Category Archives: Educational Articles

Art Lovers, Where Are You? 5 Realities of Our Time…

Are you an art lover? Then let me tell you the realities facing the artist today. Full-time artists devote a lot of time creating their art, as well as, marketing it if they are serious about their profession.  As a full-time, acrylic/mixed media, painter I spend 50-60 hours/week researching materials and techniques, educating myself on social media, painting, marketing in print and online and the 100’s of other chores necessary today for an artist to be successful.

At one time, all you did was create your work and show your work in exhibitions and galleries.  There are fewer galleries today to show our work and some of those galleries are inferior just like in any business.  They just open their doors and hope someone walks in.   The job of an artist today has become so cumbersome with so little results that one has to wonder where it will end for both the admirer and the artist.

Acrylic/MM on Canvas • 24" X 24" • $1400

Hills & Valleys of Life • Acrylic/MM on Canvas • 24″ X 24″ • $1400

To Purchase Original
To Purchase Prints on Fine Art Paper or Canvas

I know many artists question whether it is working or whether it will ever be worth their time because the buyers are an elusive bunch of people we can’t seem to find.  There is a lot of talk lately about finding your “tribe” or people who like your style or type of work.  It threw me for a loop recently, when I talked to several very good artists at different events, and they said they were thinking about just throwing in the towel.  Their canvases were piling up, they spent too much time and money they don’t have on their creations and trying to find customers on social media just wasn’t working out.  With the only people showing up at opening night exhibitions were other artists and their friends (even with all the advertising), artists are beginning to feel deserted and not getting the feedback they need to keep going.  And statistics show that very few people are commenting and liking on social media for most things.

1. The Good Artists Are Starting to Question The Job

In the near future, if more artists feel that it is just not worth it, and they cannot make a living selling their art at a fair price, you may find it more difficult to find high quality art.  Believe me, the less desirable art will still be around but the artists who give it their “ALL” and devote their time to creating a unique piece of art will not be around.  They will find other ways to express themselves.

2. You Are Not Supporting Their Work

Very few of you are showing up at exhibitions to view their work.  Very few of you are sending them confirmation or comments about their work whether by social media, email or in person.  And because the economy hasn’t fully recovered, very few of you are purchasing original art. Even if you can’t afford the work or have nowhere to place it, it would help the artist if you would give validation to an artist’s work that you feel is good.  Ask for the artist’s contact information or business card and let them know how you feel about their work. Give them leads if you know of someone else who might appreciate their work.  If you see their work on social media and like it, leave a comment. Or if you have a suggestion, let them know.

3.  We Don’t Know Where You Are

Because very few are taking the time to comment or like our work and show up to view the work at exhibitions, we don’t know where you are, what you like or how to keep you informed.  Think of it as a 2-way street, we need to have some information if we are to continue to make things that you might like and purchase in the future.  If we don’t have feedback, we are floundering in space and don’t know if we are going in the right direction.  So please come out of hiding and make yourself known.  We promise we won’t harass you, we just want to keep you informed and get feedback.  We can’t afford big, expensive marketing campaigns and expensive webinar series to try to find you (believe me, they are out there in full force trying to get artists to sign up).  Just let yourself be known and let us know what you like and don’t like.  We can take the criticism.

4.  We Waste Many Good Hours Trying To Find You

We waste countless hours on learning social media tips on how to find you.  We are told you have to write a blog and write something everyday to attract you to our work.  We have to be on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and post to our blog interesting articles that will make you flock to our sides.  Do you know how much time it takes out of our day, week, month, year that we could be using to create something spectacular?  And statistics show that only 5% or less purchase art on the internet.  Why are we doing this?  Because we can’t find you!  And marketers say that is what we must do to find you!

5.  It Makes Us Question: Are There Really That Many Buyers Out There Anymore Who Appreciate Original Art?

Of course, there will always be art collectors at the top, investors who look for art and can afford to collect art from Sotheby’s and those well-known artists of the past (before 1990).  But what about us emerging artists?  The signals say to us, that you don’t want to be found or don’t want to buy art or don’t appreciate our best efforts at creating unique art.  You need to let us know so we can stop this time-consuming job of trying to vie for your attention.  I am sure that most people, including yourself, doesn’t like wasting your time on  research and educating yourself on techniques that don’t work, so I am sure you understand the artist’s plight.

