Category Archives: art business

Decisions, decisions!

Aren't these pretty?

Here are my 5×7″ prints, double-matted to fit perfectly into 8×10″ frames. Sweet!

I’ve got twelve different double matted prints all wrapped up and ready to go for October’s show at The Red Sable. These will be for sale, $12 each or 3 for $30.

Now I’m on to note cards. I figured to put 2 each of 2 different designs into each package and charge $8 or 3 packages/$20. The question is, which ones should I combine with which?

Here are the choices:

Should I put two dancers together? The mermaid and the lighthouse? Pull my finger and the couple in the Ghost Trolley? Which ones would you like to see paired together? Or should I just make all four cards in the package the same? Let me know in the comments!

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New mascot picture

It’s a nice problem to have, right? They’re running out of my 5×7″ skelly cards at the Starving Artist. I was going to just put a bunch in the mail to them for re-stocking but realized the web address on the back is my old blog address and I’m posting on a new one right here. So then, since I had to make a change anyway, I thought I’d slap a big fat picture of me on the back, too.

This is the one I picked:

picture of me with a skeleton and a skelly painting

Wave hello to everyone, little skelly mascot!

And here are the outtakes:

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Skeleton facing the wrong way

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Now he looks like he’s being held captive by a mad woman.

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Whoops, little too excited with the waving there.

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Just no.

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Little too much distance between me and my beloved and the easel and I look like I’m giving him a hand massage.

It’s kind of hilarious hitting the timer and then grabbing a slippery skeleton and trying to make it and myself look friendly. But I think I got it done. What do you think? Different photo? Maybe I should just make it a picture of the skeleton with pastels in its hands… Or passed out next to a bottle. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

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How I make a progress picture slide show in WordPress

Filling the viewfinder with my art.

I use a tri-pod and a DSLR camera to take progress photos of my art. This photo shows how I try to fill the viewfinder with my art. It also shows my messy studio, but that’s the subject of another post!

Bev asked about progress pictures. This post is for her and anyone else who is keeping an art blog and wants to know how I do this. I use my camera to take pictures and I use my iPad and the Motion Pics app for time-lapse videos.

This post is about taking pictures and making a slide show with them. I’ll talk about time-lapse in another post.

Equipment:
  • Digital camera (I use a Nikon CoolPix L810 camera, but any DSLR camera works well)
  • Tri-pod (You can do this without one, but if you’re working in low light, a tri-pod is a great way to prevent blurry shots)
  • iPhoto or other photo storage software (I use iPhoto because it came with my Mac)
Set up:

I set up my paper or matboard on my easel, then position the camera on a tri-pod in front of it. Then I go to the camera settings menu and select “white balance”. There is an option called “Preset manual” that I use which will automatically tell the camera to focus on whatever is in front of it, in this case, a piece of white paper or white foam core that I prop directly in front of the artwork area. Measuring the white balance keeps my pictures from having a blue or yellow cast to them due to ambient light sources.

Using the "white balance" settings on my camera.

This picture shows how I use the “white balance” settings on my camera to eliminate color casts from my photos.

I use a focal length (the telephoto option) that’s about midway between the widest angle and the closest angle, about 50 mm, so that the picture isn’t distorted and the sides of the paper or matboard are parallel to the sides of the viewfinder. I try to fill the viewfinder with my artwork. I take a picture after every step in the painting process.

Once the painting is done, I upload all the photos to iPhoto. I delete the photos that are blurry and then export the rest to a  folder on my Mac. I export them as jpeg files, high quality, large size. With these settings each image is about 160k, so the slide show loads quickly.

To make a slide show in WordPress on my blog, I click on “Add Media” at the top of my new blog post. I upload the photos, then with them selected, I click “Create Gallery” in the upper left corner. This takes me to a new window where I can add captions under each photo and rearrange the order of the slides. I select “slide show” under “Gallery Settings: Type.” Then I select “Insert Gallery” on the bottom right, and voila! I have a slide show. It doesn’t look like a slide show while I’m editing but if I select “Preview” at the bottom I can see how it will look when the post is published.

I’ll share how I make a time-lapse progression on a later post. Hope this helps, Bev! Let me know in the comments if I left anything out.

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Pump it up

I need regular pep talks. Since I work at home, that means I have to go find them, because when I give myself a pep talk, it doesn’t always work. Trust issues, clearly.

Sometimes I read books about inspiring subjects. Sometimes I go looking on the internet for uplifting stories. I find that without something funny or wise or encouraging every day, I slip into downer mode and it’s hard to do anything at all, much less make a painting.

Here are some places I go in no particular order:

  • Imgur – puppies and kittens and the occasional red panda
  • Ted Talks – Twenty awe-inspiring minutes of hope for humankind
  • Writers Almanac – A poem a day for FREE!
  • Brain Pickings – Great place to find inspiring reads
  • Clients From Hell (I go here to remind myself what great clients I have)
  • Other artist/art biz websites

Today’s wave portrait was inspired by the work of Drew Brophy, whose work I found on Maria Brophy’s blog. She’s inspiring in all kinds of ways from a business standpoint and Drew’s work is pure awesomeness.

pastel painting of a wave

Wave Portrait No. 132, 5×7″ pastel on UArt paper by Marie Marfia, $70.

I just drew a line and filled it in with lots of luscious colors. The sky reminds me of orange sherbet and the white cap looks like whipped cream. I think I must have to eat something.

Love it?
You can purchase the ORIGINAL painting on Etsy.
You can purchase PRINTS on Fine Art America.
Get a free mini-print when you sign up for my e-newsletter.

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Science for everyone!

picture of skelly prints and cards

Skellies going to the Starving Artist Gallery.

I have some stuff at The Starving Artist Consignment Gallery in St. Augustine that is selling pretty well. The skellies, in fact, are making me money. But I’d like to sell more of them.

I just finished an excellent short course on marketing for shows and exhibits and I’m going to try a scientific experiment based on what I learned. I’m going to re-stock my prints and cards and postcards like I usually do, but instead of stuffing every single stinking skelly in my 2×6′ space, I’m just going to stock six skelly designs total and see what happens. I’ll have multiples of each of the designs, but I’m going to limit the choices people have. As the author of my marketing course quoted, “Two is a choice, three is a dilemma.”

I’m like a lot of artists. I feel like I have to give people everything they could possibly think of all at once or I’ll lose them. The truth is, and I know this from my own experience, people don’t really want to see every thing you’ve ever done or thought of. It’s too confusing. It’s better if you present them with just a few choices. Then they can pick the one they like best from a small sample without worrying about whether or not they made the right choice. There’s a study that supports this, that was also mentioned in my marketing course.

I get this on a rational level. But on an emotional one, my anxieties cloud my thinking. (“What if I miss my only opportunity to sell 10,000 mermaid skellies to an art buyer from New York because I left it at home?”)

And what better place to experiment than a consignment gallery? I can change out the designs every month and make a note of what’s doing well and what isn’t. There’s no emergency unless I make it into one. I already know the skellies are popular. I just need to tweak their presentation. Six instead of twenty-six. Ahh, it already feels better. I’ll let you know how it works out.

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