Getting Ready for the Summer Art Shows by M Theresa Brown

If you are like us, by the end of February, beginning of March, you are interested in the arrival of Spring. Mother Nature may yet  throw a curve ball at us and dump a few last winter storms but we remain, in North Carolina, hopeful that all the signs around us point to spring at last! However, we know for a fact, having driven clear across the US two years ago to art shows in California, that winter is not over in many parts of our country. In fact on our beginning journey  at the end of March to that series of shows, we left a rainy but moderate NC.  But enroute, we encountered such extreme weather as tornadoes, torrential rain storms, blizzards (that shut down part of I-40 in Texas) high winds and more snow before finally reaching our destination of Palm Springs. On our subsequent return mid April, we encountered more snow in Albuqueque, New Mexico. It was almost depressing :-). Although surprised at the weather extremes, we were prepared!

It takes preparation to participate in an  outdoor art show (juried and non-juried) anywhere-near or far!  We had applied to this show the previous fall. Some art shows send out their applications and information  only a few months beforehand. But most have been around long enough to need your entries at least 8 months prior to the event.

Preparations for your show season should take place long before your first show! One promoter with Sunshine Artists Magazine, came up with their list for getting ready for the summer show season and we have taken and added to it to come up with 10 basic things to do ahead of time:

1. Finish up and finalize any show registrations and payments you may have. Many promoters are now accepting credit cards and payment plans. Something they never used to do!

2. Put your show schedule on your website, Facebook and blog.

3. Do you have enough business cards? Read our article on what you need on your business card!

4. Get your email blasts ready to go prior to each show. Let people know where you will be! Don't rely just on email. CALL them (yes the telephone) and send postcards via USPS mail!

5. Make sure that your vehicle is road ready.

6. Keep making your art! Bring new art to shows if you are a seasoned show artist. Leave your older work for an "end of the year" show. Make sure you have enough.

7. Your tents, panels, signs, displays all need to look fresh and ready to go. Make any repairs or upgrades ahead of time.

8. Plan your route and hotels wisely

9. Make a "to bring" list (and get it ready long before the first show!) for all the small, easy to forget things such as portfolios, guest book, pens, scissors, price tags, tape, shopping bags, aspirin, etc.

10. Review your pricing. Now more than ever is the time to have work in 2 or 3 price levels so that everyone can find something at a price they are comfortable with.

An outdoor show is hard work and can be very rewarding financially if you have taken the time to prepare like a professional should. Our long list  has saved us more than once. More importantly, it has helped us focus on what we should be doing at a show and why we are there-helping our clients invest in the art that we are creating!

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March 2011 Artist of the Month - Sabrina Michaels

Sabrina Michaels strives to convey her thoughts and deepest emotions through her paintings. She frequently paints from her own wildlife photographs, but also paints from life and imagination. Although her work is most commonly nature themed, it is inspired by mythology, fantasy, science fiction, music, politics, spirituality and love. Sabrina’s paintings sometimes reflect her affection for album art and the psychedelic Fillmore poster art of the 1960’s. She is fascinated with the art of ancient civilizations and the great masters, but is most heavily influenced by surreal, fantasy and art nouveau styles.




      Dizzy River


  Eternal Dance    Eternal Lotus


  Gentle Giants      La Mojarra


   Sonoma Daydream       Surrender









  Tamalpais Trails


Why You May Not Be Ready to Turn Your Art Into a Business by M Theresa Brown

Although I am considered a successful marketing artist, where every bill that I pay comes from money that I earn through my art sales, I am fully aware that what I do for a living, creating and selling my art as a business, is not for everyone! Self employment is hard work!

But recently a long thread ran on another forum that I belong to with advice from many, various artists on "starting a fine art business" being thrown around like it was a recipe for biscuits!  I am always amazed at how quickly someone will take advice from someone who may not be where they want to be! (think about that) Why would anyone take business advice from someone who has never run a business?

Still, after browsing through dozens of replies and comments on the topic-all honest and well intentioned, but still lacking in real life functionality, I realized what the   real issue was underlying all the comments. Just under the surface was the need to justify creating!

For so many artist there is something magnetic about the words "art business". They  feel that they must justify creating their art.  Businesses do not happen overnight and I constantly remind artists that it is hard work. It is more than that.  Starting, running and maintaining a successful business is a state of mind. Combining creativity and business is also a state of mind and you will be unsuccessful if you cannot switch gears to accept and embrace what needs to be done.:-)

Keep this whole thing in perspective. There is no need for an artist to "justify" her expenses to anyone. (and I use "her" as this seems to be a predominantly female trait!) Not to her friends, not to her spouse, not to her relatives. Art is no more expensive than golf, video games, gardening, fishing, scrapbooking or any other hobby that someone chooses to have.  Only in art does one's hubby (and I see this with women ALL the time) say "you can sell this, Honey and make some money" or (as one woman just emailed to me) " “Honey, you need to stop playing around and go get a “real” job.”    Well why doesn't he take his fish to market and justify the cost for all the fishing and the boat payment? Or his golf score from last week to try and sell and amaze on Ebay to pay for the golf clubs? :-) You see my point.

So relax. Only when you find your sales REGULAR and "real" should you even consider going the business route. Regardless of all the "easy" ways to sell your art that "experts" all over the Internet are selling or advising, use plain old common sense. There is no such thing as an easy business :-).

Now go have fun at your easel and don't be pressured into a premature decision! Art and Business can be fun, exciting and stimulating but only if you accept the mindset AND your sales justify this decision!

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