I hope that you understand that the point of my article was not to admonish you in any way but to inform you on the artist’s plight since the 2007 downturn and the increase in social media marketing and the toll it takes on our creativity time, etc.  We need the feedback, we need the connection to the outside world, and we need the connection to the people who appreciate our work.  Even if you are not ready to buy or could possibly be a buyer in the future or won’t be a buyer but appreciate our work, we need to have a connection to you.  Help us stay motivated in this fast, changing world of ours, so that we know that there are people out there that are truly interested in what we are doing.  Comment on our posts, like our pages, and email us how you feel about our work.

What about you? Are you giving artists some feedback? And if not, why not? We would be interested in your views on this issue.

Thank your for your continued support and while you are here, if you would add your name to my mailing list so I can keep you informed, I would greatly appreciate it.

5 Tips on Starting A Conversation With An Artist

As an abstract, acrylic painter, I am always amazed at other people’s perception of artists.  They are either fearful of saying the wrong thing or feel they don’t know enough about art to stop and have a conversation with an artist.  I am sure that some people think we are from another planet, and as such, are just too hard to understand so why bother!  There are others that put us on a pedestal and think we are just too (fill in the blank).  And then, there are those, that feel that if they stop and talk to an artist about their work, they will have to find an excuse not to buy their work.

Nothing  could be further from the truth.  I am sure  that you will find those type of people in all professions that are hard to approach and have a conversation with that is genuine.  But you will find that most artists are timid and hate to intrude on other people’s time.  Most are not sales people and feel that their work should speak for itself and that they shouldn’t have to have a sales pitch.  Whether that is right or wrong, that is the place that most artists are coming from when you meet them at an event where their work is being presented to the public.  The painting below, “Rectangular Peg In An Oval World”, © Joyce Wynes, (24″ X 24″ X 1.5″ • Acrylic/MM on Canvas • $1400) explains exactly how most artists feel at an event, the artist being the rectangle.  Or maybe, you, as the viewer, feels like the rectangle!

RectanglePegInAnOvalWorld

So what is a person to do when they would like to know more about a piece of art and have the artist standing right in front of them?  Here are some tips that can get the conversation going that might help you with that situation.


1.  Don’t Hesitate.  Start A Conversation.

Most artists are just starving (or at the very least, hungry) to talk to other people about their work or even other topics that might be of interest to a person.  Because most artists are alone in their studios a great deal of the time, they don’t have the experience of most professions to be social with coworkers, meetings with other people and other events that are a part of working in an office situation.  So whether it is about art, their work or another topic, you can bet that artist has a lot of bottled-up conversation waiting to get out.  Artists don’t get a lot of practice or opportunities conversing with others, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t great conversationalist once stimulated to talk.

2.  Ask An Artist About The STORY  (behind a specific art piece or with their work in general.)
Nine times out of 10, they will have a great story behind their passion for their art.  It just has to be asked of them to tell it.  When asked, I can go on for a long time talking about my work and what inspires what I do and how I do it.  And a funny thing happens as that conversation evolves.  The viewer and myself usually spiral off into other topics about that story.  Or the viewer starts telling me their stories.  What a great way to get to know each other.

3.  You Can Ask How They Got Started As An Artist.
Again, another great story in most instances.  You might hear about their struggles to become an artist and what they did to overcome those struggles.  For me, my story is one that revolves around the art world for most of my life.  But I wasn’t able to fulfill my passion for fine art painting until 2008, when the economy came crashing down on my head and my successful graphic design & professional illustration business suddenly went dead in the water.

While I always painted my illustrations and illustrated for many of the top magazines in the US and abroad, I tried to paint non-commercial art in my spare time. It wasn’t until 2008 that I threw caution to the wind and said, “this is my time”.  I could either waste my time trying to get business out of an economy that was dead in my market or take the time to build up a portfolio, explore my creative abilities and find out if I had what it took to become a successful painter.  But there are hundreds of little stories that I have that happened along the way in getting to that place.  So ask and start a conversation.

4.  What Medium Do You Work With Most Of The Time?
This is another topic that most artists will readily talk about.  And it will probably lead into a history of how they got started and where they are now.  It could lead to a discussion on what they want to try in the future and where they see themselves in 5-10 years.

