• Tag Archives Prints
  • Taking Responsibilty

    Sometimes, things go wrong.

    When dealing with any kind of business, whether its selling art or selling hamburgers, sometimes things go wrong.  Sometimes its because you, the business owner, make a mistake.  Sometimes it is due to somebody else’s carelessness.  Whatever the cause, when things go wrong in a way that damages relationships with customers, the business owner should take responsibility for making it right.

    with any kind of business, whether its selling art or selling hamburgers, sometimes things go wrong. Click To Tweet

    Its not always your fault when things go wrong.

    Sometimes, the problem is something completely out of your control, but you still have to do you best to make it right.  Such was the case back in February when a customer ordered an archival print from my etsy shop.

    Archival prints take longer, but this was ridiculous.

    The customer had ordered the Archival print, and those always take longer than a standard print because I can get a standard print made locally and in most cases get it in the mail the day after the order is placed, but with an archival print, I have to order from a print shop that specializes in fine art archival prints and then wait for them to mail the print to me before I can mail it to the customer.  Usually that means it is in the mail on the way to the customer within one and a half weeks, possibly two, and almost always in the customers hands before 3 weeks has passed.

    This time, the customer placed the order on February 11, and it didn’t make it in the mail to the customer until March 22, and I felt just awful, even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent this.

     

    What took this print so long?

    Well here’s what happened.  As usual I placed the order for the print the day the order was placed by the customer.  Then I waited.  A week passed, I wondered why I didn’t have it yet, but didn’t worry too much yet.  Then another week passed and I was really wondering, I checked with the printer to see if they had shipped it, and saw that it had shipped two days after I ordered it.  Another week passed, and still no sign of the print, another week went by and I decided to order another from a different printer, while I was still trying to track down this package.  I contacted the first printer and asked for tracking information, and then looked online at the post office site to see where it was in transit, and saw that it said it had been delivered almost two weeks previously when I wasn’t home.  The notation said it was left on my front porch.

    I was baffled.  I went outside and looked around.  No sign of a package or envelope anywhere on the front porch.  I started walking my property, I live on acreage so there was a lot of ground to cover, and finally, I found a wet and torn envelope very far away from house. I opened it, and sure enough, this is what I found:

     

    damaged fine art print
    The way the post office got my print to me

    The second printer got the print to me fairly quickly, and I got the print in the mail to my customer as quickly as I could after I received it myself, but by then my customer had already been waiting more than 5 weeks.  Now, I had sent messages to the customer during all of this to keep them updated as to why this order was taking so long, but I still felt that I needed to do something to make it up to them.

    I did all I could to make it right with the customer.

    So I included a few free printed greeting cards of my art, and a coupon code that would basically allow them order another print free. I also wrote the customer an apology and full explanation and put that in with print, in case they hadn’t seen my messages.

    The customer never did use the coupon code, but I hope at least they saw that I had made an effort to make up for the long wait.

    Now, I didn’t make any money on this sale at all, in fact, it cost me money, because I had paid for two prints, plus the greeting cards, paid to have both prints shipped to me, and paid to ship the good print to the customer, but I would rather lose the money than have a customer think my etsy shop “doesn’t care about the customer”.

    I would rather lose money than have a customer think I don't care about them. Click To Tweet

    Not every business treats their customers that well.

    Unfortunately, not every business tries that hard to keep their customers happy.  Remember that first printer?  I called them letting them know that the package had arrived damaged, and they promised to send me a new print free of charge, but I never received it.  According to the tracking information on THAT package, it was delivered to the post office, and then “reclaimed by sender” a day later at the same post office.  In other words, they changed their mind.

    Well, I don’t blame them for not wanting to send a print when it wasn’t their fault the first was damaged, but still, more than a print was damaged.  By not doing as they promised, they lost my business forever.  I will never order prints from them again.  I will instead order from the second printer in the story above.  If that first printer had simply said they were sorry, but couldn’t help me, I might have understood, but no, they told me on the phone, “Sure, we’ll send you another print!” and then they didn’t do it.
    For that they’ve lost a customer forever, one who before that had recommended them to others, and had spent a considerable amount of money with them, one who will likely continue needing prints on regular basis for years to come, but who will now go elsewhere for those prints.

