Friday, September 18, 2020

It's Coming

 Just 98 Days until Christmas...and I have the perfect Christmas Cards for you!


I've drawn this old washtub so many times that I can almost draw it now in my sleep.  With the holidays in mind, it just seemed natural to decorate it all festive for Christmas and invite some fun farm animals to the party.  I had a blast creating each of these drawings and it was natural to then turn them into a set of Christmas cards.  I just added the listing for the set a couple days ago on my Etsy Shop along with a "Woodland Critters Christmas" design that is just adorable.

I'm in love with the torn paper background and the hint of dark red surrounding it.  It compliments that old washtub perfectly and just makes an adorable holiday card to send to your farmhouse loving family and friends.  You're sure to get lots of smiles.  Wash Tub Christmas Card Set on my Etsy Shop

As a matter of fact, I'm SO in love with that background that I have decided to incorporate it into my 2021 calendar designs that I am currently working on that will feature many more of my washtub series.  I'm really excited about and will be sharing more next month.


When I create a new art for a series like this that I know I will be grouping together, I also list each piece of art separately on my shop where you can purchase a print or note card with just that image on it.  No background added, just the artwork itself printed on nice paper with my signature.  This gives 100% of the focus to the artwork without diminishing it with other colors and images to distract your view.  I have listings for all 4 of the Wash Tub Christmas designs on my Shop if you are interested in a print or a card of this style.  These cute animals are sure to brighten up any wall in your home with a splash of Christmas cheer!


If you would like to check out this image or more of my art you can hop on over to my Etsy Shop and poke around.  I LOVE having visitors!  Julie Townsend Studio on Etsy

Friday, August 21, 2020

Spreading Joy one COWBELL at a Time



Wow!  I can't even remember the last cowbell I actually painted,  I'm thinking it must have been last summer when I was on my annual art sabbatical up in Ely, Nevada.  FYI-I just looked it up and since I started painting cowbells way back in 2015, I have sold a total of 141 bells.  That my friends, is a lot of cowbells!

We have made a number of changes to the prepping of each bell and to the way that I paint them over that time and I think this new painted all over the bell design looks amazing.  I want to make it difficult to decide just which side of the bell that you want to display.  

I blogged yesterday about all the hydrangea and butterfly commission pieces that I have been doing in the past month or two and so it only seemed fitting that I would add that theme to a cowbell.  Here is the first "Hydrangea and Monarch Butterfly" cowbell and I have 2 more to paint on my easel.  

As you can see the design wraps around the whole bell and the bright orange of the butterflies just POP against all the purple and blue.  I'm really excited about this one.

Here is the link to the listing on my Etsy Shop if you are interested in checking this out.  They really do make and excellent gift. Hydrangea and Monarch Cowbell

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What is Your Favorite Grandma Recipe


Something to Sing About- Chicken and Dumplings Recipe




This note card design turned out so cute I think and I'm really excited about it.  I've combined my art with a vintage background and typed out an actual recipe to give it that recipe card look.  Right now I have 6 designs available and I've added them to my Etsy shop listings as both a card, a magnet or a print that you can have matted and framed.  These make a perfect gift for that farmhouse style lover in your life.

Just visit my shop and use the search term "Recipe" and all 5 designs will be there for you to check out.  While you are there take some time to browse the rest of my artwork.  I LOVE VISITORS!  

For a small additional charge of $20 I could combine one of my existing artwork images with your favorite recipe to make truly custom gift.  Just message me and we can chat about that.

JulieTownsendStudio on Etsy.com


You Got the Cookies- Snickerdoodle Recipe








Watching Carrots Grow- Carrot Cake Recipe


I Woof You- Peanut Butter Dog Treat Recipe



Forget the Worms- Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


Cookies and Lemonade- Fresh Squeezed Lemonade Recipe

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

I've Got a GREEN Thumb for sure

 
It has been one of my regular spring rituals to make my annual pilgrimage to purchase little pots of color at my local home improvement store to bring home and brighten my front yard.  I'm love the feel of the black dirt on my hands and the moist smell of the wet earth as I carefully arrange and plant each little flower.  There is real excitement and anticipation as I imagine just how pretty and inviting they will make the entrance to my home.  

