ART BOOK REVIEW – PART 1
In the last six months or so since I started this blog, it has become primarily a place to show my artwork. I haven’t been doing as much writing, because I’ve been concentrating on trying to get my artwork out there and hoping to go into business for myself in an attempt to make a living at what I love to do most – draw and paint. At the same time, however, I am always keeping in mind what Margaret quotes Maya Angelou as saying, “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.'”
So today I want to write about a wonderful book my husband gave me on Valentine’s Day this year. He knew I had been thinking about venturing out into the world with my artwork, so this was not only a timely gift, but a very thoughtful one on his part.
The book is called “The Successful Artist’s Career Guide – Finding Your Way in the Business of Art” by Margaret Peot. It was published in 2012. http://www.theinkblotbook.com/author/ Here are a few things she writes about that I will summarize. This book has been a huge encouragement for me as I hope it will be for you as well.
Here are the six things that stood out to me as being the most helpful to me right now. I will cover three of them in today’s post.
1. Deciding What My Area of Expertise Will Be.
Margaret says, “There are artistic careers that follow a traditional nine-to-five, five-days-a-week pattern where projects and goals are set for you. More often than not, however, when you are making a career as an artist, you will have to invent what you do and set your own goals.”
There are so many things an artist can do, but I’ll just mention a few: watercolor painting (my personal favorite), other types of painting, drawing, sculpting, graphic arts, ceramics, and many others. I also paint in acrylics and draw in graphite and colored pencil. However, for me, watercolors are what I always come back to as my favorite medium. So I’ve decided that watercolors are my area of expertise.
2. Deciding What My Art Is Worth.
THIS has been and still is tough for me. Recently I have had five of my paintings scanned at a local art gallery/print shop for making prints. I have invested a little chunk of money in this. I have sold several 5×7 greeting cards that I had done. I started out ordering one dozen cards of each painting. Deciding what to sell them for was difficult.
My first question to myself was, “who will want to buy cards or prints of my artwork?” But then I have received many compliments for my work, I have done two commissioned jobs, and all of you who read my blog have been super supportive! So I decided to take a chance. The only way to see if my work will sell is to make it available to others, right?
So after my cards were printed, my two kids offered to take some to their classes at their private home school. They sold quite a few, and their teacher even bought one! A couple of my friends bought some, and an old high school friend bought a larger print of an elephant painting I did for my daughter as well as a few cards of the same painting! I am thrilled!
I am fortunate to have made a little bit of profit on my first endeavor at selling my work. I have to say I did not expect it this soon. My Etsy shop hasn’t gotten any nibbles yet, but maybe someday. Yet I am finding out that shipping costs a little more than I realized. However, I am trying to put other one-of-a-kind pieces I’ve done up for sale on there also.
3. Marketing My Product.
This has been the greatest challenge for me so far. I started out putting up two of my paintings at a local business with my business cards, but I haven’t gotten any calls from anyone who has seen them. I figure people just aren’t picking up my cards. I also put some of my cards out at a local coffee shop, but again, no bites yet. (She wouldn’t let me put up any of my work there, though, either.) This has been a huge test of patience for me. But I just keep praying that if this is what God wants me doing with my time, He will provide customers for me. And so far, He has provided a few. So I am very thankful for this! I have also been told I can put some of my printed greeting cards out for sale at a small country store near our church. And that’s what I had planned to do this week, but I ended up doing a lot of running around during the kids’ Spring Break. I didn’t get the break from driving them around that I thought I would. But that’s okay. So I may go to that store THIS week! Also, my art page on Facebook is getting read by some, so that is also a blessing. I am marketing my product the best I can at this point.
The most frustrating thing for me, though, is calling different places that display local artists’ work, but never hearing back from any of them. One thing I am most thankful for in all of this, though, is that I am purposing not to feel discouraged, sorry for myself, or rejected. I enjoy what I am doing immensely. I know others who have tried to start their own business, and they have conveyed how hard it can be. They say I just need to hang in there, be consistent in what I’m doing, and keep on going. That sounds like great advice to me!! Besides, I believe God has given me a gift to share with others, and He will open the right doors for me in His time.
I think by now you can see that I intended this to be more than an art book review. I personalize the reading I do when I can apply it to my life.
THERE IS MORE TO COME, BUT I WILL BE POSTING IT TOMORROW. HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY, AND GIVE SOMEONE YOU LOVE A BIG HUG. 🙂