You want to sell art?

You want to sell art? Well, why not. We need more art in the world and yours makes a difference. Everyone’s art perspective counts.

People usually advise against becoming an artist since they always equate such a creature with a “starving artist.” Side note: I feed a feral cat and many people do, so why would we not feed starving artists??

There are many ways around the starvation syndrome, one is to become a creative thinker and produce many streams of income. (You can always get a sugar daddy or mama… joking.)

rainbow rose
rainbow rose

I painted the rose above in ’06 and I sold 7 versions of the same painting. I still own this one but I might put it in my etsy shop.

I paint, make mixed media art, art journaling, and several crafts. I enjoy them all. I started selling paintings on eBay back in 2003 (how time flies!) What did I learn from that?

  • Always add hanging mechanisms on the back of the art. All I did was varnish the paintings and send them off. 🙂 Small paintings work well with sawtooth hangers. Large paintings require picture wire and eye hooks. Apply the eye hook to the INSIDE edge of the stretcher bars so that the picture will hang flat against the walls once you attach the wire.
  • Paint on gallery wrapped canvas or some other professional surface. If you paint on cheap stretched canvas and the staples show on the sides, you give the impression of “starving artist.” (Gallery wrapped canvas is the kind that is stapled to the back of the stretcher frame.)
  • If you can afford it, always buy stretched canvases with the deep 1″ edge.  They look so much better, and definitely don’t need a frame, which is a selling point. If you’re handy, stretch your own canvas. You can get rolled canvas for great deals on eBay. Other surfaces that are usable are Masonite and luon-covered plywood. Places like the Home Depot can cut them to size right there. You need to gesso the surfaces and they need to be framed (by the buyer.)
  • Write eye-catching descriptions if you sell online. That is a make or break point besides awesome art.  Use TAGS, as many as you can think of, so that peeps can find your art during a search.
sisterhood painting
Sisterhood

Sisterhood was a painting I ended up making eight versions of and they all sold. This was back in 2008. People have wanted to use the art for their business cards. I think women loved these paintings because of the sisterhood idea.

  • When something works, make several versions that show the same theme, different shapes and colors. I get tired of repeating myself, but I make as many as I can stand.
  • If you use mixed media, make sure the papers and ephemera are glued down securely. Nothing is more annoying than flimsy edges and corners that stick up.
  • Use a quality acrylic varnish to finish off the artwork.
  • Try lots of different styles until something clicks and you come home to yourself.
  • Master some kind of fun craft and sell the things you make.
polymer clay mosaic art
polymer clay mosaic

Crafts are like a meditation for me.

If you can only focus on one kind of artistic expression, do what you love the most and hold a part time job to pay the bills until your art takes off.

In this day and age, you can find our art spread all over the internet. I sell art and crafts all over the world through my two etsy shops. I find that my crafts sell better, but painting is my first love.

Arts and crafts shows were never something I wanted to do, but I know artists who do well with those. Whatever floats your boat.

Today I focus online and I have been creating art e-courses for the last couple years. Talk about a giant learning curve… lots of fun!

The bottom line: MAKE ART EVERY DAY, and you will sell some, guaranteed!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of lovely and affordable gifts in my etsy shop EARTH AND FAERY. Support a successful living artist today! 🙂

Artist struggles

Artist struggles can be hard to overcome, especially if the road seems pitted with pot holes and many disappointments, not to mention loads of failed art work. I will get to that.

There is the issue of artistic expression, and the issue of selling your art. In a way, they go hand in hand even if they are two different arms of the biz of being an artist.

brushes

Artist expression, how to negotiate the pitfalls:

The biggest thing for expression is COMMITMENT.  As with any other work you have to be committed to get results. How do you build commitment if you don’t have it?

You have to build a new habit by showing up every day at your art, come hell or high water! There is no way around this. Even when you feel no inspiration at all, you show up and put brush to paint or whatever medium you’re using. Prepare you tools and inspiration might start to flow. If it doesn’t, paint anyway. It might look like crap, which is often does, but so what? You can always paint over it later. The sooner we realize how important commitment is, the sooner we will see progress in our art endeavors. Make loads of ugly paintings and be proud of them!

COMPARISON: Don’t compare your work to that of other artists. You are unique.  Why would you want your work to look like someone else’s?  To find your own style, you have to produce a lot of art, trial and error style, until you feel the unmistakable vibe of YOU in your art. It can take some time, but you are committed.

Guitarists did not become great overnight… Practice can be tedious, but the progress is noticeable.

It’s hard to explain what the vibe of YOU is, but you will know. It feels right, it feels magical, it feels like “yes.”

Then again, you might lose that feeling as you continue to grow and advance in your art. Then you lean on your commitment until the next breakthrough.

JUDGMENT: It can be the death of creativity. If you judge your own art as you move through your process, you are likely to quit making art. Judgment of others can be hard to take, but why take their word for it? They come from their single point of view, and maybe they are envious of your courage to be an artist. It takes courage to let the world see your art. Who cares what others think, right? Thick skin, remember?