I adore flowers and  LOVE to walk up and down the isles, admiring the vivid blooms, the fragrance scents that fill the space they call the garden section.    
All that comes to an abrupt end when the first day that the temperature hits 100.  The reality of the Las Vegas summers is once again painfully obvious as I try to ignore yellowing and wilting of what was once so vibrant and colorful.  You would think I would just give up but here I am again with a scrawny morning glory vine and wilted herbs lining the entrance to my home.  

Well one thing is for certain...the flowers grow great in my studio as you can well see. I have true GREEN thumb when it comes to my studio flowers.  Of course that is directly correlated with the amount of green paint I am using. It seems that I've been on a flower craze for a good portion of the summer and as the temperatures rise to record levels here in the southwest my studio stays a ablaze in the cool colors of spring. 
 
It really all started with this old red flyer wagon that belongs to my neighbor. He asked if I would paint one of my little mice with some flower pots in it for his wife.  They are such excellent neighbors I had to say yes.  Little did I know this was going to turn into such a thing.  It seems now my summer focus has been that of purple hydrangeas and lavender.  

I've painted several pieces and now I'm doing commission work based on this design.  The old reclaimed pallet wood panel has become a requested  favorite and has my husband out scouring the desert for more weathered wood.  It keeps him out of trouble so this is a good thing.

SOLD

Here are the last 4 pieces I have managed to finish as of late.  I hope you enjoy and they all bring a smile to your face.  Check out more of my work to purchase on my ETSY SHOP.  

SOLD- 10 x 20 inch on canvas
SOLD 
AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ON ETSY

2 panel commission- SOLD







Saturday, August 8, 2020

5 WAYS TO GROW YOUR STUDIO EMAIL LIST

I'm always looking for ways to increase my artist reach and boost my sales.  The more marketing baskets you have the better and I have felt for quite sometime that I have placed too many of my marketing eggs in the Facebook basket.  


This concerns me as I don't want to be left with the proverbial egg on my face.  I don't want to find my  basket tattered and broken on the ground and only handful of cracked egg shells to show for all my years of hard work.  



I find that this dependence I have on one social platform makes me uncomfortable.  Don't get me wrong,  I LOVE my Facebook audience.  They are so supportive and bless my every day with their kind words  I have to remember that it is all great while the honeymoon lasts but the beast can rear it's ugly head and  can turn on you very quickly.  One ill thought out post or even an innocent "LIKE" emoji attached to something that others disagree with can have dire consequences and in no time at all you can see all your hard brand building flushed down the toilet.
What is an artist to do?  Well I have made the decision to diversify my marketing efforts in several ways.  I still encourage everyone I can to "LIKE" my Facebook studio page @JulieTownsendStudio but I also try to capture their email address so that I can add them to my Studio VIP list.  My list is now over 500 and is growing daily.  This way I still have an avenue to reach my fan base even if someday I find myself in a place where I can no longer depend on Facebook as my major marketing tool.

I am also focused on building my business using Pinterest to drive more traffic to my Etsy Shop and Website.  Pinterest is a visual search engine and not a social media platform and since artwork is all about being visual I think Pinterest is a perfect partner.  I will blog more about Pinterest in the future but for now this blog is my suggestions for growing your email list.


 
1.  HAVE A CONTEST-  In July I decided to run a giveaway on my Facebook page that focused on collecting email addresses.  I asked my followers to email me a birthday greeting and I would add them to my drawing. I was careful to let them know that by doing so they were giving me permission to add them to my studio email list.  I found this strategy very successful and not only did I feel LOVED❤💕 but I got to see my email list really grow.  

