Today the agenda is pretty relaxed… we’ll talk about art shows, markets, and fairs and I’ll give you the update from my art show last week. Second, we’ll talk about trying new things and branching out to painting new subject matter. Do you have to be consistent as an artist? Finally, I finish up the episode talking about my favorite paint colors right now and an encouraging note to keep your eyes on the long game as a Self Taught Artist. This is a great episode to paint along with – so get out your paint brushes, squeeze out some fresh paint, and let’s get going!
This odds & ends episode format is new – it’s where I talk about what’s going on in my art studio and whatever artsy topics have been on my mind lately. I hope you enjoy this week’s episode of the Self Taught Artist podcast!
Hello, I’m Lauren, Kristine, host of the Self Taught Artist Podcast. Welcome back. How’s it going, everyone? This week has been busy. And, with the holiday last weekend, I just didn’t have enough time to get a full show together. I did however, just want to pop by tell you hello briefly and perhaps just ramble a bit about what’s going on over here in my studio and what’s new.
I’m going to start off with this week’s Review of the Week. And it comes to us on Apple Podcasts from epsilonpure: “Gantastic podcast. I’ve been listening to this podcast for a while and I have to say it is fantastic. I highly recommend it to everyone and I’m really loving the content.” Thank you so much for leaving that review. It really makes me smile when I get the reviews and messages from all of my listeners out there. So please keep them coming. You can review the podcast when you’re done listening on Apple Podcasts. And you can send me a note on Instagram at LaurenKristineArt.
So today the agenda is pretty loose. We are going to be talking about art shows and art fairs. And I will give you the update from my art show last week. I will talk about trying new things and branching out to painting new subject matter. And then I’m going to finish it up with talking about my favorite paint colors right now. This is a great episode to paint along with. So get out your paint brushes, squeeze out some fresh paint, and let’s get going. I’m going to keep it conversational and easy to follow along.
First, I want to give you the update on my art show that happened last weekend. I know I mentioned it on the last podcast episode, because I was painting up a storm in preparation for this art show. Now I try to keep it real on here and not sugarcoat things. Everything that happens is just part of the art journey that I’m on. So to be completely honest, the art show was not that great. And by that I mean it led to zero sales, and just a little bit of interest. Now that I review what happened and I think about it, there were a few different factors that played into this outcome. One, it was a virtual art show and that really put it at a big disadvantage. Normally, this event is held annually, and it’s held in a busy park in the middle of town. So it gets a lot of foot traffic. But when you move the event virtual, it just did not get the traffic and the volume of visitors that you need to make it a successful show. Another issue with it being a virtual show is that there was no way to interact with buyers, or people walking by in the way that you would at a live art show in the park. The show also included performing artists, and they took a lot of the airtime and the focus away from the visual artists. Again, it’s just due to the fact that it was virtual. And that was the format.
Given all this, I would still call the show a success for me personally, for two big reasons. One, it was an awesome forcing function to get me to work really hard on my art and get a lot of work completed. Sometimes I have paintings that just hang around the studio, maybe 80 to 90% completed. And this upcoming show really lit a fire under me to get that work completed and make a lot of new work. So I had something to show for myself at the art show. I was really focused because I had a deadline to work towards. And I’ve been feeling really creative leading up to the show and after the show. I think sometimes when you’re on a roll, and you’re producing a lot, it just makes you want to keep producing a lot. Kind of that old adage that success begets success. And painting a lot makes you just want to go paint more. I have so many ideas and only so many hours I can paint each day. So I’d say I’m ending this whole process in a really good creative place. And that’s a big positive outcome to come from the show. Even if I didn’t get any sales. At the end of the day. It’s not 100% about how much I sell. It’s also about just being creative, leaning into my artistic side and becoming a better artist.
