Art Requires Evolutions and Revelations

Art Requires Evolutions and Revelations

I can’t believe it has been 10 days since my last post. The time has flown and it has been a challenge to keep up.

On the 5th I was given the opportunity to be part of a festival which was one of the few in this area that is actually made up of really creative people. It was coming up on the weekend of the 8-9th and was one I had wanted to get in on earlier. But I got the information on it too late and all the slots were filled. This event was the biannual High Desert Quilt Show and although it seems questionable that this would be a good fit for a painter, I have other artist friends in various mediums, sculptors, jewelry artists, and ceramic artists, who have sold there in the past and done fairly well. I had the money and I had the desire to give it a try.  I had 4 days to prepare. My head was spinning. I needed to paint cards and I really wanted to get my newest painting done and framed as it is an important evolution in the direction I am moving. I wanted to share it and I also wanted to do well.

I painted note cards with spools of thread and quilt patches and lot’s of spring flowers and I did finish my painting. I was excited. about the show and about the art. My style and my focus are evolving and I am actually thinking about who my audience is and what they would like. These are 2 different aspects of being a creator. Because considering your audience is not important to make good art, but it is important to make art that sells. Anyway, I was accomplishing 2 objectives and I could see that all this marketing education is finally paying off as is the acceptance that I as a creator need to make art that comes from my soul. And somehow it is possible for those two to come together if you find the right niche.

Well, the weekend came, I set up a beautiful booth and I did have a very successful weekend. And even though I came down with a nasty cold in the process, from which I will recover, I made headway, and I discovered more about my direction as an artist as well as more about being a more successful artist and finding that niche that narrows my marketing strategy. I don’t have to try to sell to everyone! Got it! Finally!

So where do I go from here? My mind is in the process of envisioning my next painting, as I work on deadline projects that I must finish. I am also thinking about what I need to create for the next show, next weekend. Mentally describing the audience I will be connecting with and figuring out how the things I make can bring them joy and entice them to want to own.  This is really the essence, I think, of being a selling artist.

So the evolution continues as do the revelations, there is always more to learn and more life to live. As the story unfolds is not just a title for my blog, it is my life and yours as well.

Have a Happy Day.

Cheryl

P.S. I did sell the painting to one of my favorite collectors and I did do well with all of the art cards I created. More evidence that I am going in the right direction!

 

 

How Does One Connect with Customers in the Online World?

How Does One Connect with Customers in the Online World?

I spent most of the day painting yesterday. I was working on more Spring cards and I started a larger painting as well. The nice thing about watercolor, at least for me, is that you have lots of time between layers to get other things done. It’s not like acrylic where you can just pile color after color on top of each other. Watercolor has to dry or the colors mix and you get that color called mud. So I did feel like I had a very productive day.

I will have a booth at our local farmers market on Saturday and I will take these new cards to sell. Right now it is my only outlet to connect with my customers. This is one of the things I miss most about not having a gallery or being part of a cooperative gallery. We don’t have these things here. I would love to start one but I am not a director type person, I have figured that much out about myself. So I go to the farmers market fairly often and I get to greet and chat with the people who stop by my booth. To me, this is the best way to build long lasting relationships with my customers. We become friends, and they look forward to seeing all the new things I am up to.

Facebook is sort of like that. If I post regularly I build relationships with those who comment on my work and sometimes people who are on Facebook come to my booth and I get to meet them in person.

I am wondering how one builds those relationships on a website or like my Etsy shop, is it being pushy to reach out and thank the people who have come and liked my shop or items? I don’t know.

How do you build relationships when your main outlet is online? Would love to hear your techniques.

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Here are some of the new cards I made this week, they are $12 each and they are not on my website. If you’re interested let me know before Saturday and we will make a plan to get it to you. I may put them on Etsy, and if these sell I can do one that is similar. Because they are hand painted, each one will be different.

Thanks for reading and have a happy day!

Let the Story Unfold and What does that Mean?

Let the Story Unfold and What does that Mean?

I have been going through my archives of paintings and drawings, some I have sold and only have digital files of, and some I have the originals still. Some of them I see daily as they hang on the wall of my home and I love them still. It is interesting all the changes I have gone through over the years. I have no clear style or medium. I go through periods of idealistic and imaginative art and periods of more commercial ventures. For example, painting architectural watercolors for location sales or for commercial clients and then painting detailed dreams or visions that come from emotions or ideas. Almost no one could look at my work over the years and say these all come from the same artist. As I have said before, I am adaptable. And I am so passionate about creating that I may just create a whole new style simply because it might sell better than what I am doing at the moment. Or it’s easier, less time consuming or simpler.

This year feels like a year to rededicate myself to uncovering who I am, not what I would like to be, or who others see me as. I would like to find something that goes beyond marketing and sales and making a difference for others to include making a difference for me.

I have heard it said that making art is more of an inner journey than any other endeavor, and when we start out to make art, we don’t start out to make it a profession, just to let the exploration of medium and emotion come together. However, once the decision gets made to turn it into a profession the message and the exploration may get lost. We think more about trends and input from those that want to guide us and less about the story we ourselves need to tell.

I am not suggesting that these aspects of making art for sale are bad, I am just speculating that maybe there is a way to combine them. Especially now when our market to make sales is no longer limited to where we live. Our market is global and our audience is broad enough to include my voice and yours and it doesn’t have to be a competition.

Maybe we can tell our own story, make our personal statements and still find an audience with whom it resonates. That is what the internet should do and to me, that is an incredible and amazing thing.