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5.  Ask Where Else They Show Their Work.
And, if you wanted to see more of their work, where you could go to see it? Or where they have shown their work in the past, etc.  Again, this can lead to a conversation about how they got started and a history of where they have been up until now.  It gives the artist an opportunity to give you a business card with their information on it for their website, social media sites and phone number.  Take it and pass it on to someone you know who would love to look at the artist’s work if you don’t want it.

Most of all, tell the artist if you like their work.  Artists realize that just because you like their work, it doesn’t mean you are going to buy it. But that once you understand their art, it might speak to you in a way that nothing else can.  Talk to them about it.  That is the only way they get feedback about their work and it is very important that they know that someone is attracted to it.  You could let them know that you like the colors used, the technique (you don’t have to know what the technique is to like it), or the way it is shaped, etc.  If you want to find out more about what questions to ask as a beginner collector see my post, 6 Tips for the Beginner Art Collector.

As you can see, these are 5 conversation starters where the artist would do most of the talking if you don’t feel comfortable talking about art yourself.  However, if you do join the conversation, you will find that you will go away from the adventure a little wiser about what it is like being an artist.  Do you have a 6th tip that you would like to share?  Please let us know what you think.


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Giving Up…Ever Want To?

GreenPiece1_S

There was a post in my email yesterday, Ever Felt Like Giving Up?, by Doug Hoppes written on FASO’s blog.  He was asking artists if they ever felt like giving up their art career.  And it got me thinking…why would an artist want to give it up?

Artists are a lucky lot.  They have found their passion and can work at something that fills them with a feeling of purpose and worthiness.  You would think that, if someone found that in their lives, that the rest would be so easy!  Very few people find their passion in life and can work at it too.

But artists have their trials and tribulations also:

Most artists don’t make enough money to live on so most have to supplement and take away from their art “time” to do another job or two.  And most can’t afford health insurance.  The “Starving Artist” theory, perpetuates the idea in society (i.e. buyers of art) that artists should not be paid enough for their products in order that they can make a living wage or be paid for their creative talent.  Where did that theory come from anyway?

For some reason, working 40-60 hours/week on creating art plus all the marketing & social media time, material and studio costs, paying 30%-60% commissions and research time, that has become so much a part of their job, isn’t worth as much an hour as someone out there working in the “corporate world” or outside of an art studio.

Crazy isn’t it?  The people creating the art are the only people who can’t make a living off their own art and most times comes out at a loss?  The art store employees make a living selling art products to them.  The galleries and alternative spaces make a living selling the artist’s work by making a sales commission on the art.  Colleges and universities make a living teaching art.  Website designers and developers and all the online businesses make a living off the artist.  I could go on and on, but really think about it.  The real creator of the art doesn’t.  They are the ones with the original, creative idea in the first place.  And they can’t price their work high enough to cover all their costs to make a living off of their product because society thinks they should starve for their art!

Selling your art and the steps necessary to being recognized is another process that leaves most artists exhausted and discouraged.  Applying to juried shows, getting into galleries and alternative markets, finding your tribe, educating yourself on the market and social media, updating your website and the research hours are endless.

Why do they do it?  Yes, some quit along the way or stall at a certain level because they don’t have the time, money or equipment to keep marketing themselves or pay someone else to do it for them.  Or some just don’t have enough passion and fall by the wayside.

Would I give up painting?  The thought has come into my head several times, usually at stressful, personal times in my life.  But quit painting?  Never.  I might give up some of the other stuff that goes along with being a marketing guru for selling my art but I hope I perish with a brush in my hand.

It is sad in a very serious way how society treats their creatives.  Most people revere artists, their talent and creative spirit.  It is a commodity in business (or should be) to hire creative-thinking people.  Most people I meet get this starry-eyed look when I tell them I am an artist.  They say, “I wish I had that talent”.  Or, “I can’t draw a straight line”.  Or  something to that effect.  But you can see that they really wish they could do that!  For many it brings back memories of a simpler time when they were children and did art projects for fun and not competition.  And shouldn’t that be one of the purposes of surrounding yourself with art, bringing back memories or giving you a certain feeling, whatever those feelings might be?  Some people are afraid to even approach an artist because they feel inferior in their presence.

