Saturday, May 14, 2016

Third and Last Day of Marketing Boot Camp

Eric painting at Old Tucson
Monday morning was the last day of our Marketing boot camp at 6:30 am! So glad, those long days were killer! This is going to be a long blog post. And I am going to sprinkle it with some of my work, because there were shots of his slides, but I think you need what he said instead of just those "dry" lists!

Eric started with something to the effect of "you've been marketing and maybe had a little success ... now what?

His reply to his own comment was "don't go into coast mode." This is something that happens to many artists... success can lead to some sitting back and then you lose momentum. So, to get back on track he said you need to ask yourself some probing questions such as: "What was making me successful?" But, also, you don't need to just keep on doing the same thing. A good strategy is to keep reinventing yourself. You need to eradicate the concept of the starving artists. Many artists fall into this trap of believing it is true.
"Dunes Tree" Oil 5"x7"

And, sometimes you need to keep the perception of being the "Best" and help others believe it. I took this as a don't make comments that undermine what others think of you or your work. Be positive, and you don't have to share the down side to some of the life of being an artist, or even the parts of your painting you are not so thrilled with.

After this pep talk, he started talking about a new plan he has. It is a 12-Month Marketing Plan in a box which he is selling. I believe you can order this plan, so check out the Plein Air Convention site.

Things an Artist Needs to Do!
Two words he used were "Discover" and "Imagine" as important steps in creating a plan.He wanted to know, are you sick of the income roller coaster? The client is a key element. You can increase their lifetime spending by switching the mind-set from a one-time buyer to a continuous lifetime client. This can create cash windfalls as needed, or a cash surge. The plan is you need to invent something for that cash surge... so his "Imagine" was a key to doing this.

"One and done doesn't work!" He said you should lay it out for the year. And, no negative thinking. He wants you to ask, "how can I make this work for me?"

There are "five reasons for failure." (1) Not really being in touch with customers, not understanding them, (2) no market differentiation - you need to stand out. Don't use the same old photos of just paintings, but think of things that are a little different. Show yourself in your studio painting, or on location painting. Show your tools and discuss them, (3) failure to communicate clearly - make sure terms are understandable, (4) there is a breakdown at the top, in the leadership, and (5) an inability to have a profitable business model with proven revenue streams.

"Cypress Dance" Pastel 24"x20

And, "why do you need this?" So you can have (1) predictable income, (2) freedom and flexibility, and (3) a big advantage. What you would get in this marketing plan in a box: Monthly Components, Weekly Components, Twice a Year Components, and Quarterly Components. This plan is more "what to do vs how to do it." You get guidance, discovery, a marketing calendar, and components of what goes on the calendar, listing every strategy you plan to use (advertising, social media, and notes. You will assign dates, assign duties, monthly and weekly. This really was a sales pitch for the plan, but if you listened closely, there were jewels of ideas on how to do it if you were organized and motivated. Many artists are not! They want someone else to do it for them. This was a compromise.

He did offer many slides of the parts of the "marketing in a box" that were teasers. It did make me think about "do I want to buy this?" I decided I am pretty good most times at marketing, but I am not consistent enough. It just made me want to become more consistent and do it myself. I want to be as he said "market differentiation - stand out" .... be different. I didn't want my plans to be just like the ones that would purchase his plan. I'm sure it is a good one and will work for those artists that follow through and do it just as he has it laid out. And, you do get 4 phone calls, he called them "implementation calls" with Eric and his crew. Here is a shot of the screen that tells all you get in the box.

The list of what is in the box

The system components

Here are some of the points you can do yourself. Eric talked about how to get back to direct mail as it still produces. We don't need to just rely on the internet for email, social media and newsletters. Create something that is different, have a theme, stand out. Even do a "killer offer". Don't forget to have great "killer" Headlines... very important to grab their attention. The mistakes made are (1) not having a "call to action" (2) nothing to differentiate you, and (3) not having a deadline. The offer needs bullet points, a great name, a hot title, to pull them in. Draw them in by using the entertainment factor.

Have something special for your clients, offer a deal that is more social, have a reception or small dinner, a small private cocktail party, give them a small gift such as a print (the $5.00 type). The client needs to receive this offer by direct mail, using a nice oversized post card with good graphics, too. A great headline, bullet points, the offer, and a deadline to respond (the call to action). Show your artwork in small images somewhere. Here is one of my paintings I like to use when putting on a card. It always sparks interest and questions!

"Willeo Park Misty" Plein air pastel, 16"x20"
He did a quick run-through of images showing lists that talked about quarterly components, twice yearly, micro newsletters, refer a friend programs, phone calls, personal visits, deals with your gallery. Talk about your integrity. Having a system to remind them to buy! Have a lost customer reactivation plan.

