How to Decide if a Class or Workshop is Right for You

Cabin Lake by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Whenever a new class begins, I receive plenty of questions. Currently, I’m fielding questions about Creative Content Camp.

The gist of the questions is: This class looks enticing, but is it right for me?

Most often, my response isn’t a simple Yes or No, but a volley of questions in return intended to help the inquisitor come to a conclusion.

Here’s what those questions look like.

Will you be physically at your home or studio to implement the lessons?

The lessons in Creative Content Camp can be consumed and implemented from anywhere in the world as long as there is connectivity.

On the other hand, the organizing class I previously taught required organizing a physical space. That’s a program you wouldn’t want to be away for.

If you’re going to be on vacation for one or more of the lessons, the decision whether or not to enroll in a class depends on your answers to a couple of (more) questions:

  1. Are you planning on doing any work during your travels? If you have built in a few hours a week to work, as I do during many of my trips, perhaps it’s doable.
  2. Can you make a plan – and stick to it – for your return? If you get your affairs in order so that you pick up (and catch up) where you left off, you’re likely to be more successful after the break.

Can you devote the time to the lessons and homework?

I tell students that

Continue reading…

What Book Should I Write? (Curious Monday)

Self-Promotion Book for Artists

Not too long ago, I sat down to figure out what I was going to do with my book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio. The first edition was published in 2008 and the last e-book-only edition in 2015.

While most if it is still relevant, it could probably use an update.

How could I freshen it up and get it back into print? It has been a valuable resource to artists and students all over the world.

Then I got a big knot in my stomach. I realized that I don’t want to freshen it up.

I am not the same person who wrote this 10 years ago. It would be completely different if I wrote it now.

It doesn’t make sense to freshen up something I no longer feel connected to.

So … I’m exploring new book topics.

I realize that it could be a very bad idea indeed to ask this, but I’m doing it anyway.

What book should I write?

What book do you need that has yet to be written? Do you have an inkling?

What book would delight you to hold in your hands?

Continue reading…

Life Is Beautiful and I Have Proof

All is right with the world. I have proof.

I’m at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibition. I arrive early with Rob, my trooper of a husband. He’s agreed to be my companion through the permanent collection galleries before our afternoon ticket time.

What I witness restores my faith in humanity.

Here’s how it goes down.

Is It Art?

As a former museum educator, I know that it’s wise to avoid school tours in the galleries. If I had thought about that, I might have visited later in the day. But then I wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to have had this experience.

There is at least one group in each of the galleries. Most students have assignments and a docent.

One docent teaches native Spanish speakers how to say Marcel Duchamp.

Mahr-sel’ Du’-shahn

They giggle.

She stands in front of Duchamp’s Fountain and asks: Is it art? They are pretty certain it isn’t. It’s a urinal, for Pete’s sake.

I don’t stick around to hear more of their reasoning. I already feel like I’m an intruder.

I’m less interested in the art history lecture than in the way these kids are fully engaged with the art. They are hanging on every word she says.

My husband finds me and asks what I’m up to. “This docent is awesome,” I say.

Then I catch a glimpse of another heartwarming scene.

Continue reading…

Do This Today to be Happy One Year From Now

Rene Gibson sculpture from cow skull

Your exhibition/class/event was a smash hit, and now it’s over. You can breath a sigh of relief.

Your calendar is empty. The breathing room feels good for a few days, until you realize that you have no thoughts about what to do next.

I gently suggest that you take about 1.5 days to relax and bask in the afterglow of your success. Then, get back to work.

I’m not saying that you have to work at the fever pitch before your event. I’m just saying that you need something else to look forward to.

When there are no big plans on the horizon – no major deadlines – we flounder and may find it easier to procrastinate.

Without something to work toward, it’s easy to get lost in the black hole of social media or convince yourself that your inbox needs rearranging. Laundry, anyone?

Stop pretending that any of these (especially social media!) is satisfying. If you want to be happy one year from now, what do you have to do today?

Commit to the Big Scary Idea

It’s fine to accomplish small tasks and projects, but it’s the big goals – the things that are a little scary and a lot uncomfortable – that will move your art career further faster.

Big ideas motivate us to take action, and each action builds momentum toward a larger goal. All you have to do is decide to do it and commit to making it happen.

Here are six possibilities to consider for your next project.

