Friday, January 29, 2010

A Bit of Creative Marketing

Barrel Cactus
by Keith Bond
Keith Bond has the natural ability to see beyond the picturesque beauty of a scene to portray the spirit of the of the landscape. He has the gift of capturing the true essence of to the place and paints an emotional response to the scene, rather than the literal depiction.

Keith is not only an acclaimed artist but also writes regularly for the FineArtViews Newsletter. Recently while reading some of the back issues I ran across his article about 'Home Shows', and how they can be a new venue for artist.

We are all looking for ways to sell our art in today's economy. Keith's article, Home Shows, outlines how to use this venue, step by step. I had a small showing in a friends home last year. It went well but had I had Keith's insightful knowledge and instructions I know I could have done better.

I encourage you...take a few minuets to read Keith's detailed, thought provoking article. It's a great way to get your work in front of people who are collectors and do it in an intimate setting.

Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
Psalm 28:6-8 (in Context)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Old's Illinois basketball mania time

Old Glory
carbon pencil drawing on paper
11 x 9, double matted

Original Pencil Drawing
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Also available in:
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It's basketball tournament time everywhere. The sports casters refer to it as 'Hoops Mania". Our local high school is done but the University of Illinois is still in the game. I don't watch as much basketball as I used to and never did follow the professional teams...but thought this drawing was appropriate and might just stir some good memories.

As I worked on this carbon pencil drawing, memories of my own High School days flooded my head. I remembered the small gyms we played in, cheering until we were hoarse, and the excitement of riding the bus to the game with the team. Things were different then...times more relaxed and definitely more innocent.

On the way to the basketball game the team always sat together in the front of the bus. On the way home...we were allowed to pair off in couples. I still remember holding hands in the dark on the ride home, and my first kiss.

The drawing Old Glory is not just about the game, but also about the 'freedom' to enjoy the game. Despite ALL the negative issues that make the news today. We who are fortunate enough to live in the United Sates and enjoy the freedoms offered by living in a true democracy have much to celebrate.

The American Flag is the symbol of our freedom. Old Glory, as it is referred to, stands for who we are as a nation and a people. Our American Flag has been burned, stomped on, and desecrated by many over the years...yet she still flies strong.

The old basketball and shoes are a reminder of our youth when life was much simpler. School, the Friday night ball game, getting a date for the weekend and cruising the town square...don't we all remember when?

I also took some WIP photos and put together a drawing tutorial when working on Old Glory and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about the techniques used.

Matthew 18:3
And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2-4 (in Context)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Marketing Is a Must...but where do we start?

I hear it over and over:
"my website has been up for months now and I have no sales and few visitors".

As artists, whether we categorize ourselves as full time or part time, marketing needs to be a part of our everyday creative process.

Look at it like this...if you acquired a new phone number and didn't give it out to anyone do you think you would be receiving calls? How about if you gave it to just 10 people and they each gave it to just one person (and so on) you think that would make a difference? Absolutely.

Your website is no different. If you want traffic you need to let others know you are there.

Now..for the next question. Do you just want traffic or do you want buyers? When it comes to traffic to your website a few good regular followers of your art is much better than several hundred 'occasional lookers'.

So, how do you garner the 'few good followers'? First of all...get that Newsletter Subscribe option on your navigation bar. The people who sign up for your newsletter are saying, "I want to know more about you and your art". They want to hear from you! Clint Watson says send your newsletter once a week...if once a month is all you can handle, then make it once a month, but be consistent.

It isn't necessary to write a long newsletter. In fact your newsletter is more likely to be read if it is short, simple, and offers the reader something they can't get elsewhere. My newsletters include a discounted print each month that only my subscribers have the option to purchase...and I always sell several. This one item more than pays for the time it takes to write my newsletter.

  • You may not want to offer a discounted print but I'm sure you will be featuring at least one of your artworks...provide a link back to your portfolio and make purchasing easy.
  • If you blogged about something of interest...make a short statement and link back to your FASO blog for the complete article. The blog article linked to doesn't need be current this month...just relevant to what you're writing about in this newsletter.

I don't know about you, but a 'live link' peeks my curiosity...I can hardly avoid clicking it to see where it takes me, and once there...well, it's rare that I leave without strolling through at least a couple more pages!

I'm a firm believer that 'live links' in your newsletters teach your subscribers to visit your website. A live link is telling them there is something of interest...something new...something they might want...something you think is important for them to see.

Remember, your subscribers signed up for your newsletter because they want to know more about you...tell them and tell them regularly.

Proverbs 20:14
"It's no good, it's no good!" says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase.
Proverbs 20:13-15 (in Context)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just Thinking....what can I do next?

"Grandma's Boy"
Watercolor on Paper

This is Wil...the first grandson of one of my friends. I'm not sure this is quite as good as my last watercolor portrait. It seems a tad overworked in a couple of places yet it does resemble him nicely.

Will has the most beautiful little 'pursed' mouth and gorgeous hazel eyes. There was so many colors in his eyes that it was hard to get them all in. I really struggled with his know me and my thing for detail. I almost blew it here!! it is, one more portrait for you to take a look at. Enjoy

Psalm 37:25
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.
Psalm 37:24-26 (in Context)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Afternoon at the Races

Christina Xamis
Watercolor on paper

The photo used for this painting was actually given to me to use as reference for a commissioned pencil drawing. I thought it was a perfectly captured moment in time. Christina and a friend were on a European Holiday and took in the horse races...fancy hats and all.

Her friend took this photo as Christina learned her horse had just won the race. You can see the racing card and pen still in her hand and you can almost feel her spontaneous surprise and excitement. Christina has the most beautiful eyes...and yes, all those lashes are hers.

I've been antsy of late to try a watercolor portrait. One of my big challenges with watercolor is to not always try to control it. I keep wanting to correct those little watercolor know, the stuff that makes watercolors beautiful. (it must be the realistic pencil artist residing inside me). It's really difficult to just walk away from the painting and QUIT..before I muddy it up.

For my first portrait I'm happy...only hope I can do another one before I forget what I did here:)

Christina's parents and their family are out of town for the holidays and have not yet seen this painting yet. If they want, I will still do a pencil fact I may do one anyway as my pencils have been screaming at me for some time now.

Psalm 16:11
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:10-11

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