“THE QUICKENING” – A Painting in Progress….

As an artist, many times I am asked what inspires a painting, what my process is and what mediums I use to create a painting. So over the course of the next few months I will let you in on my creative process and will post a few paintings in progress. This is a recent commission piece that I did for a client.

FIRST AND FOREMOST- SKETCHES, SKETCHES AND MORE SKETCHES!

“You can’t sketch enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.” ~ John Singer Sargent

When I start a commissioned painting, I will usually sketch 3 0r 4 different ideas down on paper. In this case, the client wanted a painting similar to another painting that was sold (“Awake in a Dream”). The flow and colors of that painting inspired me to do these sketches. From there. the client will choose the one they most connect with. This time around, the client choose the sketch on the left in the picture below.

Sketches sent to client....

TRANSFERRING TO CANVAS AND ADDING COLOR!

After the client has choosen a sketch, I will then transfer it to canvas. If this was a portrait piece, I would use the grid method to tranfer it to canvas to ensure proper portions. But being this is an abstract piece, I will draw it freehand onto the canvas board.

In all my mixed media paintings, I will paint a base layer of Colbalt Blue and Raw Sienna (acrylic paint) over the pencil sketch. Even though this layer is not always prominent in the finished painting, I like the subdued effect it lends to the piece.

Next comes the first layer of ink. I have used several different types of pens including Sharpies and fine tip pens but the ones I like the best are Mainstays Permanent Markers. They are inexpensive, which is great – I go through at least 3 or 4 for each painting! The ink is permanent and will withstand layers of paints. Plus it gives a vibrant black which is what I am looking for.

Transferring to canvas, adding base color and first layer of ink...

MORE PAINT AND MORE LAYERS OF INK!

As the painting progresses, I will add more color to it using a varieties of mediums. In all my mixed media paintings, I use Reeves Watercolor pencils, Mainstays Permanent Markers and Pebeo Acrylic paint. I have recently discovered Inktense Permanent ink pencils which I am excited to try out in my next Mixed Media painting. For any white areas of the painting, I find white Gesso to be the best medium to use. It’s a very vibrant and bold white. Nothing like I can find in an acrylic paint. It’s my go-to white every time. I also use it for any textured areas in the painting.

Adding more color and ink....

…AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST – THE FINAL APPROVAL!

Once the final painting has been approved by the client and no changes are needed, the painting is then varnished, mounted and framed. I use Windser & Newton UV Gloss Varnish. The varnish will protect the painting from airborne pollutants, UV damage and fading. And I find the gloss really makes the colors POP out of the painting! The colors are more vibrant and bold after I apply the varnish.

As for mounting the painting, I use 1/8″ Acid-Free White Foam Board. It’s a strong surface that can support the painting well and the vibrant white color of the foam board is a great contrast for these colorful Mixed Media paintings.

As with all my paintings, I let my awesome Facebook fans come up with a name for the piece. And in this case, my client was on board for the idea as well. The name she choose, from a list of many great names, was “The Quickening”.

Now, all that’s left to do is sign it and ship it away! Another happy customer!

Total time it took from sketching to final mounting of painting: 12.5 hours

Final Painting - "THE QUICKENING" 18"X24" Mixed Media on Canvas Board

For more paintings, please visit my website www.angellagoodon.com or join my Facebook Fanpage – The Art of Angella Goodon.

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Passion and Profession – Where does it all “fit”?

It’s been almost a year since my last post….I know…what the heck has she been up to? Well, many things, a lot of creating and painting and self exploration. 2009 and 2010 were “trial” years for me. I really wanted to push my art, to make a real attempt at one day (in the very near future) making this a career for myself. You know the old cliché….live your dreams…pursue your passion? Well, for the last 2 years I attempted to get into every show I could, paint as much as I could, market myself as much as I could….just do as much as I could to push myself forward. And I must say that I did sell a lot of art the last two years. I have a few collectors now that buy from me regularly. That is a wonderful feeling, to know that people “get” my paintings and what I am trying to express. And my collectors are some of the most fabulous people on the earth, incredibly passionate and creative themselves. That is my ultimate goal – to share my art with the world.

