Daddy's Christmas Angel

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Keeping An Organized Art Life

Hilton Head Lighthouse pastel ©Mary Montague Sikes
For the past several months, my husband has been working on creating a new website for my artwork. Because I have not been organized in the way I go about photographing and filing my work, this has become a daunting task for him and for me. Long ago, I was told I needed to create a filing system for my paintings. Perhaps I should even make a file of color schemes, I was advised.

I did not follow that advice. Now I am paying for it.

As an artist, I have more than one aspect of my working life. I am a teacher, a workshop instructor (both as an artist and as a writer), a photographer, and a creator of art. To continue to grow as an artist, I also am a workshop participant. Right now, I am reflecting on what I should have, could have done to be in a better position for developing a suitable website.

Because of what I have learned along the way, here is my advice for other artists.

1. Photograph your work. Do it as soon as you complete it. Have a 300 dpi image as well as a lower 72 or 150 dpi image on file for each piece of artwork. Label each photo: Your Last Name - Title - Painting Dimensions  (dpi).
Example: Sikes - Orange Bouquet - 20 x 16 (150)

2. Decide a category for the work. Is it an acrylic, pastel, watercolor, mixed media, etc.? Is it abstract, landscape, still-life? Categories are important when laying out your website.

3. Size matters. If you have larger works, you might want to have a separate section for them, unless all of your work is large. Be sure to measure your work and keep that information on file with photographs of your pieces.

4. Keep an updated bio ready to send out at all times. Also have a press release about your work ready to go with only a few easy to make changes.

5. Make a Word file of places you have shown your work and keep it updated.

6. Make a Word file of juried shows and awards won. Perhaps add the names of jurors for those shows.

7. Important. Keep a list of buyers of your work along with their addresses and email addresses.

8. Send out a newsletter periodically. Keep your email addresses up to date for the newsletter.

9. Blog about your work. Not every time you write a blog, but sometimes show your work in progress and tell a little about it.

10. Paint, mat, frame. Keep a list of your suppliers and receive offers online. Take advantage of sales and free shipping.

Get organized and enjoy your life and your business as a painter.

Workshops and Art Shows upcoming:

New Town Art Gallery, Williamsburg VA, Visiting Artist - Sept. - Nov., Mon. - Sat. 11 - 5, Sun. 12 - 5

For Art's Sake, Richmond VA, Pastel Society of Virginia small works show - Sept. 2 - 27
                Opening, Friday, Sept. 5 - 5 to 8 p.m.

Crossroads Art Center, Richmond VA, Open House - Sept. 19, 6 to 9 p.m.

Upcoming Workshops:
"Painting with Texture and Color" - Art Academy, Hilton Head Island SC
"Beginning Drawing and Painting" - Arts on the Main, Gloucester VA

For workshop information, please contact Mary Montague Sikes.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent check list. Once you do get organized, you'll be really organized.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A combination of those things is what I've done with my photos, speaking engagements, and book signings/appearances. I rely a lot on my standard media kit, where I can just copy, make a few changes, and the information is good to go.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Alex. For me, the organization is quite a project because I have 100s of paintings.

Diane, I suspect you are a completely organized professional. I so admire you!