He said the #1 rule ... the key to crushing it ... don't always make an offer, but when you do, they can't refuse. Identify what's in it for them, describe it clearly, add scarcity, add a bonus, and describe the call to action ... but not in a sleazy sounding way! He commented how do you get this going fast? Spend 2 days thinking, then 2 days creating your theme, create templates you can use, etc. This is designed for local strategy, but may be used nationally. Offer something and get people excited about it. Pick one thing! Make it entertaining and exciting. Stand out!
"My Ride to Work" Pastel 16"x12"

My take-away from this third session ....

Keep a marketing calendar, 12 month one, put dates on it for each thing you are going to do. Have someone you can use as an accountability partner. And then use it! Show your clients you care. Know them, and know what can work for you. Make it as easy as possible to keep going on your plan and don't make it overwhelming.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Marketing Boot Camp - Day Two

Eric and Stuart Johnson

Whew, another very early morning, alarm goes off in enough time to take a quick shower, put on clothes and makeup, make it to food court, and eat something, drink coffee... hurry, hurry! We did get a little better seat, actually the front row!

In our seats before 6:30 am and ready to pay attention to Eric Rhodes second day of Marketing Boot Camp. Today Eric spoke first about being in, or getting in, galleries.
View of cactus, homes, and mountain
from the back side of El Conquistador Resort

Eric had Stuart Johnson, of Settler's West Gallery, on the stage to give advice from the gallery owner’s perspective. We took copious notes, and photos of things he posted on the screen so we didn't have to try to write so fast! Very interesting conversation so that it might help those that were looking to be in a gallery, and how the gallery wanted to be approached and dealt with if you were taken into it.

View the opposite way of the mountains
Art being created of these
views behind the resort!
If someone is referring you to them, he takes into consideration where the information is coming from. When someone mentions you name, same thing, where the information is coming from! 

Important Career Advice

- Know what the market needs, and for advice about
         raising prices (and when).
- They can build a collector base
Saguaro and artists on the golf green!
- They may be observing you unknowingly.
- Establish a relationship before it is needed.
 - Get invited in
- Do your homework.
- Understand who your collector is.
- Are you a good fit for the gallery.
- Do you know any of the artists
      ... They might introduce you!

 What is at the top of his list of most important?

Mr. Johnson said the number one thing they look for is consistency! The body of work is important along with a certain amount of available inventory. But he cautioned about producing “too much material” and thinks it is a detriment to your career! Over 40/50 finished pieces is not good probably. It intrigues collectors as well as the gallery... Scarcity is sometimes the key.

As an artist grows, you start competing only with yourself. ... and this is how you get invited. Be visible! He advised artists to focus, but be broad enough -- fresh -- in your concepts. Staying in the same genre is mostly what is considered acceptable.

He gave advice on pricing ... and about increasing the prices only gradually. Sometimes the prices are too low and can turn off a collector. Lower price points are for people decorating their home.

Prickly pear ... what i wanted to paint.

So now you are new in the gallery
... what now?

- Be open for some criticism. A good critic.
- The gallery introduces the artist to the public, maybe other shows.
- Be ready early – work ahead!

Mr. Johnson said: The Kiss of Death! Sending a painting that has been in another show! Older dated paintings. Missing deadlines more than a day or two.

Palo Verde tree blooms!

Here are some random thoughts, or answers to questions asked at the end of his part:
1. Story of the painting... titles should be better. So what was going on when doing it!
2. Galleries should allow us the name and address of client purchasing a painting so we can send a thank you handwritten note.
3. Out of sight, out of mind
4. On plein air, need to do studio work as well.
5. Size? How important? The larger it gets, the more difficult it is to sell. There should be a variety of sizes in your repertoire.
6. In his gallery, there is a lowest price point of a few under $1,000, and he has a few at the highest price point, with many that are in the middle.

I hope you are enjoying the notes I took during the Boot Camp discussions. Do know there was probably much more that I missed and spoke to someone else at a different place in their career. I will be working on the notes from Day 3 over the next few days!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Marketing Boot Camp Day One

The scene from our Walkway

My Study of the Scene, Pastel 12"x9"
Marketing Boot Camp was for three mornings, in your seat before 6:30 am! We had time to get in line for a Starbucks coffee and pastry... but luckily, there was instant Quaker oatmeal, so I had that for breakfast that first morning. The next two mornings, the convention had breakfast for us in the Vendor Expo, eggs done like a folded omelet you could eat with your hands, oatmeal if you wanted that, and coffee!

