Sunday, May 31, 2009

Great Advice for Artists

When I was just beginning to show and sell my paintings and photography, I ran across this quote by Alan Bamberger at I think there is a lot of wisdom in his words, and I often refer to it for inspiration:

"The passage of time is far more important than strategizing for success. Make art, get it out there, do what you have to do so that as many people see your art as possible, prove that you're a going concern, that you're in this for the duration, you're committed, you're not going to give up, and that nothing will stop you. Sooner or later, others will begin believing in you just like you believe in yourself, and that's when good things start happening."

Here's an excerpt from the about us page on his website: "Alan Bamberger, is an art consultant, advisor, author, and independent appraiser specializing in research, appraisal, and all business and market aspects of original works of art, artist manuscript materials, art-related documents, and art reference books. Alan's site is full of great information on the business of art, and anybody who is or is thinking about selling their art should read every word."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blues On The Green

I just signed up to participate in Etsy Austin's sponsor booth at KGSR's Blues On The Green, July 29, music by Carolyn Wonderland. Gonna be hot in more ways than one! It's free to the public - 5-9pm at Waterloo Park, so come on out and hear some of Austin's great live music. Click on the title for a link to KGSR's website.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thought For The Day

Today's quote is from George Carlin: "Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town" - So true!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Selling at Art Shows - Demonstrating Your Craft

People love to see an artist at work with their media of choice. Not all artists are able to bring their "studio" to a show for various reasons such as the need for special equipment, safety issues and space considerations. Painting, jewelry making and fiber media are some things that work well.

Also, there may be times when the show is slow, so having something to work on will help keep you from getting bored. If you can't work on your art, you can bring a computer, something to read or something else to do. Some people will feel that they are interrupting your work, and will not stick around, so working at a show can actually hurt your sales if you are not careful. Always stop whatever you are doing when it gets busy or there are customers in your space, and always greet your customer.

One way to make sure working at a show does not get in the way of sales is to set aside specific times for demonstrations, and hang a sign in your space advertising those times. You can also include the times in any promotions you send out to customers such as emails, postcards, etc.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Coral Reef Dreams Featured in Etsy Treasury

I'm so excited, for the first time one of my jewelry pieces is featured in an Etsy treasury!

The treasury was created by Leilani Cleveland Deveau from Quebec - It is titled "A Tribute to {Heavenly Flower}, Things That Speak To Me". It is primarily made up of items whose creators have given them the name LeiLani.

My Leilani is a black pearl necklace:

"Leilani was the Hawaiian princess in the John Wayne movie, Donovan's Reef. This necklace is certainly fit for a princess! I have paired top quality, near-round black freshwater pearls with gold vermeil spacer beads to create this elegant necklace. It is finished with a gold filled toggle clasp and pearl dangle that can be worn either in the front or back. The length is 18". The original version of this necklace was created using white pearls and emeralds, and can be found in the Beach Wedding section of my Etsy shop -"

Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering our Veterans on Memorial Day

If you click on the title above, you will be taken to a website I set up for my Dad so he can share the photos he took of B24 nose art during World War II. Here's the story:

These photos of the famed B24 "Liberator" were taken by Mr. James V. Walsh while he served as ground crew with the 13th airborne division, 307th bomb group while stationed in the Pacific theatre during World War II. He set up a "darkroom" in a tent where he developed photographs taken of the planes, pilots and their crews with an Ansco Shur Shot standard "box" camera. The darkroom equipment consisted of a handmade wooden box with a light bulb built into it that would be turned on for a short time to expose the film.

Because the B-24’s were routinely flying photo-reconnaissance missions, film, which came on large rolls, was readily available from the "photo shack". Mr. Walsh would cut the film to fit his camera’s small rolls. The pilots, while on R&R in Australia, would obtain the necessary chemicals to process the negatives. What started out as a personal interest in taking and developing photographs, soon turned into a small enterprise, with the pilots and crew members posing for and buying "sets" of photos for "a buck apiece". While photographing the planes and flight crews, he also photographed the unique and interesting "Nose Art".

