What Selling Art Means To Me

what selling means to me

This morning I woke up to those wonderful Etsy cash register ‘cha-ching!’ chimes going off on my phone, letting me know I’d sold two paintings.

Having grown up being told not to be an artist because artists don’t make any money, it’s a great feeling.

It’s true that I don’t make much money as an artist but making money was never the prime motivator for me. Painting and creating is just something I have an overwhelming need to do. And when someone likes what I paint enough to buy it, it’s a happy bonus. The money I make goes into replenishing art supplies*, buying something The Teen needs, or towards household bills.

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With almost 200 Etsy sales + 60 Folksy sales before I opened a shop on Etsy + offline sales, I think I’m doing pretty OK at this being-an-artist thing.

There can sometimes be a long gap between sales and occasionally that can make me feel that no one wants to buy what I paint, leading to a ‘slump’ in creativity. The truth of the matter is actually that the person who will buy just hasn’t seen my work yet.

When the sales do come, they bring renewed motivation, inspiration and positivity. They make me get up early and get to work on whatever’s coming next. They give me a sense of purpose.

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I currently have four paintings in progress, three of which will be floral because that’s my ‘thing’, and one of which is a huge leap outside of my comfort zone, which is taking a while because *perfectionist*. I’m looking forward to finishing that one in particular because it’s so different from anything I’ve attempted before – different subject, different style.

Do you sell your creative work? What does it mean to you?

*Affiliate link

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Sorry for any inconvenience…

If you saw me freaking out on Facebook or Twitter today, you’ll know I had a major problem with my blog. Basically, it broke. And not just a little bit. It broke A LOT.

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On the front end (the parts you can see), blog posts had shifted over to the right and were overlapping the sidebar. It looked a MESS! But it looked a whole lot worse from the back end (the parts you can’t see).

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The issue was caused by a few factors: An updated version of wordpress, an outdated plugin, a piece of code missing from a .PHP file (no, I don’t know what that is either!) and then… I still don’t fully know what. I just know that I ended up spending almost 7 hours tinkering and tweaking and refreshing and wanting to rip off my own face in frustration. And then I did some more tinkering and it was all back to normal.

I got there in the end. As I always do.

Someone once told me that I’m like a dog with a bone, that I just won’t let go, and they used it as an insult. I think they were right though, and not in an insulting way. When there’s a problem I will keep at it until it’s fixed. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, I do not give up.

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Apologies if this problem affected you in any way.

Onwards!

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{Guest Post} The Earth without Art is… Lonely

Today I have my fourth guest post in a series of six by Carolyn Schofield (post #1post #2, post #3). Carolyn is using her blog posts here to talk about using art therapeutically and about encouraging people of all ages to use arts and crafts to express themselves. Over to you Carolyn…

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Joys Green Art Group

When I moved here just over 5 years ago, I soon learned there was an art group meeting in the Community Centre nearby. As it was run by my friend Peggy, I used to hear bits and pieces about what they were doing. When the Community Centre closed, the art group moved to the village hall in a place with the wonderful name of The Pludds. I recently went to visit them to see exactly what goes on there.

The group has been running for around 12 years now, and started when funding was gained to provide creative activities for people in rural villages. An artist-led charity in our region, Artspace Cinderford, sent out one of their tutors to meet community leaders locally to see if there was any interest. She met Peggy, who thought it would be a good way for older or less able people in our area to meet others.

The group functions independently from Artspace. Peggy handles the finances, books the tutors, hires the room, and enjoys taking part herself. Due to funding from local organisations, the classes are free for two terms, with a small fee the other weeks. Artspace helps by publicising the classes, which are open to anyone. They usually attract 8 – 10 people each week.

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Over the years the group have tackled a variety of projects, including painting, pottery and spent several years doing some very innovative textile work, using recycled materials. Some of the work is done as a group project, and when the group met in the community centre the hangings they produced decorated the main meeting room there. The culmination of these projects involved producing a thirty foot string of bunting, which is now owned by Artspace.

There is a very friendly atmosphere: it’s clear that it’s a social occasion as much as an art group, but exercising one’s individual creativity is at the heart of what they do. While assessment is kept to a minimum, the tutor, Diana, has to produce lesson plans and there are progress reviews and learning logs to record the students’ progress. Also, at regular intervals the work produced is exhibited at Artspace. When I went to visit the most recent exhibition I was impressed by how beautifully the paintings were mounted and displayed.

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I enjoyed seeing the students work on their most recent topic, entitled ‘Through a Window’. I spoke to Sylvia who said (as she wrangled with a complex scene that was not going well) that she thought doing art was good for your patience. I asked her what experience of art she had had in the past; she said she wasn’t taught anything at school, so she felt she had to start from scratch. Recently widowed, she particularly valued the socialising.

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Recently some members of the group were thrilled to be contacted by Artspace, asking for their permission to turn some of their art work into cards, including both Peggy and Sylvia, who are very modest about their own ability. It is clear that this initiative has really enabled the participants to connect with their inner creativity in a safe and enjoyable environment, in which they have achieved far more than they would have ever done on their own.

