Monday, February 27, 2012

Big Announcement!

After months of development we will soon be announcing and rolling out a big new feature that we are very excited about.

Tune in at 11 am CST this Wednesday to the Artists Helping Artists BlogTalk Radio Show with Leslie Saeta to hear all about it.

- David, Carol, Jen, & Sophie

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Daily Paintworks Interviews: Carol Marine

From Carol Marine’s DPW Gallery page
Carol began daily painting in 2006 and has thoroughly enjoyed the freedom gained by painting small and often. She feels strongly that if there is a secret to improving, it's painting every day. She teaches daily painting workshops around the country and currently shows her work in Arizona, Texas, and San Miguel, Mexico. Carol’s work has been featured in local and national magazines, including Southwest Art, and several online magazines.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I’ve been doing art since I was a little kid. Whenever we were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up everyone in my class would answer for me: “Oh Carol? She wants to be an artist.”

I started painting in earnest in college. I landed on oils my second year and fell completely in love. They have a lovely, buttery texture, and a forgiveness that is… forgiving. I love that I can wipe off and redo a section of a painting that isn’t working, or sometimes the whole thing and start over. The thing I love best about oil is the variety of edges I can make. I spend a lot of time playing around with edges.

(See larger image here.)

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

I was lucky enough to meet and marry the man of my dreams during my last year of college. He had enough faith in me to insist I stay home and paint while he earned a living for us. Sounds great, I know, but the 5 years that followed were pretty tough. My art education up to that point was paltry  so most of what I painted was just bad. I was also doing really large work, and stretching all my own canvas, and so each painting was a huge investment. When they failed I would get really depressed and either stay in bed or clean my house.

After a while I decided to give up painting and become a web designer. That lasted a couple of years before I realized for several reasons it wasn’t for me. I did some pretty major soul searching at that point and finally gave myself the goal of doing 10 paintings in 6 months (which is really funny now since I do one a day) and take them to my favorite gallery in town. I decided ahead of time that if the gallery wasn’t interested I would go to beauty school and learn how to cut hair.

(See original image here.)

Fortunately, the gallery took some paintings and they started selling. It was a few years later that I first heard about daily painting and got started with that. With daily painting my career really took off. I’ve been doing it ever since – just over 5 years.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I haven’t tried them all, but probably most. Pencil, charcoal, colored pencil, pastel, oil pastel, watercolor, acrylic, oil, several kinds of printmaking, ceramics, batik, welding, building with foam core, wood, wire, mixed media … I know I’ll think of more as soon as I turn this in. Oil is pretty much the only one that has stuck, though I occasionally play around with others. For some reason I’ve been wanting to experiment with acrylic lately. A few of my students have brought it to class and the consistency of some of the new stuff is intriguing to me.

(See larger image here.)

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I used to be really bad about procrastinating. I would spend hours on my computer piddling around instead of painting. I think it takes being really excited about what I’m doing next to stay on track. That and I don’t allow myself to answer emails in the morning. I can only check and make sure the world didn’t end overnight, flag the emails I need to answer, and then it’s time to get to work.

How do you keep art "fresh" for yourself as a daily painter? What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

People ask me often if I ever get bored of still life, and I have to admit, I occasionally feel like I’ve painted apples every which way they could ever be painted! So I take a little break and do something else – maybe art related, maybe not. When I go back in my studio and I ask myself what I want to paint … it’s still life I am most excited about. Inevitably I think of a new angle on apples and I realize again there are endless possibilities!

(See larger image here.)

I have learned that regular breaks are essential to avoiding burnout. If I can allow myself to get thoroughly bored – that’s when the ideas start flowing. It’s tough to give myself time to get bored, especially when there are expectations on me, but otherwise I risk burnout. I’ve been there and it’s not a good place.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I have to admit lately I’ve been very focused on teaching and refining my lessons. I’m learning a lot about how to get an idea across without being overwhelming; how to motivate rather than discourage. Teaching is tough but also wonderfully rewarding.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I love still life because I am in full control of my setup. This as opposed to plein air where you drive around until half the day is gone and then settle on something not quite right and have to move a few trees and a hill to make it work. 

(See larger image here.)
I can move the cups around in my shadowbox until they work and choose from a giant pile of apples to find just the right one. I love playing around with all these building blocks and coming up with all kinds of fun compositions and color combinations.

I love the challenge of taking a stick with hairs on the end, rubbing it around in a colored, gooey mess, then spreading that on a flat surface and making it look like something real. Like an apple through glass. Or a ceramic pig. For me painting is endlessly fascinating!

