My First Art Fair Experience – In one word “Fantastic”

It was Fantastic, not because I sold some pieces of artwork, but because I had the most amazing experience and (tent) neighbors.

We (Rob  and I) started to set up at 5:30 am, just like all the other artists. My level of enthusiasm was high. I greeted everyone that passed by. It helped break the ice and introduced ourselves to our neighbors. However, it was not the time for chatting. Everyone was on a mission to build their tents and get ready before the crowd arrived.

Once the art hanged neatly and the cars out-of-the-way, I changed my clothes and got our coffee fix. It was time to relax. Then we realized, we didn’t have chairs… heehee. Thank God the metro-rail was close by. Rob went to buy a couple of comfy chairs at a near by Sporting Goods Store. He saved the day! 😀 (lesson learned!)

Saturday was slow, as the experts said, but it gave us a chance to talk to our next-door fellow artists. Mano, the artist, and his wife Cucki, which by the way he won 1st Place in his category. Two amazing souls. At the end of the day, people zipped up their tents and went home. We knew that because our tent didn’t have a front (to close it up) we would have to take the art with us. That meant upload the car again, bring it down at home, reload the next morning to take it back to the event. In other words, a mission!! But like angels in disguised, Cucki and Mano, offered us to leave it all inside their tent. We didn’t have enough words to express our appreciation. They saved us!!! And we’ll forever be grateful for their generosity.

Sunday was busy! The weather was cooler, but still lots of sun. The good thing was that there were trees along the sidewalk, providing shade throughout the day. I had a chance to interact with the fair goers. It was a great experience. Some friends that I hadn’t seen in years, came by to visit. It was such a joy! 😀 I also had time to talk to my other next-door neighbor Witha, the artist, and her husband Bill. Witha also won 1st Place in her category. Adorable people as well. Rob talked to Bill the day before. I spoke to Witha on Sunday and she also gave me good pointers.

Through out the event, both neighbors (to my left and right side) were incredibly kind. They gave us years of advice (the does and don’ts) about fairs, tents, set up and much more. Positive energy was flowing all around us. And to keep that energy going, below is a list with the advice they shared with us and my experience about the event.

Things I learned:

– Make a List of everything that you need and will take to the event.
– Bring comfy chairs
– Don’t seat inside your tent, be close by and let people look at your work before approaching. 
– Have lots of business cards. In my case, i took my cute and a bit expensive ones (don’t do that) and the postcards with all my info. I realized that some people loved my little cards so much that took way too many. So, after a while I had to hide them and replaced them with the postcards, which cost nothing compare to the tiny cards. Below are some pictures of both types. If you would like to place an order for the tiny cards, here is the link.
– I believe on clearly pricing your art. Some people shy away because they don’t know if they can afford it. 
– Also, before I forget, a sign with your name or web address is important. I made mine with canvas. It was super easy and cheap compared to banners.
– Be ready to give discounts! If I saw someone interested, I immediately offered a % discount. Yours could be 10, 15 or 20, just make sure to know how much you are willing to sell it for. Some people will take what you give them, others will ask for more. 
– To make your set up fast and easy, know exactly where your art will be hanged. To do this, I put the tent up at home and hanged all my work as I wanted it, and then took pictures to remember how it was. If later, you want to change things a bit, which I did, it is much easier. The cheapest and most effective way to do mine was with chains. I will try to write about it and post it later, with pictures.
– If possible, have someone to help you through out the event. I was blessed that Rob was there the first day and my mom the second. There are times you need to go to the bathroom, eat, take a break, talk to clients or just do nothing. 
– Be ready to talk about your art, the process, why you choose that medium, how does it make you feel, etc. Some people love to ask all kinds of questions, to get to know the artist. Most people buy art because of how the piece makes them feel, but remember this is also an investment. You could help close the deal by answering the questions with confidence and enthusiasm. I helped me sell four pieces. Yay!!
– A good way to break the ice is by asking which piece they like the most. Usually, they tell you and the reason why they like it. If not, ask why. Introduce yourself and then ask them their name (most important, remember – I was so nervous that the second they uttered their name, I forgot.. heehee).
– When you sell a small piece, have a bag to put it in. When you have a big one, have the plastic to wrap it around. I totally forgot about it!!!
– One of the most important lessons was the tent. First of all, it needs to be white. Not only because it is a requirement in most fairs (I got lucky this time) but because light reflects better. I opened the top of the wall in mine a bit, to help with the light. There is so much to talk about it that I thought it would be best to share with you a post about it below. This article was written by Mona Majorowicz. Check it out! 
 
Tent: Shop around, eBay and Craigslist, are great places to get used tents. It will be much cheaper. If you are planning to attend a few shows per year, it will be a great investment to get a commercial type hut, new ones could cost up to $2,000. There is a lot of things to consider when buying a tent, but I found this amazing article by Mona Majorowicz listing all the different types of tents and the cons and pros about them.
 

 I hope this post shade some light on how to prepare for an event like this one.

Have a great week!! 😀

This are the more expensive ones. Good to pass around to potential buyer.
These are the more expensive ones. Good to pass around to potential buyer.
These are the postcards, which I paid about $45, for 1,000 cards. You need to register with them before ordering at www.bosslogo.com

 
 
 

How to Promote your Paintings, Art and Photography

It took me a while, but it is finally here.

Below is a list of things I do to promote my paintings and get my customers to return for more.

I learned that the most important thing to do, is to have your own webpage, as I call it – an Official Website. This website is your portfolio online. Consequently, no matter where you are, you will be able to show your work to any potential customer, gallery or interested parties. Besides, it is a great presentation tool.

