Category Archives: Combining Art & Business

Articles on maintaining your artistic integrity and making enough money to keep making art.

A Year In Review

I started this year in Review in December of 2015 because that’s when I think the year really began.

Dec 27, 2015

Wow! Its only four days until another year begins. I’ve made a lot of changes this year. I began writing novels again and wonder of wonders, I’ve actually finished book one of the Handfasting Trilogy, A Year And A Day, and I’ve began on book two Forever And A Day. This story is about three sisters who live on a planet called Vensoog and the choices they make to help their colony survive the aftermath of a galaxy wide war.

February 8, 2016

This was a good week to get some work done. I am more than halfway through Forever And A Day, the second book in my Handfasting trilogy and I have covers done for both of the first two books. Rather than painting a cover in acrylics, I decided to go with some digital artwork so that I could make them very similar.  I think I will go ahead and use Amazons PDK system. It will mean that I can’t put my book up anywhere but Amazon, but its price is excellent—free. And I really don’t have money to pay a regular e-book publisher. My son’s book at Outskirts Press cost almost $2,000. He did get a lot for it, hard copies of his book and it’s marketed in I-Books and Nook as well as Kindle, but sometimes you have to cut your coat to suit your cloth.

I also got my two latest Acrylic paintings done, Cat Napping and Street Vendor and framed. I think I will put at least one of them in ACA’s membership show. Of course entering one of their shows is always problematic, as many times the judges they select don’t seem to care for my art. I used to worry about that, but not anymore.  Having seen some of the art ACA’s judges deemed worthy in the past, I killed any feelings of inferiority I used to have art wise.

Now that I have my enlargements back from the printer, I can also start on the three longhorn paintings I intend to do for the Old West Art show in April.

February 28, 2016

Well, so much for good intentions. I DID manage to get the three paintings started. Unfortunately, I also started a bladder infection; my husband came down with the flu (which he shared) so I haven’t done anything else yet. The medicine the doctor gave me for the infection has caused an almost constant migraine and nausea. Hopefully, however, March will be a better month. Here are three canvases.

March 13, 2016

For the last three weeks, I have had three unfinished paintings for the old west show sitting there glaring at me from my art table. Not really my fault I haven’t been able to work on them: I developed a bladder infection for which I went to the doctor, had a bad reaction to the meds he proscribed, and then I came down with Vernon’s flu he brought home from the Pool Workshops. This Thursday, I was finally able to start on Home on the Range and I got part of it blocked in. Unfortunately, after I sat there and looked at it for a while, I decided that I needed to get rid of the clay cliffs I was using as a background because they were competing with what I intended to be the focus — the Longhorn cattle resting in an almost dry river bed. I painted over my entire mornings work on the cliffs with grey and then had to let it sit long enough for me to be able to work it. I confess I really don’t understand why other artists complain about how fast acrylics dry because at some point in a painting, I will have to stop and let it sit so it will be dry enough not to make mud! I substituted some rolling hills for the cliffs with all those dark, cracked clay lines, which looks better, but I still need to cool off the background hills so that I can push them back or maybe I will add a structure or a tree line; I haven’t decided yet. I will be using pieces of the same dry streambed in all three of the paintings. I have one more day to work on it before I have to stop and do Vern’s invoices for this month.

March 22, 2016

Today I finally managed to start on Chilsolm Trail. I got most of the background done and the horses and men drawn up with white pencil. The background took more time than I thought it would, especially the riverbank.

March 23, 2016

Today I was hoping to get all the cows and the cowboy blocked in, but all those horns and legs took a lot more time than I expected. I finally left one of the cows un-blocked and worked on the horse and rider. I used ultramarine blue and powder blue underpainting on the horse. I will go in tomorrow and finish it off with black.


March 24, 2016

Well today, I feel as if I am finally making progress; I do still have quite a bit to do to finish this one though. I think adding a second cowboy and more cows was the right thing to do. Five cows just didn’t look like a trail herd! Tomorrow I am taking a break to do housework, but hopefully by Monday I will be able to go in and finish off the foreground. Then I get to start on the 3rd one—The Bozeman Trail!

March 26, 2016

Saturday morning and I still have to finish off my household chores. Put up the laundry washed yesterday and do the dishes so I will have a clean sink to rinse out my paint brushes. (I say I’m only doing them every other day to conserve water, but the truth is I loathe housework). I’m pretty satisfied with the way Chilsolm Trail is coming along. For Monday I will need to finish off the foreground grass and then put in some shadows and highlights to identify which direction the sun is coming from. Details…

Tuesday March 27, 2016

Well Monday turned out to be a wash. It’s wonderful how other people seem to fill up your day without asking you first… Oh, well. Today I got the foreground grass done on the Chilsolm Trail done, and the background and drawing done on the Bozeman trail. I also got the backing prepared for four paintings. I use contact paper for backing and I reinforce the edges with clear strapping tape and use thumbtacks and Gorilla wood glue on the edges to fasten it down. This is easier to clean than plain brown paper, which seems to absorb dust. No surprise that the back of a painting gets just as dirty over time as the front!