Thanks, Carol!

© 2012 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Jennifer Newcomb Marine is the new Marketing and Community Manager of Daily Paintworks. She's an author and blogging and marketing coach.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Daily Paintworks Interviews: Joy Campbell

Artist Joy Campbell has been painting for over 30 years. From her DPW gallery page:

I work in oil now, after many years of working in pastel and acrylic.  My favorite subject matter is animals of every kind. Even though I also paint landscapes, still life and portraits I always seem to return to animals.  

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I started painting when I as in high school. A friend invited me to a painting class for adults and I loved it.

What sort of art do you love to do?

I love story telling, I love color and strong images. I also love plein aire landscapes, though I haven’t found a market for them yet.

(Click here for larger image)

Your art is so whimsical and imaginative. How do you arrive at your ideas?

I’ve developed an antenna after all of these years. I see finished art in my head in flashes. Sometimes my own animals inspire and sometimes it’s a story or even a single photo that starts an idea.

(Click here for larger image)

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Not really, though I’ve had to change how I sell a number of times. I sold in galleries and taught painting for a number of years then I began doing indoor and outdoor art fairs and now I sell mostly online and that is so much easier.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have stuck and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I’ve worked with most of the popular mediums and now I love oil so much that I don’t see myself ever leaving it. I’d love to have more time to spend on landscape painting. It’s so much more freeing than figures.

(Click here for larger image)

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

Sometimes when I’m at the beginning stages of a large and involved painting I have trouble staying with it. I usually work on something else for awhile. I work at night a lot because there are less interruptions. Also, needing to sell keeps me working.

Whose art inspires you?

My number one inspiration is Norman Rockwell.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

More planning and willingness to scrap things that aren’t working no matter how many hours into it I am.

(Click here for larger image)

What makes you happiest about you art?

I’m always excited to see an idea take shape and especially excited to see the finished painting. I’m also very grateful to be able to stay home and be my own boss.

Thanks, Joy!

© 2012 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Jennifer Newcomb Marine is an author and blogging and marketing coach. She's the new Marketing and Community Manager of Daily Paintworks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How is the Internet Changing Art Pricing?

The Market Affects the Price

When you sell your art online, an equally beautiful painting is often just a click or even an inch away. Online, people can browse a lot of art very quickly with almost no effort.

This is in contrast to traditional brick and mortar galleries, with their local foot traffic where gallery owners control the supply, set prices, and act as the gatekeeper to what buyers can or can’t see. They handhold buyers through the buying process and work to help enhance the perception of value by pricing high.  Your art is expected to be priced the same in all your galleries regardless of the local market. And, you are expected to raise your prices over time to increase the perception of creating a return on your buyer’s investment.

Inefficient Markets Attract Middlemen

Brick and mortar galleries are middlemen and they take a big cut. They can do this because without them the art market has traditionally been very inefficient. The traditional market consists of a sparse set of art buyers and a sparse set of art producers, and without galleries it was difficult for them to find one another. When markets are inefficient, middle men pop up to facilitate.

The Internet is an Efficient Market

Not so, on the internet. The online art market is very efficient. Buyers still get attached to particular artists of course, but the effort in finding art is very low and the supply and demand are large and global. This makes art into much more of a commodity, which simply means price is important.

What all this comes down to is if you want to sell your art online you need to understand that the rules of pricing are different and price your art accordingly.

How do you Price?

Okay, so the rules have changed. Now how do you know how much to fix price your art or where to start bidding in your auctions?

It is easy for artists, especially those who have sold well in galleries, to go too high – or even worse, to not price their work at all.

Don't Frustrate your Buyers!

Let’s talk about the last scenario first – not entering in a price for your paintings. When you do this in DPW, it simply says “Contact Artist for Price.”

One rule of sales that the internet has not changed is: don’t make it difficult for someone to buy what you are selling!

As soon as someone has to contact you to simply find out the price of a painting, suddenly another equally beautiful painting with a price looks much more attractive.

Volume over Price

Another reality is that in painting more frequently, smaller, and selling on the internet, you can benefit from high volume over high price. Instead of selling 2 large paintings in traditional galleries each month for $2,000 each with a 50% gallery commission, online you are trying to sell 10 to 20 small paintings for $100 each with little or no commission. The end result is you get to paint more and due to the greater volume, your sales are more resilient.

Selling Low to Build a Following

While it can be difficult to do emotionally, especially when your ego is understandably strongly tied up in your work, pricing or starting your auctions low to build up a following is often effective.