Those are the three biggies.

business

Two pitfalls in art biz:

VISIBILITY: Unless you’re a performer it can be hard to make yourself visible online and offline. Many artists are introverts and find it difficult to allow the vulnerability of self AND personal art into the world.

The only way to overcome this is to SHOW UP and grow some thick skin. People will always be quick to criticize, but if you did your best and you love your art, you don’t have to buy into the criticism. There can be helpful criticism, but you can feel the difference. Don’t buy into the b*llshit. Remember your passion for your art and your commitment.

It’s easier to be visible online since there is a barrier between you and the public, but you will encounter trolls there too. Trust in yourself. You are enough, and your art is enough. It’s a journey, and you keep on going.

Blogging and having an online shop are two ways to be visible online. What is most important to you? To have gallery representation or online sales? You can have both. I find ways to show my art, usually in shops, and coffee shops. So far, I have not been in more than a couple of gallery shows, but I’d rather sell online. That has been my choice.

Make several streams of income available.

CREATIVE THINKING: Art-ing is not the only way to be creative. To make opportunity for yourself, you have to get your art out there. Think of ways you enjoy to make your art available. You don’t have to be represented by a gallery to have good sales, or travel to art shows.

I mix it up with some crafts and I also make e-courses. Find several ways to bring in income from your art. Build a mailing list.

Some of these things are pretty boring, but have you ever done work that was all fun and play? Commitment involves doing the boring stuff that is needed for your art to be visible.

There are so many ways to sell your art online: Prints, art on totes and mugs, commissions, online shops, a website with all the links to your goodies. Get inspired by what other artists have done to sell their art. If they can, you can!

When I started out I used to sell art on eBay, and I look at my art from my early days and wonder how it ever sold!  Some did though, so there are people who will always see the beauty in your art even if it’s amateurish (compared to where you are now.)

Today is the day. Make that commitment and go for it!!

xo

Maria

P.S. I have lots of new things in ONE of my etsy shops: https://etsy.com/shop/EarthandFaery

 

Empty well?

Empty well today?  Maybe it’s a chronic condition and you say I’m suffering from artist’s block. Writers get away with that quite easily, but artists? We see life in color so the well is easily filled again. Here are some things I do to fill my artistic well:

MAKE CRAFTS

I’m grateful that I enjoy making stuff with my hands. As a kid I learned to sew, knit, and crochet, but these days I mostly create polymer clay embellished boxes and inspirational frames.

polymer clay mosaicI love the meditative quality of crafts. I don’t have to think too much, just make the tiles and paint them. They usually come together easily once I design the box lid or frame.

polymer clay mosaicI also make handmade art journals, which are SO MUCH FUN! I can get real sloppy with inks and paints.

art journalI sell the crafts on etsy in my EARTH AND FAERY shop and they are quite popular. That is a side bonus that also inspires me to make more.

To get back to art making as in painting and art journaling, I come back with a fresh eye after a few days of craft making. My other major inspiration is:

NATURE

If you live in the boonies you are surrounded by nature, but if you live in an urban area like I do, it’s hard to get outside and be surrounded by trees. I live by a park, and that was a choice I made. Pretty much every day I go to the park, and the energy fills me up.

There is something so healing about nature, and it also balances you. Just as you make a commitment to join a gym, you can make a commitment to spend time in nature every week. Look at it as self-care.

YouTube

There are so many tutorials on YouTube you could spend a lifetime getting inspired by other people’s art. Half an hour here and there works wonders. I also love to look at art by the old masters. A trip to an art museum or gallery can be inspiring.

EXERCISE!

Many dread that word, but exercise is essential for well-being on all levels. I find it to be the fastest way to clear out the cobwebs and get the ball rolling. Once it’s rolling, it keeps going.  Exercising and park visits go hand in hand…

ART PARTY

Every month I get together with a couple of artsy friends and we have an art party. We take turns to host it. We make art, talk, and eat a great lunch. It’s truly refreshing and inspiring. I usually end up working in my art journal. Doodling is one way of expressing art while deep into a discussion.

TAKE A NAP

When all fails, take a short nap! You wake up with fresh eyes. 🙂

If none of these things appeal to you, well, come up with your own regimen for creative self-care. Then the well will always be filled.

Creating art is not always easy, but don’t blame it on “artist’s block.”

Have a creative weekend. (Those are the best kind.)

xo

Maria

Who is looking?

Who is looking through my eyes? Kind of a deep question, and something that could be discussed at length, but to make it simple:

Life itself, filtered through many of my beliefs and preferences, (perhaps unfortunately,) 🙂

Life itself does not judge. When I’m aligned with that and in flow, working, I don’t think much about the art and where it’s going. I just DO.

who is looking?

I add one color or one item that pleases me. It’s an automatic act, pretty much. I lay down one color and then I choose the next and so on. I choose what pleases my eye in the moment.

The process intrigues me and the result usually amazes me because what appears is beyond what I would have painted had I decided to paint a still life motif or some other fixed view.

The process is so intriguing that it becomes the most desired way to express for me.  I’d go as far as saying it’s addictive.

It takes trust to work this way.  Trust grows by DOING.