2.  USE YOUR ETSY SHOP SALES- Etsy actually doesn't allow you to use the email address associated with each of your sales and while it is tempting to add that email address to your email list you will eventually get into Etsy hot water.  What I have done on my Etsy Shop is make one of my two mandatory variations allowed on each listing to ask the following question.  "Would you like to join my Studio VIP list?" and their options are "Yes, please add me or No thank you."  So I have given them the option to opt in and you would be surprised and how many "Yes" replies I get.  This has been a great way to build my email list.  

3. JOIN MAILCHIMP-About a year ago I took the plunge and opened a free account with Mailchimp to house my email list.  I uploaded the data from my Google contact list and while there are a few additional services that I would like to have seen Mailchimp offer me, such as being able to keep good notes, address and phone numbers on each client, I'm overall satisfied. You can't beat FREE.  I am able to build my list up to 5000 subscribers, send out my studio newsletter and create a signup form that I can add to my website.  I'm sure there are plenty of other cool things that the program can do but I'm old and have to take my time figuring new technology out.  In my opinion, Mailchimp  isn't as user friendly as it could be but it serves me now and I usually am able to figure out what I'm trying to accomplish with the help of Youtube. 

4.  OFFER AN INCENTIVE- I feel it is very important to give your clients a reason why they should want to join your email list and hear from you on a regular basis.  I mean some may just like your art that much but I feel that I need to add a value to this decision to allow me into their private life.  In my case, I have decided that for most of my studio giveaways you will be automatically entered if you are part of the VIP list.  Let them have access to free stuff that you don't tell anyone else about.  I even eventually plan to give my VIP list members the first opportunity to see my newest artwork and have a chance to purchase it before I show it on social media or list it on my shop. You can also consider offering a special VIP discount code.   Just think of somethings that will make them just a bit more special to your studio and the email address will begin to pour in.  

5.  DON'T FORGET TO ASK-  You can't grow you email list or your social media following unless you ask.  Don't let the opportunity pass you by.  If you are chatting about your artwork then make sure you let them know how to find you.  Ask if them if they have a Facebook Page or and Instagram account. Oh, and don't forget to ask for their email address.  Always have your business cards in your purse or pocket along with a pen and paper to write on.  Meeting people in person is by far one of the best ways to grow your local fan base and I don't know about your, but I never have a shortage of words when it come to talking about my artwork.

You can subscribe to my VIP list by using the sidebar here on my blog and LIKE my Facebook Studio Page while you are at it.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Making Stickers from Your Artwork

Stickers seem to be such a small thing and I realize most artists wouldn't even bother with them but I actually enjoy designing them.  Especially when I'm using my own original artwork in that design. Surprisingly, there are many individuals that really love to purchase and collect stickers and the space needed to store you inventory is really small.  

It was actually my desire to learn to make stickers that was the driving force for me to take the time to teach myself a little Photoshop.  That determination to make myself familiar with this software and the use of Layers, Magic Erasers, Lasso Tools, Magic Wands and  Spot Healing Brush Tools has been instrumental in opening the doors of possibility wide open for my artwork.  

Another BIG advantage that I found with offering up stickers was when it came to the opening of my Etsy Shop.  For your shop to even have a chance at being found in the ETSY SEO searches I'm told you have to have at least 100 listings.  Also, buyers often rely heavily on other customer ratings and the history of sales in a particular shop.  When you are first starting out as an ETSY seller, both of these statistic benchmarks maybe difficult to achieve.  I even read the suggestion that you consider padding your numbers by giving your friends money to purchase inexpensive items on your shop and then give you 5 start reviews just to get you over that "NEW SHOP HUMP".  

Creating stickers was a way for me to increase my number of listings and I found that a buyer was more apt to be comfortable spending $3.50 for an item on my brand new shop then forking over the money to purchase one of my original artworks or even a print from me.  Also, those small sales do add up over time.  For example, I have had $494 in sticker sales on my Etsy Shop from the period of January to May 2020.  There you have it!  One of my ETSY tips for you to consider if you're thinking of trying your artistic hand at opening your own ETSY Shop.

