Revive Your Blog

I have witnessed a large number of artists build successful blogs. I have also, sadly, watched even more artists’ blogs falter.

There is plenty of room in the blogosphere for meaningful artist blogs.

With this article, I’m calling on all artists who have it in them to revive their blogs – to recommit to the practice of blogging and the art of improving what you write and share.

Why Blog?

1. Blogging adds fresh content to your site.

Your content is built on a virtual space you own – not Facebook, not Instagram, not whatever-the-next-great-social-media-site-is. It powers up your site rather than turning over the traffic to one that you have no control over.

You can always share your blog posts to the social media channels, but the traffic will then point back to your site.

2. Blogging helps you grow as an artist.

You learn a lot about your art and your goals as an artist when you blog and interact with people.

Almost every artist I know who blogs regularly has shared with me that

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11 Tips for Pricing Your Art

I wish I could pull a number out of the hat and tell you how to price your art.

It’s not that easy, as you’ve surely discovered. Every artist’s path to their sweet spot for pricing is different.

I’ve come to know that there isn’t a single art market that you can look to as an exact model. There are many art markets – each with its own pricing structure.

Here are a few guidelines to begin with.

Art-Pricing Guidelines

1. Your first step is to research your market. Look for artists who do similar work using similar materials and who are at a comparable point in their careers.

Whenever you compare your prices to those of other artists, make sure you know that the work you’re looking at is actually selling. It doesn’t do you any good to look at prices from an artist whose work isn’t moving.

Many artists have adopted a formula for square-inch pricing. This is fine, but it must be based on something. You can’t pull a number out of the air. Follow all of the tips here and your formula will be well grounded.

2. Start lower. It’s easier to start on the low end of the scale and raise your prices than it is to lower your prices later.

However . . .

3. Never undervalue your work. Selling your art too cheaply means you’re probably not getting paid what it’s worth.

When you devalue your art, you devalue the art of every other artist who is trying make a living – many of whom genuinely need the money.

The dangers in pricing your artwork too low are:

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Committing To Your Art Career Journey

Last week I dragged my busy butt down to a mineral springs resort and spa for a getaway with my dear friend, Kelly.

Road trip!

Conveniently, the getaway coincided with a discussion I had with one of my coaches about the need to create more “space” in my life.

Since that time, which hasn’t even been two weeks, I have found space not only in soaking in the springs, but also in embracing silence; seeking questions rather than answers; and saying No.

Kelly and I also found space on the road. The trip down to the springs should be just over 5 hours. We somehow turned that into 7+ hours.

There are people who see the dot on the map and race toward it without stopping for a restroom break. And then there are those who, like me, look for any diversion to learn or to be entertained along the route.

I tend to explore on my road trips. I have been caught:

  • Coming across a newspaper from a nearby town and rerouting the return trip because it might be an ideal place to retire. (It wasn’t.)
  • Visiting the local cemetery.
  • Driving out of the way because I heard on NPR about the “green” rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas ten years after a devastating tornado and I wanted to see it. (It’s pretty cool. I’d go back! And I’d eat again at this Mexican restaurant where they were lovely and one of the few places open on Memorial Day.)
  • Veering an hour off the interstate to see a visionary artist’s creation.

Yeah, I could get there faster if I focused on the dot on the map, but where’s the adventure in that? I prefer the stories I can gather along the way – stories that will become part of the fabric of my life forever.

What stories are you gathering?

Your Career Journey

Your career path is marked by exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I wish I had learned earlier the wisdom in riding the waves rather than fighting against them.

When you seek shortcuts, you miss out on opportunities that might lead to bigger rewards.

When you have your eye only on the end goal (the dot on the map), you become blind to all that can enrich your art and life.

I contend that if you aren’t committed to the journey of your career, you surely won’t be satisfied with the destination.

Of course, the journey isn’t all roses and fairy dust. It’s

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A Married Life in Art: Sam Woolcott and Poe Dismuke (Podcast)

When Sam Woolcott, one of my Art Biz Inner Circle members, told me that she and her husband were invited to have a joint museum exhibition, I knew I had to interview them.

They live together and have been happily married for more than 20 years.

For ten of those years, they have jointly owned a gallery based in the arts community of Bisbee, Arizona.

Each has a thriving studio practice.

Now they’re showing together in a 2-person exhibition at The University of Arizona Museum of Art.

