He's Going to be an Artist Since he got Laid Off by Valerie (Valry) Drake


A while back I was in Jerry's just looking to see if there was anything new that I couldn't live without and there was this guy looking at acrylic mediums and he looked kind of lost. So I sort of made friendly sounds and we started talking. Later I found out that he had been agonizing over his purchases for a couple of hours and the staff was sort of losing patience with him, which I understood after about a half hour of conversation.

He started by asking how to get rid of the bumps on the canvas. Bumps? Yeah, bumps, the roughness of the fabric weave. So I explained to him that we called that "tooth" and that you sort of didn't always want to “get rid” of it but that you could use a gel medium or any other textural medium. I also told him that he could consider a different support instead of canvas.

Then he asked about varnish so I told him about that.

Meanwhile, throughout all this, he was alluding to this fantastic painting he was going to paint and how he had this really great idea but he wasn't going to tell me his idea. I guess from the way he acted that he was afraid I would steal his idea and sell the painting for some outrageous fortune. I don't need his idea. I have more ideas than I have time to paint. Besides, one thing I've learned in all these years is that most ideas come to more than one person and even then different people have different ways of executing the idea. He ended up telling me his idea and I was not overwhelmed. Anyway, on with the story.

Then he asked about brushes and while we were talking about brushes he started acting nervous about how much money he was spending and asked what was the least he could buy and do his painting. About now I was beginning to be a little less patient but I'm still game so I told him that all he really needed was paint and a surface to paint on, he could apply paint with his fingers or a rag or a stick or almost anything and the surface could be an old cereal carton or a piece of old barn wood or a broken shovel or a million other surfaces – just clean it and prep it with Gesso and apply paint.

Finally we got to the part of the conversation that this blog entry is really about - the man confided to me that he had never painted before (I had kind of guessed this) but that he had been laid off and had this idea for a painting and had decided to do the painting and sell it and that way he might not even have to look for a new job. I did manage to keep a straight face. I did manage to keep my mouth from dropping open. However, this is also about the time I said a very polite and pleasant "good luck" and walked away.

So what's the point of this story? Well, if you read my previous blog you know that I strongly believe in respecting anyone who refers to themselves as an artist. Sometimes I have to work hard in order to do that but I try. But there is much to be said for "paying your dues." You know, the shows on TV make it look so easy: you just buy a canvas and copy the style of some major artist and, poof! you have a masterpiece. Yeah. Right. And how many times does someone look at the price of a painting and then acts like we are engaged in highway robbery? So the point of this story is that those of us who have invested years into learning how to produce art are entitled to receive value for that investment. I wish we also received the respect of society at large but I'm not sure that's the way the world turns right now. Anyway, enough of the soapbox for now. I'll keep painting and I hope you do also.

Single Mom Artists - The Power of Self Made Money by M Theresa Brown

Single mothers are everywhere. They are from every race, every religion and every nationality. They are so common that no one gives them a second thought. Single moms come from every financial strata. But their challenges are the same and their desire to nurture and protect their children are the same. The discrimination they face is the same.

Single mom artists face another series of challenges. The main challenge is how they can use their artistic skills to bring home additional money. What can you create to stretch that ridiculous child support check? How can you pay for luxuries when you can barely afford the necessities? How do you break out of this rut?

You do it with Self made money. When you, as an artist, decide to take control of your life, you are taking the first step in getting control of your finances. Self made money is power. It is the power to help yourself, your children and to make the right choices. It is the power to gain control over your situation and in doing so, provide a role model for your children. 

Self made money is also a key to avoiding bad relationships. It gives you, a single mom, the power to walk away or not get involved in the first place. Creating and marketing a tangible art product easily occupies late nights, early mornings and weekends and focuses your attention on what matters. And what matters is a good life for you and your children. Children adapt and adjust to new life situations far better than their adult counterparts. Single mom artists who enlist and encourage the help of their children in creating their art products form a bond that encourages the nurturing and healing process. It becomes a unified goal with benefits for everyone. Your children will welcome the chance to be a part of that goal and you are teaching them incredibly valuable life skills along the way.

As an artistic mom, you have a huge advantage over artists who hesitate in selling their art product. A single mother always needs money and any possible hesitation in creating or selling your art vanishes in your desire to improve the lives of you and your children. Gone is any hesitancy of wondering if you can do it, or what constitutes art or if you are talented enough. You don't care what other artists may think! If you can pick up a paintbrush or pull out a sewing machine, you can create to sell. And you can move smoothly into your new role because protecting and helping your children is a powerful motivator.

