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Aletta de Wal
Artist Advisor & Art Marketing Strategist

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Fabienne Bismuth
3-D Artist

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Huguette May
2-D Artist

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Read Their Stories:


Aletta de Wal
Fabienne Bismuth
Huguette May

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Thursday
May282015

Balance: Heal Heart, Inspire Soul and Soothe Mind

Creative Release through Art

Estimated reading time: About 1½ minutes

If you’ve seen the video on my home page or read my chapter in “Courageous Stories of Inspiration,” you know that art has been more than a creative pursuit for me.

Art healed my life when my body broke down.

And when my aura needs a little fluffing, I go into the studio.

So when Bebe Butler contacted me about her project “The Painted Guru” I said Yes without hesitation.

I never pass up an opportunity to renew my creative flow.

You shouldn’t either. (If you are already flowing nicely in your creative pursuits, don’t worry – there’s no such thing as overflow in art or love.)

Starting June 11, 2015 you can get more of what you need to inform or transform the way you create.  Leap into a new level of soulful, joyous and heart centered expression with me and 20 others in an online interview series designed to nurture creatives worldwide.  No charge to you, and we have gifts to give you as well.

It’s called “The Painted Guru … discover how art can heal the heart, inspire the soul and soothe the mind.”

Here’s what you’ll experience:

  • How to discover your voice and feel authentic in your expression.
  • How to create intuitively and honestly to awaken freedom on the canvas and in life.
  • How to use life stories as well as imagery and symbols in your creations.

We’ll tell stories that will speak to where you might be and point to where you might go as an artist in a material world.

You’ll remember you’re not alone in the ups and down of the creative life.

Yes, Virginia, there are benefits of making bad art and secrets to be unveiled about passing through rough patches.

There is No Charge for this online event. So set aside some time, say yes to your creative life and click here to sign up for “The Painted Guru!"

P.S. I’m offering a free Creative Release Conversation.


Art Heals: Highs, Lows, Twists and Turns for Artist With Health Challenges

Painter Thom Reaves Creates “Lighthearted imagery of joy"

All Those Deals ... But Art Heals

Artist Joshua Coffy combats depression and creates community

Wednesday
May202015

Art Marketing: Video - Watching Paint Dry

How to Videos

Estimated watching time: Several days compressed into about 8 minutes.

You’ve heard the expression “About as interesting as watching paint dry?”

Abstract artist James Thatcher has made videos that will never be described that way.

And he uses these visual aids as an effective way to educate viewers about how much work goes into a “simple abstract image.”

Hyperbolic Paraboloid

Time-lapse studio footage of painting on roofing felt with latex paint, wood and lots of water. The equation in the painting is a standard manipulation of the classic hyperbolic paraboloid formula, \frac{z}{c} = \frac{x^2}{a^2} + \frac{y^2}{b^2}. Piece of cake.

Black Hexagon

Studio action, painting a large-scale gradient hexagon using white wash on roofing felt. 

Tree of Life

This particular image is referred to as "The Tree of Life." This image relates to transformation.

Studio Action: Hanging an Array

A little process video of installing a clean and symmetrical arrangement of paintings. A tape measure, a level and it looks great! 

Good way to refute those comments about “My kid could do that …” (I’d personally like to meet a kid who did this math and translated the formulas into art this way.)


I understand the challenges of making and explaining your art to non-artists. Let me know how I can help you talk easily about your art. The first 15 minutes is on me. (And if you need help in the website or video department, please contact Robinsagara@artistcareertraining.com)

My Art Speaks for Itself. NOT!

Art Marketing is NOT Just for Extroverts

Art Marketing: Understand Your Art Audience | Understand Yourself Art Marketing

Wednesday
May132015

Art Marketing: My Art Speaks for Itself. NOT!

Twenty Questions to Answer About You and Your Art

Estimated reading time: About 3 minutes

If art spoke for itself, there would be no art critics, art websites and blogs, show catalogues or labels on museum walls.

Your art doesn’t speak for itself – you do.

Aside from being curious about your art, most people are interested in knowing more about the person who created it—and in this, you are the expert.

You Speak for Your Art

It's true that artists develop their own "visual language” through color, form, shapes and imagery. 

And it’s also true that viewers make their own interpretations of your work.

The purpose of a persuasive presentation or conversation is to provide the audience with good reasons to look closely at your work, tells others about it and buy it. 

By my definition, that’s marketing.

Listen Up

If you want to write well, it helps to read a lot.

Same goes for talking.

First, you watch and listen to your audience. 

And it doesn’t hurt to watch and listen to artists who are comfortable with talking.