But with the success also came something that I really wasn’t prepared for. As the year passed I was growing increasingly unhappy. I couldn’t figure it out…why was something that I was so passionate about bringing me such unhappiness? Isn’t this what we are taught…do something you’re passionate about in life, this should be your profession. As time passed, I was becoming resentful of the fact that I had this talent to begin with. This was something that I was fearful of from the beginning. I had always wondered if I ever had the chance to pursue art full-time how I would deal with the “on demand” creativity and the business side of art. Don’t get me wrong, I work very well under pressure. It has always been one of my strengths. But when it comes to creativity, any artist will tell you that inspiration doesn’t come on demand. And I understand that when you are a professional artist creating everyday is a part of the “job” whether you feel inspired or not…you just do it. But with each impending art show, I felt more and more boxed in….theoretically chained to this talent. I was really starting to lose my “passion” for what I loved so much. And it scared me to death! Art and creativity is such a huge part of who I am, I didn’t want to lose that.

So I stopped painting for a few months thinking that all I needed was a break. Maybe I was just getting overwhelmed. I was also working full-time, raising my 3 kids and trying to pursue an art career. Who wouldn’t be burnt out? But deep down inside it really felt more than that. So I stopped all creativity and decided to work on other areas of my life. In recent years, I have been very interested in spirituality. I really connected to the teachings of Sonia Choquette, a spiritual healer and teacher. One day in early January of this year I was listening to her radio show and she was talking to a caller about passion and profession. The caller was struggling to find something she was passionate about and how to incorporate this into her life. I knew what I was passionate about…no problems there. But as Sonia went on to explain to the caller was that passion can be in many forms in your life and at many different levels. She said “Passion doesn’t always have to be your profession…don’t get stuck there”.

As soon as she said this it was like a light bulb when on in my head! It was a huge epiphany for me. I had been trying to force something that just wasn’t right for me. Don’t get me wrong….painting and creativity are everything to me. I am my MOST authentic, joyous, happy self when I create, no doubt about that. I was born to create. But born to do this as a profession? I’m not so sure of that. I think in our society we are so geared to “live your passion”, “pursue your dreams”. And I think that is great, it’s wonderful to encourage our passion. But I think a lot of unrealistic expectations come along with this as well. If you’re passionate and talented this SHOULD be your ideal profession and you WILL be successful….this is what’s taught. The more we sell the more successful we are. And sometimes I think we can get stuck in this…especially creative people. Sure many artists have successful full-time careers and are very happy…they have put the hard work in and succeeded. And if this is you and you are TRULY happy, that’s great! Yet I have also seen many artists become very miserable and unhappy….stuck in the ideal that to be a true artist one must starve and struggle. They no longer enjoy the creative process, the shows or the business side of art. They lose the reason why they started in the first place along with a sense of themselves. This was me not too long ago.

So can there be a happy medium? I think so. Success shouldn’t be an all or nothing concept. Why does passion have to fit into a mould anyway? I had to find a way to have my passion “fit” in my life that made me happy. I knew I couldn’t live without it and I knew I couldn’t move forward the way it was. So I had to ask myself some really honest questions. Why was I creating art in the first place? What did I enjoy? What made me miserable? How was I going to move forward from here? I came to realize that the business side of art made me miserable. I never enjoyed the shows and marketing drove me nuts. But I knew what made me happy, C-R-E-A-T-I-N-G, plain and simple!

So I decided to drop all of the “stuff” that didn’t make me happy and move on. And something miraculous happened….my creativity came back full force! Like the cliché says “A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders”. For the past few months I have been painting like crazy. I even created a new style that I LOVE (see picture below)… a little something a little different from my usual style. I am exploring new mediums and having so much fun. I am not concerned any more if it sells (although it’s great when it does!). But coming to realize that it won’t be a full-time job someday is fine with me. Actually it’s a huge relief. I can paint when I’m inspired and do something else when I’m not (like ride my motorcycle!).  I will do the ArtWalk every year because I think it is a fabulous show and the ladies who organize it are wonderful. I will keep my website and Facebook page  and continue to sell my work. But my focus will be mainly on creating and finding my “happy” spot.

"Metamorphosis" 11"x16" Mixed Media

"Alice's Dream" 11"x14" Mixed Media

 

I guess my whole point is to make sure you are HAPPY with where your passions lie in your life. If you are working full-time as an artist and truly enjoying it, that’s wonderful! And if it is only something that you do part-time or just a hobby that`s great as well, but find where your passions FIT into your life….where they truly make you that happiest….find the right balance. They are a gift, cherish them. And if you are unhappy and need to stop to make changes to the path you’re on, then do it! Just be honest with yourself and ask the hard questions.  Success will come when you are in alignment with who you are. It comes from doing what’s natural for you, not from what you “should” do. This is your “happy” spot. This is where your passion resides.

