to teach, made samples and pix of the samples, put together class descriptions, materials lists and pictures for proposals and sent them in to places I targeted.  I took on coordinating a 50 hour professional development program designed for artists for a college and the job of running a small art center part-time when that became available as well.  One day I realized that when I wasn’t In a classroom teaching or working on scheduling/growing the art center, I was putting together submissions for classes next quarter, next year, the next 4 shows, and so on.  I was working 24/7 or darn near to it as one could get.  I was blogging, keeping my website updated, juggling my scheduling, traveling, teaching and art center concerns.  This has gone on for a few years now and it was time to take stock.  What had I been doing?  Were we there yet?


  Fun artist’s website: http://www.fimp.net/index.html  




I work with artists just about every day of every week.  I see where and why people are either successful artists or not.  I can tell you that it really comes back to some simple fundamentals.  I know the advice I offer may seem overly simplistic but I can’t tell you how many times in a day I see what I’m talking about.  And really, if you can’t get the fundamental basics under your belt how far can you really get to where you want to go?  It’s like sitting in a perfectly good car but not stepping on the gas pedal.  If you don’t step on that gas pedal you’re not going to get very far, are you?  You’re just going to sit in this fine car thinking: wouldn’t it be great if this went somewhere? 
 So what do I see almost every day across the board that would be considered a fumble rather than a successful play?  Artists missing a deadline and still wanting consideration in spite of the fact that there are those that took that extra effort to be on time and meet that deadline.  Artists having everything but a critical piece of information, paperwork, a date, or a business card. When someone is interested in your work and you don’t have something to give them to remember you by or to contact you for follow up, how will that contact turn into a successful scenario for you?  Anyone ever read The Grasshopper and the Ants? 
Your success requires your commitment to work for it.  It’s that simple.  Once the commitment is made, everything else follows because it becomes a no brainer to have a business card, supply all requested information, meet that deadline you’re really interested in.  But commitment requires constant investment.  So what are you investing in today, this minute?  Tomorrow?  Next year?  If you aren’t investing in your success, who will?

Rich and Artful Business

October 1, 2011


There is a secret to being a successful artist. You know how secrets like this always seem like a no brainer once you hear them? You kind of go: well, jeez, I KNEW that… As if the secret weren’t worth anything? But really the secret is ‘worth the price of admission’, as they say. It’s like a magician telling you how it’s done, is all. Once you know, the magic is gone.

So what is this secret to being a successful artist? Hmmm, first let’s define that word ‘successful’, shall we? I know the suspense is killing you. =)

What is this thing: successful? Each of us defines it for ourselves. For me it was a few things like having the time to be creative and make things, having enough money to pay my bills, and really just feeling like I’m living a rich and artful life. Like a warm, sunny, golden summer morning sitting on the patio swing with my fresh cup of tea in an enormous and lovely tea cup watching and listening to the birds. This ‘deep in your bones’ sigh of relaxation is rich, the view and sounds artful, joyful and amazing. To be able to have that rich moment in the first place is success to me. It’s the intangible part of success; the part we easily forget. Yet I can hold this piece of success in my mind forever so it’s a lasting success if I do just a simple thing: recognize it for what it is and remember it. It’s real life staring you in the eyeballs so see it like a magic trick all its own.

Now back to that secret you’re patiently waiting to hear about being a successful artist: the more artists you know the more successful you will be. It’s true. Artists understand what you put into your work better than the general public so they have an innate appreciation, if you will. Other artists that appreciate your work will talk about it or think of you when an appropriate opportunity pops up. You can’t afford to pay for this sort of service or PR. Other artists are more inclined to be curious about what your process is so they’re easier to educate about what it is that you do. Those that understand what went into a piece of work will appreciate it better and so speak about it better as well. Besides, knowing lots of other artists not only inspires you but makes for a really rich and artful life. Give yourself that gift and watch the puzzle pieces shift into place!