Then, you choose words and media that “speak” to your audience and clearly communicate to them the essence of your art and your life as an artist.   

Prime the Pump

On the list of people's greatest fears, public speaking has first place, while "death" is seventh. It only takes a few skills to start moving forward from fear into your comfort zone. 

You just need to know how to start, continue and end conversations; learn how to plan what you want to say, say what you want your audience to hear and remember what you planned to say. 

Start with preparation to prime the pump for your art marketing conversations. 

Write out the answers to typical questions about your art and your career. Don’t worry about grammar, syntax or spelling. You don’t even have to write whole sentences at this stage -words and phrases are a great start. 

Just get it down for now. You can get it good later.  

Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. Why and how did you start making art? 
  2. When did you start? 
  3. Did you take any breaks? If so, why and how did you get started again?
  4. Did you go to art school, take workshops or are you self-taught? 
  5. If you have taken training, how did you make what you learned your own instead of a copy of the instructor’s art?
  6. Why do you create the kind of art you make?
  7. What do you like most about making art? 
  8. What don’t you like so much?
  9. How long did it take you to get good at what you do?
  10. How do you come up with your ideas? 
  11. What materials and media do you use? Which are your favorites?
  12. How do you actually make the art? 
  13. How do you know when it’s done?
  14. How do you decide what frames or pedestals to use? Do you make or buy them?
  15. Who buys and/ or shows your work? What do they say about it?
  16. Who are your role models and mentors? What lessons have you learned from them?
  17. What and who inspires your work? 
  18. What inspires you to keep going when you get stuck?
  19. Where have you/ do you exhibit your art?
  20. Do you teach art to others?

Abstract Artist James Thatcher went from not wanting to talk to always having a current project to discuss, clearly and concisely.  

“Go to Chamber of Commerce receptions for member business and be creative about your listening and be alert for different types of opportunities about how you as an artist can work with them: anything like graphic design, interior design, furniture design, or business-to-business art (such as creating artworks for a lobby or conference room that incorporate/illustrate products or designs from the businesses product line). It’s a great work of art but also relevant to their business. And they understand you as a business because they are entrepreneurs. Again, be ready!”

Learning to talk about your work to anyone, anytime, anywhere pays big dividends. 

Think of marketing your art to sell as the ultimate reality show – and you are the spokesperson.

The artist who tells the best story wins.


 

I understand the challenges 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.

Art Marketing is NOT Just for Extroverts

Art Marketing: Understand Your Art Audience | Understand Yourself Art Marketing

Thursday
May072015

Art Marketing is NOT Just for Extroverts

Evolution of an Art Career

Estimated Reading time: About 4 minutes

Do you ever suffer from stage fright? 

I have.

Today, I can walk into any room and talk to anyone about most anything. 

It wasn’t always that way.

My first public presentation was to introduce a panel for a business seminar. I put on my best suit, got a fresh haircut, put my notes on index cards and practiced until I knew the words by heart.

The theatre had 700 banked seats -- every one of them occupied by someone who had given up an evening and had paid to be there. 

I stood behind a solid, oak wood podium with a fixed microphone. The upside of that imposing fixture was that I could hang onto the sides to keep my hands in check and no one could see my knees knocking. 

The downside was the impressive and daunting array of buttons and lights on the flat surface (where I’d planned to put my notes), none of which had been explained to me. 

My Worst Fears

I was terrified that three of my worst fears would come true:

  1. I would drop the index cards and not remember which one went with which panel member.

  2. I would mispronounce a name, stutter or lose my voice.

  3. I would lean on a button and send up the house lights, drop the screen or knock my glass of water over and short out the whole (expensive state-of-the-art) electronics. That might also set off the fire alarm and force an evacuation of the whole audience and speakers.

The Enemy Within

Beneath these fears were self-doubts, lack of familiarity with the technical system, and the possibility that I would humiliate the panel members or shame myself. 

Those underlying thoughts could have derailed me, but adrenaline kicked in. I remembered to breathe and I did my job well because I had prepared the panel introduction so thoroughly.

I learned to continue to prepare myself so well that none of my doomsday scenarios would ever come true.

Is Marketing Just for Extroverts?

I describe myself as an introvert with good social skills. So when I get an e-mail like this one, I understand very well:

"I understand the concept of conversations, building relationships, trust etc. Most of these marketing strategies rely on exposure and extroversion. What advice might you give to an artist who is NOT an extrovert, salesperson, or even remotely out 'working the crowd.' An artist who lives in an area removed from cultural opportunities, venues and potential buyers?"  
Sincerely, LL

According to Laurie Helgoe, author of "Introvert Power," more than 57% of Americans are actually more introverted than extroverted. 