It's a fact, that need creates motivation and with motivation comes opportunities. The single mom artist has everything that many other artists do not have. You have the motivation, the need, the perseverance and the necessary dedication in abundance. You don't have the luxury of deciding that the effort of creating and marketing your art is not worth it. Giving up is not a choice when there are children involved. You are familiar with deadlines and juggling a number of hats. You can find an hour or two in each day to pursue your art or craft product and the marketing of it because finding and making time is your specialty. You can do this whether you hold down one job or two. Whether you have one child or five. Whether you get child support or no. You do not have the luxury of a convenient excuse for giving up.

Self made money with your art/craft product is power for the single mom artist. And when you have created and experienced that power, you will have the tools to climb out of the rut. And in doing so, the whole world for you and your children will change for the better.


Importance of Grabbing the Right Domain Name by M Theresa Brown

I am sharing a couple of questions from artists who have emailed me with concerns about domain names. This is a great opportunity to share these discussions with other artists as the importance of grabbing and owning the right domain name cannot be underestimated! I have selected two questions that I feel are of major interest to other artists.

Question One (edited):

I use my name for one of my domain names as well as the other with my first two initials and last name. The problem with the first name is that when clients do a search, it leads to an undesirable site. The other, with the initials, simply causes confusion with my clients. What would be a solution to this problem?

The Answer:

Yep, that happens and there are a couple of ways to address it. First of all, if you have a domain name now where everything is linked to it and yet it has the problems that we just mentioned, find another domain name that is better suited to your purposes and then forward it to your established site. That way you have simply paid for a new domain name. We like as a registrar for cost effective ease in all things pertaining to websites.

When initially shopping for a domain name, try to capture your name so that it does not lead to a negative site. And while we are on the subject, go on and collect the names of your children for safeguarding. If your name is a common name (try Brown) you may want to capture the domain name JohnDoeArtist or JohnDoeArtGallery (or reverse the words) and have it forwarded to your current site.

We have numerous domain names that all forward to the same websites. It is a well known fact among marketing experts that many people still simply type in ***.com directly into the www without going through a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. For instance on our van, we have graphics that say "" which goes to a page that links to our websites. What that does is make it simple for people on the road to remember our domain name while we zip down the Interstate. They would NOT remember (or even be able to spell) our names ...they just don't. To double insure, I also have (singular) and in case they get confused in a search later. All 3 domain names point to our main website. None of those names are on our business cards because these domains are designed to be easy to remember "visual" reminders at a quick glance!

I also recommend having a domain name the same as the one in which you sign your artwork. It makes finding you a simpler task later on! As we know, sometimes that is not possible. So come up with something as close to it as you can. Think carefully about what you want to convey and how to keep it simple yet effective!

Since your current name is linked to a site you cannot control, GoDaddy also has a service in which you pay GoDaddy to try and capture that name the instant it becomes available. It has worked for me and I did not have to keep trying to see if the owner had renewed it. Good luck!

Question #2 (edited)

During a search on, I discovered that Artist***.com is available. I haven't thought much beyond that and my family and friends are telling me I don't even know if I have a marketable product yet, so I'm jumping the gun. Would it make sense to go ahead and claim that domain name for a start? And should I stick with a .com domain name?


There are millions of computer users who wish they had grabbed a particular domain name first, so jumping the gun? Not at all!

This is also a great example of "learn to take advice from people who are where you want to be." No offense to your family as they care about you. But in reality, they have no clue as to what you should or not do for your art career-just their opinion. So learn to trust your own instincts! :-).

You will, over the span of time of your business, invest money in many things....a domain name is less than $10.00 for a year....that's almost a combo meal at a fast food place right? So my advice is to ignore can still have one main website and then additional domain names you also have and like can forward searchers to your main site.

As far as a marketable product, don't let anyone discourage you! So grab whatever you feel may work, register it for a year and put it on manual renewal and then decide at the end of a year if that particular domain name was useful to you or if you want to let it go!

Most domain registrars offer you a choice or try to encourage you, along with your new domain to add .net, .me, .biz, .etc..... As in everything pertaining to marketing, some brands become generic words themselves (ie: grab some Kleenex, I need a Xerox copy, etc.) and so has the .com on the world wide web. Had the world wide web started off with a .net or a .org, then that would be the current focal point but, as it stands, the average person on a computer thinks in terms of a domain name with a .com behind it. Our recommendation is to stick with just a .com domain name. If you just HAVE to have a particular domain name and the .com version is gone, do a search before you opt for a .net or .biz.... and see where it leads because I guarantee you, when people look for you, they will head for that .com site first. See if it is worth the possible confusion.

So put your thinking cap on and look at your art business as though you were a prospect looking for YOU! What words would they use? How do they see you? Can they remember your name? Your domain names need to be simple, easy to remember and point a viewer to your site with the least possible confusion. And always try to capture your name in its various forms, preferably as a .com, and especially the name you use to sign your artwork!


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