Photography runs in the Walsh family. James V. Walsh is my father, and I inherited my love of photography from him, as did my sister, Betty Dismukes. Today, Mr. Walsh and his wife, Rose live in Fannett, Texas, just west of Beaumont on 10 acres of land, where he cares for his menagerie of livestock. He travels annually to the 307th bomb group reunions, and he still has the old box camera with which he took these photos. Considering the simplicity of the camera and the crudeness of his "lab", I think these photos are remarkable.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Telesto's Amulet

Telesto is Saturn's tenth moon. In Greek mythology Telesto was a sea nymph, a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys. I love this connection between the ocean and astronomy, so I decided to make something that tells the story. To create Telesto's Amulet, I encased a rose quartz teardrop in a lacy net of sterling silver wire, and added it to a necklace of figure 8 chain, faceted aquamarine briolettes, apatite and rose quartz roundels and carved rose quartz suns and moons. This was a one of a kind necklace that was sold several months ago. I think it may be my most strange, unusual and creative piece yet, so I thought I would share it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thought For The Day

"Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war."  - Loren Eiseley

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sandy Feet

There was an article in this morning's Austin American Statesman about a professional sand sculptor from South Padre Island. She goes by Sandy Feet, and I recognized her a someone I am following on Twitter - @sandyfeet. I thought that was pretty cool! Click on the title to visit the Statesman's website and read the article.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thought For The Day

"Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think." --Robert Henri

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Selling at Art Shows - Establishing a Connection

Art is a luxury, it rarely sells itself, it requires some effort on your part.

When you establish a connection between your customer and you/your art, your chances of making a sale go way up. You don't have to give them the hard sell, that usually puts people off, but a little friendly conversation can get the ball rolling in getting your customer to ask you about how you make your art.

Make small talk - "How did you hear about the show?", or "Aren't we having great weather!", etc. But give them a minute to browse your booth and soak in what they see before saying anything, especially if they are studying a particular piece. And, unless they are acting really interested, don't ask them if they would like to hear about your art, or launch into an unsolicited, detailed explanation of your work, that can be annoying. Let them ask you first. And better yet, try to get them to tell you a little about themselves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Support Ocean Conservation

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." --Mother Teresa

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Selling at Art Shows - Greeting Customers

Many artists have a lot of sales experience, and know this stuff, but a lot of artists are new at selling. Before becoming a full time artist, I spent several years with a high tech company selling at trade shows, and attended a few sales seminars during that time. I would like to share a couple of things I learned and practice that are guaranteed to increase your sales.

Always greet your customer - When a customer walks into my booth, I stop whatever I am doing, stand up, smile and say "Hi, how are you today?" I learn a lot about the customer by watching their body language and by hearing their response. If they frown, say nothing or say "I'm fine" without looking at me, that usually means leave me alone, so I let them be, but if they turn around and give me a big warm smile and say "I'm just having the greatest day", that's my cue to take the next step and try to start a conversation.

When they leave, even if they don't seem interested in your work, smile again and say thanks for stopping by or something similar. Just because they didn't stay long or say anything doesn't necessarily mean they aren't interested in your work. Often they go around and look at everything before they make a decision, and they return and buy something. I have had that happen many times.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thought For The Day

I am ready to go to the beach. "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each." -- T. S. Eliot

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Most Recent Sea Turtle Painting

A curious sea turtle swims up to check me out while I am diving on a sunny day on the reef.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Outdoor Art Shows - Art Show Etiquette

12 Rules of Etiquette for Art Shows - This applies to any art show, not just outdoors.

1. Get there early enough to be completely set up when the show opens, and never start packing up until the show is over.

2. Confine your product and display material to your alotted space and be careful not to encroach upon your neighbor's space.

3. If you have products (i.e. scents and sounds) that may have an impact beyond the confines of your booth, be sensitive to the impact of those products on other artists and the public.