Continue reading…

Organize Your Busy Art Career with Evernote

Bluff painting by Marsha Savage

I am writing this draft in Evernote on my iPad while taking the light rail train into Denver to see a few art shows.

When I want a document that I will reuse and share with students, clients, or my team, I create it in Word, Pages, or Google Docs.

When I want to save drafts of documents or to store something to remember, it goes straight to Evernote where I can access it across devices.

Evernote is an app that organizes information into digital notes and notebooks. It would be impossible for me to keep track of all the information I need to without it.

Here’s a peek at how I use Evernote in my life and business along with suggestions for how you might use it in your art career.

Keep Your Travel Information in One Place

This might be my favorite use of Evernote. In your Travel notebook you might store:

  • Hotel arrangements
  • Flight details
  • Car rentals
  • Contact names and information
  • Directions
  • Things you want to do and see when you arrive
  • Local restaurants

You might also store travel information for your family or for friends who are visiting.

Capture Content Ideas

One of the problems I hear most often from artists is that they don’t have anything to say. And this is a problem when so much of your marketing is based on the written word.

No more worries! The minute you have a bright idea, you can start a note in Evernote. Save drafts for:

Continue reading…

How To Discuss Slow Sales with Your Gallery

Sales are slow.

You’ve been with the gallery for a short time (let’s say just over a year) and you expected them to sell more art for you, but it’s just not happening.

Or maybe you’ve been with them longer. They sold a lot of your work at one point, but sales have dropped off significantly in the past couple of years.

So what now – do you ask for your work to be returned? Not yet.

Opening a dialogue is your first course of action. Regardless of the outcome, you will be admired for your professionalism.

Bringing Up Slow Sales with Your Gallery

The conversation you have with your gallerist about slow sales depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How long they have represented you.
  • The terms of your agreement with them.
  • The nature of your past relationship.
  • The demand for your work outside of their venue.

How do you begin a conversation considering these factors? Here are three options.

Continue reading…

A Few of My Favorite Things

A few days before Christmas is the perfect time to share some of my favorite things with you: business and personal tips, recipes, online email classes, and products I love.

Skip the famous eggnog recipe at the end at your own peril. Merry merry!

Tech and Online Stuff

IPhone Class

Emil Pakarklis offers loads of info in his complimentary video tutorial for hacking your iPhone camera: 7 Hidden iPhone Camera Features That Every Photographer Should Use. I learned a ton and I didn’t even get to all of his lessons.

Later’s IG Email Class

Later.com is an online service that allows you to schedule your Instagram posts. They also have a fantastic free e-mail course on using Instagram for Business and regular tips via email when you sign up.

It’s totally worth it to learn more about taking advantage of Instagram. Check out their blog, too.

Products

Seize The Year Calendar

You gotta have a wall calendar to see the rhythm of your year. I heard about this find via Jane La Fazio who I believe got turned on to it by Patti Digh. This wall calendar is uber functional and attractive.

The clincher is the way the months run into one another instead of being compartmentalized.

I also love that this calendar isn’t

Continue reading…

What Are You Reading This Summer? (Curious Monday)

Book about Philip Johnson & Frank Lloyd Wright

When I heard about Architecture’s Odd Couple, the new bio about Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson, I couldn’t wait to read it.

I have a thang for architecture, and reading about the friendly rivalry between these two opposites was too appealing to pass up.

It’s my summer reading.

What’s on your list?

Continue reading…

Art Business Interest List on Facebook

While you’re creating interest lists on Facebook to help you stay connected, how about adding an interest list for staying up-to-date on your art business.

You could start by adding the Art Biz Coach page. Just sayin’.

Here are the business pages on my art business interest list (just click that link to follow my list), though note that I also have individual profiles on my list as well.

Please leave your favorite art business pages on Facebook in a comment here.

Continue reading…

Top Art Biz Blog Posts of 2014

colorful abstract painting

At year’s end, a look back at the top posts here from the past year.

Top 6 Most-Commented-On Posts

Yep, It’s Art and It’s for Sale

©Patricia Coulter, Jubilant. Acrylic on gallery wrapped stretch canvas, 48 x 42 inches. Used with permission.

Many artists seem are shocked when people don’t understand that your work is for sale. And, yet, you’re not doing enough to clue them in.

Your Job Is in the Studio

A perennial favorite! This is my annual reminder that if you don’t make art, you have nothing to promote or build a career on.

Turn On Your Cell Phones

Take advantage of the

Continue reading…