Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ready to Sell Some Art

When I find something that works well and makes the business of selling art just a little easier, I want to share it.  This was me a week ago sewing tablecloths for my folding camping tables. 2 full size black, flat sheets and dusting off my rusty sewing skills was all it took to whip these together.  I think Mrs. LaDuke (my Eldon High School sewing teacher) would be proud.  Yes, that's right, I actually took a whole year of sewing in 10th grade.  

I just love the versatility I have with these tables and they are perfect to use in my booth at the mall, at outdoor festivals and of course camping.  I purchased the first set of tables a couple years ago and have loved using them as part of my easel and palette set up when painting outdoors. 

 I just purchased a second set on Amazon.com so now I have 4 tables with matching table coverings and I think makes a perfect addition for my booth pictured here.  My booth was both functional and cozy.  I even used one of the tables to set up my pencils and do a little live sketching.

If you are interested in getting a better look at some of my artwork you can check out my website at Julie Townsend Studio or my ETSY SHOP.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tooth Picks for My Eyelids Please

This has been one very busy week for me.  Looking back over the past 7 days, I feel a bit tired just thinking about it.  Of course that might also be the fact that I got up at 4 am with my mother.  I'm in that funny stage of my life where  I find ourselves loading either wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and diaper bags into my SUV or it is strollers, car seats and diaper bags.  It all depending on who I am watching that day.  Brad and I are spanning the gap between several generations, all needing our attention. Sometimes it feels like a struggle just to find time for my art and so I'm beginning to sense an urgency to prioritize my current commitments.  You know what I mean.  When you must evaluate those obligations that are taking me away from important relationships and your passion. Sometimes it is just so hard to say NO!


Last Friday, we packed up the camper with lots of  yummy food and headed out to spend the day in Logandale, Nevada to enjoy the Clark County Fair.  Joined by 4 of my 6 kids and their families, I had 7 of my 9 grandchildren running under foot.  It was a wonderful time.  The weather was pleasant and the company was great.

I do have to admit, I was a bit disappointed when I made it to the art exhibit hall to find that the 4 pieces of artwork I had brought out there had received no major ribbons this year.  Okay that might sound a bit vane but to only see tiny blue participation ribbons hanging on them was a little discouraging.   I know that maybe silly to want ribbons, but that is part of the whole juried art show thing and you can't help but want to see those big beautiful ribbons hanging on your work.  That disappointment didn't last long when on Sunday morning I received this message on my Julie Townsend Studio Facebook Art Page:
Hi Julie! I was at the county fair, yesterday, when I saw your painting of the palomino and two children. Is it for sale? It made my knees buckle! The cow (and tongue) were great, too! The grass and flowers, worm, frog.... I just can't.... 💓"  

She is referring to two different pieces in this message.  First my piece, "Fence Post Rendezvous" features two blonde headed children feeding carrots from the garden to a palomino horse at the fence.  The second piece that she is talking about is "Always Greener" that features a little jersey calf with his head through the fence trying to get at the tall grass on the other side.

I couldn't help but smile when I read her message.  I'm not sure I have ever had my art cause such a  strong emotion that resulted in making knees buckle.   Needless to say, I have made a new Facebook friend and hopefully a collector as she has already arranged to purchase this piece from me.  I will let you in on a little secret, "Selling is ALWAYS better than Ribbons!"

This past Monday we once again had to drive out to Logandale to pick up the art work since the fair was over.  To my surprise, I was handed this beautiful ribbon for Directors Choice on my piece titled "Something to Crow About".  I guess she was so busy as the director that she neglected to put my ribbon on for the whole four days the fair was going on.  I guess late is better than never and I got my cake and got to eat it too.  A ribbon and an art sale!







My booth at the Galleria Fine Art Expo
So it was the fair on Friday and then We were up early on Saturday morning to load the truck with grids and tubs of artwork so that we could be at the Galleria Mall at 8:00 am to set up for the weekend.  This is a monthly event called "Galleria Fine Art Expo" and I'm really loving being part of this event.  Our first expo was in March and I feel that this is an excellent way to build a local fan base.

This expo is put on by the Las Vegas Artists Guild and is a great opportunity to showcase your work.  I'm SO EXCITED to be part of this event each month and can't wait until May 19th and 20th to be there again.

GOAT WEEK IN THE STUDIO:

This week has proven to be Goat Week in my studio.  First I did the little jumping goat sketch that I'm calling "Grab Your Partner, Doesy Doe".  This pen and ink drawing is just a small one in my sketchbook but with the help of some Photoshop I added a colorful digital background and added his little chick partner.  I have added this print, magnet, greeting card or I have a sticker version on to my ETSY SHOP if you are interested in purchasing him.

