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!


Spotlighting Your Work by M Theresa Brown

Participating in both indoor and outdoor shows is a great way to connect with prospects and show your work.  In reality, you are  your own portable Art Gallery, bringing your work to people who often only see "live art" at such an event.

If you are at an outdoor show and it's a beautiful, sunny day with moderate temperatures, Mother Nature has given you an edge to spotlighting your work!
But what if you are at an indoor show? The flourescent lights are 25 feet above your allotted 10 x 10 space. You are next to John Doe with his stained glass on one side, Jane Doe with her watercolors on the other side and a whole line of artists across and down the aisle.  There is a lot of nice art at the show. How are you going to attract attention to your work? In such an environment, with low wattage lights high above all the displays, the artist who took the time to study lighting and arrange his booth to its best advantage with lighting everywhere within the booth, will be the winner of the spotlight award!

Walk through an art show (or any show) at a civic center or school and your eye is immediately drawn to the brightest display. Without exception. If the artists on either side of you (or across the aisle) have lighting within their booths, people will walk right by your booth location.  They will not even see you.  Your display, the one that you thought "popped" with its beautiful art, expensive screens and comfortable flooring simply fades into the background of the overhead generic lighting. You have to spotlight your work for maximum visual appeal!

With today's LCD lighting, an artist can arrange lights all over his booth without the prospect of blown fuses or heat producing problems.  Stylish clipon lights, swing arm lamps and even table top lighting provide an ambiance that will attract your buyers like moths to a flame, and induce them to linger. And that is the whole point. There is no such thing as too much lighting when an artist is paying money to display his art with the hopes of sales.  There should be no dark corners in your booth.  Everything from hanging art to pottery looks better if it is spotlighted. Be proud of what you have created!

We buy  electricity at all shows if it is available-both indoor and out. Outdoor Commercial rented tenting is thick and can create a dark cave like feeling inside and the contrast from walking by on a sunny day and peering into gloom will keep a browser walking.  You need lights.  Our own tenting has a skylight to help the natural spotlighting process.  PLus, electricity will power not just your lighting, but  fans or heaters and further add to  the comfort of your browser.

Most artists, sitting within their booths, cannot see the contrast between their lack of lighting and the powerful lighting of another artist nearby.  But the buying public can! So at your next indoor show, invest in lighting and extension cords ahead of time and see what a difference it makes to your sales when you spotlight your work!



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