The second big positive outcome is that I put myself out there. It was a juried show and so my art was actually selected by a jury of artists and critics to participate in this show in the first place. It took some guts to press the submit button on my application, as it was my first real show. My first time that I’d been putting my art out there to be judged by someone in that way. And I tried it, and it’s gonna make it a lot easier for me to apply to that next art show and get accepted into it if I decide to go that route in the future. I’m not sure art markets or art fairs are really worth it. This one that I participated in, had a very low entry fee, and no commission on any sales you made. And that was due to the fact that it was a virtual event. It was the first time this had ever been done virtually by the city and they just weren’t sure how it was going to go. It was all an experiment. But it did highlight to me that doing an art fair in the future where there’s a really high entry cost, an opportunity cost on your time, and an uncertain outcome… That’s a tough equation.
First, let’s talk about the typical entry fees and commissions, because they really add up. To start your application to an art market. Typically, you have to pay a small application fee. Most of the ones that I’ve seen are under $50. Usually, I’d say on average, I see a range from $25 to $40, to apply. And then if you’re accepted, you then have to pay a booth fee. I’ve seen booth fees that range from about $100 to over $1,000 depending on the scale of the event and how many days it is, stuff like that. These booth fees may or may not include things like a table or chairs. Sometimes it’s literally just a marked off part of a parking lot. That’s your space, and you have to bring literally everything with you. Now you add on to that, that some of these events, art markets, or art fairs will actually charge a commission on top of all of these fees. The premier show here in Houston that happens around the holidays in November, December each year. Well, I looked it up and they charge 11%. That seems like a lot to me.
You really need to do your research ahead of time to make sure that you’re a good fit for the show that you’re applying to. And know that your ideal customers will actually be in the audience. And of course, have a plan for how you’re going to make the most of the opportunity.
Plus, you have to typically buy a tent or tables, or at the very least tabletop decor that lets you display your art in an eye catching and attractive way. Whether that’s putting your art on easels or hanging it up on a makeshift wall or putting it on a shelf. Cha-Ching! That’s all stuff that the artist has to provide. I’ve heard mixed thoughts on art markets and art fairs. For me, the jury’s still out. I’m not going to say because this one was not successful that then they could never work for me. But I don’t think that I’m going to be doing one until COVID is over and things are back to normal. When I’m ready to make that investment, I’m going to need to have a plan for how to do it right before I fork over all of the money and the time and the effort that it is going to take for me to participate.
Have you had success at an art market? Or do you have a not so great story to share? I’m really curious to hear your thoughts. So please reach out to me on Instagram at Lauren Kristine art with your story. Or send me an email at Lauren Kristine email@example.com. I know it’s hard to find new buyers and increase your circle of collectors. So in theory, art shows and art markets sound really great. But I’m not so sure the equation adds up once I think about booth fees, application fees, commissions, all of those things. In a perfect world, I could just keep selling direct to customers using my channels like Etsy and social media to facilitate their purchases. But as with all things, I will keep you posted my artsy friends.
Next on the agenda is talking about trying new things and branching out to painting new subject matter. Lately in my art practice, I have been trying so many new and different things, I’m painting a lot bigger for 18×24 is where I’m feeling called right now, I am just loving this bigger size, there are a few considerations with painting bigger. One is that it obviously costs more, as it takes more paint to cover a bigger size. And substrates cost more when you’re painting bigger. However, I’ve been painting on paper, mostly to make it more cost friendly. I’m never sure which paintings of mine will turn out to be masterpieces and which ones are going to be painted over or discarded. So painting on paper makes it really easy for me. And I don’t have to think about how much each Canvas costs, I try really hard to remove all pressure from my painting process. It’s supposed to be fun, remember, and when I’m thinking about how much a canvas costs, I’m not having much fun. I’ve found the other benefit of paper, and I’ve talked about this before is how cheap it is to mail. I can mail an 18 by 24, pretty much anywhere in the United States for around $10. You really cannot beat that, especially after you look up how much it costs to send a big, heavy, thick, deep dish canvas.
