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Aletta de Wal
Artist Advisor & Art Marketing Strategist







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3-D Artist






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2-D Artist





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Artist Peter Bragino: As Seen on TV

Three steps to stardom-in-training

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If a picture equals a thousand words, how many words equal a video or TV show?

Dominique Maciejka recently interviewed Peter Bragino on her web based Internet show on BluTV.

You’ll learn about:

  • How Peter got started as an artist. (Good unexpected story here about being a Marine and having an art kit in his barracks.)
  • His initial inspiration to be an artist and when that happened. (Another good story here that involves Peter’s father, a train ride and a deserted station with painted walls.)
  • His current series and where that came from
  • Shamanism and tribal ceremonies
  • Plans for upcoming shows
  • Advice for budding artists

If you listened to the recent interview I did with Peter, you’ll notice that he talks about some of the same things with Dominique, and often with the same or similar words.

If you aspire to do interviews like this – all in one take – no edits – then there are a three major steps (with lots of little actions) to take.

Read the articles I reference with a pen in your hand and you’ll have a first draft in about 5 minutes. 

1. Prime the pump.

I shared from my coaching notes a partial list of twenty questions to answer about you and your art. Art Marketing: My Art Speaks for Itself. NOT!

2. Write before you speak.

If you start with clear thinking, you’re more likely to end of with clear writing and that leads to clear speaking. The Productive Artist: How do I keep up with all this writing? 

3. Practice, practice, practice.

The more you can rehearse, the more naturally you’ll come across. You’ll know your subject so well that you can pay attention to the visual aspects of being interviewed for video or TV. You’ll also be able to adlib answers to impromptu questions by the interviewer.

So, how did your drafts in #1 and #2 come out?

If you could use a little help with preparing for and being in the public eye, please send an email to I can make the experience painless and even fun.

You are also welcome to book a free 15-minute conversation with me.

Click here to learn how to make a better living from your art. The first 15 minutes is on me.

P.S. I am waiting for the first proof printed copy of my book! 


"My Real Job is Being an Artist” 15 Stages of Writing

The fifteen stages of writing

Estimated reading time: 2¼ minutes

People kept telling me "You should write a book." 

I told them I had never written a book. 

In my undergrad years, I was an English major. I learned how to read and analyze so I could write term papers. I loved reading – still do – but I labored over writing.

In my work years, I’ve written hundreds of articles, blogs, training programs and presentations. Nothing longer than 50 pages.

I asked them if the world really needed another book on art marketing?

There is plenty of information available about marketing and social media for artists who have already started a career.

So what’s missing?

In my research and surveys of career advice for artists, I found very little about what came between being a hobbyist or amateur and becoming a working artist. 

So “My Real Job is Being an Artist” began as a series of notes about what I’d observed was missing on what it takes to make art for a living. 

To prepare myself for this new project, I took workshops and read books and Blogs about how to write a book.

I thought that maybe in 18 to 24 months I’d have the book written. I usually tell my clients to at least double their estimates – and so here we are many people and moons later with a book worth publishing.

People kept asking me what it took to write the book. (The same ones who said to write it. Hmmmm…)

The early stages were exciting as I saw my thinking take form in words and paragraphs.Then chapters. And sections. And finally a three part book.

There were many times when I felt as though my writing would never be up to the task and that I would never have a book worth reading.

What kept me going was my clear vision of the book I wanted to write suppported by the unwavering enthusiasm of my coaches, artist friends, clients and colleagues.

So to live up to that vision and to honor that support, I put in in the time and energy for all those months:

  1. I brainstormed, mind mapped and made lists.
  2. Wrote, and wrote and wrote. 
  3. Tore up, deleted and wrote some more.
  4. Hired a writing coach to help organize the bits and ask questions to fill in the gaps.
  5. Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote some more. 
  6. Put together a manuscript for reviewers.
  7. Hired a designer and illustrator for the cover and lead pages.
  8. Asked emerging, mid-career and established artists to review the manuscript.
  9. Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote some more, to incorporate the reviewer feedback. 
  10. Hired a developmental editor to make sure the essential content was in the right sequence, with the right words and the right examples.
  11. Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote some more, to incorporate the editor’s feedback. 
  12. Hired a “Smoother” editor who ironed out any remaining wrinkles in words, headings and subheadings.
  13. Rewrote and rewrote and rewrote to incorporate that feedback. 
  14. Hired an index company to proof read and set up the index.
  15. Made corrections to incorporate that feedback.

What will make the "blood, sweat and tears" and my personal investment worthwhile is that each person who reads my book will use the practical information "Being an Artist."  And when you are done, let me know if you are now fully ready to declare “My Real Job is Being an Artist” or to chose to continue making art for pleasure rather than profit. Either is a clear choice that will do good things for your art and life.

Those people are now asking “So where’s the book?”

“My Real Job is Being an Artist” is now having a copyright update and then goes into the publishing queue.