Artists are just ordinary people doing what they do best in life.  And they should be able to make a living at it without having to sacrifice their salary so everyone else can make a living off of their creativity.  We pay you or your company for your services so that you can continue to do your job and that is all artists want as well.  To be paid a fair price for their work so that they can make a profit (salary) for their job after paying for everything else.

So the next time you see a piece of art that you would like, remember that artists have the same costs to performing their job as you or your company does.  I am hoping that educating the buying public will erase this title, “Starving Artist”, forever.  As an educated society, it should have been eradicated years ago.  And remember, you could be buying a piece of art that will go for millions or billions at Sotheby’s someday.  You lucky person!

Please take the poll below and give your thoughts on this issue.

Please share this post with others who might want to know a little about life as an artist from an artist’s perspective.  And thank you for your interest in my work.  Coming soon: An article you won’t want to miss on what goes into pricing a painting.
Painting above:  Green Piece 1 • 12″ X 12″ • Acrylic/MM • $425

Thinking About an Art Studio Remodel? (or Office Redo?)

In the Fall of 2013, I decided I needed a larger space for my art studio.  There was clutter everywhere and not enough storage space to hide it.  I don’t know about you but I can’t think properly or efficiently when I am surrounded by “STUFF”.

And, it was all necessary “STUFF” for my art creations, although my family would tell you otherwise.  I work out of my home because I get more done there than anywhere else.  Yes, I am one of those people who is focused & disciplined enough to work from home.  I work best when painting if I am alone.

My art studio was in a small space and had french doors leading out to a lovely, covered porch with all the trimmings.  But as I mentioned, I outgrew the space so bye, bye porch view.  It is now a guest room with a porch.

I had another spare room that was very large so I decided to switch rooms.  What a process that was because you had to store things in a 3rd room and the halls to do whatever had to be done to those 2 rooms being switched for 4-8 weeks!

My advice:  1st step would be to sit down and think about and list your major annoyances and problems with your current space.  For me, 2 things stood out that were major problems standing in my way of concentrating on creating paintings.  A 3rd item had to be addressed to have efficient light.

RemodeledStudio4Layout

1st Problem: Having canvases stacked everywhere was driving me crazy and impeding moving around in my studio.  Everywhere I turned I was bumping into canvases, blank and painted.  So my plan had to include deep cupboards or cabinets with moveable shelves (floor to ceiling) to accommodate the different sizes of canvases to get them out of my way.

The 2nd problem was the many printers (3) and 1 scanner that I needed for my business and the space they were taking up on desks, tables and elsewhere.  So I devised a plan to have one of the cupboards have pull-out shelves so that I could hide them and have them organized in 1 place.  Of course, this meant that I had to think about where the holes had to go to plug everything in and not have cords all over the place.  That was actually the hardest part before having everything built, making sure that everything had a place to be plugged in.

The 3rd problem was lighting.  The new room had 1 window and I didn’t want to have lamps all over the place so I researched my options.  I decided on a solar tunnel.  The 1st one they installed was too small.  The 2nd one was okay but when the sun isn’t shining it doesn’t give off enough light.  So I now have to have an electrician come and attach a light fixture inside the solar tunnel so that I have light on dark days and at night.

Even though I started in the Fall, it wasn’t totally completed until December.  Except for the lighting situation that is.  So plan on disruption for several months and a lot of clutter.  It is amazing how much “STUFF” I collect because I just might need it someday.

All in all, I love my new space and hardly ever want to leave it.  That is because I designed it with ME in mind.   Again, my advice is to think before you leap and decide what would work for you so that you can work without all the hassles of distractions.  Distractions are different for everyone.  My distraction is clutter and disorganization.  I can work with some clutter but it has to apply to the current painting I am working on, not something that has to stay there for the end of time.  But please note that my space does not look as clutter-free as the photos above.  My space looks very messy when I am painting.

Please share this with your people if it was helpful for you, especially those that would have need of this information.  And follow me on my blog and sign up for my newsletter (on the top, right-hand column).  You can view my paintings at my website.

6 Tips for the Beginner Art Collector (or for Anyone Buying a Painting)

MovingSpaces1_SmDo you want to start an art collection or did you see a painting that you would love to purchase but are unsure what to ask or what to look for in your investment?