I need to get this post back on track here.  Yesterday, we had the privilege of keeping our 3 darling grandchildren (we now have 11 total).  Little Miss J is 5 years old and loves to spend time with me in my studio.  I jokingly call her my studio assistant in training and so I followed through on a previous promise that I had made to her  that we would turn her artwork into stickers so she could see my Cricut Explore Air 2 in action.

The original art scan after it was cleaned up in Photoshop
She carefully used watercolors to paint these 3 little flower doodles that I helped her create.  They turned out really cute.  When the watercolors were dry, she placed her master piece on the flatbed scanner and we scanned them into Photoshop.  I showed her how to clean up her images using the eraser tool and she did a lot of the editing herself.  Here are the 3 edited flowers.

Next, I created a new Photoshop file that was 6.75 inches x 9.25 inches and had a transparent background. (This is the standard size of the Cricut cut files)  Using the Lasso tool, I selected each flower and brought them over into the new file.  Using the "Stroke" edit function, I created a "white stroke" around each file that was 52 in size.  This gives the white border that all stickers have.   Then using "Ctrl J" (she liked that because her name begins with a J) we copied each flower 2 more times.  I then arranged them on the file so they were not touching.  The result is a sheet full of beautiful stickers.

6.75 x 9.25 PNG file with a transparent background
I then opened  up my Cricut Design Space on my computer and uploaded the PNG image to my projects.  You then select "MAKE IT" and  "Complex" and then create the project.  Now it is time to print out the stickers on matte sticker paper.  For my stickers I'm going to sell on my shop I use a paper made by ROCK.  Here is the Amazon link:  MATTE STICKER PAPER for my ETSY Shop  If I am printing out stickers for my own use (shipping stickers to decorate my orders) I use this less expensive sticker paper.  Here is the Amazon link for that paper also:  SHIPPING STICKER PAPER

I then sent the file to print.  We attached the printed stickers to a cutting matte and loaded them next into my Cricut with the cut setting on "PAPER" so that it would just kiss cut around each sticker.  As you can see by the BIG smile on my Granddaughter's face, she was very pleased and I think I helped make a memory.   




Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Going to the Dogs

SO TELL ME, ARE YOU A CAT PERSON OR A DOG PERSON?

It seems like my summer is "GOING TO THE DOGS"!  I literally feel that I could just dedicate the rest of my art career to drawing all the different dog breeds.  I have received requests to do; Doxies, Collies, Corgies and Beagles...just to name a few.  All so cute, in their own doggie way and just adorable when added to that well used "Wash Tub" full of bubbles.  

Honestly, I've gotten as much response with my dog drawings as I have with the cow and chicken pieces that I have done. That surprises me a bit, but I guess there really are a lot of "DOG" people out there. 

Meet Ginger
Meet Ginger
Personally, I'm a pet neutral kind of girl.  We do have both a chihuahua mix named Ginger and a 21 year old tortie cat named Pesky that keep us hoping at home.  You can't help but get attached to them, but deep down, I know that I would be okay without owning a pet. 

I'm probably not going to surprise you when I say that, "I do love drawing them."  Now that's my kind of pets.  They make me laugh, they are not problem to clean up after and traveling is a breeze.  I can have an entire barnyard of animals and they are all just hanging out in my sketchbook.  

This past two weeks,  I have had a blast drawing these doggy fur babies and I really appreciate all the positive reaction I have gotten from them.  My Facebook fans are the best!

I have to share so let me introduce the gang.  I have a total of 4 doggy drawings I have finished and just today, I starting my 5th drawing of a beagle and 3 barn cats.  It is going to be so cute.  

All of these are available as prints and note cards on my Etsy Shop .  Hope on over and check them out.
Wash Tub Kids
Scrub Tub Bubbles



Bubbles and Bushy Tails
Soap and Quackers