We all have the ability to create wonderful things, if we are given the necessary encouragement and a supportive environment.

Thanks for reading.

carolyn 2Carolyn Schofield has an enduring love of craft activities of all sorts, including art journaling which she discovered this summer. She never quite gives up on any crafts, as her spare room and cupboards – packed with needlecraft and papercraft equipment, and half-finished projects – can testify.
Find Carolyn on Pinterest and Instagram.

‘Doodle Zen’ by Dawn DeVries Sokol

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Title: Doodle Zen: Finding Creativity and Calm in a Sketchbook
Author: Dawn DeVries Sokol
Published by: STC Craft (Abrams & Chronicle Books)
Publication date: 29th March 2016
Source: Review copy direct from publisher

Buy the book (UK & Europe)   Buy the book (US & Int’l)

As some of you may know, my daughter is a prolific book reviewer over at The Mile Long Bookshelf. She received this book directly from the publisher and promptly handed it over to me for review as she knows I had ‘Doodle Zen‘ on my wishlist for ages.

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From the publisher:

Doodle Zen: Finding Your Creativity and Calm in a Sketchbook will inspire new and non-stop doodlers alike to use doodling as a way to escape and de-stress. The book begins with a discussion of how to power down and tune out using doodling as a method for finding your ‘zone’ ad includes a list of suggested materials, tips/techniques and inspirations for doodles and words. Doodlers will let their minds wander and relax while filling pages adorned with soft, muted backgrounds, calming quotes and Mehndi-inspired doodles. With prompts and starter suggestions for getting your creativity flowing, Doodle Zen is the ultimate retreat for the busy mind.”

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Dawn’s background art on each of the 160 pages, made up of colourful swipes of acrylics and splashes of watercolours are the ideal antidote to ‘blank page syndrome’ – anyone who art journals will know exactly what I mean by that! Fear of the blank page can really stunt your creativity, but here that’s no longer a problem. The doodled illustrations are quirky and unmistakably hers. The handwritten quotes are perfection.

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Just like in Dawn’s previous offering, ‘Year of the Doodle‘, you will find ‘idea sparks’ on many of the pages – jumping-off points, or prompts, to give your creativity a kick-start. The choice of whether or not to use them is yours.

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If I was really pushed for a negative, I’d have to say the binding of the book. For a sketchbook or art journal, it really helps to be able to open it out flat so you can draw without the curve towards the middle of the pages getting in the way and making it tricky. It’s not Dawn’s fault, however! And this doesn’t detract from the gorgeous quality of the pages or the illustrations within.

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It truly is a beautiful book and I’m looking forward to doodling and art journaling in this book and I’ll be sure to share photos here when I do! This is the third book of Dawn’s that I own, and I love them all.

This is my first book review, I hope you liked it. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to see arty book reviews more often.

Thanks for reading!

Zoe's signature photoDisclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Using one of these links to buy the book helps me with the cost of running this website. Thank you.

My Dream Art Studio

My Dream Art Studio

We’ve all had the conversation that goes “If I won the lottery jackpot tomorrow I would buy…”, right? One of the things I would do if I won would be to buy a house overlooking the Atlantic, that was large enough to fit my dream art studio inside it.

But what might that dream art studio look like?

It would be big. Light and airy. It would have a huge glass wall with sliding doors. Stepping out of those doors onto a pretty patch of grass where I can paint outside in bare feet… A completely unobstructed view of the ocean… The smell of the sea air… No sound other than the waves… Bliss!

Let’s go back inside and see what I’d use to furnish my dream art studio!

For a start, this old laptop can get chucked out. It’s 6 years old and every time I shut it down I wonder if it’ll ever come on again. I’d replace it with a lovely new Dell XPS laptop and use it to create my digital art and run my Etsy shop at a really huge desk.

I’d really like a couple of these Mabef easels from my favourite art shop too…

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I already have one of these Råskog trolleys from IKEA, but in my dream studio I’d have several, all different colours… They’re great for storing bottles of paint.

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The whole space would be light and bright with inspiration boards all over the walls, vases of fragrant flowers, fluffy rugs, I could go on and on!

Let’s look at some real art studios to get some inspiration (and a smidge of envy!)

I love the idea of keeping pens, pencils and paintbrushes in jars attached to the wall:

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via sfgate

and I’m definitely going to need a big white wall for zendoodling on!

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via TinyMe

I’m going to need the actual house to be upstairs from my dream art studio so I can have beautiful hand-painted stairs like this to look at…

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by Michelle Allen at Close2MyArt

I think this photo, of Mae Chevrette’s studio, is the closest image I can find to how I’d like my studio to look…

…but imagine the view from those huge windows is this one:

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Isn’t that stunning?

Zoe's signature photo {Disclosure: this post is brought to you in collaboration with Dell Inc. but all dreams mentioned are my own}