So, I am going to do several blog posts with more information than I can put in a Facebook post. I had several people ask me if I would do this. Here is the first marketing boot camp information as I wrote notes... so there will be quotes from Eric Rhodes and Lee Milteer. It might not have a "story" type of progression, because I think the things I wrote were what I "needed" to write down for me to remember.

Eric Rhodes - first!

Creating people that follow you and become clients is more about Persuasion instead of Manipulation. You need to think of it as helping someone obtain something they need. So persuade! He says momentum builds repetition, or vice versa. Without marketing, nothing happens. It should be an ongoing part of the artist lifestyle...and that repetition builds trust, and trust is brand! A strong brand will overcome most things. Keep the momentum, and be inventive!

Also, you should never be boring, it should be about emotion. If you are boring you probably will lose 20% of your followers per year. To help with this start with the outcome in mind first. Know who buys your work, know the pattern of their purchases.

He also mentioned "The Grand View" by Stephan Baumann... I think this is a video that should be watched. I'll have to look it up and see.

Lee Milteer - "The Impact of Your Mind"

She wrote "Reclaim the Magic," just one of eleven books. She is also an artist, and was attending the Convention as an artist. When Eric saw she was attending, he decided to have her be one of his presenters for the Marketing Boot Camp. She was very inspirational.

Some of her first words were: "you need a marketing mindset," "no one will take care of you," and "Don't think like everyone else!" I loved this last one. Be different in some way, and be personal and authentic.

There are "Five Kinds of Energy" that should be used everyday! (1) Mental (2) Physical (3) Emotional (4) Spiritual and (5) Financial. Here are a few of her quotes also: "Art stimulates massive creativity", "Match with their needs!", "And so it was!"
Artists in the Vendor Expo!

Be interviewed. When she was, she realized that the medial needed her. They were looking for a good story. Find local and national press. Court and woo them. Have tickler files about yourself or ideas for stories. Write letters to them. Use anything previously written about you ... especially previous articles. Be a celebrity in your own area. If you have articles, the media has already christened you. Use this to your advantage.

"Scripting" ... write up your ideas and thoughts by hand. This can be a form of goal setting, helping you with goal setting. We are deliberate creators! Use it. Talk about how your art business exploded. Use the recognition you have attained. Talk about your house, your studio, your inspiration. Be personal and let them inside who you are. Be interesting.

Help change your references. In your subconscious, in your brain. You are your references. Use your "intentions" to match a new reference. "Manifesting - Intentions" "Trigger to the World" These can be self-fulfilling prophecies. Have no more negative thoughts. When you do, use the word, "Cancel" and then you say, "That is not like me." This is an intuitive basis for the new references. Have a new "positive thought."

"Conscious languaging!"  "The word is power" ... and "Try" is a disempowering thought. Don't use the word "try," use words such as "I will!" So example is something like, "I will try to do more marketing." Not good. Use "I will do more marketing." Just leaving out the word "try" will help you make a positive move.

Maybe call colleges to look for interns in marketing. Have them help you create a video with a one-page sheet with bullet points about who you are.

"What we imagine becomes real!" Use this thought process for 3 minutes in the morning, and 3 minutes before bedtime. Use a notebook to write your deepest dreams in. This is taking action astrologically. Make 2016 a break-through year.
Tom Christopher also on the balcony
when I was doing my study above!

FEAR ... Fantasy Experiences Appearing Real!

Stay in contact with your friends and clients. Handwritten notes are better than email. They are a personal thing and helps your contacts feel you are more sincere. Add photos in them. By doing this you are a little more aggressive, and leveraging your skills.

"Final thought" ... "Your point of power in this life is right now! Focus turns into direction."
She mentioned going to a site: "" ... do this. Share it with your children and grandchildren. It applies to all walks of life.

----- I have pretty much written the above with just mostly the notes I took, making them into sentences. I only added a few things about some of them from what I remembered, or to make them a little more clear. I hope they are not too disjointed, and can give you some ideas of your own how to motivate yourself in what you need to do.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Trip Out to Tucson

Picachio Peak State Park near Tucson
Pastel Plein Air 9"x12"
Karen Margulis and I drove together from our homes in Smyrna and Marietta GA to the 2016 Plein Air Convention in Tucson AZ, and also taught a 3-day plein air pastel workshop in Dripping Springs TX on the way out. We were gone a total of seventeen (17) days on this trip. Hectic? Definitely! Fun? You bet! I am going to break this in several posts about various parts of this awesome trip and so I can show quite a few of the photos.

