This week I have been in the gallery everyday doing demos of my artwork. I started a new horse piece before going in on Monday and have been working on it all week. It's just like when I've done "Artist In Action" in the past at art stores. I just sit there and paint all day. When people come by, I greet them and explain my work. I explain my medium, my techniques, and have several completed pieces on display for them to see. The piece I have been working on all week is very close to being completed! During the course of the past five days, I have learned some important lessons:
1. Shutting yourself into your studio to work is a good idea .... initially, but........ it takes getting out into contact with other people, especially other artists, that will really motivate and inspire you. I have accomplished more this week, even while teaching others how I work and talking to many interested people (and potential clients) about my art. I had become lazy, unmotivated, and uninspired by staying at home working in my studio day after day. By getting out into the middle of the local art world, I was rejuvenated and my confidence was boosted. I had many inquiries about commissions, about selling the art pieces I had on display, and many, many compliments and a great deal of encouragement. Everyone needs encouragement and support. That is exactly what I have received this week. Not that I don't get that at home. This is different. It's by people I don't know and who have no reason to say something simply to please me. That is important and makes the compliment more effective.
2. Don't blow dust and pencil particles off your painting while chewing gum ........... you might get unexpected ...... and undesired ....... results.
3. Be prepared to market yourself at all times ..... even at the most unexpected or unplanned times. Unwittingly, I have been marketing myself all week ....... and I hope to be feeling the effects of that for some time to come. You just never know who you will run into while you are out there in the world working on your art - potential clients or people who know potential clients and will recommend you to them. I also ran out of business cards and desperately need to get more made ASAP!! Never run out of business cards!
4. Exposing your art to the public will give you name recognition in the future....... people will talk about that animal artist that was demoing her art at the gallery, you know Nancy Pingree Hoover ...... ! And if they forget my name, they now know where to go to get it, and my contact information.
None of this means you need to paint in public all the time. It simply means not to be afraid of getting out there and exposing yourself, and your art, to the world! I feel that I have completely changed many of the public's previous (and prejudiced) view of colored pencil artwork now that they have been able to see it done and had it explained to them by a colored pencil artist. I feel more confident in displaying my art locally. Chances are, it will be better understood than it has been in the past, and if someone makes a disparaging remark, I bet there will be someone nearby who can correct them now that they themselves are better educated about colored pencils.
By the way, goals one and two are now completed for this year! I am now established in an art gallery AND I have, as of tomorrow, completed one week of being the featured artist at the gallery! I am psyched and ready and rearing to go with completing a lot more artwork!!