Sunday, November 23, 2008

Breaking into the Art Market: Part One

Bid On This Painting
This will take you over to Ebay

Grand Buck of the Siskiyou

Earlier this week, I met an old timer who used to track wild life in and around Mt Shasta who lives just beyond The Grand View Ranch, and he told me that a small herd of elk live on the east side of the mountain in the summer and if I hurry, I can see them rut. I hiked deep into the woods on the east side of Mt Shasta with my thumb box in my backpack and my camera ready to capture anything that moved in the bushes. I carefully descended into the thick brush in search of my target. After hours of wandering through the hillsides and rivers in this desolate area, I found the herd. It was a small herd with six cows and one buck. They were unaware of my presence so I quickly made some sketches. This sketch called “Grand Buck of the Siskiyou” is one of many sketches that I began on this journey.

Every year, 10,000 artists graduate from art schools across the country. Most of these artists will go into other occupations within a few years. A lot of hard work and a little luck are important to making it as an artist. Here are some other ideas.

Take initiative and network! Artists must believe in their work and imagine that it can have a place in the art world. It takes time to develop a recognizable name, and to do this, you must create a loyal customer base at a local level. Be open to showing your art in many different venues. Begin by placing your art in Cafes and local restaurants. Contact your local art group to find out about opportunities for showing your art in their art shows. Have an open studio and paint while potential customers enjoy your finished, framed pieces. Start now to develop a name for yourself. Networking to promote your art is not a one or two year plan. It may take 5 to 10 years to become well known. We often look for the “one piece of the puzzle” that will open the doors to success, but this is not a realistic approach to becoming successful in the art world. It takes many pieces and many attempts to put the whole puzzle together to have your art in public view.

Represent yourself! The only person that really cares about your art and your success is you. Few new artists understand this when they are beginning to show their work. Galleries are most interested in keeping their doors open and will seldom spend any of their commissions on advertising your work or sponsoring a show. Few galleries have the integrity to share with you the names of clients who collect your work. However, they are the first to ask for your client list. Galleries and charity events are good exposure opportunities and should be part of your marketing plan. However, they are not the only ways to have your art be seen by the public.

Keep Creating! It takes a lifetime to be an overnight success as an artist. Keep painting and perfecting your craft and your message. Artists have to be prolific and proactive in producing and promoting their work. Once a door opens to show your work, you must have some paintings available for sale. Success may be a long time in coming, so keep in mind that painting is a craft, and every painting is a learning opportunity for the next painting to be a masterpiece.

I will be sending other blogs about marketing your art, and until then, be intentional about yourself as an artist and create your own success by painting those moments in life that you want others to experience through your art.

If you are interested in experiencing a breakthrough weekend that will take your art to the next level, visit our new website at, and you can download my FREE BOOK where I share “Everything I know About Painting.”

I hope that we can build a community of artists that can share information with each other.If you know of any artists that might appreciate being included, let them know about this blog.

I hope to offer more painting tips as this conversation continues. If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime.

I welcome your feedback.


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