My Favorite Things 2017 Edition

Jack in the Cat Cave

You won’t find raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens on this list, though I’d argue that they are both delightful. Instead, here’s a peek at the things that made me happy over the past year (or longer).

I hope you’ll read and share your own favorite things in a comment.

Food

Bert’s Eggnog

On last year’s favorite things list, I saved the best for last. This year, I won’t make you wait.

This family recipe has made many a doubter into an eggnog convert. I’ve tried others that professed to be THE BEST, but they’ve never come close. I defy you to make a single batch of it.

Nopalito

Luck steered my husband and me into Nopalito restaurant in San Francisco last spring. WOW! If I could live a healthy life on their totopos alone, I’d do it.

But I don’t need to wait to return to San Francisco because their cookbook had recently been released and, ever since, my husband been earning the title Chef. We have had many delicious meals from the Nopalito cookbook.

Rosemary-Mezcal Paloma Cocktail

Some people live on Mai Tais on Maui, but we lived on Palomas. If we have to have them away from that island paradise (twist our arms), we add our spin – inspired by the delicious version at Vesta Dipping Grill in Denver. We make it with smoky Mezcal instead of tequila and add homemade rosemary syrup. Heaven.

Cleansing

In last year’s favorite things post, I mentioned The Plan: Eliminate the Surprising “Healthy” Foods That Are Making You Fat–and Lose Weight Fast (2014)by Lyn-Genet Recitas. This approach to eating the foods that are right for you is right for me. Whenever I feel off-track with regard to eating (often!), I jump on her 3-day cleanse and lose a few extra pounds while gaining energy.

Reads

Both of these books were gifts from my wise coaches.

The Book of Joy

You can’t go wrong when the two main characters are

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Find a Niche for Your Art with Maria Brophy (Podcast)

Author Maria Brophy

Maria Brophy has served as an art agent to her husband, Drew Brophy, since 2001. Since then she has also helped thousands of other artists plan their careers, increase sales, and negotiate deals. Her experience and secrets are chronicled in her new book, Art Money Success.

I asked Maria what she was most excited about these days, and she gave me a pretty decent list.

I liked #1 on that list: niche markets. Done! Now we can talk.

In this episode of the Art Biz Podcast, Maria and I discuss:

  • What is a niche market?
  • 4 types of niche markets for artists: 1. Style of art 2. Lifestyle 3. Geographic location 4. Purpose
  • How to find your niche audience.

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21 Snappy Things to Write on a Note Card Besides Happy Birthday

Jamie was my BFF in middle school. Though we were inseparable at the time, we drifted apart in high school and thereafter.

Over the past ten years, we rediscovered our friendship and have been trying it on as maturing adults.

Something lovely has happened recently: we’ve started writing letters. By hand. The kind you have to put a stamp on and drag your butt to a mailbox to send.

I see it as a way to use up my embarrassingly large stockpile of note cards and stationery. But it’s more than that. It’s nostalgic. It reminds me of the notes we used to write, carefully fold, and pass to each other in the hallways between classes.

I feel a little sorry for those who are wed to digital texts and social platforms – and the kids who will never know the joy that those paper notes can bring.

And there is something joyful about handwriting on paper.

I’ve always encouraged clients to distinguish themselves by sending handwritten cards (with their art on them) in the mail. The message you share is sincere and introduces people to or reminds them of your art.

Here are 21 reasons (as if you needed them) to send a card to a friend or potential friend.

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Delight Someone (Everyone)

©2014 Senga Nengudi, Jive. Site installation for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

A few years ago, I had the joy of hearing Senga Nengudi talk about her art in a gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver surrounded by the work.

Nengudi makes intimate installations and sculptures from discarded materials such as torn pantyhose. It started when she was living in a small space in New York and decided on a medium that would fit into her purse. (Further proof that making art is about solving problems, but that’s another topic.)

During a panel discussion, Nengudi warmed everyone in the room with her gentle, generous spirit and big smile.

When we (about 100 of us) were getting ready to leave, the artist said she wanted to give us a gift to remember her by. In line with her work, which transforms unwanted items into art, she considered a gift that we could transform into something new.

She confessed that she didn’t have enough pantyhose for the audience. We laughed! Many, particularly the men, breathed a sigh of relief.

That’s when she pulled out a large plastic bag and handed out . . .

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10 Affirmations for Artists

10 Affirmations for Artists

We all need a little pick-me-up when we’re overwhelmed, uninspired, or unfocused Please return to these 10 Affirmations for Artists whenever you need a jolt of motivation or confidence. Audio-only and printable versions included.

