Is Art Fun? by Micah Mullen

Is art fun? Today I was asked this question at my job during a meeting for a new fledgling project. A question that I would think would have a definite YES - seemed much more difficult to answer. I spend hours and hours each week in front of my easel, at my day job I spend even more time reviewing art materials and focusing on how to better improve an artist's life, many weekends are spent at museums, galleries and shows. So... probably 90% or so of my awake life (we'll leave dreams and nightmares out for now) is spent doing art, observing art or learning and selling art materials. Shouldn't it be fun!!?? The same person that asked me this question, also later stated during the meeting that art is way for one to learn more about oneself. I certainly believe this is true. This past Saturday as I finished painting the picture that is shown on this entry, I often thought I really would rather be watching college football than sitting in a lonely, isolated room with just my thoughts and my painting. Yet something kept me there . . . perhaps it is my compulsive personality, perhaps I knew I had deadlines to meet, perhaps if I did not paint that day I thought the painting might be inferior. It never occurred to me that the reason I was alone in my studio on a sunny 80 degree day in the middle of football season was that I might be having fun!

I perplexed this question about art being fun for a few hours after it was asked. I think asking me if art is fun is asking me if I enjoy life. Like anyone I have good and bad days, but my life always gravitates back to art. To me fun seems like more of a temporary word. "I had a fun time at dinner the other night". To use "fun" as it relates to art and my life discounts the massive impact art plays in my life. In some ways it is even spiritual - One rarely describes spirituality as fun, but it is often described as positive and fulfilling.

As I sit here now with the computer in front of me and the easel behind me, there seem to be alot of fun things to do between now and when I go to sleep . . . It's already 6:30 - I should be painting by now.

(Shown) Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge - 9x12" Acrylic on Canvas



The Holiday Art Market by M Theresa Brown

The next couple of months are crunch time for artists!  You hand create your art product and have time, energy, a bit of you and your creativity involved with each piece. And there is no doubt that you, along with every other merchant in the world sees the next few months of sales as critical to their finances!

So just how do you compete with all the latest electronics, clothes,toys, etc. that flood the market each fall in preparation for the Holidays? How do you get consumers to open up their wallets and spend their budgeted money with YOU and not with all the other merchants?

It's not about the price.  Most items purchased this time of year become obsolete, unused or broken within months or a few years!  A new iphone can be $500.00 . A new camera or computer can cost thousands.....and even a new, $45,000 car will be in the dump in 7 or 8 years.  New, expensive furniture becomes used furniture as soon as it enters the consumers home and every toy that is under the Christmas tree will be trashed by Easter!

 So if it is not about the price, then what is it about?

Did you realize that we just just shared two Unique Selling Features with you? Did you notice these?

1.  You hand create your art product and have time, energy, a bit of you and your creativity involved with each piece.
2. It's not about the price.  Most items purchased this time of year become obsolete or trash within months or a few years!

In your message to your prospects and collectors, you should be emphasizing at least these two unique selling features! 
You should know what they are anyway,  in comparison with another artist's similar products. 
The average cnsumer may like what you create, but you have to  market the "added value!"  People are taking far more notice of value today than 3 years ago. They want to make good decisions and they want the best for their money! It is YOUR job, as an artist, to share with them how your art will make that possible!

In all of your marketing, think like a consumer.
Think about why YOU would buy a piece of art.  I once was at a show where a man made some beautiful wooden, outdoor furniture.  For every man he must have heard tell his wife, "I can do that," he had come up with a solution.  A big sign hanging at his booth said "Sure you could do this, but will you?" and caught my attention. He had neatly and concisely eliminated the bragging men and confirmed what their wives already knew...and that was: Yes, they could  possibly make the outdoor furniture, but No, reality had shown the wives that they would not , so  they might as well buy from this seller! SMART marketing and addressing several issues at once! 

Think of why you would NOT buy from an artist for instance and see if it applies to your art product.
Then , as the woodworking artist did, fine a solution.  See your art as a benefit to the consumer. Look at it as though he/she NEEDS your product to make their life  complete. That is what every other retailer does when selling their product. You should be no different!

Be pro-active and pro-marketing and you'll discover that when you have your finger on the pulse of your buyers, you will have a GREAT Holiday season for your art sales!


October Artist of the Month - David Zimmerman

I like to paint ideas as they develop and often use different styles to express myself. The life that goes on around me, the places I’ve been, or the times I’ve lived through are reflected in my paintings, and have always helped me refine my understanding of myself, and provided an outlet for expression. As a representational artist I have blended the line between fine art and illustration, and would like to believe  that my work serves as  a dialog between historical artists, my contemporaries and me.

Usually I start a composition with a fairly well defined mental picture of what the finished piece should look like, and proceed in the structured traditional methods of painting. Since I am primarily interested in depicting the aspects of light and how it affects color, it is not until the final applications I try to interact with the materials in a spontaneous way. It is not unusual in the course of working that I remove more paint than I leave on the canvas.

Currently my work is divided into two styles; In my approach to painting as a tonalist,  I employ a neutral imprimatura  and create a structured underpainting, much like a a photograph. While this is a slower method, it allows the purity of the pigments to show through in the topcoats and veils of glazed colors, and crafts a more controlled and detailed composition. I also paint alla prima (directly) using painting knives and heavy impasto, and like to build up colors for a more visceral experience. I love the impressionists use of scumbling and broken color, and always look for the beauty inherent in the materials. As artists we are so gifted to have the universe of prepared paints and mediums available without having to create them every time we want to paint, and I love the freedom of having these materials right at hand. We all benefit from the unseen masters who have not only devoted their lives to bring us these conveniences, but always strive to improve them.






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