Thanks for cheering me on!


Could you use some help with all the writing that goes along with being an artist?


Request a complimentary 15-minute conversation.


6 Miss-Takes to Avoid at Art Fairs

Be ready or stay home.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In Canada, people joke that there are only two seasons – Winter and Patio.

To be more inclusive of you my dear readers, I’m hereby shrinking winter with online art competitions and expanding Patio to include art fairs.

Guest Blogger John Math, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery has already shared his observations about six mistakes artists make in art competitions

In exchange, I wrote a post for his blog on the miss-takes artists makes in art fairs. Read how to fix those here: 

If you’ve never entered art fairs or online competitions, here are a few articles I’ve written:

The Ins and Outs of Juried Shows

Juried Shows: Three Good Reasons to Enter

Juried Shows: Enter the S.M.A.R.T. Way

Juried Shows: A Juror's Inside Story

The Backstory of a Juror's Inside Story

Art Business: How to Waste Every Dollar You Spend (A Tale of Two Artists)

Let me know how I can help you make the entry process easier and less painful. The first 15 minutes is on me.


Are You Making These Six Art Competition Mistakes?

Guest Blogger John Math, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery conducts monthly themed online art competitions and monthly online art exhibitions for new and emerging artists (2D and 3D artists) on a worldwide basis. 

Artists – if you want to have more success from your efforts - avoid making these common mistakes when entering juried art calls and art competitions:

1.   Not Understanding the Rules before Submitting Artwork

The art organization conducting the call for art developed competition rules to administer, process and judge the art in a thorough and systematic manner.

The organization wants to identify and judge the best art for their competition. They have very good reasons why they want the submitted artwork to be labeled, sized and named in a certain way.

Always try to understand exactly what the organization wants and then conform to their entry process.

2.   Not Understanding the Competition’s Theme & Media

Understand what the group wants for this particular competition.  If it says that they accept 2 dimensional art, do not submit 3 dimensional art or crafts. If it says no photography, do not expect the organization to provide you with an exception. There are many other venues and organizations who are conducting calls for your type of art.

You can save yourself and the staff a lot of trouble, wasted time and effort. If you have any questions or concerns about the theme or what is acceptable media, contact and discuss this with the organization’s event staff.

3.  Not Understanding Judging Criteria for the Art Contest

Read and reread the theme, rules and judging criteria closely and thoroughly.  If you don’t understand the organization’s Competition Prospectus or answers to your questions are either not spelled out thoroughly or are omitted, then it is up to you to get these questions and points answered. 

When in doubt, call the organization and have them clarified.

If at that point, you cannot honestly meet the competition rules and judging criteria, don’t waste your entry fees or any more of the organization’s time. (See 1 and 2 above.)

4.   Provide a Biography or Artist’s Statement If Required

Most art organizations want an artist biography or an artist’s statement as part of their entry package.  Well-written biographies and statements can help you be accepted into a show, so have several different sized bios prepared and available to simplify this process.

No matter what your experience or art education, if you are asked to provide artist biography or an artist’s statement, meet this requirement to the best of your ability. 

5.   Failure to Follow the Art Organization’s Sizing Requirements

Most competitions request certain sized submissions in terms of pixels or inches. There is no excuse not to have the art sized properly as there are many free art editing programs available online. (Among others, Microsoft’s Paint Program can be used for this purpose).

The main reason for this requirement is to standardize the judging process and if all of the entries are the same size (longest side of the image) and same resolution, it will help the jury judge and make decisions about the art.

Always follow the size, resolution and quality settings that the organization requests.

6.   Failure to Provide the Best Quality Images

Art organizations often choose one person’s art over another person’s because of the quality of the image submitted.  When paintings are photographed or scanned for presentation purposes, the image may be poorly cropped (showing part of the mat or frame), turn out too dark or too light or the colors or contrast may be out of balance.

Present your work to the gallery and jurors as if you were trying to sell your art to them in person.  You only get one chance to impress the juror, and this is not the time to get sloppy with your art submission.

There is a reason why they call it a “competition.”

You are competing with all of the other submissions for a limited number of places in that organization’s art exhibition.

Do not give them a reason to reject your art by either not following the rules or by not providing them with art that is gallery worthy.

Do make sure your art is prepared and submitted in the way in which that organization wants your art presented. 
Contact: John R. Math
Telephone: 888-490-3530
Since 2010, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery has received, processed, and judged thousands of entries for monthly themed online art competitions. 

If you’ve never entered competitions, here are a few articles I’ve written:

The Ins and Outs of Juried Shows  

Juried Shows: Three Good Reasons to Enter 

Juried Shows: Enter the S.M.A.R.T. Way 

Juried Shows: A Juror's Inside Story 

The Backstory of a Juror's Inside Story  

Let me know how I can help you make a decision to enter. The first 15 minutes is on me.


How Much is That Painting in the Window?

Pricing Your Art to Sell

Estimated Reading time: 2 minutes.