The second colored pencil goat piece I did this was was actually draw at the mall as a live demonstration.  I'm calling this one "Eat Your Greens" and I drew it as a request or commission for a lady I met last month in Boulder City during my reception for "I Dare You Not to Smile" show.  She asked if I would draw a goat for her to give to her grandson for his birthday.  I was ecstatic when she confirmed she loved the drawing and she will be purchasing it later this month!  I just LOVE art sales.  This one is also available as a print or greeting card on my ETSY SHOP
"Eat Your Greens"
"Grab Your Partner, Doesy Doe"























Yesterday, I started this large (24 x 36" acrylic) goat piece in acrylic.  If everything goes as planned, I will have 3 goats featured and a sparrow on the fence.  I might even add a little barn mouse in the background.  I'm using a reference photo that I found on Pixabay.com. (I LOVE that site)  I'm really hoping to get this one finished over the weekend and be able to include it in my May show coming up at the Art House LV Gallery.




Some Pig


If you like my artwork, please consider leaving me a message or checking out my website at Julie Townsend Studio and let me know you stopped by. 






I'm going to conclude this blog post today with these cute mock ups I made to showcase my artwork online.  I love the binder clip one and will be using that a lot I think. 

Then I made a white frame and matte that I think showcase my colored pencil drawings really well.  Some art looks better in dark frame so I decided to add a mock up file that included a dark frame, white matte on a wooden panel wall. 

Spring Bunny in the Clover

Bluebird with Wild Rose Hips




Friday, April 13, 2018

Feeling Pretty Accomplished Today


Marketing can be really hard work, time consuming and even intimidating when you are not sure how to accomplish the technical aspects of what you are wanting to do. 

Yesterday, I made the decision that I was going to create my first ever studio newsletter and send it out to my small email list that I have collected in the past year.  It was now or never because I have several events coming up that I wanted to promote.   I really had no idea how to start but with a few videos on YouTube and a couple of web articles about marketing using emails I felt empowered.  The only thing I think I need to figure out is how to have social media linked buttons to make it easier for readers to follow me on my art Facebook page and on Instagram.  Maybe by my next publication.

Photoshop is my go to program so I designed a simple 1 page newsletter informing my followers about 3 events that would be coming up that I would be involved in.  I also got to thank them for making 2018 a record in sales for me.  I calculated that I am up 131.5% from last year at this time.  I concluded my newsletter with a discount offer for my local collectors and friends if they come to the Galleria Fine Art Expo this weekend or my artist reception on May 3rd. 

I'm hoping to put out a newsletter every month so I can feature new my newest art creations there first before they are shown on social media.  That will probably be a real challenge for me because I just love sharing my art on Facebook and Instagram, but I will try to restrain myself.  If you are interested in being on my VIP Newsletter list, please message me on my "Talk to Me" tab above so I can add you.

My 1st Newsletter 
I love making these marketing ads for several of the local galleries that I belong to.  I decided that I needed to also make them for myself.  I mean if you don't promote yourself as an artist, who will?  Self-promotion is key to selling art and even if you are uncomfortable taking the lime light, you have to push yourself.  I promise you it gets easier.  Message me if you would like me to create you a special meme that you can use on your social media marketing sites.  I enjoy the creating process even if it is all on the computer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What Adjectives to use to Describe Your Art

Words can paint pictures in your mind as strong as the visual images I can produce with my paintbrush and I just love how writer Whitney Huggins describes my art work here in this blog interview she did a few months ago.  Sometimes it is really difficult to describe your own style and find the write creative words to promote yourself.  Whitney nailed it here.  I love this quote: "Her pieces are nostalgia-inducing and poetic. They embody the secret, inner worlds of childhood".

Here is the link if you want to read the short blog post about me.
https://arthouselv.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/artist-profile-julie-townsend/


So March was a busy month and proved to be my most profitable month ever as an artist. I plan on blogging in more detail about the specifics of that in this next week when I finish up my financials Today is April 11th and I have to consider how I can keep that momentum going now that my show “I Dare You Not to Smile” has been boxed up and stacked in the corner of my studio.  It is a dilemma that many artist face.  How to generate excitement and keep the sales rolling in?  I think the secret is to keep yourself in the public eye and try to keep growing your fan base.  How do you do that you ask? 

I’ve already decided that I will bring my solo exhibition to the Art House Gallery in Las Vegas for the month of May.














I’m going to be at the Galleria Mall on the weekend of April 14th and 15th with a booth set up in center court along with other artists from the Las Vegas Artists Guild.




I also have the Helldorado Art Show and Auction on  Friday evening, April 27th from 5 pm- 8 pm I will be at the Elks Lodge at 4100 W. Charleston Blvd.  I have entered 4 pieces of art in the show and am excited to be a part. 

The Clark County Fair coming up very soon.  It isn't what I would call a strong art event, but it is a Townsend family tradition to drive the 50 miles out to Logandale and spend the day at the fair.  Having my own art in the exhibit hall makes the trip more enjoyable for me and this year I have on several occasions ran into people who recognized my art from out there so I think that there are thousands of people who look at it over the 4 day period and so that is worth it to me to make a couple extra trips.




This is definitely coming up to a very busy time so I have to buckle down and try not to retreat to my "Secret, Inner Worlds of Childhood".

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

From My Sketchbook to the Client

The past few weeks, I have been working on a project that is a bit different for me.  I was contacted by a woman who was part of a start up company and they were looking for an artist to create their logo and commission a second piece of art that was more of a showcase of their product. She had initially contacted the Boulder City Art Gallery and they suggested that I might be the artist for the job.  

