All Paint is NOT Created Equal! by Deb Bartos

All paint is not created equal!

I've painted in water-mixable oils for the past 6 years, which took some adjusting from the traditional oils in ease of use. The texture of the paint was different; either too slick and slidey on the canvas (like whipped cream), or too stiff out of the tube (more like lumps of clay rather than butter). With time, I learned to adapt, and have been creating more satisfying results.

They all left me longing for a “"faster and smoother" paint, especially for larger paintings. I longed to load up the brush and have it glide across the canvas the way the oils used to do.

Recently I've tried a new brand that gives me possibilities. Jerry's Artarama exclusively offers Lukas Berlin Water-Mixable oils. I was hoping I would love them, because of their affordability. I recently purchased 4 tubes in red, yellow, blue, and violet, using my previous brand of white with them for mixing. So far, even with this limited palette, I have been able to mix colors and achieve the consistency of texture I wanted. I'm looking forward to trying more colors of the Lukas brand under varying conditions.

The one disappointing part was the first squirt out of the tubes. It was a little "watery" and I wondered how I could achieve thicker layers with this. I kept going, and it worked out ok. It was more like gouache and the best words to describe the texture were "sticky and gooey." The remaining paint in the tubes is a good consistency and I found that the following day, even the first squirt had redeemed itself in the evaporation of the initial liquid substance.

I painted a portrait with them the other day from a portable thumb box. There was paint left over, so I plastic-wrapped it and stuck it in the freezer. Another test. Will it be freezer-proof? (It is.)

Bravo Lukas for creating a beautiful water-mixable color palette in tubes with easy open caps for the plein air painter. They are very affordable and the 27 ml size fit even the smallest thumb box. I like working in 6” x 8” size on some locations and for studies and they are perfect for this.

I really like the titanium white that Artisan creates (Winsor Newton), but using more of the Lukas white also works. I'm enjoying the process of exploring what they can do, and the process of trying new paints is stretching and keeps you learning.

I've tried numerous other brands. So far, the Weber water-mixable is my favorite for consistency. Still testing the Lukas with promise. Love their cadmium red and yellow! Most colors hold up very well to the more expensive brands and testing them color-by-color is only fair. Keep on painting! And learning!

Deb Bartos


Help! Sell my Art! by M Theresa Brown

If there is one question that artists ask me all the time, it's "How much should I charge for my artwork?" In our seminars on Art Marketing, and from emails and phone calls from artists, I can hear the frustration in their voices. It's as though just knowing the answer to that question will solve all their marketing problems. They are not alone. We have all done the mental art math at some point in our careers, especially at the beginning....someone comes up with some formula for setting a price, determining how long it takes, how many we can do in a day, multiplied by a week, a month....we should all be rich by now, right? But there is a problem with that formula because these artists are all focusing on the wrong thing.

Selling your art is NOT about putting a price on your artwork. It's about creating an entire package where you and your art, combined, are more than just a number! And your job is to make it a unique package.

You need to present the "whole package" to your client. A professional looking artist with a professional looking studio and with a professional attitude can command a far higher price from the get-go than artists simply intent on concentrating on the price of their artwork and who ignore everything else about their marketing package!

Let's take it step by step.

1. Determine who is or will be buying your art.
What are you creating and who is buying it now? This group is your target market. This is the group to whom you will most focus on when presenting your art package.
Never sold anything? Not to worry. In your mind is some idea of who would buy your art so narrow it down. Would your market be children? Young families? 30-something executives? NASCAR fans? Dog owners? Concentrate on the people who are most likely to buy your art.
You are not your target market. Most people value what you do far more than you value what you do.

2. Focus on one art area initially.

There is no rule that says that if you start off selling your pottery that you cannot switch over to landscape painting. But you need to focus on one area initially. You cannot be everything to everybody. Many artists have "bread and butter" art products and expand into other areas as the time, money, desire or need arises. Concentrating in one area, initially, allows you to build your art marketing skills both with your art product and your customers.

3. Determine your Unique Selling Feature
If all things are perceived as equal, then price becomes the major factor. So you need to educate your prospects so they know what's "unique" about you. What is special about you and your art? What makes your 11 x 14 oil landscape different from another artist's 11 x 14 oil landscape? So having said that, we learned that you do not hand out "price sheets." When a prospect compares your 11 x 14 art product to another artist's 11 x 14 product through a price sheet alone, you do not have an opportunity to share what is special and unique about you and your art!

4. Work on your confidence

A huge part of what we do is to essentially give artists permission to sell their art! Most have been taught nothing about what is necessary to represent themselves and their art product. Feeling good about selling your art starts with the premise of "I'm good at what I do and the prices on my artwork reflect that." The "Price/Value Relationship" in human psychology says that to most people, the more you charge, the better you are. But you have to believe it AND have the skills to share that positive attitude with your clients!

So, forget about formulas and special charts to price your artwork. Most of it is common sense. If people are buying everything you put out, you are not charging enough. If people have bought nothing from you, it may not be the pricing but how you are presenting it!

Remember, it's not the price you charge that matters, it's how you present the price, your package, that makes all the difference. So rather than keep your art prices really low and not be a good salesperson of your work, put your prices higher, and learn how to present them.


Art Plagiarism - Think Again! by Carissa Goldstein

As I delve further into the art world, I am constantly coming face to face with misconceptions I've had through the years. One prime example of this was learning how much creativity I have to bring to the table. Along with the mystical idea of being hit with inspiration, I assumed that what artists came up with was entirely of their own creation. Little did I realize that each artist starts at the beginning and has to learn the rules before they can break them. Van Gogh and Monet didn't start out with a signature style. They learned from their instructors and mimicked their styles first.

By taking classes with different instructors, I learn the tools needed to take me to the next step when I finally do find that inspiration. I can combine the techniques of other artists and put my own spin on them to create my art. It's not about sitting down in a room by yourself in front of a canvas and creating art. I think the most effective way to become creative is to first learn how others are creative and copy them. Of course this doesn't mean tracing another artist's work in your own hand and selling it as your own. Instead this means learning painting techniques, collage techniques, or whatever other techniques interest you from experienced artists before going out on your own. Aside from professional artists, I've drawn inspiration in classes from the other students around me. Everyone thinks differently, so in a class where we learned how to carve our own stamps, I was enthralled at the designs other people came up with. I was able to borrow their stamps to create my own piece of art in a unique manner. This is a perfect example of drawing from others to aid in your creative quest. Art is best done in a group setting to get the creative juices flowing. When I scrapbook, I often look at others' ideas and templates before deciding what tools and equipment I want to use, and then I embellish on those ideas and add a bit of my own personality. Everybody can create, no matter who you are, so stop thinking you can't!

Along with learning techniques from those around you, I think it can also be helpful to try to reproduce art that has already been done, but adding your own twist. It's about learning to crawl before you can run. Start with a prospect that doesn't scare the creativity right out of you. I'm learning to take these baby steps, difficult as it may be. Learn from my mistakes, and don't expect to paint the Sistine chapel in a day! Above all, remember that art is meant to be fun and therapeutic, not scary!

As a side note, I would encourage everyone local to the Raleigh area to check out the new S.T.A.R.T. program – Stop Thinking Art is Really Tough! This program is designed for those of you who aren't sure where to start or what to do. The workshops are Thursday evenings, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., all art supplies are included, and you'll leave with a finished piece of art, all for only $30! Starting in February, I'll be taking these workshops and offering feedback after the classes to let you know how they're going. Stay tuned!

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