Don’t fret because you are not alone.  There are many people with the same problem.  Some people will walk away from a painting even though they love it because they are unsure about their purchase or are embarrassed to ask the questions.  Let me begin this article by saying that artists love to talk about their work so bring on the questions.  And if the gallery doesn’t have the answer, ask them nicely to ask the artist and get back to you.

Here are 6 helpful tips to consider in deciding that purchase.

1.  Follow Your Intuition
First things first!  If you can’t keep your eyes off that painting, then your gut is telling you that you have a connection with it.  It is speaking to you in some way whether provoking a memory or a pleasant experience, etc.  If this happens to you, you might want to consider purchasing it because when it finds a place in your business or home, you will relive that experience every time you view it.  What more could you ask for in a purchase?

2.  Don’t Be Swayed By a Low Price Tag
There are many steps and processes to creating a painting that will stand the test of time.  If you are considering your painting as an investment, and not just something to match the sofa, then you need to ask some important questions of the artist or gallery owner.

Beware of low price tags.  The artist either hasn’t taken the steps (plus time) needed to prepare the work as it should be as an investment for the buyer or they don’t value their work.  In either case, the buyer is the loser in this transaction.  Also, beware of artists who give steep discounts on their work.  Investors don’t get the investment value on their piece if they can buy it cheaper if they wait until the artist has a “SALE”.

Professional Rule #1: Artists should not lower their prices because it lowers the value of their other client’s investment in their work who are already collectors.  Collectors want the value to go up, not down!

3.  Preparing the Canvas, Board or Paper When Using Acrylic or Oil
When using acrylic and/or oil, the surfaces above should be prepared with acrylic Gesso as a binder that makes sure that the paint layers bind with the surface.  For my canvas or board surfaces, I usually apply 4-5 layers of gesso before applying the acrylic paint.  Gesso, however, should not be used as a white paint in the actual painting.  Be sure to ask the artist about surface preparation.

4. When Paintings Have Some Collage Elements
Adding collage to paintings is a technique used by many artists today but also by many famous artists of the past as well, such as Picasso and Matisse.  Collaged elements and papers start a debate in itself so I will leave that for now.  My best advice is to make sure that the right adhesives have been used to glue the elements down on the painted surface.  Not all glues are advisable for all surfaces.  For an acrylic painting I used gel mediums or the acrylic paint itself as a glue.  And I always apply a varnish or medium on the top of the collaged item to protect it from harm.

5.  Storing Paintings
I love rotating out the paintings on my walls every so often to get a whole new look.  But, what do you do with the painting(s) that are retired for now?

They should be stacked in a place away from traffic patterns so they don’t get damaged, and in a way that neither points, objects or the hanging wires are penetrating the canvas.  Otherwise the canvas will form dent marks which don’t come out of stretched canvas and will crack the paint surface.  I have bought tall, thin, moving boxes and stored my paintings in those but I leave the top open or create holes in the cardboard because canvas likes to breathe.

Temperature is another factor.  Paintings need to be stored in an area where the temperature is moderate, not cold or hot.   The stress caused by extreme temperatures will break down the paint, as well as, warp the wooden, stretched frame.  I recommend buyers of a painting to go right home with it because the temperature in your car on a warm day can warp the frame so that it will not lie down flat to the wall and can ruin the paint.

6.  I Can’t Afford it Right Now.  What Are My Options?
I don’t know about other artists, but I will take payments on a painting(s) over a period of time and will hold the painting for the buyer until it is paid in full.  The period of time (up to 6 months) depends on the price.  And if a client buys more than 1 painting they will get a discount on their additional purchase at the time.  If you really love that painting, ask about options to owning it.

There is nothing more rewarding than finding a piece of art that speaks to you every time you walk in the room.  I hope these tips make your buying  adventure a better experience and protects your investment for future generations.

If you know of another person who you think would like to have these tips for their art buying experience, please share this blog post with them.  And if you would like to see if my art speaks out to you, please visit my website and view my portfolio.

Give A Gift of Art for Christmas…

The Gift of Art lasts forever.  Get the Greeting Cards or Prints framed.  Framed, blank, greeting cards make for inexpensive gifts but are very thoughtful because they can be targeted to the receivers exact interests.  Giving an original painting is really a very special gift because it is an investment as well as a showpiece for home or office.

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Small Business Saturday – November 30th

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