I would love to hear the thoughts of other creative people out there! Where do you find your passions “fit” into your life? Where do they make you the most happy? Have you found the right balance?

The Daily Newb – Mercury Retrograde and My Creativity

Well, I must say that I have never heard of this before. Yes, I often gaze at the stars wondering if there is some cosmic reason for everything, a universal truth, a bigger plan so to speak. But it wasn’t until recently that I heard of Mercury Retrograde….

What is it? The planets are swinging around at all times and their movements affect us all in strange and bizarre ways. All planets go retrograde, but Mercury’s journey seems to impact people much more than any other. Mercury isn’t really going backwards, it’s just hanging out by the sun, but from Earth, that makes it look like it’s in reverse. This period usually lasts a few weeks and occurs 3 times/year (sometimes even 4 times/year!) This current retrograde is from April 18th to May 11th.

So why does it affect us so much? It’s because Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, truth & travel, so when it goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it’s going backwards in the sky — all these things seem go backwards as well. Unresolved issues from the past rear their ugly heads, you get into strange arguments about nothing at all, everything seems confusing, new projects go amuck. Things just seem to be going in reverse. Electronics, like computer equipment crash. I just recently lost ALL of my 2010 data on my computer and when you operate 2 small businesses from home….this is not a good thing! Travel delays occur…..a certain Icelandic volcano comes to mind? No air travel for a week in Europe? Wow…I am glad I wasn’t traveling over there…although being stuck in Europe for a week couldn’t be that bad..lol. I think I would just park my butt in the Louvre and stare at the Mona Lisa until all the madness has passed.

So what does this have to do with my creativity? It has made me want to go into hermit mode and my creativity went out the door. Actually, I think it went to Iceland and is still trying to catch a flight back. I have been trying to create new paintings for the past few weeks but am struggling with a HUGE creative block. I am actually contemplating going back and looking at a few of my unfinished pieces. Not to mention, I am irritable, frustrated, feeling like half of my brain is missing. Every conversation is confusing and I am having a hard time focusing. As well, my computer crashing and losing my data didn’t exactly help my frustration levels much. Yes, this would be the joys of Mercury Retrograde. And I just thought maybe I was in perpetual PMS (although that is always possible too!).

So that is the BAD news…but I have been thinking (this is one of my clearer thinking days)…maybe…just MAYBE this could be a GOOD thing. It seems to me that this is the Universe’s way of trying to cleanse. Go back and deal with past issues, re-examine areas in our life that need a bit more work, tie up loose ends. Look at you life with fresh new eyes. Deal with that nagging monkey on your back. Instead of swatting at it and telling it to go away, maybe give it some space and listen to what it has to say. I know this isn’t easy….artist’s are usually very emotional beings. And yes, I am definitely an artist at heart. But if the door to our creativity is blocked, how can we move forward?  Gotta tell you I am not looking forward to this part….I have a whole barrel of monkeys to deal with..lol.  But from what I have heard this is a good time to have great breakthroughs….intellectually and spiritually….and who knows….maybe even creatively!

So here are a few tips that may help deal with the retrograde nasties….

–          Roll with the punches….this is a great time reflect, renew and slow down. Take some time for yourself.

–          If starting a new project be flexible. They may not always start on time…or be completed at all. Don’t freak out! Maybe you have an unfinished project from a few months ago that would better work with the situation.

–          Back up, Back up, BACK UP! Yes, back up your computer before the Mercury Retrograde starts….and don’t lose precious data like I did.

–          Go with the flow….maybe the universe is trying to tell you something. Let it nudge where it wants. Maybe there are important issues you need to deal with before moving on.

–          Be cautious when travelling. You may be delayed. If so, take the opportunity to enjoy seeing places you usually wouldn’t venture. You may find a new source of inspiration.

–          And above all…..don’t take things too seriously! Your spouse is on your case, your kids are driving you nuts and you can’t paint a damn thing…..STOP!  B-R-E-A-T-H…..and try to laugh about it. We have all lost our marbles and are functioning with half a brain right now. Don’t worry this too shall pass and we will be back to our glorious selves in no time!