I picked Karen up on Wednesday evening and we made it to Biloxi MS for the first night's stay at about midnight Georgia time! We rose early the next morning for a 9-hour drive to Dripping Springs TX. We were able to explore the locations of our workshop on that Friday, have lunch, and I visited with a long-time artist friend in Wimberley TX and see his gallery. If you are ever in Wimberley, visit "Art on 12" gallery and ask to see Bob and Zeina Cook! They would love to show you around this wonderful gallery.

View of the front of the gallery
The wall with Bob Cook Art!
Dinner just down from the gallery, and a band!
Here are a few photos of the locations we would be teaching on Saturday, Sunday and Monday along with some of the students.

The scene at Mt. Gainor Inn where I did a demonstration
Driving to Mt. Gainor Inn, there were cows
so interested in us taking photos of them.
We had lunch at Salt Lick Barbecue,
where we would have lunch the third day
and hold a "sharing and Q&A session!"

At each of the locations for the workshop, we had a plan for a short demo in the morning by one of us, and the other would do a short demo after lunch. The students had close to two hours after each demo to work on something while we gave advice to each individually at their easel. On the last day, we each did about a 30-minute demonstration on a very specific element of the landscape... something the students might have expressed more information on. Karen did one with clouds, and mine was about trees and sky holes! The students had time to paint before lunch, and then we closed with a question and answer with each student about their experience with the workshop, what they learned, and the goals they had for the workshop.

Charro Ranch Park would be Day Two!
Fall Creek Winery was Day Three, with Karen Margulis
and our hostess, Marsha Young

Students Love Bluebonnets!
I will pick up the thread of the trip in a few days and give you more! We had a fantastic time, talked loads, and laughed a lot! We are better artists for our time together, the team-teaching of the "Two Wandering Artists," and learning and painting at the Plein Air Convention!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Painting out of My Comfort Zone

Close up at Stage 4 shown below
Pastel, 18"x24"
I have painted many years mostly landscapes with rarely people in them, or without much in the way of man-made objects. The occasional barn or street scenes but mostly the "pure" landscape. Lately I have tried to move a little more out of my comfort zone of trees, rocks and water. And, I have gone to live model sessions to help me do something that is harder for me! This is a good lesson for anyone that is an artist ... do things occasionally that are not what you normally do!

So, I am going to show the progression shots of the one currently on my easel. I have completed two other paintings that are technically not landscapes... where this one is more about the landscape, but with the added element of the canoe and three people in the canoe. I'll show you those other two at the bottom of the post.

First light layer of pastel
Wet with alcohol for under-painting

The first layers of pastel!

Here is how I laid in the first of the composition with a light layer of pastel after I had done a "road map" type of drawing. The road map for me is not a detail drawing, but more placement of the elements in the correct proportions and placement on the surface.

The colors chosen for this first layer help me in my later choices of color and value. I tend to paint rather cool paintings, so it has helped me to use warmer under-paintings... it sparkles through some of the later layers! It gives it life in my view.

The under-painting in alcohol!

I put a small amount of denatured alcohol in a small glass jar and using a soft brush, I liquify the first layer of pastel. As you can see above, I am light-handed with that layer, but it created quite a solid mass of color, rather more opaque.

Beginning to add more pastel on the under-painting
I really didn't want it quite that solid. Some color pigments seem to do this while others will give me a more transparent coverage. I will have to remember the stick I used and decide to try a different one next time... such as something with alizarin crimson ... more transparent.

Choosing Colors!

At this stage, I am deciding to add the colors and values I have in my mind that will help tell the story. I am very lightly adding those most of the time since I love the process of layering in pastel. I like trying about three colors for the sky, which sets the tone of the rest of the painting and maybe I will not go back into the sky except for adjustments as I work on the trees above the bridge.

Refining some of the possible focal point
This stage also helps me determine if I have shapes and sizes that are in the right proportion. I did decide the bridge was a little too thick at the top and adjusted the sides it to a slimmer proportion.

Playing with adding some details!

Adding more pastel and a few details... which helps me decide how many details. What will help and what will hurt! I know at this stage, which is where I stopped for the day, those tree limbs will be too much detail, and will be adjusted as I go along... a little too picky for me!

But, I don't know that until I try it. I love the process of brushing off... which many times is really the effect I was trying to achieve in the first place! It will be fun to enter the studio with fresh eyes today.

Here are two of my latest paintings that were out of what I call my "comfort zone." I guess I mean "out of my comfort zone" to be out of my landscape arena... which is my first love... you know trees, rocks and water! Enjoy ...