I wrote one of our featured artists, Tilen Ti, just after he joined us and suggested he was starting his DPW Auctions too low. I told him we were new and he likely would not enjoy a sufficient bidding volume enough to drive his prices up to a worthy level. He replied he knew what he was doing and that it was his strategy to build a following. And do you know what? It worked!


Pricing is difficult because it is tied up with your sense of self worth as an artist. The more impersonal you can approach it, the better. One of the most important disciplines you can practice when starting out selling online is to persevere and experiment – with what and how you paint, perhaps - but definitely with how you sell and price.

© 2012  David Marine

(photo credit: Hoboton)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Daily Paintworks Interviews: Amy Stewart

Photo credit: Scott Brown
From Amy's DPW gallery page: "I'm the author of five books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including three New York Times bestsellers, Flower Confidential, Wicked Plants, and Wicked Bugs.... I've been painting in oils for ten years. It's a wonderful break from writing and gives me a kind of instant gratification that writing books, with the long delay before publication, never does...." 

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting. 

I grew up in a family of painters--my mother and my brother--but I never painted.  I always thought that art was their thing.  Then, in my twenties, I got the idea that it would be fun to learn to draw a little--just enough to maybe scribble in a travel journal or draw little pictures in my garden.  When I was 30, my husband and I quit our jobs, moved to Eureka, CA, and became self-employed.  (I'm a writer and he's a bookseller.)  So I had some time on my hands and I started looking around for a drawing class to take. 

(see larger image

I did a couple of short-term classes, and when those ended, the only other thing that really worked with my schedule was an oil painting class with a painter whose work I really loved.  (Linda Mitchell, who has also joined DPW.)  I didn't think I would like oil painting--it sounded so complicated compared to scribbling in a journal with a pen--but it turned out that I loved it.  Painting in oils is very much like writing--it's all about revision.  I'm so used to editing, rewriting, throwing things away that don't work.  When Linda says, "You need to wipe that out and start over," I just shrug and go, "Okay."  Doesn't bother me at all.  I do it all the time as a writer.
So I'm still in that class, 10 years later.  It's become more like a social hour--a bunch of women who get together to paint, drink wine, and gossip once a week.

What sort of art do you love to do?

Well, oils, definitely. And I work from photographs, because cities don't sit still long enough to paint them from life. Cityscapes are by far my favorite subject, and New York is my favorite city. I don't do touristy things when I travel--I'm very happy to just pick a neighborhood and spend all day walking around, taking pictures.

And there is a particular kind of cityscape I seem to paint over and over again, which is a long view down a busy street, looking into the distance. I just love that feeling of the buildings rising up into the sky and people and cars rushing around, and the possibility of something interesting at the end of that street. And I love that moment with the lights come up in the early evening. That's my favorite time to walk around and take pictures--starting an hour or two before sunset, and continuing until it's too dark to get a good photograph.

I have a few other specific things that I love to paint. It's funny--if you'd asked me before I started painting, I probably would have said that a good painter learns to do everything equally well. I had a friend who only painted fish and olives. Fish and olives! That's crazy! But I kind of get it now. Certain subjects are just fun to paint, and interesting, and if a painter figures out a way to do it that no one else is doing, why not run with it?

So I love to paint chickens--I have a little flock in my backyard and they pose for me--but I treat them like serious portraits, with these dark grey Sears Portrait Studio type backgrounds. And I love to paint the insides of bars--I like low light, and the bottles, and the dark figures. And I do still life from time to time, when the farmer's market is particularly inspiring. I learned a lot about still life from taking a workshop with Carol Marine a few years ago.

I have been terrible about learning to paint figures and particularly faces. I took Karin Jurick's workshop in New York because I wanted to get better about putting figures into my cityscapes. I'd always thought of Karin as a painter of cityscapes, but of course she's a painter of people. Sometimes those people happen to be in a city. So I really learned from her to approach it differently--rather than find an interesting street and stand there until I could get a good photo, I learned to pick an interesting-looking person and follow them around until the light hit them just right or I liked their pose.

But I'm still totally intimidated by it and I revert to these busy streetscapes with tiny little wisps of figures off in the distance. Or I paint people only from behind so I don't have to deal with their faces. It's funny--look at my paintings and how no one is ever looking at the camera! Like this one:

(see larger image)

That's me avoiding faces. Of course, that makes it easier to photograph people, too, because they don't see you doing it.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

One of the great joys for me about painting is that I'm not obligated to think about it as a career. I have a difficult career in the arts already! I don't need another one. So I paint, and of course I sell the paintings because I don't want hundreds of little paintings sitting around the house, but I don't feel obligated to build a resume or anything like that. I turn down commissions-- I tell people that I take "requests" and that if it works out, they can have first right of refusal, but no commissions!