The next Mercury Retrograde will be August 20th –  September 12th……oh joy…lol 🙂

The Daily Newb – Pop Art in 6 Easy Steps…

op Art is an art movement and style that had its origins in England in the 1950s and made its way to the United States during the 1960s. I have always love pop art…it ranges from illustrative works like Roy Lichtenstein to a collage form like Robert Raushenberg (one of my favourites!) to the crazy and iconic images of Andy Warhol. Modern Pop Artist (Fatoe) Mike Orduna infuses a new breed of the pop art generation by adding digital images and photoshopping. Pop Art is created to show an object or person in a new light and I think all of these artists accomplish this extremely well.

Pop artists generally focus their attention upon familiar images of pop culture such as billboards, comic strips and supermarket products not to mention famous figures in history. I personally focus on singers and guitar legends. I really enjoy the iconic images that they bring to the table. As well, I find that the pop art style is so simple but so effective at getting “pop” or “wow” factor in a painting. I will be eventually trying my hand at Pop Art style family portrait…I will let you know how that turns out!

Here’s a look at how I do a Pop Art painting. The following is a commission painting I am doing on the great Tom Waits…enjoy!

 Step 1.  Posterize your picture…

Posterizing an image is generally done in Photoshop or any other photo editing software. I like Nero PhotoSnap Viewer because it is simple and easy to use. Posterizing, in general, is taking an image and reducing the number colors a picture has while still maintaining the “look” of the picture. From a posterized picture it is easy to create Pop Art painting.  If you are having problems posterizing a picture you want to paint, please send me an email at angellagoodon@shaw.ca and I will be glad to help!

Step 2. Grid your picture and canvas…

This is a great method of transferring a photo to canvas or paper. The grid method involves drawing a grid over your reference photo as well as a grid of EQUAL RATIO over your canvas or paper. If you are unsure of how to do this…check out this tutorial http://www.art-is-fun.com/grid-method.html

Step 3. Transfer the picture to the canvas…

Draw your image on to the canvas focusing on one square at a time until the entire image has been transferred. Once you are satisfied with the transfer, erase the grid lines on your working surface. I love this method because you picture will always be in proportion if you correctly draw one square at a time.

Step 4. Block in the greys…

Before painting the picture, I want to know how many shades of grey I have in the posterized picture. These will need to be painted in the new picture. On my posterized picture, I had 6 different colors…..these went from white to black with 4 different shades of grey in between. I begin by mixing my paint starting with the black. I find that straight black does not look great in paintings therefore I always add a touch of Phthalo Blue to the black. From there I add a touch of White Gesso to until I get the remaining shades I need. And instead of using Titanium White for the last color, I use White Gesso. I like the consistency of Gesso…nice and thick! As well, I find it more vibrant than a regular white acrylic paint.

Step 5. Adding Color

After you are satisfied with the “greys” you have painted, you can then add some color. For this painting, I decided that a red background would look great. In researching Tom Waits I found a great lyric in one of his well known songs “I Never Talk to Strangers”. The lyric is “A good man is hard to find*Only strangers sleep in my bed*My favorite words are good-bye*And my favorite color is RED”.  I thought this was a great lyric and decided to incorporate the color red into the painting because of it. I painted this background in Crimson Red.

 Step 6. Adding Finishing Touches…

I always like to personalize my pop art paintings. In this painting, I streaked the background with black and white paint making it look distressed. As well, I added a few of his more memorable song titles…..such as “Closing Time” and “My Piano Has Been Drinking” in the background. They are very subtle but look great on the finished painting. By doing this, it adds a little personality to the painting!

Finished painting “And My Favorite Color is Red – Tom Waits” by Angella Goodon

So there you have it….. a pop art painting in 6 easy steps! How do you approach a pop art painting? Do you like the black and white style? Or do you like the punch of color? What’s your style?

To see more of my pop art paintings as well as a close up view of this one….please visit the gallery page of my website! Pop Art is located at the bottom of the page. www.angellagoodon.com/gallery

The Daily Newb – Art Competitions – Great Exposure for the Emerging Artist

Art Competitions – Great Exposure for the Emerging Artist

It’s been a few weeks since I have blogged. I have completed my marketing plan (which I will be posting soon) as well as worked on a pop art commission. But a funny thing happened…I am running into a creative block. My brain has turned to preverbal mush and I am having hard time getting the creative juices flowing again. I am trying to figure out a way to get past this creative resistance. Any ideas out there??  Or am I doomed to draw stick people for the rest of my life?