4. Conduct yourself in a professional and business-like manner while selling at the show.

5. Do not approach a customer viewing another artist’s display.

6. Do not make derogatory remarks about another artist or their work.

7. Do not "hawk" your wares. Hawking is defined as offering goods for sale aggressively by calling out.

8. Refrain from using profanity, and from behavior that is verbally or physically abusive or dangerous and disruptive.

9. If you bring children or pets to your show, do not allow them to interfere with other artists or customers.

10. Be responsible for the behavior of friends and family members who visit your booth during the show, and if their behavior is disruptive, ask them to stop or ask them to leave.

11. Be helpful. Lend your neighbor a helping hand, especially if you see someone struggling with their setup for the first time, or in stressful situations such as when bad weather threatens.

12. Don't leave a mess behind, pick up your trash, i.e. cigarette butts, napkins, cut off zip ties, etc.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thought For The Day

"A real friend is someone who takes a winter vacation on a sun-drenched beach and does not send a card." --Farmer’s Almanac

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Deleted by the author

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Outdoor Art Shows - Stuff You'll be Glad You Have in Your Tent

In addition to the main items you will need to display your art (tent, table, chair, panels, racks, lights, etc.), there are a lot of small things that can go a long way in making your arts and crafts show safe and comfortable:

Small ice chest
Bottled water
Non-perishable snacks
Bug spray
Waterless hand sanitizer
Wet wipes
Band aids, first aid kit
Paper towels
Toilet paper
Scotch tape
Business cards
Pens and pencils
Permanent marker
Pocket knife
Drapery hooks and/or s-hooks
Small clamps
Zip electrical ties
Duct tape
Plastic tarp
Plastic bags, zip-loc bags
Bungee cords
Extra batteries
Portable lantern
Portable fan and/or heater
Extension cord and power strip
Step stool or short folding ladder

Space to haul things back and forth is usually limited, so keep it compact. I put all of my small stuff in a tool box, and have several tote bags I can mix and match things in based on season, day or night (fans, heaters, lights).

This is a short list and I am sure there are lots of things that can be added, so feel free to comment with your suggestions.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quote Of The Day

"We all leave footprints in the sand. The question is will we be a big heel or a great soul?" Author Unknown

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Outdoor Art Shows - Dealing with Heat

I live in Central Texas (Austin), and this was written based on my experiences here, but it has relevance for just about anywhere. Summer here typically means temperatures in the mid 90's and up. It is important to make sure you do not get heat exhaustion, or worse, end up in the hospital with heat stroke.

Chill a couple of plastic water bottles in the fridge the night before and pop them into a small ice chest with some ice. If that supply is not enough, bring an extra bottle with a wide mouth and/or a plastic glass you can add ice to. Drink, drink, drink! Gatorade or other electrolyte replenisher is good too, but mostly drink plain old water.

Bring a bandana you can wet with ice water and put around your neck, it is amazing how much it will help keep you cool. Also, bring a small towel you can wet with ice water to wash your face, hands, feet, etc.

Bring a couple of fans, one for yourself and one for your customers. If there's no electricity available, buy some small battery operated camping fans at Academy, one for you and at least a couple to set on your tables to blow on your customers while they're browsing. They'll appreciate it and will stay in your space longer. I also hang a couple from the tent structure to keep the air circulating.

If you are willing to spend a little extra, you can lower the temperature in your tent by 10-15 degrees by creating a "ceiling" with shade cloth. It can be purchased in the garden department of Home Depot or Lowes for approx. $30 for a 6' x 20' roll. Side panels made of shade cloth can also be used instead of walls to keep out the sun but still let in a little air. They can be hung from the tent structure with small clamps or bungie cords. Shade cloth also blocks 90% of uv rays, good for you and for your art!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Outdoor Art Shows - Dealing With Weather

I live in Central Texas (Austin), and this was written based on my experiences here, but it has relevance for just about anywhere.

As one who has had the top of my tent ripped off by a big wind gust as a wet cold front blew through, and had my works on paper ruined on several occassions, I have learned some important lessons:

Always have a big piece of heavy plastic or a plastic tarp handy to throw over your stuff.

Always put your sides up, even if the weather service says no chance of rain. Roll them up and be ready to drop them at a moment's notice.

Always use weights, minimum 25 pounds on each leg, even if it has been dead calm for days. This is Texas and the weather will turn on you in an instant.

