FINDING A TOPIC AND STICKING TO IT
If you want to build a portfolio of your art to share with a gallery, you want to have ALL your artwork in it, right? WRONG! Why? Because a gallery wants to know we are CONSISTENT! What does that mean?
An artist goes into a gallery with a 3" thick portfolio to show how prolific he is, then explains that he feels it is important to keep his work fresh by painting different things. That is the LAST thing a gallery wants to hear! Galleries want instead to see a body of artwork that is consistent in color or theme; looking as though they can fit together in an arrangement on the wall. AND, an artist needs to study the artwork of others and then come up with something different! I know I have said this before, but it needs to be said again. It doesn't have to be completely different, just a new angle. Visiting galleries and art shows REALLY helps to get us thinking along those lines. It's hard to think of something new if we are just looking at our own work all the time.
Recently, my husband and I visited a gallery in another town down the coast. It is a beautiful gallery featuring ocean and nature art of Florida. I had a nice conversation with the owner who was quite willing to spend some time with me. He pointed out that each artist he represents has something unique to offer. He tries NOT to duplicate the same kind of work by two artists, that wouldn't be productive. I found that to be a profound statement and I wholeheartedly agreed. It just drives home the point that we must find something unique and different in order to be promoted.
His gallery is beautiful for several reasons. First, it is not overcrowded. Second, as I said before, each artist is different. Third, his prices are not ridiculously high, and Fourth, the people there are not stuffy salesmen, but rather very down to earth and friendly! All big pluses in my book!
As to being consistent, most galleries want to see at least 25 GALLERY-READY paintings that are consistent in content, color, or theme. In other words, they fit together or can be recognized as the work of one artist! This all goes back to branding - something that makes people know this is your artwork. For instance, at this gallery, one artist had approximately 10 paintings, all of turtles. Each was different, of course, but each used the same color palette and the same painting technique. They were very unique in that they almost reminded me of the old paint-by-number kits. Of course they weren't but he used spots of color instead of blending, like graphic art. They were very good! Another artist had different landscapes, but each consistently used ochre colors! Again, very good! A third had abstract water themes using resin and dyes, all very beautiful. These were of different colors, but all had same theme.
So, the very best thing an artist can do is go to several galleries and study the different artists work. Each one will have something consistent that ties their work together and that is their "brand." By studying art this way, you begin to see how this idea works and thus it gets your "juices" flowing and you just may come up with something that will make your art different! It doesn't take a lot to set you apart from everyone else!
I now participate in an Art Market here in St. Augustine. It is held the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at our beautiful Amphitheater on the island. It takes preparation as I must use my art tent for this venue. It also required me to get a tax permit, etc., but I think it will be worth the effort. We went over to visit the market a few weeks ago to check it out and it was so busy that we couldn't even find a parking spot in the area. We did manage to drive around and see the crowds though. Needless to say, we were impressed! That kind of traffic means your artwork gets seen by many people and sales should be good. I also had to buy some lights since it is held in the evening. I got some good quality rope lights (blue-white shows off colors well) and hung them high all the way around inside the tent. My tent stands out now, and that draws attention, a good combination! I love the fact that we have both electricity and a parking spot right at the tent. That makes things so much easier for us vendors.
If you live in the area or ever visit St Augustine, please come to see the Art Market, it is really cool! The tents are set up along a tree-lined drive so it has some shade as well as being attractive. There are also food vendors for refreshments and baked goods. The Art Market is advertised to tourists, who love to shop for gifts, and the locals love it too. Many of the artists also set up every Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market (also held at the Amphitheater) but I don't participate in that one. I have other things to do that keep me busy on Saturdays.
My artwork continues to sell well at the local REMBRANTZ Gallery here in St Augustine and that makes me happy! This gallery features my "Ocean Meditations" series of paintings. The smaller sizes sell best as they fit nicely into suitcases for the tourists to take home. Paintings that are 11 x 14 and smaller are best suited for this purpose. I even have 4 x 4 paintings sitting on a miniature easel. These sell well as they make perfect little gifts to take home to friends and loved ones.
Below are pictures of these paintings. Enjoy, and thanks for looking!
|This wide frame sets off the "OCEAN MEDITATIONS" painting nicely|
|This frame is for those who like clean, modern lines (also 5 x 7)|
It comes with an easel or can hang on the wall.
|These small 4 x 4 paintings are done on canvas panel and have a little wooden easel that matches the painting.|
These are very popular!
I also paint very small 2 x 2 magnet paintings for the ART MARKET. They are simple little paintings like the 4 x 4 above but can be hung on the refrigerator or any metal surface. People like these a lot too! I often sell multiples of these to a customer as gifts.