Well, that aside, I have realized that two of my favourite art competitions are coming up – The Royal Bank Canadian Painting Competition and The Artist’s Magazine Annual Art Competition. Art competitions are a great way to expose your art to a worldwide audience. Artists may sell work, garner commissions and become part of prestigious collections. Many competitions showcase the winning work in their publications which are seen by millions of people. Art competitions also allow fellow artists the opportunity to see the works of their peers and compare their own alongside them. And if you are lucky enough to be a finalist, I think it is a great addition to your resume/cv.

Below are a few competitions that I follow and enter every year. The fees to enter are small and if you are a finalist, the exposure is incredible.

 2010 RBC Canadian Painting Competition

This is a great competition open to only emerging artists (within the first 5 years of their careers). Artwork must be on canvas or board and be comprised mainly of painted media (archival material) with dimensions up to 72”x72” and must be completed between January 1, 2009 and May 3, 2010. There is no fee to enter this competition and you may enter up to 3 works for consideration. A regional jury panel of distinguished members of the arts community will select five paintings from their regions as follows: Eastern (Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador), Central (Ontario) and Western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut). The three jury panels will then select one national winner and two honourable mentions from the 15 semi-finalists. The national winner will receive $25,000 and the two honourable mentions will each receive $15,000. The 15 semi-finalists will be announced June 2010 and the winners October 2010.  I entered last year and I will be entering again this year. Please read the qualifications carefully as there are a few stipulations of the work you submit. If it sounds like something you are interested in, here’s the link http://www.rbc.com/sponsorship/paintingcompetition/index.html

Entry deadline is May 3, 2010. 

“The Evolution of Life” – This is one of the paintings I entered into the RBC competition last year.

 The Artist Magazine Annual Art Competition

This competition is open to artists anywhere in the world. Only original artwork, conceived and created by the entrant will be considered. All mediums are considered except sculpture and computer generated artwork. There are 5 categories to compete in – Portraits/Figures – Still Life/Floral – Landscape/Floral – Abstract/Experimental – Animal/Wildlife. Winners will be featured and finalists’ names will be published in the December 2010 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Five first place awards, each receiving $2,500. There is a fee of $15US(students) and $25US (all other applicants) for each piece of artwork you submit. Winners will be contacted August 1, 2010. The Artist’s Magazine is published 10 times/year and is distributed worldwide. Finalists of this competition will receive incredible exposure. I entered this one last year and will again this year. Here’s the link if you wish to check it out http://www.artistsnetwork.com/annualcompetition/

Deadline is May 3, 2010

 “Twilight” – I entered this painting in last years Artist’s Magazine competition.

 International Emerging Artist’s Competition – Summer 2010

Visual Overture Magazine introduces emerging artists to galleries, curators, and collectors. They are now accepting submissions for the Summer 2010 edition. International emerging artists of any field are invited to apply. Juror and art critic, Kathy Stockman, will select 7 artists for feature in publication. Selected artists are presented on two pages of magazine and receive 3 complimentary copies of issue in which they are featured. This is an excellent opportunity for under-represented artists to connect with galleries, curators, and collectors. All types of media are accepted including sculpture. You can submit 3-6 images of your work for consideration. There is a fee of $17 per artist. This will be the first year I enter this competition. Here’s the link if you would like to check it out http://www.visualoverture.com/artists.htm Scroll down to the middle of the page and you find submission qualifications and a link to submit your artwork.

Deadline is April 1, 2010.

“A Goddess in Elegance” – This may be one of the 3 I enter into this year’s International Emerging Artist’s competition.

 The Art List.com

If art competitions are your thing, check out TheArtList.com. They not only offer links to art contests and competitions but to art exhibitions and other opportunities for artists. They offer a free monthly newsletter as well as a Premium paid service which provides a more detailed search with contact info, etc. It costs $27US/year.  Check them out at https://www.theartlist.com/index.php

Do you have any competitions you can add to the list? How do you feel about art competitions? Do you enter them regularly? Have you ever been a finalist?

