Sunday, May 31, 2009

The art business waltz, lesson 4

Tonight's portraits are by another Englishman, Joshua Reynolds, 1723-1792 This is a self portrait. We will return to Josh Reynolds in a later post as he gave an important set of lectures and the published text of those is an important philosophical source for painters. They are the discourses of Joshua Reynolds. Images of course are from, the worlds largest online museum.

I have had a major problem with my computer, I think its a virus but I am not really sure. It is filling forms and pages etc. with equal signs, I couldn't even log on to my g mail or blogger, All the while it makes that little error sound. Might be a hardware problem too, my computer was handed down to me by my 20 yer old daughter, I bought it for her when she was in the 6th grade. Its a PC and it is not very happy. If you have ever had this happen to you or know what this is, let me know. I am typing this into blogger on my daughters nice Mac.

Tonight I will continue with the posts about hunting galleries. Now you have done your research and picked out a couple of galleries you think are a good match for your talents. There are still more things you need to have in place to do this. I have discussed the business card and the bios, You are also going to need a web site.

I didn't build my own because my wife is good at that. She actually builds them for hire so she made mine.There are template programs that will allow you to build your own or perhaps you know someone who does a good job of that who would like to have a painting. I said about galleries, it is like renting an apartment, you know you are going to move. The same is true with web sites. I have had at least a half dozen built. I was the first of my friends to have a web site. My second web site was set up to do e commerce. It had all of the paintings in my inventory on it, and quoted the prices, gave sizes and described framing. It was huge and very nice, but no one bought any art from it. I think people have to stand in front of art in my price bracket and see it in the flesh with the comforting guidance of an art dealer at their elbow. I hear about artists who sell expensive art from their web sites, but it has never worked for me. My website has been an element in lots of sales though, just not the closer.

So I don't recommend you try to build an online store. Build a portfolio site, here is mine. This is the online version of the old folders of slides and paper biography's we used to drag from gallery to gallery. What a nuisance that was.

Your site needs to show a dozen or so of your best paintings. Choose them for quality not variety. You might want to print out a couple of dozen and cut them out into little playing card sized images. Lay the deck of images in front of about ten friends, skipping those who have no interest at all in art and everybody under 25. Ask then to choose the best six images and see which ones keep coming up. You might be surprised which images are the most appealing to people.When you have done this product testing, use these most popular images in the first gallery page of your new site.

Also onto this site goes, yes you guessed it! the short form bio, which comes up under the heading "artist" with a romantic looking picture of you at your easel or smoking a box pressed maduro from Nicaragua. See my site, under artist for example. You need to put your contact information on there and whatever else you think is pertinent. I would however, stay on topic. I would not put your pets, politics or anything else on your site that is not about your art. If you also train anteaters to herd cats, start a second site for that.

The web site URL should be prominently shown on your business card. It also goes onto every thing else you print, like your bios and wherever else it will get seen. You need to have all of these pieces in place and attractively done. If your website is amateurish it might keep a gallery from wanting you. DO THIS STUFF RIGHT.

I am sure you will be relieved to know there is still more stuff you are going to need for this project. Next comes framing. I will address those tomorrow night.


willek said...

After a year of trying to learn an Adobe web package I took a course at Worcester Art Museum in Website Design for Artists. The first night the teacher mentioned some free software called NVu ( and it was really easy to learn and use. So I was able to put up my own site with a little advise from friends. I am told there are many other free programs that are just as easily learned. But based on your post, Stape, I may change some things on it. I have almost everything I have ever painted up there along with all my sold paintings. WillEK

Knitting Out Loud said...

Okay, who's Benjamin Bathurst again?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I guess you have no interest in anteaters then?
Benjamin Bathurst was a British diplomat who was sent to Vienna in 1809 to negotiate with the emperor to enter the war against Napoleon. Upon the fall of Viena he set out in a chaise for Hamburg to return to Britain by ship from there.
In the evening while preparing to travel again from an inn in Perleberg, near Berlin Bathurst mysteriously disappeared. There were many robbers and violent thieves operating in the area. In a search late,r his valuable fur coat was found and later his white pantaloons. In 1852 during the demolition of a nearby home, a skleleton was found that had its skull fractured. This has been concluded to be the body of poor Mr.Bathurst. His death was a mystery at the time and much speculated about in the newspapers of the day. Bathurst has popped up in a number of literary references since, because of his status as one who mysteriously disappeared.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have another point or two to make tonight about web sites that I didn't think to make last night.

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear about your computer woes, Stape. That kind of thing makes me want to throw it off a cliff. I had a friend whose son actually did that, but that's a different story, and really, not much of a solution. You can download free virus software ( - You should try Comodo, Avast (anti-spyware) Threatfire, and Super-Anti Spyware. All free and all good products. If you have spyware or a virus, these will clean it up for you.
Our computer isn't quite as ancient as yours, but it's getting up there, and we use all these products with very good results.
good luck.

As for websites:
I chose to use Fine Art Studio Online, a web hosting service specifically for artists. There are a couple of different levels, mostly depending on how many images you want to display. I have been totally pleased with their service. I have the highest level and it is only $28 a month. For that, I get 24 hour customer service, some marketing newsletters with really some very practical information in them, and I can add, delete, or edit images on my site in a snap. I am moderately computer savvy, but I do not know html code or morse code or any other kind of code, and this is the easiest thing to use. I can re-design it at any time I wish. They also offer a FREE 60 day trial - it is really free.. they don't even ask for your credit card info.
I have no financial interest here, but I've recommended this service to many artist friends, and I think its a good one. You can get a site for as little as $10 a month. They will also register a domain name for you.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I ran avast on it and the Microsoft spy ware hunter and found nothing. It acts like a stuck key. It is driving me bonkers! Not only that, a key fell off the thing today.The plastic cap that had the semi colons. No more semicolons I guess. I have always enjoyed those too. Actually I am typing on a keyboard that is plugged into the troublesome laptop. I think this is a hardware issue.I am so cheap, I will drive this thing until it is a paperweight.I am actually using it now.Did I mention it is nearly 10 years old?
I am glad to hear you had good luck with that host. I get calls from those company's all the time, and I think some of them are a ripoff. I will mention this one in the post tonight since you say you like it.A lot is riding on your judgment Deb

Unknown said...

oh, the pressure!...
I have several other professional and non-professional artist friends who also use FASO, and they've all been happy with it.
I am totally confident in recommending it... and certainly the free trial is risk free.