So I am going to continue making art and I am going to do some searching to find what really resonates with me. Maybe it’s a style or medium I have used in the past and maybe it will be something new. I don’t know. This feels like that time in my life when it’s time to delve into what my story really wants to be about.

Hence the name of this blog. Let your story unfold.

Have a Happy Day

Cheryl

Is it Spring Yet?

Is it Spring Yet?

Here in the desert, it is feeling like Spring. It’s still only 50 degrees, but that’s warmer than it has been and the sun is shining. So it makes us all very happy. Soon there will be wildflowers and that will be the only topic of conversation for most desert rats.  We get very excited to see what shows up because it’s different every year. I was out for a walk amongst the Creosote and cactus on Saturday and there are lots of new leaves popping up everywhere. Once we get some blooms I will post some shots. But today I am working in the office on a website for a client and later I will be doing more painting. Besides another larger painting, I will be working on cards as well.

I have started painting cards for Spring, So far I have 3 and they are Easter related, however, I was sketching ideas this morning and there will be lot’s of Spring oriented images I think. These cards are approx. 4″x6″ single sided with colorful paper on the back. They make people smile. Seems like it has been an especially brutal Winter, I’m ready for Spring how about you?

Have a Happy Day!

Cheryl

Dancing Sunflowers Make Me Happy

Dancing Sunflowers Make Me Happy

I wasn’t going to write today, but I got excited about my finished painting and just had to share it. My first watercolor painting in 2 years, using layered washes and in a 9″x12″ size (bigger than a notecard). It seems after a drought of this kind in my creative process what I want to paint are flowers.

sunflowersPhoto

I took this photo of these sunflowers probably a year ago, printed it several months ago, and started dreaming about painting it at least a month ago. I finally did it this week.

Since it had been so long since I had done any real watercolors I wasn’t sure how the process would go. I did a lot of testing colors on scratch paper to find the right combo for the transparent layers. I had forgotten that watercolors are not a hurry-up thing, well I knew it, but I didn’t remember just how long one can wait between layers. Each layer needs to dry before you add another layer and so there is lots of time to work on other projects while I wait. I tried using a blow dryer in the past, however, you run the risk of spreading paint where you don’t want it and it’s not worth the risk. So patience is a virtue when it comes to this process.  And I am willing to wait because the layering of color with transparent watercolors is magical and I love creating this way.

So I finished it yesterday and I am pretty happy with it. It reminds me of Spring and warmer days, and a friend said it looks like the flowers are dancing. I love that! So I have called it Dancing Sunflowers. I think I will stick with flowers for a while, they make me happy and people enjoy them. Spreading some cheer is a good niche to fall into.

Have a Happy Day

Cheryl

We will figure it out

We will figure it out

It’s Saturday, it has been an illuminating week. It’s also been earth-shattering in the “now what?” category. The jobs I have been getting consistently the last couple of years are fading from existence which seems to be another sign that my renewed path to make art seems to be right. I don’t make as much per job in art yet, but I do make sales regularly. I am not depending on Etsy yet, but I do see the potential. And if I count it all up it is a decent wage, so even though losing a bigger job is scary on the outset, it also gives me the time and money I would have spent in preparation for it to use on other things. When transitions in my life happen, it always seems to take me a little time to think things through and to not panic. I have gotten all my chores done today and I plan to spend the rest of the day in the studio. And that is one sure way to make me happy.

It seems that many people are going through big life transitions these days. Finding our way through these times of economic, political, and planetary uncertainty really affects us all. We are all in this together and we will create a new world experience because we are adaptable and filled with creative energy.

I hope you have a happy day. I am planning on it.

Cheryl

 

Creating a Personal Style is an Important Tool in Getting Noticed.

Creating a Personal Style is an Important Tool in Getting Noticed.

One of the tenets of marketing 101 is the importance of creating your own personal style to build a connection with your clients. You want them to remember you above all the others they might come across in your field.

For instance, are you a real estate agent in a sea of many? Being part of a big firm can give you credibility, however, it can also get you lost among all the other agents in the same firm. Your client may easily remember the name of the firm and forget yours. Not on purpose, but because big agencies do lot’s of advertising to drum their name into everyone’s consciousness so that when people are looking for an agent they might remember a particular firm.

So how can you get noticed and remembered? Personal touches, personal style, and graphics that reflect your warmth and professionalism. One of the ideas I came up with years ago and am now revisiting is creating custom thank you notes for agents. One way I am doing this is by creating multiple architectural illustrations of various style homes and then adding a sold sign with your name on it on front and your information on the back. It is a unique and personal way to thank your prospects and clients for choosing you to work with them in this very important life decision. Over the years I have painted 6 different style homes and I also offer the service of painting one just for you from a personal photograph so that it is unique to only you. 

I have done this for other professions as well like Mary Kay Sales Reps and even a refrigerator repairman once. It’s fun and personal and it becomes something recognizable as unique to you and your personal style of doing business. 

I have just re-designed these cards and made them available on Etsy so that you can order from anywhere in the country and get a beautiful personal product that you can be proud to send. You can order in quantities of 25, 50, or 100 for very reasonable costs for less than $2 a card including shipping (tax depends on where you live). 

I am also open to creating other kinds of illustrations or graphics that are built just for you as well. You can email me your idea and we can make something just for you. 

If you are interested in seeing more information about this product, here is the link to the listing.

Thank you for reading and have a happy day!

Cheryl