Feel better now?

Extroverts are not all the life of the party. 

  • Extroverts draw energy from being around others. 

  • Extroverts process their thoughts and feelings "out loud." 

  • Being alone too much can deplete their energy.

Introverts are not all reclusive or shy. 

  • Introverts can be out in public but prefer their rich inner world. 

  • Introverts watch and listen to make sense of life. 

  • Engaging in "cocktail party chatter" can be a stretch.

You have the capacity to modify your preferences. 

I know. I’ve done extroversion for short periods. But I carefully balance how much time I am "out there" and make sure I have quiet time to regroup.

So - Marketing is Not Just for Extroverts

  • You don't need a personality transplant to market your art. 

  • You don't have to be extroverted to have conversations. (In fact extroverts can learn about listening from introverts.)

  • And, thanks to technology, introverts don't have to go out in public more than you choose to. (Although marketing in person has power that no app can replace.)

  • You do need to draw on different parts of your personality to get the word out. 

  • You do need to know your audience.

  • And you do need to be comfortable and proficient with person-to-person conversation, and any technology that’s involved. 

As abstract artist James Thatcher said in my interview with him 

“I was driving with a journalist friend when he observed ‘You know Jimmy – you don’t say a lot, but you have a whole range of sounds that are very expressive.'

"I got into artwork because I was not very verbal. Things have changed and demands have required me to verbalize feelings and thoughts.

"When someone asks, 'How do you feel about this?' you can't say, 'I don’t know' because no one else can know for you.

It’s so worth the effort to punch through and not be afraid and find the words for what your art is expressing.”

Be Your Best Self 

Being your "best self" is the way to build trust in relationships. 

Trying to be someone other than yourself is the last thing that you want to do. (Although if you have any really annoying habits, you might want to keep them in check when you are out.) 

Start by thinking about the person or people you are talking to. 

  • What you know and appreciate about your audience.  

  • Where do they work? What are their dreams? 

  • Do they have families? Etc.

You get the idea. 

The more you know about them, and the better your connection skills, the more successful your marketing performance will be.

P.S. I coached artist Valerie Edwards on how to handle both social and geographic distance, when she lived on the top of a mountain 4 1/2 hours from the 220 galleries in Santa Fe.

"My greatest obstacle was to learn to market my work without fear. Art galleries, publishers, clients, newspaper reporters, all the questions, art receptions; talking about my work with strangers, being the center of attention -- it was overwhelming. Artist career Training TeleClasses helped me to break all this down in easy to follow steps, and gave me the opportunity to ask questions and get answers from those with experience. I learned fear was only a result of my ignorance.

"Aletta's insightfulness in our telephone coaching sessions helped me to face my social anxiety. Her recommendations of books to read helped me understand that this is a common fear. (Otherwise, why would there be so many books on the subject!) She walked me through what to do, giving me sample social situations and verbal replies for guests at my first reception. She made me feel comfortable. When 'show time' arrived, I talked non-stop for two hours and sold a painting for $1,000.00!"

I understand the challenges 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.

Tuesday
Mar172015

Juried Shows: All Women Art Exhibition & SWAN Day

March is Women Artists Month
All Women Art Exhibition - March 2015

Estimated reading time: About 2 1/2 minutes

I was honored to be the guest judge for the 4th Annual “All Women” competition. The gallery received 1,154 entries from 27 different countries (including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Cypress, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and Venezuela) and from 43 different U.S. states.

Every artist who submitted art to the “All Women” Online Art Competition sponsored by Light Space & Time deserves a note of commendation. Each one created many works, selected one or more and added an artist statement. That takes acts of creativity, choice and completion. And these acts deserve - and were given - extreme care in the jurying process.

In making my selections from the works that John R. Math asked me to review, I brought many perspectives to my choices. Among them aptitude, breadth, composition, depth, effects, flair, gradations, hues, inspiration, joy, kinds, lines, materials, nuances, optics, perspective, qualities, range, styles, texture, unity, variety, wit, xylography, yantra and zen.

Artists often ask me how the jurors make selections. That’s a question you should ask each one, for – just as in making art – there is no objective set of rules.

That said, here was my process:

  • I considered each entry individually three times from my eye as an artist, advisor and collector. 
  • Next, I sorted and resorted the entries in each category at least a dozen times until ten stood out in each group. 
  • Finally - the most difficult task was ranking those ten, especially when they came from 1154 entries. Several sorts took several hours.

Brava to all who entered and won!

All winning entries are featured on the Light Space & Time website for the month of March 2015. You can feast your eyes here.


SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now


SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now Day is an international holiday designed to showcase the power and diversity of women’s creativity. 

You can be a part of SWAN Day by creating or participating in a local event or online activity that celebrates women artists.

The official date for the 8th International SWAN Day is Saturday, March 28, 2015, but please feel free to celebrate any time during March or April that is convenient for you. The spirit of SWAN events is far more important than the exact dates.

There have been over 1,200 SWAN Day events in 24 countries in the first seven years of this new holiday. To get a sample of the range of the events, please visit http://budurl.com/SWAN28March2015 


 

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

I understand the challenges of many kinds that we face as women, artists and members of the human race. Let me know how I can help you make a decision to enter. The first 15 minutes is on me. 

Wednesday
Feb252015

Sick, Tired and Fed Up

Online Gallery Show for Artists With Chronic Illnesses.
Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2015 

Estimated Reading Time: About 3 minutes

At first I was reluctant to share my story about my health crisis related to Neuro Systemic Lupus. I thought that people might think I was not up to the work I do.

But when artists shared a story about challenges they faced, I discovered that telling them about mine became a bond that built trust and brought us closer. 

I’ve also been writing more about artists challenged by illnesses, economic or life circumstances.

The result is more stories coming in from artists to join this conversation. 

You are not alone.

Past client Gwen Duda was one of those artists. 

I just started an online gallery that is specifically for artists with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Gulf War Syndrome.

Why?

-  Twenty-five years of having Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome myself 
-  Hearing about others also not getting proper treatment for their illness
-  Lack of respect from the general public and the medical community

Over the last nine years, I’ve had doctor after doctor insinuate I was lazy, a malingerer, treated with disdain and sometimes outright contempt. I had had enough!

I decided to further the cause of education and to turn the tide of ignorance, which might then result in better treatment for those who are afflicted.

I sponsored a Kickstarter campaign developed by a young woman, Jen Brea, who came down with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. She is doing a documentary titled "Canary in a Coalmine" and was just asked to attend the Sundance Film Festival. The film is set to release in 2016 and it's already getting nods of affirmation from the film industry.

I was in contact with her through social media and she encouraged me to develop a place where artists with the aforementioned illnesses could have their artwork for viewing in an online art community. 

I am currently coming back from a big health dip caused by my illness, but after MUCH deliberation I decided to go ahead with it. This is the result. www.meagain.org.

This web site is designed with these aims:

  1. An online showcase for those who have these illnesses to tell their stories their way  and to show the artwork that is the result of their experiences with their illnesses;
     
  2. An educational conduit designed to inform for the general public and the medical community  and/or change the negative and erroneous stigma that these illnesses currently have attached to them;
     
  3. To bring forth more funding for research and the respect and better treatment for patients.

So Aletta, a couple of things that you have said in your newsletters also played a part in moving me forward on this.

One primarily -  in asking the question, how one, as an artist, can play a part in the larger community, in social issues for example, and use their art to do so.

My training as both an advertising and fine artist might appear to produce conflicting skill sets. Instead both were very important to constructing this website.

My personal experience of chronic illness as a very misunderstood and stigmatized condition was also core.

I know it's your job, but I know that you really do care about helping artists make a good living from their work. Thank you for the encouragement! Hope this message finds you in good health and lots of love and joy in your life!

All the best to you Aletta, 
Gratefully and Appreciatively Yours,
Gwen Duda
creator/curator 
www.meagain.org

P.S. We have an international call for artist submissions for an online juried artist's showcase that will be unveiled on May 12th, 2015 to concur with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day. Selected artists will each have their own page with their art, artist information and experience of and with chronic illness.

Through these artist's works and stories I hope that that people will become more informed and recognize that these illnesses:
- can hit anyone at any time, anywhere.
- affect children all the way up to the elderly but usually hits those in the prime of their lives -  20's and early 30's.

These illnesses have wide ranges of affects including, but not limited to; extreme and disabling exhaustion that is similar to what a person with cancer would experience going through chemotherapy, wide-spread pain, vertigo, chronic insomnia, allergic reactions, hormonal disruptions, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, cognitive disruptions, heart malfunctions, muscle pain and malfunction, immune system dysfunction, etc. It's a dysfunction of the central nervous system, the hormonal system, and other body regulatory systems.

This artist showcase will then remain up from May 12th, 2015 to May 12th, 2016.

Deadline for submissions: March 31, 2015 
Cost: $20 (USD) per submission (one to three images).
Please enter your art at http://www.meagain.org/artist-submissions.html 

I understand the challenges 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.

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.