The Daily Newb – Social Media and Selling Art Online – My Continuing Experiment…

When I first started exhibiting my work about a year ago, I knew that I would eventually have to dip my toe in the sea of social media if I was to produce sales online. Being that it is the start of a new year, I thought why not setup a little experiment and see just how social media can “bring home the bacon”. So I learnt as much as I could about social media – what it is and how it could help me with my art. Social media is essentially a category of online media where people are talking, sharing, participating, networking and bookmarking online. Examples of this new media are blogs, internet forums, podcasts, social bookmarking, picture-sharing and social networking sites just to name a few. There are so many out there with new sources added daily. So how was this supposed to help me with my art career? The answer is simple – all of these provide me with incredible exposure to masses. Exactly what I needed if I was to sell art beyond the city limits of Kelowna……so my experiment begins. Here are a few I have tried so far and the results I have seen….

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/angella.goodon#!/pages/The-Art-of-Angella-Goodon/470407210424?ref=ts

I have been on facebook for about 4 years now. I found it a great tool for meeting new people, connecting with long, lost friends and sharing pictures with family and friends. I had never thought about marketing my art through facebook. So when I launched my website about a year ago, I decided to post my art on my personal facebook page as well. I set up a photo album called “Portfolio” and added digital pictures of my art. This worked out well as I was able to get some great exposure and generate some sales. I even managed to get a few collectors out of it! Then I found out in December of 2009 that facebook frowns on people who try to market products/services through their personal facebook page. And found out that I may be shut down if I continue to market my art this way. Oops! So I have since taken off the prices of my art on my portfolio page. They are there to simply look at now. However, facebook does offer a great alternative to businesses and a way to market their products. Set up a FAN PAGE! This way you can set up a page specifically for your business. Here’s a link to help set up a fan page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php) It’s super easy….just follow the steps. You must have a facebook account to do this. You can fill in all of your business info and post pictures of your products. It’s like a virtual business card and more. I like this option because it really ZEROS IN on your target audience. Anyone can add themselves to your fan page even if they are not on your friends list thereby growing your customer base. And, unlike your personal page, the pictures you post will be seen by people who actually want to see your art, your fans! It’s been a great resource for me. I already have 137 fans and I just started the page a few weeks ago.

Blogswww.thenewbieartist.wordpress.com

Well, I’ll be honest, I have never been much of a blog reader. I never felt I had time to read blogs. I should be painting, right? Well, YES….and NO. Yes, you should be spending your valuable time painting and creating. But what about the business side of your art? Blogs are traffic magnets and can bring people to your website and hopefully bring you some sales. I started a blog just a few weeks ago and already I am seeing major hits on my website. If you are like me and am not sure what to write about…try the topics outlined in this blog post by Barney Davey (http://www.artprintissues.com/2009/08/last-summer-repost-52-blog-topics-for-artists-get-started-now.html). There are a lot of great topics and I am sure that you will find one that you can relate too. For me, I have decided to write about my personal journey as an emerging artist. There are not a lot of resources on the internet for someone starting out as an artist. And I thought why not share with everyone what I am going through to pursue my dream. From time to time, I am sure that I will be ranting about my frustrations on working full time, raising a family and trying to pursue my dream (I am sure that article will be called “What was I thinking???”). But none the less it will also be about the things I have tried to get where I want to be….like marketing, art shows, approaching galleries, etc. All in all, write about what you know. Blogs are easy to create. I have heard that wordpress is the best one out there and the most flexible when adding your content, pictures, etc. To open an wordpress blog, go here (http://en.wordpress.com/signup/ ).

Twitterwww.twitter.com/thenewbieartist

Twitter is a valuable tool to tap into an amazing community of people from around the world to see what they are thinking, feeling and experiencing. It’s a great resource to find out what you should write in your blogs. Find out what people are talking about and include it in your blog. In return, it’s also a great way to bring exposure to your blogs, websites, etc. Here are some great tips for those twitter newbies (like myself!) http://www.twitip.com/10-easy-steps-for-twitter-beginners/.

Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/thenewbieartist/

Flickr is a free online photo and video hosting website. The benefit of using this free file sharing site are massive.  Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags, which allow searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter.  Once an internet searcher finds your images you can then drive them back to your website.  This site is just another way for you to get free traffic to your site, helping to promote your art. It is easy to get started with Flickr. Go to www.flickr.com, click on the “Create Your Account” button and enter your Yahoo email address and password.  Once you are a member of Flickr you can start uploading your videos and photos to share with your friends and the world.