    By not doing as they promised, they lost my business forever. I will never order prints from them again Click To Tweet

     


  • Earning with Art – Part 2

    Yesterday I posted the problems associated with trying to earn money through art, first noting that being an artist isn’t about making money, which is a good thing because there are many easier ways to make money, and many will find that even working for minimum wage will pay better. I also noted that making art has its own rewards, but that money was still needed, even to be able to make the art in the first place.

    I noted how selling art can be a real struggle, because materials to make art and the space to sell it both cost money, many times a considerable amount of money, and yet most buyers are looking for a bargain, barely wanting to cover the cost of the materials, let alone the overhead involved in selling the art.

    I concluded though, that while very few will become rich as a result of their art, it is reasonable and possible for many artists to at least cover their costs plus make a little extra.

    Today, I’ll tell you a few ways I’ve found that you actually can earn a little with art, bear in mind though, that I’m still learning myself, and there may be some very good opportunities out there that I haven’t learned about yet!

     

    Original Art Sales aren’t the Only Kind of Sales

    Its great when I can sell an original painting for a fair price that adequately compensates me for the materials, the time spent, and the overhead costs of selling.  However, that just doesn’t happen that often.  More often than not, when an original sells it doesn’t cover a fair hourly pay plus materials, let alone the overhead costs.  Thankfully though, there are other kinds of sales that can be made.

    Prints

    Perhaps the most obvious other type of sell is prints.  Selling prints of work allows people to purchase a version of an artist’s work at much less than the cost of the original, without the artist losing out.  Of course there are different kinds of prints and different ways to have them made, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

    Fine Art Giclee Prints

    Fine are prints are prints that are manufactured with archival inks on acid free fine art paper or on canvas.  The advantages to these prints is that they last a very long time and really showcase the artwork in the very best way possible aside from the original.  The colors are generally very true to the original, with a depth and reflection of the most subtle of differences between shades, values, and tones. They are archival, which usually means they are guaranteed to resist fading for at least 60 years, and often up to 200 years. The disadvantage is that unless an artist can afford to have thousands made at one time, the artist is probably going to pay between $7.00-$15.00 for a small, 8×10 print on paper (it will vary based on the type of paper, how many are ordered, and what company the artist orders them from). Then add to that the cost of having it shipped to the artist, the cost of backing, matting, print sleeves, and/or frames, and the cost of overhead for sells, and the customer is going need to pay between $20 and $50 for that 8×10 print if the artist is going to make a profit.  Prints on canvas will run even more.  So, just like with the original art, there is a limit to the number of people willing to spend what is needed for these.

    Standard Giclee Prints

    I’ll let you in on a little secret, the term “giclee” is a term invented sometime in the 1980’s for prints done on special, high resolution, archival inkjet printers.  At first it was used exclusively for prints made on those high quality archival printers.  However, no one trademarked the term, which came from a French word meaning “nozzle” in its noun form, and “to squirt or spray” in its verb form.  So, in the mid 1990’s, it started being used to refer to any inkjet art print.  Any inkjet printer capable of reproducing a print that closely matches the colors of the original piece (a photo quality inkjet) is technically capable of making “Giclee” prints.  Because of this, artist’s have needed to specify between an “archival” giclee, and just a “regular” giclee.  I, and many other artists, specify this difference by calling the regular giclee prints “Standard Prints”, and the archival giclees, “Archival Prints”.  The benefits of a standard giclee if it it printed on high quality paper it will usually not be visually distinguishable from the archival giclee right after printing, and it costs much less, depending on the printer brand and where the ink is purchased it could cost as little as $1.50 for each 8×10, though most of the time it will probably run closer to $2 or $3 in cost to the artist. Again, you have to add to that the cost of backing, print sleeves, frames, and overhead, but in the end, it is possible for artist to ast between $10 adn $15 for these prints and still make a profit on them.  The disadvantages of these prints is that they are more prone to fading than archival prints are.  You can still expect them to last 5-10 years if they are not hanging in direct sunlight though, also they will last considerably longer if they are coated in a UV protection spray, which will bring their display life up to 50 years without fading under normal display conditions.

    Laser Prints

    Laser Prints, like giclees, vary in quality and cost based on the quality of the laser printer used, they have many of the same advantages and disadvantages as the various types of giclees, so I won’t repeat a lot of that information.  The main difference though is the visual quality.  A laser printer will cast a “sheen” over certain dark colors, and tends to not pick up contrast and subtle value differences as well as giclee prints.  Laser prints are best suited for digital art, because the programs used to create digital art often are designed with the laser printer’s color capabilities in mind, whereas physical paint will often have too subtle of differences between shades and values, and the laser printer will lose those.  The laser prints do have the advantage of lasting a very long time, they resist smudging from contact and moisture, they resist fading for a very long time, up to 200 years.  They generally fall somewhere in the same cost range as the standard Giclees, of course depending upon paper or canvas type, etc.