After meeting her in person and listening to her story I decided that I would take up the challenge.  I haven't really done anything like this before but everything is a learning process and this work will undoubtedly help me with future jobs like this one.  

This logo was created almost complete with Photoshop.  I sketched out a simple outline and then scanned it.  Using Photoshop I colored it in and added the star and collar.  I even downloaded the specific font that the client wanted using the website dafont.com.  Here in my examples I purposely omitted the website information as the name of the client.    

With the logo complete I then turned my attention the artwork.  I decided that rather than trying to draw the whole scene I would be better off sketching separate elements and then putting the composition together in Photoshop.  I drew the woman, the dog, the fence and grass, the cage and the walls of the house as separate sketches in my sketchbook and then scanned each of them as a JPEG.  

There were many changes made with the first rendering after I presented it to the client.  They nixed the furniture and flowers and then completely changed the woman.  It was then that they provided me with a photo of the clients wife and asked if I could make her appear more like her.  They also asked if I could make the dog look like his boxer by giving me several photos of the dog.  This wasn't clearly discussed in our initial meeting but since I had approached this as separate drawings I could easily make adjustment.

Here is the second rendering and this one had just a few adjustments.  I got rid of the leash and ball and put the cage on the floor.  Now it was time to add the color.

I decided to print out the piece onto my usual fine art paper and with colored pencils began working my way around the 8 x 10 image.  Finally, I put both pieces into a white matte and back board to finish them off.  


Here is the finished artwork just before I turned it over to a happy client.  I learned a great deal with this job and have a better idea of the amount of time needed to work on this type of project and help me provide a more realistic quote for the next time I'm asked to do a commission job.   






Saturday, April 7, 2018

I'm Stuck on You Like Glue...or a Beautiful Handmade Sticker



My super cute packaging
On the recommendation of a good friend that really knows her stickers, I have ordered what I am hoping is a superior sticker paper to help take my stickers sales on my Etsy Shop to the next level. Why stickers you ask? Well, for me stickers have served as a way to build my number of sales and 5 star ratings, both of which are critical to a successful Etsy Shop. Not to mention that I enjoy the whole process from the design creation to the actual cutting of the stickers. Someday I will get me a fancy cutting machine but for now I cut them all out by hand.
I have had some problems with the sticker paper I have been using in that occasionally I find it turning yellow. This really scares me. What if a sticker I sold on my Etsy Shop turns yellow? This actually worried me so much that I went in a few weeks ago and changed all my Etsy Shop stickers listing to matte stickers. I hated to do that because the glossy stickers just look so much more colorful and vibrant.
I knew I needed a much better option and so I have turned to OnlineLabels.com. They allow you to order 5 sample sheets of their labels which is very helpful. I have also ordered 100 sheets of their White Gloss Inkjet sticker paper and can't wait to try it out.
If you like stickers than you might just want to check out all my sticker listings on my Etsy Shop. I will leave you today by sharing pictures a few of my favorite stickers. My images are also available in prints, greeting cards and magnets. If you like my artwork you might consider heading on over to my website at Julie Townsend Studio.



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Ten Dollars Saved is Ten Dollars Earned

You know that old wise saying of Benjamin Franklin, "A penny save is a penny earned?"  SAVING MONEY is exactly what has me SO excited today but we are not talking pennies here.  Face it, if you want to get your art out there and sell your art than you have to get the whole shipping thing figured out.  A few posts ago I shared about UHaul Mirror boxes (only $4.60) and how great they are for shipping larger pieces and today I want to talk about postage costs.

About 2 weeks ago I had the privilege of selling a rather large 24 x 36 inch painting to a couple that needed it shipped to Reno, Nevada.  I first went online and checked both UPS and USPS online shipping calculators and found that UPS quoted a few dollars under the price of the USPS.  I was skeptical but decided to take my box into a UPS office and see just what it would cost me.  With $500 insurance, UPS actually came out more expensive and then to top it off the employee claimed to be able to see the USPS rates there on this computer and  I would have to pay in the neighborhood of $240 if I used them.  What a bold faced lie that was! 

We loaded the box back in the car and drove straight to the neighborhood post office where I paid a total of $31.15 + $6.80 for insurance to ship my box.  Once again, I received confirmation that USPS is the best route for shipping for me and my business.

This week I found something so exciting that I decided I would share it with you.  It is a website called "Pirateship.com".  I know that shipping is always a confusing topic when it comes to larger boxes.  This sight gives you commercial pricing like that which is offered on EBAY and ETSY shops but you can benefit as an individual by openning a free account.  No fees involved and you can immediately realize the savings.  I have mailed 2 packages this week using Pirateship.com and am just ecstatic.

I decided to show you the comparison prices of Pirateship.com and that of the USPS Click and Ship quotes.  I entered in all the exact same information for my box into Pirateship.com and received a quote for $21.76.  That is a savings on just one shipment of $9.39.  No more standing in line at the post office for me.  I feel that I am one step closer to the time that I will have some many shipments a week leaving my studio that I will  have to declare an actually SHIPPING DAY.