Imagekindhttp://www.imagekind.com/goodon_poster

Imagekind is the world’s first hybrid art gallery – offering a photo-sharing experience along with a POD (Print on Demand) service. Print on Demand is the name given to the process of producing high quality fine art prints or canvases according to specific, individual requirements. You upload your art to Imagekind’s website and in turn the customer chooses which ones they would like to make prints of. Prints can be made in photo quality papers or canvas as well they can choose to frame their print with over 160 frames to choose from. Also, you can set your markup on each piece you sell giving you control over what you earn. I uploaded the majority of my photos a few weeks ago. I have not made any sales yet but I do know of a few artists that have had success with this website.

I have found that just by utilizing these social media tools I have increased my website traffic substantially. I was getting on average 10-12 hits/day on my website before. Now I get anywhere from 30-35 hits/day because I am increasing my online presence. In eight short days, I have received 157 hits, more than I ever have in one month! How did I do this? By linking these social media tools back to my central hub, my website. Has it “brought home the bacon” yet? Well, it’s only been a few short weeks….but I will keep you posted! There are so many social media tools out there. I have also heard great things about LinkedIn, Bebo and Ning which I am also wanting to test out in the near future. The experiment continues!

What social media tools do you use? What have you found to bring in the most traffic? Sales? Exposure?

The Daily Newb – What are the 3 most important priorities for an emerging artist?

Recently, well last week to be specific, I had the privilege of participating in the smARTist online Telesummit. Here’s a link to this fabulous course….http://smartist.com/live-telesummit/. This 7-day course provided a wealth of information….and I mean a WEALTH of information! Everything from starting a career as an artist to approaching galleries to making an income from art licensing and making art prints. I highly suggest anyone out there looking to advance their art careers to check out this course in 2011. Over the next year I will be applying what I have learned to my own art career and passing a few tips to my fellow “newbs” along the way. A good starting point for me was to figure out where I wanted to go with my career this year….and I started with this question – What are the 3 most important priorities for an emerging artist?

Well, depending on who you ask, I am sure you will get 3 different sets of answers. Everyone from gallery owners to artists to your collectors will have a different yet valuable opinion on this. From my perspective, being an emerging artist myself, these are the 3 that I came up with:

1.      HAVE A PLAN – develop a marketing or business plan. Be clear and concise on where you are starting and where you want to be. Be brutally honest about your skills and talent. Ask yourself: What do I bring to the table? What skills do I excel in? What skills am I lacking? Where can I go to get help to execute this plan? Do I need marketing help? What is your target audience? How will I reach them? Also, think about your lifestyle and personality – how much time am I willing to commit to this? Is it realistic?  Being that we are at the start of 2010, I am currently trying to develop and commit to a realistic plan for this year. I will be posting my own marketing/business plan in the upcoming month.

2.     HAVE A CONSISTENT BODY OF WORK – Well, what does this mean? Your body of work must be recognizable in style and be large enough to show a gallery – 20 to 30 pieces of art.  Here is a great article from Martha Marshall on building a body of art. http://painting.about.com/od/careerdevelopment/a/MMarshall_Work.htm. Also, consider working this into your “business/marketing plan” from above. How many pieces should I be making a week to build a consistent body of work? Do I need to increase my production? Building a consistent body of work is something I am working on for 2010. I am aiming for 2 new pieces a week. Below I have attached a series that I am working on.  

The Goddess Series – “A Goddess in Repose” & “A Goddess in Mourning” by Angella Goodon

3.     GET EXPOSED! – Yes, get exposure where ever you can. Join art groups, submit artwork to artshows/competitions (juried and non-juried), get a website, join a social networking site like facebook and twitter, volunteer for artist societies, hang paintings in doctors/dentist offices or the local coffee shops. Get your art out there…anywhere and everywhere. Currently, I have 17 paintings hanging at the District of Lake Country City Hall. Any wall can become your gallery! Getting exposure will not only build your customer base and hopefully get you sales but you will also be building your resume which is important when approaching a gallery.

There are so many more that I could add to the list. As an artist, emerging or experienced, what priorities/goals are you working on for 2010? Has these priorities/goals changed due to the economic climate or have they consistently stayed the same? What are your thoughts?