Tying it All Together.

Tying it All Together.

Moon Glow is my latest painting of a Datura blossom or Jimson weed in full bloom. It’s fullness is unfurled during the moonlight hours and to me it mimics and celebrates the full moon.

If you haven’t been to this website lately, I invite you to take a look around. Things have changed and will continue to do so. It was time to bring my blog and my art and photography galleries together under one roof, so to speak. I was getting very scattered as this artist seems to do without even realizing I am doing it! Website for art in one place, website for commercial photography in another, and blog on another platform and shopping cart in another. Well the shopping cart is going to stay on Etsy, at least for now but to put my art, photography and my writings together seemed like a necessary thing to do. Although this site is mostly a showcase, you will be able to access the shopping cart for works that are for sale with just a click of a mouse. Here you will also be able to find out about my architectural photography services if you need them and you will be able to see some of my fine art photography as well. I have been making art a long time and have much to share and it really is time to put it all in one location. New things will appear constantly as I have time to add them, and hopefully I will have enough sense to post new items as they do appear!

I am also making some changes to how I physically show my work and sell my cards. I am creating a home studio gallery space which will be a permanent showroom to show and sell my work by appointments and through open studio events here in Ridgecrest. I want to focus more on showing in fewer places locally and find some galleries in other locations where my work can be appreciated beyond this valley (if you know of any that might be a good fit, please let me know). Websites are good for that, however they don’t take the place of seeing art in person. No matter how expensive the camera is or how good the photographer is, photographs of art do not capture it all.

OPEN STUDIOS CELEBRATION

My first Open Studio Celebration will be held November 15th & 16th from 10-5 and will be by invitation only. If you plan to be in Ridgecrest, CA at that time and would like an invitation (and your not already on my email list) please send me an email and you will receive one. There will be art, cards, treats and libations and I am thinking even a door prize!

I am very excited about having a gallery again and having it in my studio where I actually create gives me a chance to share my work process as well as finished creations.

It’s kind of funny to me how Fall seems to be the time of year that changes in my life occur. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in the Summer and that is a time of reflection which is probably the origination point of change which then takes time to incubate bringing it to Fall for the blooming of it. Well, whatever the reason. It’s time for change and so I hope you continue to follow along. As you know my blogs wander and ramble and touch on many things. So stay tuned for what comes next!

Have a Happy Day

Cheryl

More Spring Artwork to share

More Spring Artwork to share

Good Morning All,

My goodness, I have been having fun, painting fresh Spring flowers, iconic Easter images like bunnies, baby ducks and chicks. Creating mini art pieces that others can share is becoming a habit. I love the fact that they are mailable and hangable. My new tag line is “I make usable art”. As I’ve said before art is everywhere we turn so why not surround ourselves with art we love and art that makes us happy, and spreads a good feeling. We need more of that in our lives. The crazier the world seems, the more we need to spread the love.

Yesterday and today I put several of these new items on my CherylMcDonald-art and I even started a business page called Cheryl McDonald Creative! on Pinterest. This is the next step in becoming savvier about selling online.

I am learning that taking this task of online sales on in steps, sometimes even micro steps, makes it seem less daunting and much more manageable. Taking breaks to work in the garden or make art helps as well. It is exciting to see progress, in the form of sales and happy customers that I might never have met without this shop. Spreading the love as far as I can! One of the next steps will be figuring out global sales, not just United States sales.

Hope you are having a productive week, and I hope you are giving yourself time to recharge as well. Easy to forget to do when the world keeps throwing more and more at us.

Have a happy day!

Cheryl

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!

 

 

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

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

 

What Makes You the Best?

What Makes You the Best?

And how do you measure that? And how do you only do that and nothing else?

I went to a networking meeting last night, and the question of the evening was What are you the best at? We were talking about skills and talents and how to promote yourself. Choosing one thing that you do that you do better than other people that you can promote about yourself and your business. I was the focus of the conversation because I could not choose one thing. I said it depends on the day… Now in my head I know this is the wrong answer, how do you promote that? It’s impossible and yet that is the way I have lived my life as an artist. Whatever you need, I can do it and I make it my business to be very good at doing it. I learned years ago that the way to stay afloat was to just say yes and then figure it out.

However, I must say this is not the optimum way to live because I am always buying new equipment, learning new skills and never getting paid as much as I’m worth because I am “learning”. You can’t earn a living that way.

What I also learned last night was that if you ask 3 people what you are the best at, the answers you get are going to be based on not only their own focus but also their perceptions of what they know about you. I was a little surprised at the answers because I would not have thought that those skills were what I was best at.

Personally, I would have to say that I am very good at adapting, that is probably one of my strongest skills. Is that a skill to base a business on? I don’t think so. Yes, it is an important skill to have, however, it is not the skill you list on your business card or use in your elevator speech: ” Hi, I’m Cheryl and I am very good at adapting.”  I just have to laugh at myself here.

So now I need to think about this question and even though I have thought about it before and think I have an answer and start promoting that answer, it always changes, because the work that comes is something else and rent and food are real and important, and so I do that for a while. I have often read that this is not the way to do business and I would love to focus on one profession, but how does one do that in a small town? I think this is what has led me to really put some energy into my online store. So that I can then focus on what I really am the best at and not what feeds the moment. I may have to tighten my belt for a while and not take jobs willy nilly. I guess I need to trust my best and what the gurus say ” Do the work and the money will come”

Do you know what you’re the best at?  And how did you figure that out? Asking for a friend…

Have a happy day!

Cheryl

Cheryl McDonald is an artist living in the high desert in California. You can purchase many of her cards, prints and originals  at cheryl mcdonald-art.com

Switching hats is not always easy

Switching hats is not always easy

I have been wearing my geek hat a lot lately, figuring out online marketing, illustrating for a specific audience- hand-painted valentines- which were very successful, I must say. But now it’s time to think about other card holidays and other projects that require more creativity and I am struggling to get back into my painter and creator hat.

I also have commercial clients that need me to think about marketing strategies and upcoming photography gigs that will require a different set of skills. Very often I think how much easier my life would be if I would just pick one career path! But here is the deal, when you live in a small town and you have lot’s of skills, if you want to make a living as a creative rather then pushing papers full-time and art part-time, you learn to adapt. You take the gigs and do the enjoyable work and then move on to the next. AND you find time to make art that satisfies your soul in between.  I find that each skill and medium I work in feed the others and makes me have to learn to switch hats quickly. But sometimes I just need to breathe, to get out and take in the landscape and surroundings and forget about all of it.

Today we have snow on our mountains here on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, and I am heading out to enjoy a day with friends. Yes, I will bring a camera and no I will not think about marketing. Pure enjoyment.

Happy Saturday, hope you have an enjoyable day.