The Proof copy of my first book in the Handfasting series came today, so I will be spending the next few days going over the proof for errors. I am a speed-reader so it should only take me about nine hours. I’m very pleased with the front cover design. The image I designed looks great.

Saturday, Vernon is going to be gone with some friends to the desert so I will have that day free to paint. He is actually very supportive, but the more people in the house when I am trying to work the more interruptions there seems to be…

April 12, 2016

I spent the weekend at the Columbia Inn (wonderful atmosphere, and they use real art bought locally in their room designs!) with my husband. It rained non-stop but that did not stop him and other members of CVP from enjoying panning the dirt brought in for them. They did this in the parking lot under pop-ups so that shows how dedicated they are to their notion of fun! We had a community dinner inside the 49er Mining Supply shop and Rob and Cheryl were wonderful hosts. Vernon has commissioned me to do a painting of the Inn and shop so I will be working on that later this year.

A Year And A Day, has been published on Amazon and Kindle and in May I will be making the rounds to advertise it. FYI, if you plan to use Amazon’s free publishing services; start with the printed edition on Create Space. I started with the e-book and ended up with two e-books (different covers but same book). In order to make the covers match, I took the first one I made off-line. Unfortunately, I had set up a pre-order on it, so Amazon has forbidden me to do any pre-orders for a year. Live and learn.

April 21, 2016

Well, the show and reception for Clovis Art Guild’s Old West & Rodeo show came off okay, despite the low amount of entries. I didn’t win anything this time, but that’s the breaks. The show comes down on Sunday. The next two weeks promise to be full also. Monday through Wednesday, I will need to get back to writing on my book and hopefully start my Safe Harbor painting. Andrew will be working with his Dad on Monday, so that will be the best day to paint. I also need to do some housekeeping on some of my POD sites (FAA, Pixels, and Red Bubble). Thursday, I need to change out my art at the Water Tower Gallery, and on Friday I take down my art from the Sunnyside Library Gallery (I also need to prepare a summer schedule for the library), then Saturday I plan to put up a couple of paintings in the Alliance of California’s membership display for the next two months.

I actually sold one of my hand painted keepsake boxes I have down at the Water Tower (Yaay!) So I suppose that this summer, I need to prepare some more for Christmas and Easter, which means developing some designs. Flower designs work well here as I am hopefully marketing these to women or to men buying for women! I ordered some Acrylic paint pens from Amazon and I plan to use them for the actual design after I paint the boxes. (Target date to do these is in June so they will be ready.)

June 10, 2016

Wow. Has it really been two months since I posted anything? Time flies I guess. I won’t say it has all been fun, but it has been productive. Sadly, I did not win anything at the Old West Show, but all the art was wonderful this year even though it was a smaller show.

I have finished two large seascapes and started my entry for the Miniature works show.

Forever And A Day is done and going through the editing process (this means I print it down at the local printer and go over it for errors. Fun). All Our Tomorrows is about halfway through the first draft. Because there are so many characters involved by now and the story moves from one group to another to remain coherent, I have to bounce back and forth between where the character focus is. I wish I could find another way to tell this so that won’t happen, but so far no dice.

Facebook kept rejecting my ad for A Year And A Day, so I ran it as a regular post and they blocked me out for ‘suspected illegal activity’ for two days…Big pain in the A to get back on. They won’t help you when you need it, but they sure do punish users who try to get around their system…

June 23, 2016

I’m trying to do better at posting to this journal. I just finished Vernon’s invoices for June, so I have had time to edit Forever and A Day three times, and I am starting on the fourth just as soon as I pick it up from the printer. I am in the process of writing All Our Tomorrows that I have already revised twice and it isn’t even finished yet! And I sold a copy of A Year And A day in April, for which Kindle will pay me around the end of June. That tells me if my ad campaign bears fruit in June, I won’t see money from sales until around the End of September.

My only entry I painted this year for the Miniature show is almost finished as I got to work on it today. Right now, it’s sitting on a little easel waiting for me to decide if I’m finished with it. It’s a night scene and those are always a struggle to split the difference between accurately showing that it’s at night and still making the paintings features visible…

August 7, 2016

Wow. I have gone an entire month without actually creating art. Well, not true really; I did five color studies for my Vensoog Handfasting series. I started to do a landscape of it also, but I ended up tossing it out (a rarity for me but it was just awful.) I actually have 4 small paintings drawn up (one 8×10 and two 5x7s). I also have two of my hand painted keepsake boxes started. They only need the painting done on the lids and then put together but there they sit…

Next week won’t be productive art-wise either tho’ because I will be starting on our Income tax. Ick. Migraine coming as always…

