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!
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