And I never enter contests or apply for awards--why would I? It won't make me a better painter, and that's all I'm really interested in. I don't even really want to do gallery shows. I agreed to do a local show in December, but only because I know it will be the easiest thing in the world for me to put 20 paintings in the car and take them down there. If it was going to be any more complicated than that, I would have passed. I get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction from selling a little painting to a complete stranger on DPW and packing that up and shipping it off. That, to me, is as much of the trappings of a "career" as I want.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with? Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away? Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

I took a charcoal drawing class, and while I learned a lot, all that charcoal dust got tiresome. The medium just didn't appeal. I have a little portable watercolor set and I'll do watercolor washes over a pen drawing when I'm traveling, but that's just for fun. I've played around with acrylics when I'm painting with my friends' kids, but I don't really understand how they work so I end up frustrated if I'm trying to do anything more than join the five year-olds in splattering paint around. Really, I think oils are it for me.

I would like to paint bigger, but then the question becomes--what do I do with all those big paintings? Little paintings are so easy to sell online, and if one doesn't work out, I don't have much invested in it and I can just move on. But I would like to work big, and several painters whose work I admire have told me I'll learn a lot if I'll just go big for a while.

What does procrastination look like for you? What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I am so very relieved that I never feel like I have to paint. Painting is the thing I can't wait to have more time to do. I still go to my painting class on Wednesday nights, and unless I'm out of town, I never, ever miss it. Beyond that, it's just a joy for me to find that I have enough time in the day to paint.

Once in a while I'll find myself with time to paint, but I'm not really in the mood. When that happens, I just go over to my little painting space and start gessoing some boards. Karin Jurick taught me to paint on black gesso, which I adore. It makes the colors pop in this extraordinary way. And sometimes I'll use acrylic paint, maybe a crazy orange or green, as a ground. So there's always a little gesso work to be done, and usually by the time I have a brush out and I'm putting paint on something, I'm in the mood to paint again.

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Well, I think I'm getting a little more accurate and detailed and tight, and for me, that's a good thing. I'll hear some painters say, "Oh, I'm trying not to be so tight, I really need to loosen up," and I think, "Wow, I just can't paint with any precision. I don't know how." Or, more to the point, I don't know how to do it in a short period of time, and because of my busy schedule, I want to be able to do a small painting in a short period of time and actually finish it. So I'm learning how to be a little tighter and more accurate but still be pretty fast.

And I am trying to get better with figures--but then I think, "Why? Who says I have to get better with figures? Is somebody going to give me a bad grade if I don't? Am I going to get fired?"

(And since you're also a writer…) Any differences in your creative approach between writing and art?

Oh, everything. As a writer, I have to think all the time about what will sell, what will appeal to a broad audience, how to market myself--all of that. I get to paint just to please me. They are miles and miles apart. One of the best differences between the two is that I get to paint standing up, away from a computer (OK, I use my iPad for my photo references), while listening to music and possibly drinking a nice cocktail. I do not have to wrestle with words--I can put my hyper-verbal brain in neutral and (sort of) think about nothing. Bliss!

Having said that, there are so many weird parallels between writing and painting. I sometimes think about teaching a workshop about that--I have a long list of all the surprising similarities. One in particular is that there is a narrative quality to painting. It took me years to realize this--in fact, it only came to me last year. I was working on this evening streetscape from a photo I took in my neighborhood. The camera was slightly tilted, everything was a little out of focus, and you could see the neighborhood but you could also see, at the very end of the street, the little lights of the bars downtown. I thought, "This is a painting of someone stumbling home drunk! This is what they see." It's the first time I really thought about the fact that a painting is seen through someone's eyes, and that someone is like a narrator or a character in a story.

I'm always telling my writing students that even if they are not writing in the first person, they are still present in the story as a narrator. What they chose to say and not to say, and how they say it, tells the reader something about them, and in that way they become a character. That's true in painting, too. A cityscape is a perspective on a city seen through someone's eyes. I just put up a painting on DPW of an alley in the French Quarter and I look at that painting and think, "That is a scene. It's a scene in someone's life, in some story." I don't mean that literally, as in, "Well, this is Katy, and she's just getting off from her first day at work…" but in a more vague sense, it feels full of narrative possibilities.
What makes you happiest about your art?

