Monday, January 8, 2018

Goals and resolutions

Hard to believe we're a week into the New Year already. Did you make any resolutions? I guess most have to do with health and happiness. Super good goals, hard to quantify. What about art goals? If you're an artist, your art career needs to be healthy to make you happy. And if you're a collector...  find art that makes you smile!

Some of my past goals have included tackling new subjects, showing in new venues, joining new arts organizations, attending workshops, tracking of artwork and sales better and painting more! Generally, focusing on becoming more professional. This year I'm thinking of doing a related series of paintings, but I haven't quite figured out what the theme will be.

I've already accomplished one goal (more of a to-do list item) - reorganizing my studio, with Todd Casey in preparation for his workshop. Amazingly, it really didn't take that long. Funny how true that is for many projects I procrastinate about. My studio  looks so much bigger, so open! Such a worthwhile effort.

If you're into making art goals, an important one is to set up and maintain a website. This was reiterated time and again in marketing sessions at the Figurative Art Convention this fall. When someone has seen your work and been intrigued by your style or subject matter, your website gives them an opportunity to check out new pieces, peruse your body of work, become familiar with individual paintings and get to know you better as an artist. Here's the artwork page on my website as an example.
artwork website, painting website

Setting up a website is not as daunting as it might seem. I'm no expert and don't even know the terminology well enough to explain it all, but I encourage you learn and get your work online. There are many website hosts that are reasonably priced and easy to maintain and edit yourself: Wix, GoDaddy and Network Solutions are three that I've tried. I started with Network Solutions but left because of problems with features I specifically wanted. So I moved to GoDaddy, which is where my website is now. Their customer service has been very helpful whenever I needed them. Wix is another host that I used for an organization I'm in. It has nice design options and was easy to work on.

Ease of editing is not just a stress reducer, it's a money saver. You need to be able to update your website yourself in a timely and accurate manner - and not have to pay someone to do it. You don't have to be tech savvy to use Wix or GoDaddy. Honestly. I'm certainly not! Do some research, make some calls, ask a lot of questions and get started.

And here's why. In the last few weeks several paintings were purchased from my website after buyers had seen them elsewhere. They didn't make the purchase at the time, but kept thinking about it, revisited the work online, then decided to make it their own. With an online presence folks interested in your work have another opportunity to fall in love with it. 

The other reason to have your own art website is that it's what professional artists do. Even if you show in a gallery, buyers expect you will have a website. They will stand in front of a piece they like and google your website to see what else they might love. And galleries want you to have that breadth of exposure and professionalism. Of course you must always abide by your gallery agreement in terms of pricing and sales. It's only fair since they brought your work to the collector's attention.

These are the paintings that were recently purchased from my website. In each case the buyer had seen the work somewhere previously, but was not yet ready to buy. Also, my website has additional information, like what the painting means to me or how the composition evolved. Collectors like to know the story behind a painting.
Ticket to Ride ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Gentleman Caller ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Taking Measure, Following Threads ©2016 Dorothy Lorenze
If Wishes Were Horses ©2017 DLorenze
Tête à Tête à Tootsies ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Meanwhile, while researching the technical aspects of hosting, etc., start gathering the content needed: a brief bio, resumé with exhibitions and awards, education, affiliations, organizations as well as any interesting news, publications or press. You will also need decent photos of your work: no frames and no glare. It does sound like a lot, but most of it is material you may have gathered for shows already. 

The thing we really don't want to tackle is the technical part. It may be unfamiliar territory, but believe me, you have done more difficult things in your life! I was at the Apple store in a workshop for new users with a woman who was grappling with iphotos. She was clearly unhappy and feeling incapable. Then the tech guru said, "don't worry, it's not like it's a heart & lung machine" and she sat up and said, "Oh! I can do that!" She was an operating room nurse and he had unwittingly put it in perspective for her. Basically, if you've learned to drive a car, you can handle a website. 

Get to it! And in the words of Dr. Suess, "Oh the places you'll go!"

Have a beautiful and creative 2018! 

Thanks for joining me on my art journey.

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