I have my page at Big Black Bag. I like their setting and it is easy to navigate. Plus, you have many option for promotion and e-commerce. They offer a 14 day free trial and if you like it, you can choose from their many monthly of yearly fees.

I also have many other social media site where I post new paintings and events. If you haven’t set up a page on Facebook, I recommended. It is easy and another amazing tool. Through my Facebook Page, people have contacted me to do commission paintings, invite me to galleries, take part in fairs and even bought some pieces. Besides, it is free to create a page.

I don’t use Twitter too much, but it has also bring me some sales. I try not to bombard people with my paintings. I also share articles about art and other useful information. Besides, it is free to create an account.

I also have an Etsy Shop. If you haven’t heard of Etsy, you need to check it out. It is growing incredibly fast. I had many sales through Etsy. In addition, the director of RAW found me through this site. And that was not the first time people have contacted me to inform me of other venues. Etsy is where I have had the most commissioned paintings requested, sales and contacts. It is free to create a shop. However, it cost .20 cents to post your item and a % when you sell it, but it is worth it.

Another recently found site is Daily Paintworks. I was surprised to sell a piece the second day I uploaded my work. I am still trying to get familiarized with the ins and outs, price range and best sellers, but I had and average of one per month. You do however need to be aware that this is like Ebay, but they only sell art and they do charge $12 a month to be a member.  Most sales are of small pieces, but I think it is worth it and another tool to promote your work.

The other site that I love, but haven’t had much time to log in lately, is Fine Art America. My experience has been all positive and had many sales. This site offers prints of your work, which is a great way to earn royalties. In other words, it is like Art.com, but the royalties are better. Each print you sell here, you choose how much money you would like to receive for them. They also have great tools for promotion, like coupons, blogs, event posts, announcements and much more. It is also a great community of artists helping each other. The fee is $30 yearly, to be able to sell prints of your art. By the way, this site is also great for fotographers.

The latest page I found to promote and get information on the latest events, venues and awards is See.me. I cannot tell you much about it, even though I signed up a few months ago. I became interested because a friend recommended the site. In fact, I am so new to this one that I only have 7 supporters … heehee. It seems that when people click the “SUPPORT ME” bottom (no money required, just a post on Facebook) I get a chance to win awards and promotions. This is how it goes: with 9 SUPPORTS (or clicks), one will be eligible for the life changing Grand Prize / with 19 SUPPORTS, be featured in a See.Me Facebook gallery seen by hundreds of thousands / with 99 SUPPORTS, be featured in a digital group show at SCOPE Miami 2013 during Miami Art Week. If you like to help me on this quest, just click on SUPPORT ME. It will post on your Facebook or Twitter.

I also have profiles on the following sites, which I don’t log in much, but it gets my name and work out there:

LinkedIn
Behance
Saatchi Online
RAW artsits

Let’s not forget your blog. This is an amazing way to get connected with artists around the world. To get inspired, to share your work and give each other support. I don’t rely on this site for customers, I love the friendly atmosphere, great articles, fellow artists and bloggers.

I hope this post helps you promote your art and hopefully, get some sales. 😀

Have a Fantastic Day! Thanks for stopping by.

How to Clean and Care for your Brushes

IMG_6882I am the first to admit that I ruined many brushes along the way for leaving them standing on water or solvent overnight. Most of the time, I simply forgot, but it is no excuse.

If you have painted for a while, you probably experienced the result of this – hair brushes tips get curvy and some bristles look like a witch’s broom, if you know what I mean.

For the newbies, here are a few tips that I picked up through the years:

1. It is easier to clean the brush if you first remove excessive paint with paper towel.

2. Use warm water only, because hot water will eventually ruin your brush making it fall apart.

3. Rub your brush with mild soap to work up a lather and wash it to remove the paint. Repeat this step until you see the water runs clear.

4. Press the bristles together to the original shape. This habit will help conserve your brush shape longer.

5. Place brushes up side down, hairs up, so they don’t bend while drying.

Happy painting!! 😀

What are Meta Tags? The answer…

meta-tags (1)… might be a bit complicated. However, here is my attempt to explain it based on what I read the past couple of weeks.

Do you remember those index cards, were you used to write recipes? (maybe school lessons? or business contacts?) I do! My favorite one was oatmeal cookies.

You are probably thinking what on earth recipes has to do with Meta Tags?  Well, believe it or not, it works exactly the same in the World Wide Web (WWW) (at least this is what I understood :D).

The usual practice to write a recipe on an index card was to include a short title, which helped us find it later. The list of ingredients was as important, being that a wrong item would throw you off completely. Finally, the preparation took us into a more detailed explanation. In other words, I wouldn’t titled this recipe chicken stew, nor would I find red vinegar as  part of my ingredients, right?

Then, if you understand how we used those index cards, you understand Meta Tags! Meta Tags have the same purpose and system. The most common ones below:

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How to Identify Values – A Neat Trick

value03If you are a painter reading this, you know there are many important aspects in the process of creating a painting.  Choosing a medium is the easiest part. Deciding on a subject is a bit more complicated, not to mention creating a compelling composition. However, it does not end there. Selecting a color palette is the next step. Now we are ready to start, but wait! We need to choose our values first. Yes, values are of great significance.

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How to convert your word document to EPub format using Calibre

A few things before we begin.

For those of you that don’t know, Calibre, it is and I quote “a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books”, in other words, this is the software you need to download to covert your word document into Epub file. Here is the link. It is free. Read more