Artists often tell me that pricing their work is one of the hardest things to do. When I ask why, they offer reasons like these:

  • Because original art is not a commodity and there are no "rules."
  • Because they just started and they don’t think they have the right to ask for much.
  • Because they’ve been doing this for 30 years and they deserve to be paid for that experience.
  • Because the economy is bad and no one is spending. 
  • Because the economy is good and there’s a lot of competition.

I’m sure there are more answers that I haven’t listed. 

But having a complete list is not the point 

In fact, it’s beside the point.

The point is that you need a pricing system based on your choice of many factors. Michele Sirois-Silver discovered that her larger works were selling more slowly. Here’s how she handled that problem.

“A couple of years ago I asked a successful investment broker how he identified his target market and maintained his success. His response made me rethink my attitude about lower price works. There are many individuals who would like to become collectors, but the reality is they have a restricted budget to work with. Each collector has a starting point and over time, as their income increases, so does their buying power. 

"Around the same time I took two workshops with visual artist, Jason Pollen. Jason talked about approaching your work with intent, even if it’s only a workshop sample. This really resonated with me. Small works have become an integrated part of my art practice as the place where I experiment with materials and techniques, and try out designs and concepts. Each small work is created and completed with the same attention to detail that I give my larger works.”  

Don’t make the mistake of aligning your prices with the overall economy but instead focus on your personal economy, what you are willing to invest in your work and and the money your audience is willing to invest in your art.

“1. Maintain your prices--increasingly prove the investment value of your work and honor those customers who have invested in you in the past. 
2. Continue to make first-rate work. In recessions, the bottom end can fall out completely. If anything, aim to improve quality and try to produce more important and challenging work. There will always be collectors of quality work. 
3. If you can afford it, grab any opportunities to improve.”
Robert Genn

When you do the work to price your art and act with confidence, your prices WILL be received favorably. It’s not necessarily a simple task but if art is your career, then it’s definitely worth working at. Let me know if you could use a few pointers.


I understand the challenges of pricing your art– just one of many kinds that we face as artists and members of the human race. Let me know how I can help you get your art and life going in the direction you want to go at your pace. The first 15 minutes is on me. 

PS. If you mention this blog post, I’ll give you the preferred member price for my workbook “Pricing Your Art to Sell.” Just send me an e-mail to 


Money: Are You Making Enough Art for a Profitable Art Business?

Four Factors and a "Wild Card” 

Estimated reading time: Two minutes

“How much art work do I need to make each year to make a decent living?”

There is no blanket answer to this question.

The possible answers depend on many factors – and the combination of factors affects each artist in a different way.

I challenge my artist clients to produce 100 pieces each year of market ready mid-sized two-dimensional work. These artists may make more or fewer pieces, but my challenge gives them a number to aim for until they arrive at the size of body of work that makes sense for their goals and the type of work they create. 

The five most obvious factors that determine how much art you produce are:

1. Your level of art skills and the quality of your tools and materials. 

The better your skills, tools and materials, the faster you can make quality work. 

2. Your productive work habits, consistency and systems.

The more you work, and the more systematically or consistently you work, the more reliably you can produce a certain number of artworks in a certain time frame.

3. How much money you have to invest and how much you need to make. 

Your only resources are time, money and energy. The more of those resources you have to invest, the greater the possibility of a high return. Determine the income you want and divide that number by the average price of work sold. Now calculate the cost to make that inventory.

4. Deadlines and choices.

Deadlines are a great way to focus your mind and to call on the stamina and adrenaline you need to complete work you started for a future exhibit. 

Deadlines are also a matter of choice. If an exhibit is coming up or a commission is due by a certain date, you can decide to say yes or no. But if you say yes, have your work ready to deliver. 

5. The "wild card" of creativity.

Even if you use these factors to come up with a number of artworks to create, your creative process is the "wild card" – hard to predict. 

There are days when it’s hard to get started in the studio, or when your confidence is down — about your art, or life in general. 

Some days, nothing may turn out the way you want. Other days you amaze yourself. 

Sometimes your muse will come when you call. Other times you have to wade through the muck without boots to find her.

Michelle Sirois-Silver does intricate time-consuming work in textile arts. 

“It takes me two years to create a body of work for a solo exhibition, which is challenging because I am always evolving my art but I constantly reference the original concept and early pieces in the series.  

"Preparing for the two solo exhibitions was a rite of passage. They created the opportunity to develop a strong work ethic because I went on to make twenty hand hooked pieces over an eighteen-month period, which is no small feat."

She made fewer than 100 but she stretched beyond what she’d originally thought possible. 

What about you? Where have you set the bar for your art production? Is that enough, too much or just right?

I understand the challenges of art production – just one of many kinds that we face as artists and members of the human race. Let me know how I can help you get your art and life going in the direction you want to go at your pace. The first 15 minutes is on me.

The Productive Artist: How to Be More Productive Without a Magic Wand