    Cards

    For a fairly reasonable price, prints can be made on greeting cards or post cards.  The quality and price depends on where they are purchased.

    Poster Prints 

    Poser prints are made by a variety of processes, often by laser printing methods, they are usually printed on very inexpensive paper, and are more prone to tearing and fading than prints on better paper.  Their quality is about what see in posters purchased from any store.  They have the advantage of being fairly inexpensive, although to get the really low prices the artist will often have to purchase 500 or more of the same image at the same time.  Still, there are some places that will do small runs or even single posters starting around $3 each, plus shipping.  Even though they are called poster prints, they can actually be made in a variety of sizes, from as small as 5×7 to as large as your typical movie poster.

    Products

    Other types of sells are also possible. Art can printed on a variety of products.  A list of products I’ve seen easily available are: coffee mugs, travel mugs, pillows, T-shirts, phone cases, computer cases, tablet cases, ipad cases, shower curtains, duvet covers, book marks, purses, tote bags, leggings and skirts.  There are a variety of ways to do this.  You probably will make the most if you can find a manufacturer to print on the products for you, with no middle man, but for that you will usually have to put up the money for a large number of each image on each product type, and then you will have to hold onto the inventory and market it all yourself.

    There is a way to have your art put on products without doing that though, and that is through several different print on demand sites, there are many out there, Redbubble, Zazzle, cafepress, fineartamerica, and pixels.com to name a few.  What these sites do is showcase your work on the products you choose, and when someone orders them the site pays you a royalty for the sale.  You usually only make 15-20% of the sale price of the item, but you didn’t pay anything for the manufacture of the item either.  My favorite so far is Redbubble, both for the variety of products and for the fact that they charge you nothing to have your work there.

    The only disadvantage to doing this is that in the eyes of some collectors it “cheapens” the artwork and doesn’t really allow you to do a limited edition of an image.  For that reason, I haven’t put all of my work up on those sites, though I have put some.  With some future pieces I plan to do limited edition prints, and so I won’t be able to list those on redbubble or a similar site.

    Well, once again I’ve let this post get longer than I wanted, so tomorrow I’ll continue this same series, but tomorrow, I’ll be venturing away from actual sales, into other ways to earn money with art.

     


  • Finally Decent Photos!

    Way back LAST YEAR or a week and half ago, however you look at it, I posted a cellphone photo of my painting, “Inlets to Illusion” and promised that I would soon have a quality photo of it to share.  Well, my setup for photographing my paintings is not ideal, I have to rely on outdoor weather to be just right, namely, it must be overcast over the entire sky, but not raining, not windy, etc.  So, I’ve been biding my time, waiting, and yesterday the weather was perfect for photography of fine art!

    So finally I get to share with you not only my “Inlets to Illusion”, but also the painting that I finished on Friday and posted cellphone photos of on Saturday.

    First things first, here is “Inlets to Illusion”, if you’d like to see it bigger, which I highly recommend to fully appreciate the optical art qualities, click on it, it will take you the website where I sell prints of my fine art paintings, but there is no obligation to buy just because you looked!

    Photography Prints

    And now, for the impressionist and intuitive “No-Brush Painting” which I ended up titling “Sky Ablaze”.

    Art Prints


    So that’s all for today, Happy Sunday!

    Thank you for reading! If you liked what you see, please consider following this blog with Google Friend connect, or follow me on Google+, or if you prefer, you can follow by email and get notified each time the blog is updated. See the right hand column to follow in any of these ways! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you!

    Fine Art America is the place to go for Prints of all my Paintings.

     
    My etsy shop is the place to go to buy my originals and request commissioned work. A few select prints are available here as well!

  • Stretching Myself

    One of my Index cards from the ICAD challenge.

