Sunday, January 24, 2016

Those Pesky Hats

   Wouldn't it be nice to get to the point where you have to do no advertising, no marketing and no sales. All you  had to do was be creative and sit in your studio and paint all day. But no, that's not the life of an artist. That's also not the case with this artist. I barely have so many hours in the day and it would be nice to just use my creative juices and do my art, but nothing is free. You need to buy all sorts of art supplies to create that art and for that you need cash. You have to  buy paints and there are a multitude of paints and a multitude of prices. Acrylic paint is the most cost effective if you're not a Water colorist, but water color supplies are not that cheap either.You have to buy canvases, brushes, pallet knives, frames, and many accessories. 
   I know that there are many shortcuts in getting the price down on completing your painting tasks. You can build your own stretched canvases with a little investment and more time to build your canvases instead of painting. You can build your own website with a little time away from your creative painting. You can get gallery representation and just sit back and have your artwork sell itself. There is a problem with this scenario in that you will have to put your salesman suit and hat on to get that gallery representation because your painting will not automatically get that for you. You have to network with other artists and that takes time away from your creative painting. 
   Why don't we start with the carpenters hat and overalls. What kind of supplies do you need to make your own canvas' instead of buying them. If you are a starter, the best thing for you is to buy your canvases. Buy the mulit-packs in the most popular sizes which will usually be the most cost effective. I can get my 16x20 five packs usually at on the average of $2.00/ canvas which is a pretty good price. Of course these are the 3/4 inch canvases and not gallery ready if you don't want to buy a frame for it..Back to supplies to build your own canvases. You will need 1"x2" wood, nail gun(or use a hammer), miter saw(or you can buy a very cheap miter box) or a table saw, wood glue, T50 staple gun, and channel-lock pliers. All told once you have the tools you can build large scale stretched canvas' for $10.00 or less. You can find plain canvas at most fabric stores at a very reasonable price at around $7.00 for a square yard where I shop. You can use a pair of channel lock pliers to grab the edge of the canvas and pull it around on the back end of the frame but I have done it without pliers also. They do make specialized pliers just for this purpose but I find it to be just as easy to use a $5.00 pair of channel locks in most instances. After you're done with your canvas you have to gesso it several times to make sure it is evenly covered. You can buy Gesso at art supply stores in tubs for about $20.00.     The next dilemma is don't start doing the big canvas too early in your career. Usually, most people who buy big art, do it to impress others and about the only way to impress others is to have a large art piece from a well known artist. So if you're early in your career or are still building your resume, think about sizing down. 
   Now it's time to put on your marketing hat. The only way people are going to see your art is if you are marketing it somehow, someway. The most obvious way is to sell it through many of the the art com websites on the internet. Then the most obvious way is to create your own website or pay someone to create it for you. If you decide to do it yourself make sure you do it the simple way with a site builder or build a Blog. There are free blogs on the internet and there are those where you get your own domain. Usually having your own domain is the preferred method. Of course if you decide to create your own website from the ground up you need to put your engineering hat on and this will take  time away from your creative painting but creating a website from the ground up is being creative in another area but again, there are only so many hours in a day. 
  The most important hat however is that artist hat. This hat should be on everyday and those creative juices should be flowing. When you're in a creative state you will even dream about your next Picasso or Cezanne. Every waking moment you will be thinking about your next masterpiece even though sometimes it doesn't turn out that way to the world.but as long as you feel satisfied with your creations and you are loving what you are doing than nothing else matters. The most important thing to remember is that you are creating to satisfy your inner self and no one else. People will always tell you that you should paint what is most marketable but I don't believe in that theory. If you paint to sell your paintings to the masses that's fine but in that case you are not loving what you are doing. You are painting for the money and if that is your satisfaction than more power to you. However, if you are loving what you are doing and doing it for yourself and loving every minute of it, it will eventually payoff but probably long after your gone. There are some artists that are very successful today but most of the most successful artists are long gone.The way I look at it even if your paintings end up at the thrift store, maybe someone will enjoy them for years to come and then maybe not. At the least your family will have them on their walls and everytime they look at them they will remember the tiny bits of wisdom you left behind. Happy painting!!!.

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