What the art process reveals is always interesting even if I don’t like the finished art work. That happens quite often, but I respect the process.

Then I move on to the next page or canvas… and the next. After all, art is constant change.  Life is constant change. What we liked yesterday does not work today.

who is looking?

Art reveals life and life reveals art.

We learned to live in 3D by experimentation. Toddlers live in trial and error mode all day long. 🙂 Once we get past that stage, what then? Maybe boredom sets in.

I think it’s incredibly important to keep experimenting with life. No need to go to extremes, but what is your creative power?

It doesn’t have to be art, but for artists there are endless possibilities for experimentation. We are so lucky! We can be catalysts for life itself, our hands and tools extensions of something greater.

All we need to do is get in the flow every day, by DOING. Do art, make stuff, trust your instincts, have faith that all is well, embody the greatness.

Allow life to see through you and use your unique gifts. That’s when life becomes magical.

Have a creative weekend!

Maria

P.S.  The art journaling pages above are part of a new e-course I have set up, titled Life’s Song Art Journaling e-course. You will learn how to make your own papers and ephemera and incorporate them into your art journal pages. It’s a four segment course, and the first segment is available NOW.  The rest will be published once a month for the next three months. Each segment is ONLY $12!!!  Enroll now and get creative. CLICK HERE.

 

Fire for no reason

Fire is a fickle thing. It shows up for no reason. It can be a struggling flame in damp wood, a red smoldering under ashes, a good warming fire or a blaze out of control. I find that inspiration works the same way.

Some days there is nothing but a damp flicker and some days I don’t have enough hours in a day to fulfill the creative urge raging within.

You would think it would be a more controllable scenario, but to control fire you have to kill it or at least bank it to a level that is manageable, but that’s equal to holding yourself back from creativity.

If you don’t allow the fire to burn, you kill the creativity that is longing to be expressed.

fire
smolder

It’s better to ride the wild blaze of inspiration when it comes and be grateful for it!

fire
sun

The Universe is a filled with chaotic blazing infernos. That is the enormous power of creation, constantly in flux, constantly evolving.

As with fires that happen by accident, we get struck by random ideas that can grow into great fires of inspired action. All they need is one small flame and something that catches it.

When that flame appears, it’s your task to respond to it and grow it into a blazing inspired roar.

fire
fire

If we don’t ride the wild blaze it will die and smolder under the dampness of our fear and indecision.

When you get a great idea go with it immediately. Don’t question the quality of it; don’t hesitate to take action. Follow the flame and  it will lead you to something greater than your everyday mind.

Creativity, when allowed its full expression (even if it happens randomly) makes YOU larger than who you think you are. It reveals a glimpse of genius, of the greatest part of you, life itself.

How to manifest the idea is not for you to worry about. You take the first action, and then the next, and the next.  By instinct the idea knows its end result and all you have to do is follow the cues, one at a time. Trust is something we have to learn along the way.

Most people ignore those inner flames when they come and they sit for years smoldering under the damp of everyday life, showing up like longing. Pay attention the next time you experience a deep sigh. What were you thinking about?

The other day I was struck by inspiration and I took immediate action. I created this video called Life’s Song Unfurling, a mixed media art journal spread.

Then I was inspired to work out an online course with the title Life’s Song. It is about incorporating memories into your art, and also create all the ephemera from scratch. The e-course will be available shortly and I will keep you posted.

You can sign up to my newsletter HERE to stay informed.

Love,

Maria

Art Journaling basics

Art journaling can be a bit confusing for people who have never tried it. It’s a combo of writing / journaling combined with art. The art can include painting, collage, drawing, mixed media assemblage.

art journals
art journaling

Mostly, the media is collected into a book format of various sizes. To use wet media like watercolors and acrylic paints, you need a sturdy substrate a minimum of 90lbs paper to hold up the layers. These days you can easily find mixed media journals at the arts and crafts stores. .

Some of the brands I use are XL mixed media journal by Canson, Cachet by Daler Rowney,  Canson Mixed Media (which is better quality than XL,) and Moleskine. There are many varieties to try.  Here is a short video I made about art journals and other tools I use:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6fr9p3ceqvmbli0/introartjournaltools.mp4?dl=0

I mention lots of different markers. I prefer permanent markers that can be used between layers and won’t smear when covered with wet media. The best way to find your preferred tools is by trying a variety of them. If you don’t want to buy the most expensive markers like Copic or Tombow, you can find some that are very good, like Faber Castell, Posca, and Sakura markers.  It’s better to invest in some medium quality markers to get better results in your journal. There is nothing more frustrating than poor quality paper and tools.

Brushes: You don’t need the finest brushes for this type of art. A variety of sizes and types are okay. You can even use foam brushes or brayers to spread the paint. I often use an old gift card to cover a page with paint. I mostly use brushes for details, but everyone works differently.

Don’t be afraid to try art journaling. It is so much fun, and there really are no rules! Once you find your favorite tools, you will return to those all the time. Go wild!! 🙂

xo

Maria

P.S. I have an e-course that pretty much covers the basics plus some fun art journaling spreads. You can check out Art Journaling Journey here.

Artist and writer