How do they balance their separate work and artist lives together?

In this podcast episode, I introduce you to Sam, the painter, and Poe Dismuke, her husband and sculptor. We discuss:

  • What their daily routines and work styles look like
  • What their art has in common
  • Life in Bisbee (sounds like it’s a must-see)
  • How the museum show came about

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Enough With The Shoulds

You’re unable to live your purpose as an artist when you’re wrapped up in shoulds, musts, and need-tos – when you’re following others without (eventually) forging your own path.

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How To Start Your Email List

“How do I start a mailing list?”

It’s a question that I’ve been asked numerous times in the past few weeks. Hmmm … Where to begin?

One thing is for certain. “Start an Email List” is an overwhelming project that might stop you before you’ve even started. Instead of looking at it as a whole, break it down into steps to make faster progress.

Here are the steps to take. They aren’t numbered because you can skip around until you get to the “Finally” section.

(If you have a mature mailing list and you don’t need these steps, please don’t go anywhere. Jump straight to the end and share your experience with others. Your insights and encouragement are sure to be valuable to someone else.)

Start With Who You Know

Make a list of everyone you know who might want to hear about you and your art:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Neighbors
  • Colleagues at a day job
  • Other artists

Don’t discount anyone because you believe they’ll never buy your art. You never know how they can support you until you bring them into your art life.

Save the following information for each person:

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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

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In a Cash Crunch? Try These Ideas to Bring in the Bucks

We are officially at the halfway point for 2017. Are you halfway to your financial goals for the year?

As all of my students and clients know, I stress the importance of “doing the numbers” before it’s too late.

Doing your numbers means figuring out where the money is coming in, identifying the leaks, and seeing clearly the best return on your investment of time and resources.

For conducting this process, you are rewarded with clarity like you’ve never had before. What you see might not be the beacon of hope you were looking for, but at least you are armed with knowledge to make sound financial decisions.

When your numbers aren’t where you’d like them to be (a realization we’re all faced with at some point or another), consider options to increase your income quickly.

Focus on how to maximize your return with limited time and resources to invest. This means concentrating on larger sales. It’s not the time to create a new stream of income for a new audience.

The first step is to get extra clear on how much you need to earn and figure out what the path to that number looks like. Specifically: What is your monetary goal and what will it take to reach that goal?

How many students or clients do you need to enroll to equal your goal?

How many artworks do you need to sell in a particular size to equal your goal? And do you have enough inventory?

My first choice when looking for fast cash is to …

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Why Hacking Social Media Isn't The Answer (and Why I Won’t Teach It)

Social media will not fix your broken marketing.

There aren’t enough friends, likes or followers that can help you when you have a weak foundation.

Plenty of online marketers will tell you how to hack social media, by which I mean they will teach shortcuts and tricks for “getting” followers and likes on social media.

There’s nothing wrong with learning this information, but I won’t teach it because I find it terribly uninteresting and, ultimately, unhelpful to the longevity of artists’ careers. The online marketers do it well, so I leave the job to them.

Out of Whack

For most artists, hacking social media is out of alignment with their values and it shows. Many artists are suspicious of gimmicks and tricks that reek of blatant self-promotion.

You can’t make something work for you if it doesn’t jive with who you are as a person.

Let’s start by examining the word “get” as in “getting” new likes and followers. It’s grabby. It’s icky.

What if, instead, we embrace the word “attract,” as in I’d like to attract more fans and followers.

If you agree that this approach is bundled in better energy, stick with me.

This Is More Valuable

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Advice for Those Who Want to Help the Artists in Their Lives

A nice man named Curt recently wrote me a heartfelt email. He had a strong desire to help his introverted, talented son with his art career.

“I’m wondering if you would have advice for the non-artist helping the artist?” he asked.

I started by acknowledging Curt’s love for his son. “Your son is very lucky,” I said.

I added a few words of encouragement and, after much thinking, this is what I want to share with him and with all non-artists who want to help the artists in their lives.

Accept me.

Don’t try to change me.

I may dye my hair pink or show up at your office function with paint under what remains of my fingernails. I’m okay being the nonconformist in the room as long as you’re on my team.

Understand the way I work.

I like to be alone.

I need to be alone. A lot.

Space is good for me, so when I say I need to be in the studio, please don’t

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