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Is Any Artwork Worth $450 Million? (Curious Monday)

Christie's video - Salvator Mundi by Leonardo

Last week, someone paid $450million for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.

Yeah, it’s Leonardo.

Yeah, there are fewer than 25 known works by Leonardo.

Yeah, it’d be pretty cool to have one of Leo’s works hanging in your home.

But … 4 hundred and 50 million dollars?

Is any artwork worth that amount?

Tell us what you think in a comment.

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The Bumpy Road to Success: Stories from Our Clients (Podcast)

Robin Edmundson painting

I believe in the power of being part of a dynamic group of ambitious people.

You can’t possibly get everything you need from a single person, and I can’t possibly know everything there is to know about artists’ businesses and careers. That’s why I created the Art Biz Inner Circle and why it has grown over the years.

Our members represent a wide range of media, personal goals, and geographical regions – including quite a few who are overseas. Yet they rely on one another for inspiration, motivation, strategies, and accountability.

Throughout the year, we have watched many of our members create and attain their stretch goals – several of them doubling (and more) their income from last year.

We supported members as they struggled and reorganized their plans. Yes, even the ones who attained their big goals encountered bumps along the road to success.

Our team of coaches is top-notch (I don’t trust just anyone with my clients).

In this podcast, I talk with Debby Williams and Cynthia Morris, who serve as coaches for our members in the Art Biz Inner Circle. We discuss the celebrations we witnessed as well as the many struggles our artists faced and we provide numerous tips to help with your artist journey.

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How To Warm Up a Cold Email List

You were told you needed an email list, so you asked people to subscribe. And they did.

But you didn’t do anything with their subscription. Those poor people sat in your system. For months. Maybe years. Never hearing from you.

Your list has gone cold. Ice cold.

Now you realize how silly it was to ask people to subscribe only to neglect them. You’re ready to commit to staying in touch with your list on a regular basis, but you wonder:

Will they remember me? What will they think if I just start emailing them after all this time?

You’re right to be concerned.

Regular emails – regardless of whether you call them newsletters or not – are so valuable because they keep your name in front of people. And they keep the list warm.

If you are ready to pay attention to your list consistently (and clear that you will keep the commitment), you have a little bit of work to do.

You need to reintroduce yourself to your list before you ask them to attend an opening or to buy your art because it’s not polite to call on people only when you want something from them.

There’s no sense procrastinating your first-in-a-long-time email because the longer you wait, the more painful it will be to write. Not to mention the energy it will use up in your head and heart in the meantime.

Once you’re clear on the commitment, there are three options for an opening email to reestablish a relationship with those on your list. You can use them individually or in combination with one another.

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7 Ways You Might Be Scaring Off Potential Buyers

Art buyers often have as many insecurities about the process of buying art as you do, which means they are sensitive to the signals you’re sending.

It’s your job to reassure them that they are making the right decisions – and you can do so in very subtle ways without resorting to sales speak.

And it has just as much to do with what you don’t do and say.

Here are seven practices that will scare off your audience and potential fans.

1. Being indecisive about prices.

Indecision makes you appear less confident.

Set your prices after you’ve done your homework and be ready to share them in person and online.

If you’re ever pushed for a price that you aren’t certain about, say, “Let me check my list and get back to you. I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong price.”

2. Apologizing for your art.

The apologetic artist who brushes aside compliments about her art is not market-attractive.

I am not in any way condoning arrogance. I’m saying that you need to hold your head up and say “Thank You” when you are given a compliment.

As Julia Child said in Julie & Julia, “Never apologize. No excuses. No explanations.” Along the same lines . . .

3. Playing down the fact that you’re an artist.

Heart surgeons don’t look at the ground and say, “I’m kind of a heart surgeon.” When someone asks what you do, you shouldn’t respond meekly with, “Well, I’m kind of an artist.”

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Portrait Project and Museum Exhibition with Lisa Kovvuri (Podcast)

Little gives me more pleasure than watching a client successfully attain a major goal.

In this podcast episode, I share the story of Lisa Kovvuri, with whom I worked in my Art Biz Inner Circle as she was starting her project, The Portrait Experience.

We discuss:

  • How The Portrait Experience was conceived and executed at Whistler House Museum of Art.
  • How she found people to sit for her.
  • What she learned during the process.
  • What’s next.

We also find out that most of the paintings have since sold.

It’s been a joy to watch her progress and the ultimate culmination of her efforts – the opening of her museum show.

I hope you are inspired by this conversation about how Lisa accomplished her colossal goal. Listen now …

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