If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen me posting a lot more landscapes lately, I have been trying new things in loose landscapes and abstracts and I’m having a ton of fun with it. I love florals and they will always have a very special place in my heart. But I am really liking the experimentation and creative play that I’m doing with new subject matter and new techniques. For instance, I tried a magenta under painting on a blue green landscape. And I tried a loose technique to kind of abstract out landscapes from photos, it’s just been really freeing, I find that I get out of my head much more when I paint landscapes. And as a result, I paint them really quickly. I’d say it takes me probably like 25% of the time that it takes me to paint a floral to paint a landscape. They just fly by. And I really think that sometimes I feel too much pressure to make a floral so beautiful and perfect and get all the details, right. But for whatever reason with the landscape, I just let it all go. I think there’s so many details. When I look at a photo of a landscape, there’s no way I could possibly capture them all. So I just let go, don’t worry about it and just get into flow a lot faster. I think that’s why I’m enjoying these landscapes and abstract so much. My brain turns off and the creativity just comes out.
It does bring up a little conflict inside of me, however. There is this little voice inside that keeps asking, “Do I need to be more consistent as an artist? And should I be jumping around from subject to subject so quickly?” Right now I’ve thought about it. And I’ve settled on a big fat NO! I’m learning. I’m experimenting. So why should I limit myself, just so that I can make more sense to other people and how they view me? That doesn’t seem to make any sense. I’m not in this artistic journey for them, or doing this to create a perfect Instagram feed. If people can’t keep up, that’s their problem. I think if I were to stop trying new things, I would definitely stop growing. And that’s really not good as a Self Taught Artist. If I had gone to art school, I would have been constantly pushed outside of my comfort zone. That’s literally the point of going to art school. So why would I stop myself now from doing that exact same thing.
Trying new things, new techniques, new mediums. All of this is part of my artistic evolution. I don’t shy away from showing these new works on my Instagram, because I want the world to see what I’m working on. I think elements from these loose landscapes and the abstracts will eventually make their way into my florals and vice versa. They’re all pieces of my artistic puzzle.
In general, I think the concept of artistic style is completely overrated. That’s such an incredibly limiting way to think about yourself as an artist. As self taught artists, especially in the beginning, we should be doing everything we can to try new things to experiment and get out of our comfort zones. The same old, same old, I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again: If you are not failing regularly, then you are not pushing yourself enough artistically.
I want to do a full episode on artistic style coming up here soon. I hear that topic talked about so much. And I think there’s way too much pressure to find your style. But really, it’s not something that you find at all. It’s an inherent part of you. And it shines through in your art now already. And it’s going to shine through in your art even more and more as you practice and make more art and develop more of a point of view. I’m getting my thoughts together on on this topic, and I’m going to make that episode soon.
First, I am loving chromium oxide green by Golden. It is a lovely opaque green. That’s perfect for greenery and landscapes or for leaves in greenery and floral arrangements. I just love this green. I think it’s so beautiful and earthy and natural. It’s my all time favorite green. There’s another color. Totally different, but it’s called Bright aqua green by Liquitex Basics. And that’s another gorgeous color that I will find any excuse I can to use in my paintings. I also love teal, by Golden. But the Liquitex Basics one is pretty close to it and a little bit brighter. And I just love it. My all time favorite color of paint so far is Quinacridone Magenta. And I personally love the Liquitex Basics version. I use it all the time I got one of the really, really big bottles of it. And I pretty much squeeze it on my palette every time I’m gonna paint. No matter what the subject matter is, I can always find a reason to use Quinacridone Magenta. What are your favorite colors right now? Send me a message on Instagram. I would love to hear and just see what you’re using on your palletes right now.
Before I finish today’s episode, I just want to tell you to keep painting, keep drawing, keep working on your art. There’s no substitute for practice, and there’s no substitute for time. We can’t expect our skill to improve overnight, and we can’t expect our Instagram followers to double overnight either. Everything good takes time and consistent effort. So keep your eye on the future. Keep your eye focused on the long game. And just keep going one foot in front of the other, or, in our case one piece of art at a time.
I hope you enjoyed this odds and ends episode. Thanks so much for listening. I’m just trying to keep it real for you. And these things have been on my mind this week. I really appreciate all of your supportive notes and your encouragement. Making this podcast is one of the highlights of my week. And I just love this community we’re building. We’re all in this together as self taught artists. Reach out to me this week with a message on Instagram at LaurenKristineArt. My email Lauren Kristineart@gmail.com. Again, all these Kristine’s they’re all spelled with a K and then you can also find my website www . Lauren, Kristine art.com. Until next time, bye friends! Happy Creating!
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