I love doing something consistently, over many years, and doing it reasonably well, but with no attachment to the outcome or to any definition of success. When I read some great book by a writer I admire, all I can think about is whether I will or will not ever be able to do anything like that. But I go to a gallery or a museum to look at paintings, and I never get that feeling that I need to catch up with them or compete. It's great.

And I love thinking about the possibility of painting more. I would like nothing more than to be able to go to some interesting city for a month and paint there, sell the paintings, and somehow finance one adventure after another that way. That's not very realistic, but I love thinking about it.

I think all writers envy painters--one of my favorite writers, Geoff Dyer, said this in his book OUT OF SHEER RAGE:

"For the painter work means a more intense physical engagement with life, it begins with carpentry (making stretchers) and ends in glazing, varnishing, and framing…In the age of the computer the writer's office or study will increasingly resemble the customer service desk of an ailing small business."

So I'm very happy that painting lets me get away from my "ailing small business" and go have some fun!

Thanks so much, Amy!

© 2012 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Jennifer Newcomb Marine is an author and blogging and marketing coach. She's the new Marketing and Community Manager of Daily Paintworks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Your Inspiration First - or Your Market's?

How does one decide between what you really want to paint – and painting what you think the market is likely to buy?

Do you just keep creating what you love -- and hope for the happy, but accidental intersection of market demand and artist supply? Do you ever set out to choose new work with the elusive buyer in mind, only to end up uninspired and frustrated?

It can be helpful to ponder these questions by keeping the idea of experience in mind, because it’s so different for each party.

An artist, just like any creative person, paints for any number of reasons. Because inspiration strikes. For the innate pleasure of creating. Because results can still surprise and delight. Because it feels good to stretch yourself. To lose yourself in the creative process.

A buyer, on the other hand, will purchase a painting based on criteria that has nothing to do with the artist’s experience. 

They’re looking for art that evokes an intangible, positive emotion. The frisson of discovering true mastery and beauty. Reliving a happy memory. A vision of a time or place that may never come, but where the dream itself is good enough. 

A painting will serve as a visual touchstone for hundreds, or even thousands of moments to come... Buyers may also just be happy that "it fits the space above the couch"!

It’s okay for your art to serve many different functions. 

You can lose yourself in a haze of creative joy; try something new (and fear failure), hone skills that you know need polishing, or just hope to finally sell your work by painting a seemingly popular topic.

While you need an authentic experience of creation for your art to “gel,” it’s helpful to know that different types (enjoying, experimenting, polishing, customizing) may not always result in a painting that the market will buy. Just remember, this isn’t necessarily personal, because the internal “spark” a buyer gets when they fall in love with a new painting is incredibly personal for them.

Savor the experience of creating, keep your eye loosely on the market, but most importantly, keep painting! 

The world needs what you alone can see – and so do you.
© 2012 Jennifer Newcomb Marine

Jennifer Newcomb Marine is an author and blogging and marketing coach. She's the new Marketing and Community Manager of Daily Paintworks.

Photo credit: "stones 1" by topfer

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Three New Ways to Market Our Artists...

I am going to start posting the emails I send out to the membership here for those that miss them.

This one went out Sun 2/5/2012:

Dear [Your Name Here],

We've added a new Marketing and Community Manager to our team: Jennifer Newcomb Marine, who will be working with us to help attract more people to see and buy your wonderful art.

Together we are announcing three new ways you and DPW can market yourself and your art:

1. A New Rotating DPW Gallery Widget with only your art for your blog.

The old DPW Gallery Widget was just a static image.

The new one rotates the last 20 paintings from your DPW Gallery live, with titles, sold statuses, and prices. And, buyers can quickly click on the rotating images to go to DPW to buy your paintings. Click here to see an example in Carol Marine's blog (on the right and down the page).

This is one more great way to show and sell your work through DPW.

To get your DPW Gallery Widget code for your blog, simply log into DPW, click the my Gallery link at the top of the page, and then click on the my Gallery Widget link at the top of your Gallery.

Each week day Jennifer will be posting daily picks, a daily Quirky Search through our over 32,000 paintings, articles on marketing, and a weekly interview with one of our members.

Be sure to come by and post to our FB page during the DPW Weekend Show each weekend, which is open to all our members.

3. Our New page on - it will dazzle you!

We will be addictively pinning many of your paintings on our Pinterest page everyday. If you have a Pinterest account,  you can pin paintings from DPW to your page, as well. Just look for the Pin it buttons.

We are just rolling all this out and already have hundreds of people following our new Pinterest boards and repinning our pins after only one day. And, in the same timeframe, both our Facebook and Pinterest pages have resulted in over 250 new visitors to Daily Paintworks!

Happy Painting!

- David