Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to Box a Painting for Shipping

I ship about 50 paintings a year. Most of them are oils on Gallery Wrap canvas. Here's how I do it.

1. I put the painting in a plastic bag. For small paintings I use 2 gallon zip bag, for large I use giant bags I get at Home Depot. This is just a tall kitchen bag.

2. I cut 3/4" styrofoam sheeting from Home Depot or Lowes the same size as the painting. I cut side strips 3 1/2" wide (the width of the canvas plus the width of the styrofoam x3) . 

3. I build the styrofoam 'box' around the painting putting 2 sheets of foam on the face of the painting

4.I put extra pieces of foam on the corners and center sides for extra protection. If I'm shipping a framed painting I put 2 full layers on the sides.

5.I get Four Part Mirror Boxes from a moving company like Allied Van Lines. I like these because the largest paintings I ship are 30 x 40 & 36 x 36. Because of the overlapping of the cardboard I have extra layers in the center of painting. Makes for a sturdy box.

6. I fold and tape the cardboard box around the styrofoam box

7. Done and ready to ship. I won't guarantee that your painting will be safe with this method but it's worked well for me. The cardboard boxes cost me about $8 and the styrofoam about $11 plus tape so the total cost is around $20.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pet Peeve

No, that's my Pet Liam. Here's my pet peeve:

I just got an email from an artist that told me he won some awards the The ABST Exhibit. Well that's great BUT What the heck is the ABST exhibit? What does ABST stand for? Where is it? Is the show online? If not, is it close enough for me to see the show in person?

Don't make people guess at these things. The more you tell folks, the better it is. Right now I don't care that he won awards because I don't know anything about the show.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Email List and Aggravation

Quilled Moccasins,12 x 9, oil on canvas

As you know, on Fridays I like to email folks about new work. I always send the emails to myself and Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) the emails to everyone else in groups of 25. I have about 500 folks on my list so I send out about 20 groups of emails. NEVER 'carbon copy' your list when you are emailing. Other people can see their names and email addresses. This is an invasion of privacy to you clients and can result in them asking to be removed from your list.

When you send each group of emails to yourself (with everyone else getting a BBC) you will get your email when each group of 25 is delivered. Am I making sense? Well, today I only got half of the emails I sent to myself. Something wonky is going on with my email server. I was unable to reach my server by phone. I suspect that something strange was going on and they were receiving numerous phone call complaints. Very irritating but something I must reconcile with my server before I can send out next weeks emails. If I weren't sending each group of emails to myself, I wouldn't have known that something was wrong


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Typical Day in the studio

I've been neglecting this blog lately because I've been busy painting. I'm trying to get some new works to my galleries and my gallery in Santa Fe, Gallery 822, is having their anniversary show soon so I'm trying to finish a few pieces for them.

And I played hooky yesterday to take a trip to the fantastic Carlsbad Caverns. Beautiful!

Today, I updated my other blog with some exciting news. I'm about to photograph a few paintings I finished last week and then it's off to the studio. This evening I will look over my To Do list and see what projects I need to pay attention to and I will prepare for a new painting.

That's my typical day 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who's in Charge Here?

Into a Slumber, 30 x 36, oil on canvas.  The painting on layaway

I recently left a gallery. It happens. It just wasn't a match. I asked for the return of my work in January. The gallery complied but said that one painting was on layaway and I would be paid in April. I contacted the gallery today and I was told that the buyer was having "financial problems" and I would be paid in May.

What's wrong with this picture? First, I have a contract with all my galleries that states that paintings will not be on layaway for more than 90 days and The Gallery assumes full risk of nonpayment by the purchaser.

Second, I own this painting until it's paid for. It's not up to the gallery to tell me when I'm going to be paid or change the layaway policy without my permission. I believe in being flexible with my galleries. Stuff happens. I have one small gallery that  consistently  has buyers that take 6 months to pay for a painting. BUT the gallery calls me first and I agree.

I also have no problem with a gallery taking a long layaway without my permission as long as I get paid within 90 days of the layaway. That is, I get paid first. The gallery can take as long as they want to get their commission.

I told this gallery owner that I would give her one more month. At that time I needed to be paid whether the buyer had completed payments or not OR I need to have the painting returned to me.

Remember, the artist owns the painting. The money collected for the sale of the painting belongs to the artist and the artist is paying the gallery a commission. Many galleries think they are paying the artist the commission. That's just not so. And I make sure my contract says just that.

What does your contract say?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Monthly Newsletter

Redwing, oil on canvas, 30 x 24, currently at the Hubbard Museum Grande Biennale

I've been really busy the past few days so I've been limiting my time on the internet more than usual.  As you know, when you are on the computer one site can lead to another and before you know it the day is gone.

I do most of my Social net working and blogging in the morning. My goal is to be in the studio at 9:00 am (sometimes earlier). Painting is important, blogging is not. 

Now on to the topic of Newsletters. I send one out every month around the first. Are you seeing a pattern here? Emails on Friday, newsletters on the 1st, computer til 9am. I set deadlines and times that things need to be done. I make it a habit. I don't beat myself up if I miss the deadline but I know certain things need to be done and setting a deadline really helps me.