    Before I first started painting in June of 2012, on those index cards that seemed so innocuous but proved to be carriers of the deadly “art attack” virus, I had no idea how much I had missed art in my life.  You see, way back when, years ago, in Junior High School and some in High School, I took great joy in creating.  Drawing, using oil pastels, markers, colored pencils.  I didn’t paint much back then, though I’m sure at some point I must have used paint a little, I really don’t remember, but it certainly wasn’t a medium that I used regularly… at any rate, at that time I really loved art.  For some reason, shortly after high school, I stopped. Perhaps it was because the responsibilities of adult life left little time for it, and little money for supplies.  Perhaps it was because of other issues I was dealing with that caused me to feel unworthy of something that would bring me joy.  Perhaps I just didn’t get around to it.  For whatever reason though, art was no longer a part of my life.  Occasionally I would do crafts, make Christmas ornaments, crochet baby clothes, something like that, but drawing, or “painting” with colored pencils or pastels, was completely forgotten.

    After starting the ICAD challenge though, I quickly realized I was hooked, not just on art, but in particular on painting.  It wasn’t long before I wanted to move beyond the index cards and onto a canvas.  Since then, I’ve painted and painted and painted.  Having had no formal training, I have learned most of what I know by trial and error, often with many errors repeated again and again (when will I finally automatically paint background objects BEFORE foreground objects???).  I’ve watched a few how-to videos, and read a few books, but mostly I’m self taught… I’ve been learning to paint by PAINTING.  Eventually I might like to go for my BFA, but in the meantime I just continue to paint.

    Recently, the gallery owner where my work is sometimes displayed suggested that I take part in a local juried show.  He felt that it would give me more exposure, and also give me a chance to see how my work compares with other local artists and to get feedback from more people.  I looked over the work I had, and felt that there were many things I had learned recently that didn’t show in those pieces, so I decided to create three pieces specifically for the show, being mindful to apply everything I’ve learned up until now.  In other words, I wanted to really stretch myself to the limits of my current skills and abilities, so that I would be submitting the very best work I am currently capable of producing.

    Here is the first piece as it took shape:

    This first photo shows the work after my first painting session, I have no idea how much time I spent up until this point on it, but it was all one painting session.  I used three reference photos I had taken, but didn’t copy directly from any of them, just used them to spark ideas and give a general outline of what was happening.

    I decided to block in some general darks and lights in the background, so that when I added background trees gaps in them wouldn’t show stark blue sky, because I’ve noticed in some of earlier paintings that sky showing through like that often makes the landscape look flat, or fake.

    Then, here is the second in progress photo, a little more has changed at this point, one back ground tree has been added, and one more foreground tree.

    Then I added the other background trees.  Notice that I made them lighter and less distinct than the ones in the foreground, I’ve been trying to learn to implement atmospheric perspective.
    On to progress picture number 4, here I have lightened the trees in the background more, plus added some more foreground elements. I know that the picture looks very different in color here, but it hasn’t changed.  All but the final two photos were taken with my phone, and it is very sensitive to changes in lighting.  The slightest difference in available light causes a whole different color cast over everything.
    Next I simply added more detail in the foreground, such as some flowers on the bush in the lower right hand corner, and some more reflected light on the pond.

    Then I thought I was done, so I took a good picture with my good camera, but afterward, I noticed that the sky above the background trees looked “dirty” because of all the times I’d painted over to obscure the trees a little more in trying to achieve the atmospheric perspective:

    So I fixed the sky, and then took another picture with my good camera.  I printed several samples to compare the color to the original, and edited until it matched.  And here is the final result:

    So there is the painting that will be my first entry into the juried show.  Because I am keeping it for the show, I can’t offer it for sale yet, however prints of it are available on my Fine Art America page, and if the original doesn’t sell during the show, it will be offered for sale afterward either in my local gallery, or in my Etsy shop.

    Art Prints

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  • Every Day in May Challenge, plus more!

    Okay, I have decided to take part in a challenge called “Every Day in May”. The idea is to draw, sketch, paint something every day.  However, you can’t just do ANYTHING.  There is a list of topics.

    I started one day late, so I combined the topics for days 1 and 2.
    May 1 was “Something Bubbly”, and May 2 was “My favorite Sound”.

    When I decided to start today, I figured the something bubbly would be easy.  Lots of bubbly things… soap, soda pop, champagne, etc.  However on the “favorite sound” I was stumped.  So many beautiful sounds, babbling brooks, the ocean, the laughter of children, music, singing birds, the wind in the trees… how could I pick one?!

    Well, I still don’t know that I really have a favorite, but I picked one of my favorites.  I decided that I liked the sound of the ocean and that I would draw a wave or a beach scene.  Problem was, by the time I decided what to draw it was LATE, I should have been in bed.

