Saturday, January 28, 2012

Competitions, Shows and Events

We are heading into one of the busy seasons for an artist ... spring brings the plein air events and competitions. Factoring these into the regular shows and competitions so time and resources are scheduled is not an easy thing for an artist. We also need to keep producing, keep up with marketing and new ideas, framing and inventory, not to mention normal family life!

Porch Vision
Pastel 12" x 16"
I have been busy moving paintings around in my studio area ... deciding what needs to be taken out of a frame and stored (older work), reusing the frames for upcoming shows and competitions, and to take to the galleries ... and to take to a potential new gallery for their decision.

I have a trip coming up and will be teaching my annual workshop in Florida. This year I will be taking a large commissioned painting down to a patron, a sold painting that was bought on time will be delivered along the way, and another sold painting from my Ireland trip will be delivered to a patron.

Along the Coast - Oil
Ireland Series
Before I leave, I must decide what paintings are being submitted to the Southeastern Pastel Society's International Show this year. When I return, I have to jump on another decision for another show at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association. These are two shows that I always enter and requires looking at the schedules of submission, notification, delivery, receptions and pick up dates .... that is, if I get accepted! Setting aside paintings that are submitted so they are not inadvertently used in another competition, taken to a gallery or sold is important. I always submit my best work to any show ... which means my best paintings are sitting around waiting sometimes for six months or more.

I will be attending the First Plein Air Convention in Las Vegas this spring! This is an exciting opportunity as we get to attend different sessions with very well-known and exciting artists doing demonstrations or discussing aspects of being a professional artist. We will also be painting along with some of the wonderful artists. Another great session will be with Eric Rhoades who planned this event with the Plein Air Magazine ... about marketing. I can't wait! Can you tell I am excited ... and my friend, Candy Day, will be going with me. What fun!

When I return on a Monday flight from Las Vegas, I will turn right around and go to the Callaway Gardens Paint Out that night -- I am an accepted artist for this event. This is a week long event from April 15 - 22. So, if you are able, come watch us paint and attend several showings of the art. Here is one of the paintings I submitted for consideration for this event.

Willeo Park Misty - Pastel
Great Chattahoochee Paint Out
Best in Show - 2010
Just a couple of weeks later, I will be painting in Blue Ridge, GA for the Annual Spring Plein Aire Festival, May 4, 5 & 6 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association has some revamping of the prize money, the entry fees, and the location of the showing! This was in response to an invitation I sent out to last year's participants to give some input into how we could make this event better. Thanks for those of you that answered! First Prize will now be $250 and there are a total of five prizes this year. Entry fee for members is still a good deal -- $15, and non-members is $20. Sign up and join us for a great weekend of painting in a beautiful location. Go to the web site Blue Ridge Plein Aire Festivals and read all about it.

The weekend after that, May 12, we are tentatively schedule for another paint out at the Anderson Creek Retreat in the Ellijay, GA area. We have created a group of plein air artists that are looking for opportunities to paint in the State of Georgia. We did out first paint out last fall at this same location and it was quite successful ... though a little cold! This wonderful retreat asked us to come back in the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom. We are "The Outdoor Painters" and a new web site is in the construction stage at this time. Candy Day and a friend came up with an idea and asked me to come on board to help. I will post more information about us as it becomes available.

Hmmmm.... one more thing ... I am still looking for artists in the Northwest Atlanta area to participate in our "Second Artist Studio Tour" this fall. The date has not been decided yet, so you will have input. Please contact me if your are interested at my e-mail: Remember we are not about "pristine" studios, but actual working studios ... and all different types of art, not just painters.  Well.... it is time to get off the computer and back to work in the studio. Let me hear from you! I'm always interested in what you have to say.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Demonstration and Talk

On Monday evening, this week, I met the Artist Guild of NW Georgia in Dallas, GA and did a simple oil demonstration and talked about how I market myself. The demo was more to keep the attendees from "nodding" off. I know when I go to an artist meeting and all I hear is talk, sometimes it is hard to keep my mind on what is being discussed. I have found the audience is more attentive when there is something going on at the easel!

All my Stuff!
The first photograph shows my digital photo screen I work from, my half-box french easel and all the other stuff ... along with a pastel on the left of the easel, oil painting on the wall, and oil plein air on panel to the right of the screen. There is even a small 4"x4" painting peeking over the white notebook.

I started out by doing a little talk about the digital screen, books I have published of my paintings, the shows I enter, and notebooks with sleeves of all the events, awards, competitions, etc. in them.
The Audience
Book of Paintings
Digital Screen
And Photo
The Pastel Underpainting

I answered questions about how I start with the pastel and alcohol wash even underneath an oil painting. Sometimes I do a watercolor "washy" underpainting, but for the sake of the demo and drying time, I decided to do the alcohol over pastel. Good questions, too!

The Alcohol Wash
Over the Pastel
Don't Forget Thumbnails

Starting with Oil Paint
After the initial covering of the underpainting with big shapes of oil brush strokes, I talked more about marketing. We discussed using our organizations for networking and being involved in them, other web sites to join, how to use social media sites, how to use a blog, etc.

Loading the Brush

There were many good questions about using Facebook also. I was asked did Facebook help me sell anything. My answer: "Yes, probably three or four paintings in the last couple of years. And I feel it is well worth the time I spend, but I am careful of that time." 

Using all these different on-line opportunities helps people learn about you, what you are doing, and also is a good way to give back to the artist community ... not to mention the community in which the artist lives. A question was: "With all the marketing stuff you do, has it helped you to be self-supporting?" Well ..... the answer was "No. But, this economy is part of the issues we face."

That was a good question!
Another item discussed was how two other artists (Deb Cook and Paula Landry) and I started an open studio tour in our Northwest Atlanta area -- we had 11 participants at 9 locations -- ranging from Smyrna, Dallas, West Marietta, Woodstock, and East Marietta. We had several other artists interested in participating, but had a conflict on the Saturday we picked. We will be doing this again this year in the fall and I already know several other artists interested. This is a good way to help people know you are in their area!
Am I a Music Director?
No, just passionate about what I do!

We talked about entering juried shows and competitions. They asked, what is my criteria for entering a show? My answer: "Money, but let me say it is the prestige of the organization or the jurors, also." I told them I am backing off entering too many shows ... though I have never done more than maybe four in a year. So, the answer is probably the best three shows I can find to enter this year. We spend a lot of money entering shows and competitions ... and I said "We get 30 and 40 dollared to death with these entry fees." Be judicious! Do the research into the shows and competitions before you enter them. Figure out why you want to enter a particular show or event. What do you expect to get out of it?
Discussed Making my Marks
The Painterly Beginning
Painting and Talking
During a Break
Talking More About Marketing

There were many things I thought of the next day I wished I had told them. There are so many things we can do to keep ourselves painting and getting our name and work out there. Most of all, my advice was to love what you are doing. Put yourself in the way of as many opportunities as you want, and be friendly. Have some short term goals as well as the long term ones. One other piece of advice I gave was to make "real" connections with potential clients and patrons. Be interested in them. What is it that they want. And I asked the audience: "Who is your client? Who would be interested in your work? That is where you need to be focusing."

I truely enjoy helping other artists. I think I learn more about myself every time I do a demonstration, talk about marketing, do a round table discussion, and ... of course teaching! If you have thoughts, I would love to hear them. Send me an e-mail, or comment to the blog and let me know how you are handling your marketing efforts these days! My e-mail is .

Have a look at my web site -- though it is still being updated! I'm always producing more work ... besides marketing! It is a never ending task -- the updating is what I mean! Happy painting!