Sunday, February 25, 2018

Organizing My Life and My Art

I promise myself every time that I am going to do a better job of keeping things put away in their proper place but in a blink of an eye I have piles surrounding me...piles of artwork, piles of paperwork and just piles of stuff.  I think it is a hopeless condition that I suffer from with no known cure.  Oh you can hide the symptoms for a while, but they reappear like a bad rash when you let your guard down.

Recently, I have been tackling my digital piles or should I say files here.  I paint and draw so much that it really is difficult to keep up with it all.  I’ve decided that it is important for me to get this under control so I’ve made a list of about 40 pieces that I believe are worthy to be shown on my Etsy Shop and have begun painstakingly editing each piece to fit my common print sizes of 4 x 6, 5 x 7 and 8 x 10.  Bigger images are good too but I can always visit that when I have the need.  This way I am ready when those print orders start rolling in.

When I get this accomplished, I’m going to upload the files to my Sam’s Club photo account.  There are times I would rather have a photo printed for me rather than using my own Canon Pixma 100 printer.  That is especially the case of my ink is running low.  I started using Sam's Club about 3 months ago for all my photo art prints and have not been disappointed so far.  I love that I can have a print processed in just 1 hour while I shop for my groceries or catch a bite at the cafe.  This gives me the confidence that I can handle any Etsy Shop order I may receive and process that order quickly and efficiently.  Ordering from other photo sources online make me feel like I need to have an inventory of prints on hand because your order takes about 5-7 days to arrive.  That can get costly.

Original Artwork
I was working on a file that proved to be just a bit of a challenge with my limited Photoshop experience.  My original painting "Great Horned Owl" was painted on a long and narrow canvas.  I think it was 10 x 20 or something like that.  I found that difficult to get the owl to fit proportionally in my normal print sizes without making him appear short and squatty.  I wanted to share what I did to solve the problem because I think it turned out nice and I am looking forward to selling this image of such a regal bird multiply times. image I used as my background
I decided that I need to have a nice background that would blend well with my painting.  Of course a pine tree was what came to mind.  I went to one of my favorite sites, where there are thousands of royalty free images that you can use commercially without being required to give credit to the author.  I found what I thought was the the perfect image and I couldn't be happier.  It really complimented the original artwork as you will soon see. 

Finally, I decided that to give it a more 3-D appearance that I needed a branch in the left corner that joined with the painting and yet was over the background.  I found a second close up of pine needles on the Pixabay sight and with using only the eraser tool in Photoshop I was able to get it to blend in perfectly between the two images. 

Great Horned Owl digitally enhanced
The final image is a wonderful blend of my artwork and some digital enhancements. I love the colors and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.  I've already listed the image on my Etsy Shop and can easily turn it into blank greeting cards, 4 x 6 magnets or beautiful matted prints that are ready to frame.  Here is the link if you would like to check out this image and the rest of my artwork I have currently on my store.    ETSY SHOP- Great Horned Owl

One file finished...about a zillion more to do!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Toot Your Own Horn

I am blown away right now and so I have decided to share a little marketing tip with you. I've sought out and joined several Facebook groups that are actually decorating groups that are more specific to my particular art style. Mainly groups that are all about Country, Farmhouse and Primitive decorating.

Some of these groups are huge and have very large memberships. I might also say that many if not most, of their membership love art that features cows, chickens, pigs and such. That makes me their perfect artist. One particular group I belong to has over 150,000 members. Now selling isn't allowed in most of these groups, so you can't post links to your Etsy Shop or direct them to your website. You can, however cleverly post pictures of your art and steer the post and the following discussion in such a way that you don't appear to be there just to hawk your wares. When someone asks about purchasing your work, you just direct them to private message you. I love the inspiration I see from the other posts in the group and at the same time I'm building a fan base.

Here is an example, last night I posted a picture of a new project that I had just finished using resin, a mini cast iron skillet, some embellishments, sticks and leaves and one of my chickadee stickers. Long story short...I currently have over 1000 likes, 44 shares (that is a big deal) and 143 positive comments. Oh, and I sold the little piece this morning in a private message and it is already boxed up and ready to ship.

My purpose isn't to brag but to share the fact with you that Facebook is a REALLY BIG marketing tool as well as is Instagram, Blogger and Twitter and many more. To be successful as an artist you must become a marketing guru. Let's face it, unless you are really big in the art community, no one is going to promote you. You are the brand and you have to get out there to make your "Brand" stand out among all the others.

It doesn't happen overnight, but you will reap the rewards if you start expanding your reach. The idea that if you paint it, they will come is a false notion that will result in stacks and stacks of artwork and very little sales. I have been working hard on this for over 5 years and I have come to the realization that galleries are not going to do it for me. Opening and Etsy Shop or having an outdated website, that you never touch isn't going to do it. There isn't just "ONE" perfect marketing venue. No, you have to blanket them all and do it everyday. Treat it like a job and the sales will begin to happen. 2018 is going to be my "BREAK THROUGH YEAR!"

Oh, by the way...I do have a website, and Etsy Shop, and you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @JulieTownsendStudio.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Staying Focused and Caffeinated

I've been busier than a "one armed paper hanger" as my grandmother used to say.  I've installed my last roll of adhesive tape in my glider gun and run my printer plumb out of ink.  Good thing a new supply of Canon ink has already been shipped from Amazon.  Hopefully it will arrive soon. 

With my show coming up in just a few weeks out in Boulder City,  I'm under the gun to get more art ready and have plenty of prints and other merchandise available for purchase.  I will also have a booth inside the Galleria Mall on March 10 & 11 for a weekend of art sales.  I'm super excited about both of this opportunities to meet new people and talk about my art.

 Just these past few days,  I have spent  hours updating, printing, matting and putting together prints, cards and magnets of many of my designs.  And we can't forget all the marketing photos that had to be taken and uploaded to my Etsy Shop.  There were also hours spent writing the listings and designing mockup photos needed to publish the new listing for my Etsy Shop.  Who ever would have guessed this art thing could be such a full time job.  I'm ready for a cup of tea and an early  bedtime tonight.

Let me leave you with a few pictures of the fruits of my labors.  If you find yourself interested in any of this artwork, please just click on over and check out my Etsy Shop.  I'll make it super easy and give you the link right here:  JULIE TOWNSEND STUDIO ETSY SHOP