"I Like the Sun" Pastel 16"x20"

"My Ride to Work" Pastel 16"x12"

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Changing the Focus of a Painting

The Joe-Pye Weed

Here is a pastel painting that I started near the end of 2015 and the focal area of the painting was intended to be the Joe-Pye Weed. I love painting rivers or creeks and rocks so that was why I chose the photo to work from. As I was painting, the tree in the upper slight right was becoming the focal point because of the vivid yellow-green color... where the sunlight was hitting the tree. As I worked on the rocks, they started taking on the role of the "focal point." What gives here? Why can't I stick to the point of the river and rocks?

I set it aside for a few days, and when I came back to the painting, I knew the weeds growing on the sandy spit sticking out from the rocks should be my focal point... those beautiful Joe-Pye Weed flowers, the mass of purple flowers, at the top. No matter what colors and values and temperature I tried, I couldn't make it work for me. Okay, let it sit more. Go on to other paintings.

That painting sat there for a couple of months.... taunting me to do something to take it from soft and quiet, to becoming a "painting." I just didn't know what I wanted ... so my mantra is to "do nothing" if you don't know what to do.

Serendipity happened ... I did a small demonstration painting for a student this past week of a beautiful dogwood tree as it had turned to the ruby reds and rust colors against a backdrop of green... North Georgia mountains greens and early morning atmosphere. After the student left, I had the thought of why not change my "Joe-Pye" painting to have something more concrete like this dogwood color scheme?

Here is the demo painting. Ruby reds, dark burgundy, burnt oranges to play against the greens and blues of early fall. Even the dried grasses were wonderfully warm colors supporting the focal area of the "Ruby Dogwood" trees.

Below is what I transformed the above painting into and I have put the first one next to it so you can see the differences without scrolling back to the top. It is probably not finished even yet, but it is "becoming" something more.

You can even see where I created a different grouping of background trees... by brushing off the pastel which created a soft effect, and then enhancing that with more neutral greens, adding some ruby and burnt oranges, and... my favorite ... sky holes to see through!

I don't give up on a piece when I see it has some wonderful "parts"... but those parts did not make a whole painting to me. It now seems to be getting closer to being a painting... about my feeling for what this scene could become! I still have the Joe-Pye Weed flowers, and maybe more of a story in this painting about how fall progresses.

Take the time to really look at what the painting is becoming, and is it where you want it to be. What is the painting about? Ask yourself important questions. I've been told I need to sit on my stool and think about what I am trying to accomplish. I am doing that more... thank you my friend and mentor, Duane Wakeham!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Double The Fun With Team Teaching?

"Rock Hopscotch" Pastel 11x14

Have you taken a class with two teachers sharing the teaching?

You don't want to miss this information I have for you. Karen Margulis and I will be team-teaching some workshops. Here is how it came about!

I received an e-mail about the 5th Plein Air Convention which will be held April 15-19, 2016, in Tucson, AZ. I went to the first PA Convention in Las Vegas and had a great time. I was intrigued this time because I have been through Tucson and have painted a few paintings from one of the Saguaro Parks. I decided I would try to get a friend or two to consider going also. I also love driving across our Country and stopping along the way to paint and see the sights.

I sent an e-mail to very good friend and previous student, Karen Margulis, to see if she might be interested in a road trip. We enjoy painting together and traveling and spending time learning more about our art. Karen has become quite a star in the pastel world with her paintings and her workshops. I am so proud of her! We will both be attending the International Association of Pastels Societies (IAPS) Convention this June and both of us will be receiving the Master Circle Gold Medallion, a three-inch medallion engraved with our name and the year the honor is bestowed engraved on the back.

How Did This Happen?

Karen was definitely interested, and had an intriguing idea and asked would I be interested in teaching along the way... teaching as a duo! I thought it was a fantastic idea and we are now planning the trip and the workshops.

"Where The Fairies Play" Pastel 18x24"
Karen Margulis

The Benefits of Two!

So you would have two award winning instructors for double the educational value and twice the fun! My expertise and what I am often told is "I want to learn color from you." My teaching style is more by individual thoughts as students ask questions. I have patience and am gentle... but, I ask the hard questions to get inside each student's head to see where they are going.

Karen's strength is organization and step-by-step instruction. Her biggest request and what she focuses on most is how to simplify and paint with more expression. She teaches you to loosen up and add spice to your paintings... one of her favorite topics.

We both like simplifying the plein air process making it less overwhelming and fun.

Where Will These Workshops Be Held?

We are working on details for possible Louisiana and Texas workshops, but would like to hear from you. If you have connections and/or resources to host an April 2016 workshop (from Georgia to Arizona) or would be interested in being added to our interest list, let us know.

You can e-mail me or Karen if you have information, or are interested in signing up. We will be deciding the dates very soon, but don't miss this opportunity to reserve your spot in our special workshop.