    Then, I got my art bag and discovered my colored pencils missing.  That was what I planned to use to draw the scene. I DID have some colored sharpies, micron pens, and a few paint markers.  “Sigh” they were not going to give me the effect my watercolor pencils would have given.

    Oh well, I couldn’t find the colored pencils, and I HAD to draw something now.  So I did the best I could with sharpie, micron, and paint markers.

    Here is the result, my combo image for May 1st and May 2nd, froth on the wave is bubbly, that will do:

    And also, I had promised in my last post to upload a better photo of my latest painting.  So here it is:

    Sell Art Online

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you!

    Photography Prints


  • Art Walk

    Well today was the first public showing of my art.  I thought it went pretty good.  We had very uncooperative weather, and I’m sure it would have gone even better if it weren’t for that.  As it was I sold 2 original paintings and 2 prints.  Plus handed out a lot of business cards.

    I also got a considerable amount of work done on a new painting, because, in an effort to attract people into the building, I stood outside and painted, I was under a covered awning so the rain and hail didn’t bother me, and it did attract a few people into the building.

    Here are some photos from the event.

    Remember the display boards I wrote about? The one’s my good friend helped me build?  Well here is the medium sized one, the way it is build is like an A-frame, so I could use the other side as well, but with the setup in this particular building, it worked better to just use one side.

    The same was true for the large display, showed here:
    The small display we where able to use both sides on, but somehow I forgot to photograph that one.
    My daughter displayed some of her paintings too, and she sold one:
    I also displayed some of art in various other places around the room:

    Here is the painting I worked on today, its far from finished, but still I made a lot of progress on it in one day.
    My daughter and her best friend had fun playing and dancing for me, and I took lots of photos, but I cropped my daughter’s friend out of the photos because I forgot to ask if it was okay to post them online:

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints


  • The Chrome Monster gets a New Name.

    Once upon a time there was, living in the mind of an artist, an idea to paint a picture of one of the coolest cars in the history of American cars.  So this artist, although she had never attempted to paint anything shiny or reflective before, decided to paint a Chevy Bel Air from the mid 1950’s, she ended up deciding on a 1956 since she had reference photos of that year available to her.

    So this artist started off, and kept telling herself that she could figure out a way to paint all of that shiny red metal, and silvery, reflective chrome.  She had no idea how she was going to do it, but just started painting what she saw, carefully matching values and colors, though she changed a few things like the photographer’s reflection in the bumper of the reference photo.

    It was a difficult painting, and while working on it the artist bestowed on it the name of “Chrome Monster” as she realized just how much of that challenging, shiny surface the 1956 Chevy had.  In her head, as she painted, she kept reminding herself, “don’t worry, paint what you see, the printer didn’t have any metalic ink, and it managed to produce a picture of chrome, so can you.”.

    Finally, after many days, she stepped back and looked at the painting and realized that it was done.  She was so happy with the result that she no longer saw it as monster, and instead decided to name it the “Chrome King”.

    And here it is:
    Photography Prints

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  • My Freedom Series

    I’m sure if you’ve read the past several posts, you’ve noticed a lot of bald eagles in my sketchbook.  That is because I am working on a series of paintings I am calling my “Freedom Series”.  I’m not sure how many I will paint in the series, but the first two are finished.

    The first one I call Freedom’s Hope, and its a bald eagle, symbol of Freedom for so many, looking up to the maker, continuing to hope in good times and in trials, as Americans have done since the birth of our nation.

    Art PrintsArt Prints

    And the next one I call “Freedom’s Pride”, it depicts a A bald Eagle, symbol of American freedom and pride, perched on a branch overlooking part of the beautiful Puget Sound.

    Photography PrintsPhotography Prints
    While I haven’t decided yet how many will be in this series, I do know that I’ll do a few more, however, before I do I’m going to do a few pet portraits, in preparation for an upcoming art walk where I plan to advertise that service.

    Thank you for reading! I welcome your suggestions on how to make this blog more interesting to you! Photography Prints


  • A Sell!

    As a still emerging artist, each and every sell is exciting to me.  Well, yesterday I sold one of my original paintings!  It was “Green Eyed Tiger”, you can see it below.  I will still be showing this work at my art walk exhibit, but it will be marked “sold” and will be given to the purchaser right after.  Prints of course are still available for purchase!

    Photography Prints