Always bungee or zip tie everything down, especially standing displays. The tiniest little wind gust will knock everything over, sometimes on other people and their displays, causing injuries and damage. Big paintings become sails in the wind.

Office Depot and Office Max have nice plastic file boxes with lids that, yes, are more expensive, but the money you will save by not having your work damaged by the elements is well worth it. 8x10 and 11x14 matted art fits nicely into them. Bigger plastic bins with lids, "sweater boxes" can be found at Target.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Freeform Larimar Pendant

This is my first pendant forged with fire. I melted scrap sterling silver wire into a freeform base, then attached a larimar cabochon using the woven wire bezel technique. It never made it to my Etsy store, sold it at First Thursday last week.

Friday, May 8, 2009

First Thursday On South Congress, Austin, Texas, May 8, 2008

First Thursday was good, met some new people, made some sales, had fun. Set up across from Hey Cupcake who had a flamenco guitarist, nice!

A team of officials, including police and the fire marshall went around and checked business for temporary use permits. If you do First Thursday, make sure your host business has aquired this permit to allow you to vend.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tips for Artists and Crafters - Outdoor Fairs and Festivals - Tents

I am starting a series of blogs with helpful information for artists and crafters who want to do outdoor shows. It is aimed at people who live in the Central Texas area, but much of the information will be relevant to any region. My first installment is about tents.

Most outdoor shows require artists to bring their own display equipment, including tent, tables, chairs, display panels, etc.

I recommend the EZ-Up Encore II tent that Sam's Club carries. It is commercial grade and comes with 4 sides, an awning and carry bag with wheels for $199. I have used these for years and they are excellent. Awhile back Sam's started carrying another model that didn't stand up very well to the wind, and after lots of complaints they went back to the Encore II.

Costco also has a similar tent (another brand) that I have heard is good, but I only have experience with the EZ-Up.

An alternative if your art will not be harmed if it gets wet is the EZ-Up Express that Academy Sports and Outdoors carries for $150. It is just the canopy with no sides, awning or carry bag, and is less expensive, however, it is not as heavy duty as the Encore II that Sam's carries. Also, if you should decide later that you want sides, Academy does carry them, I think they are 2 for $30, so you end up paying more.

White tents are preferred if you are a fine artist, you want those viewing your art to see the colors in natural light. Academy Sports and Outdoors also carries an inexpensive blue-top canopy, the Quick Shade Weekender for $60 that is fine for crafters, but it does change the colors of your work.

Weights are a MUST, the wind in Central Texas is unpredictable. You need 80-100 lbs. minimum. 2 gallon water jugs make good weights, so do cinder blocks but they are ugly. I use 25 lb dumbells I got at Academy for $12.99 ea., and I attach them to the tent with ratcheting tiedowns I got at Home Depot. You can get a set of 4 tiedowns for around $20. People also make weights by filling pvc pipe with cement.

There are many more options for tents, weights and tiedowns. You can get ideas that might work for you by visiting local outdoor arts and crafts shows or farmer's markets.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Greg Davis Wins Green Art Award at '09 ArtExpo in New York

My good friend Greg Davis won a Green Art Award at the 2009 International ArtExpo in New York. Click on the title to see a video of Greg accepting his award from Wyland.

OMG Greg, you are such a big star! Of course, you know the first time I saw your work, I knew that!

First Thursday, May 7, 2009

Am I crazy or what? I just signed up for First Thursday tomorrow in front of Hill Country Weavers, and it's going to be 95 degrees! I'll be selling my ocean inspired jewelry. Click on the title above for event details.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spring Pecan Street Festival, Austin, Texas

Last weekend I had a booth at Pecan Street, and I was interviewed by Fox 7 News because I had a bottle of hand sanitizer in my booth. (click on the title above to see video). The great thing is that they panned over some of my paintings, so they got on TV too. I did have one shopper come in because she liked one of my paintings she saw on TV, Purple Passion (Passion Flower).

We really lucked out and had great weather, although it was pretty hot and steamy on Saturday, but Sunday was really nice. Thanks to all that came by my booth and to all who purchased my art. I had a great show!