Who gets my newsletter? Everyone I can think of: customers, folks that subscribe, media, my galleries, galleries I want to be in, shows I'm in, shows I want to be in, folks that have inquired about my work, other artists. I know the politically correct thing to do these days is to "ask permission" before sending an email to someone. Well, I don't. I  figure if a gallery is in the art business or someone has asked about my art then there is no harm in contacting them about art. I also have a notice on the bottom of my email telling them that I will remove them from my email list on request. That's just my opinion. And to my knowledge , my newsletters comply with the spam laws.

I also put the newsletter on my blog. I then announce it on Twitter and Facebook.

What's in my newsletter? I try to stick with what's currently happening. In my April newsletter I tell about the shows coming up in April. Or awards that I've won in the past month. If I have nothing going on (which is unusual) I'll post images of paintings and tell a bit about them. You can see my current newsletter here

I have a place on my blog so folks can subscribe to my newsletter. Feedburner collects the info for me and I go to their site and get the email addresses.  

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Choose a Right Juried Show

Ball Jar and Marbles, 9 x 12, oil on board selected for the Salon International exhibit

There are a lot of juried art shows out there. It's always frustrating to have your beautifully executed traditional painting rejected from a show and find that only 'avant garde' or abstracts were chosen. I like to minimize that chance by doing some research before entering a  show.

Lots of shows have the previous year's exhibit online. You can get an idea of the style of work that is accepted. Even when they change jurors each year they still usually stick with the same type of work. 

If the show isn't online, Google the name of the show and you should find artist's blog and websites that were accepted and perhaps won awards at the show. See what kind of work they do.

Being a representational painter, I also avoid shows where All Mediums are accepted. All mediums include fiber art, installation art, videos, etc. These shows usually only choose 'Cutting Edge'. Not right for me but it might be right for you.

Find out who the juror is. If they are the curator for a modern art museum and you do traditional work you may want to pass on that show. 

And my favorite way to find shows is to view a show online (like Salon International) and find the artists that do similar work to mine, look at their website or blog and see what other shows they enter. That can be time consuming but it's always pleasurable looking at good art.

Do you have any way that you like to choose shows?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Repainting an Image


Dance Stick, 30 x 30, oil on canvas.

Not all paintings sell the first time out. Could be the wrong gallery for the painting, wrong audience, global  warming or who knows why.

First of all, I like to think that I never send a painting out that has something 'Wrong' with it. But when a painting comes back from a gallery I take a long look and make sure I'm satisfied. If I'm still satisfied, it gets boxed up and is on to another gallery. Throughout the year I hope my skills improve so perhaps the painting was Good Enough when I sent it out but can now be tweeked a bit to make a better painting. 

I just got 2 paintings back. One of them I'm still happy with, the other I decided could use just a bit of work.

I'm sure this painting would have sold "as is" but I decide to add a little darkness around the eyes to give a more intense expression. I added some highlights to the feathers and hair. I darkened the shirt and shawl so the face would pop out more. More contrast in the red fabric on the shield, added two feathers for interest and added more detail to the Horse Dance Stick. All in all about 2 hours work. 

Better? Well, that's a matter of taste and opinion. A great reason to work in oils is that it can always be changed.

Do you have paintings that you'vereworked? I'd like to hear about it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Why Enter Art Shows?

Cowboys and Indians, 20 x 24, oil on canvas

The next few posts will be about juried art shows. They can be expensive to enter and ship the work. Are they worth it?

Yes and No. It really depends are what you are expecting to get out of the show. 

1) When you are first starting out  it's a great way to get a resume. It's good to start with smaller shows and local shows to get your feet wet.

2) It gives you something to talk about. If you get into a show you can email your list of folks and tell them about it. You can email them again when the show opens. You can email them again to remind them the show is about to close. And of course you email them when you've won that award. NEVER tell folks in email, facebook, twitter, your blog etc that you've been rejected from a show. We all get rejected from time to time. But that's our little secret. We want folks to know about our success not out failures.

3)Think of the show as advertising. You may pay a $30 entry fee, and then another $50 to get the painting to the show and back again. $80 total.(more if it's a large painting and the show tacks on a "repacking" fee) But how much would you spend if you advertised in a magazine? A Lot more! If you get in the show it will be seen by folks that normally wouldn't see your work, in a part of the countrywhere you work isn't often seen. True, a magazine ad reaches more people but the folks that go to art shows are more likely to buy art now or in the future (that's my opinion)

4) You may win an award or sell the painting. I left this for last because I rarely sell at juried shows. I am more likely to win an award than to sell a painting. I think the reason is because the work accepted into shows is based on artist merit. The paintings people BUY are based on emotion.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery

Peanuts and Gumballs, oil on canvas, 18 x 24

I love looking at good artwork whether in person or online. It inspires me.

Salon International has some of the best art in their show. This year artists entered 1288 pieces of art. 392 were selected for the show.

When I find an artist that I like in this show, I look to see if they have a website. I'm still shocked that many of them don't! But if they do have a site, I like to see their other art, what galleries represent them, what other shows they do etc. It often leads me to enter some of the shows they also enter and adding their galleries to my list of potential galleries for myself.