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What am I doing, why aren't I selling my art.

I love mixing color, I love finding the right values. I love composing a scene. I love oil brush strokes, from the timid to the bold. I'm extremely motivated to paint. I paint everything I look at all the time in my head, I can't stop.

But why does that mean I should be able to make a living from my art. The dream is to create art, the way you want to, and to have people appreciate it enough to buy just enough of it to be able to continue to create art full time forever.

My dream is far from a reality. I still have huge questions, although I used to have even more, I’ve answered many of them. Such as:

Do you know what medium you’ll stick with?

I had dreams of mixing oil and resin, but the setup is messy and my inspiration for such works dwindled. I much prefer oil painting, classic impressionism, preferably landscape.

What subject matter will you focus on?

I’d like to paint subjects that inspire me, landscapes are a no brainer for me and will always be part of my art. However, I see some business reasons to push for commissions and paint higher end subjects, like boats, private airplanes, horses, private estates/lodges,

Do you know what you will sell?

I believe I will put up metal prints and originals, all need framing. Possibly low cost post-cards, or thank-you cards.

Do you know where you will sell?

No clue.

To answer this big question I have to focus, I just don’t know where to focus. I believe these are my options and a little bit of my research for each of these.

  1. Art Galleries

  2. Getting accepted into a good gallery can be difficult.

  3. They often require a monthly fee.

  4. They require time spent at the gallery each week.

  5. They take a large commission.

  6. You build an audience and a brand as your work is seen by more and more potential buyers.

  7. But, you only have to paint and get the piece over to them, it’s simple no sales.

  8. Art Shows

  9. This can be a one-off sales option, and is an audience building branding technique.

  10. Requires upfront spend on the booth setup.

  11. Getting accepted, often they already have enough oil painters.

  12. The booth space costs quite a bit for the good shows.

  13. Requires a lot of travel to the shows. Being away, cost of gas, hotel.

  14. You have to sell your work to others.

  15. You may endure criticism, people not liking it, being dismissive, walking away can be tough to handle.

  16. But, You will sell your art, or at least reproductions of your art at a reliable rate.

  17. Art Festivals

  18. Getting accepted to participate.

  19. Travel expenses are often a factor, Airfare, Hotel, rental car etc.

  20. Sales may not happen for you.

  21. But, If sales do happen and you become known you can use this success to build more.

  22. Competitions

  23. Travel expenses are often a factor, Airfare, Hotel, rental car etc.

  24. Sales may not happen for you.

  25. But, If sales do happen and you become known you can use this success to build more.

  26. If you win you can use that accomplishment for press release content, which can build your website search strength.

  27. Having more work to sell at the time provides a method of one-off sales.

  28. Conventions

  29. Requires upfront spend on the booth setup.

  30. Getting accepted, often they already have enough oil painters.

  31. The booth space costs quite a bit for the good shows.

  32. Requires a lot of travel to the shows. Being away, cost of gas, hotel.

  33. You may need to customize your work for your audience.

  34. You have to sell your work to others.

  35. You may endure criticism, people not liking it, being dismissive, walking away can be tough to handle.

  36. But, you will sell your art, or at least reproductions of your art at a reliable rate.

  37. Facebook

  38. This is a broad term that means a lot that should be split up into smaller parts.

  39. Constant attention is required.

  40. This requires attention three times a day, every day.

  41. Building takes time.

  42. You won’t be selling in social media while you are building.

  43. But, once you have a big audience you can post once to thousands of people, and it does spread fast.

  44. And Galleries like an artist with a following.

  45. Instagram/Twitter

  46. Sponsorship ads, or Pay per click (PPC) is available on Instagram.

  47. The key to this option is to get followers, not likes, and not links to your shopping cart.

  48. Competitions, or Giveaways is an option, this can increase followers.

  49. Focusing on Instragram requires a lot of attention, posting 3 times a day if possible.

  50. You should post pictures of your work, in progress, videos, subject matters, and thoughts.

  51. Posting to your timeline as well as your story is critical.

  52. Any blog post, or other content you create should be posted on twitter. Connecting your blog to syndicate to your Twitter, facebook, and Instagram is a great idea.

  53. Following fellow artists is important.

  54. Sitting down to do a following session every week, trying to identify good people to follow that relate in some way to what you do, and weeding out, or unfollowing any that are a distraction is good.

  55. Blog

  56. This is a content creation item. You create content by way of your blog post, then you use it as part of your work flow to spread good content.

  57. Syndicate your posts to your other outlets, FB, Instagram, twitter, tumblr, etc.

  58. Your blog is dual purpose, it is used as part of your search marketing, over time, and for building content that builds an audience to comment on.

  59. Good writing can also be used to focus your work, focus your plan.

  60. Posting every day is critical, like a diary.

  61. Adding pictures to each post.

  62. This is not a one-off sales technique, rather a part of a bigger picture.

  63. If you get legitimate comments, you should reply.

  64. Website

  65. It can be time consuming initially.

  66. It usually requires an initial upfront cost, and monthly hosting fees.

  67. You can sell your art on your site, adding a commerce section.

  68. You can make it simple or complex.

  69. It should be a focus point for your portfolio. In that all your work should be indexed and categorized here. Including media, sizes, when it was done, title, description, and a story about the piece.

  70. You can build a presence with a website if it begins to show up in search results, but typically this is going to be where you direct people to see your work.

  71. This is typically where you would host your blog.

  72. Newsletter. Offer this so you can build a client base, put out a newsletter at least once a month. Pick a few highlights of things that have happened since your last newsletter. Think Inspiration, tips, locations, subjects, accomplishments, upcoming events, a sold piece, a new video, a new favorite piece.

  73. Podcasts