October 1, 2016

Wow! I’ve had a really busy summer! I have been working non-stop on getting the second book in my Handfasting Series published, and on top of that Clovis Art Guild had an art show and the Guild had to make arrangements to shuffle things around (our meetings, getting our 501(c) submitted to the IRS, etc.), so I confess I have neglected to write here in this journal. I went to a professional cover designer at to re-design the covers for my books and I am really pleased with how they turned out. I also finished the 2nd draft of the book “All our Tomorrows”. It’s currently being beta read by my son Andrew and a couple of good friends. My hand painted keepsake boxes are selling really well at the Watertower Gallery in Downtown Fresno, so I have also been busy making six more of those (actually a pretty time-consuming project). I start with a raw wooden box that I get from a local craft store, seal it, and then paint the base coat on the bottom and the lid. Then I draw a design on the lid and paint that. Then a varnish coat to protect the box is put on the outside and felt lining is added to the inside bottom and lid. Then I put the jewelry back on (hinges and clasps) and finally it is ready to take to the Gallery!  So I have been a busy girl. I also have six smaller paintings prepped (undercoat done and the image drawn up). I hope to have at least one of them ready by Christmas.

I had Pismo Beach critiqued by Master Artist Dennis Lewis at the Clovis Art Guild meeting last night. He confirmed what I was afraid of—those dratted cliffs in the back are still too bright. Considering how many times I repainted them trying to soften them, doing it over again is no big deal, but I wonder if I should also darken up the front. He also had some other suggestions for improving it, so since I have a month before the Fall Open where I intended to enter it, I will probably re work it.  Of course, that does mean re varnishing, but what the heck. I think I will re-wash the back with several layers of light grey and add some yellow to raw sienna for the sand front of the beach.

I also need to get in touch with my friends Betsy and Ron who volunteered to Beta read All Our Tomorrows for me and find out what suggestions they had. Andrew already made several, which I have implemented. It does make the book longer as he said I had rushed through several climaxes and through the chapter on the festival so I have added several pages there that involved re-ordering how the chapters were presented. I admit it does make the book seem less choppy. Beta Readers are a blessing… And just think, I haven’t started the editing for format errors yet! Still hope to get it into publication by Christmas…

December 7, 2016

Well, I did it again—missed an entire month of writing on this. In my defense, I should say that during this month, we adopted a new kitten. She was all alone out at one of Vernon’s commercial accounts. The manager had been feeding her but only twice a day, and a cat or puppy that young needs to be fed at least four times a day. We think Mab’s mother must have been killed and she couldn’t come back for her kittens. We never found the others, and it’s my opinion that Mab survived as long as she did because she is one stubborn feisty cat.

We also put on an art show at the Art Hub. Going to be taking it down later today. Yes, I know it’s raining, but sometimes you have to do what you can do.

All Our Tomorrows will be going to print in about 3 weeks. Yay!

I was hoping to get back into my regular artwork, but I caught a sore throat and it has turned nasty. (Can’t get the flu shot until after this clears up. Ick!)

December 15, 2016

Writing my 4th book in the Handfasting series. It’s a Cozy mystery set on Vensoog. Using Jayla (Gideon’s niece from Forever And A Day) as my heroine and Luc’s best friend Jake (All Our Tomorrows) as the hero. The story centers around the theft of the royal family’s Crown Jewels on planet Aphrodite. The thieves escape to Vensoog to try to fence them. There is a planet wide festival on Vensoog that draws interplanetary traffic so it makes good cover. The fence (Lipski) is killed and the jewels disappear. Jayla innocently buys the Lipski’s shop and then finds her body on the beach while she is out jogging.

I have got local, Royal and interplanetary cops who are suspicious of Jayla’s involvement. I have the original thieves, and the local mob who want to find the jewels.  A housekeeper robot who was programmed by the original owner as a gigolo and a sales bot who likes to run around naked (haven’t quite decided exactly what I’m going to do with them yet-maybe just comic relief).  Then there is Jayla’s nosy, interfering family, and her bossy boyfriend Jake who all trying to help her clear her name and getting in each other’s way.

Note to self: I think I have a form of writers block. I have to decide which of these plot lines to use as the main one, which ones are going to be red herrings and which ones are secondary. My problem is I like all of them so I haven’t written a thing on it that hasn’t felt forced for at least a week.




 It’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Local Business Saturday this week. This time of the year is probably when one of the best opportunities to sell your work emerges, yet most artists don’t know how to take advantage of it. Some of them may even feel guilty about promoting sales at this time. For those of you who feel guilty about telling friends, past customers, family and acquaintances “Hey, consider buying from me when selecting Holiday gifts”, let’s consider a few things. Do you know what the 80/20 Rule is? Well it says that 80% of money spent locally stays in circulation locally. By promoting the idea of other buying your art, you are contributing to the health of your neighborhood! When someone buys art from you, they provide you funds which you in return spend on groceries, rent, clothing and other stuff (which hopefully you also spent in a local business!)

Taxes such as sales tax spent with you supports local infrastructure, police, fire and schools, stay with the community when spent in local businesses. The Tax Policy Center: (click here for the entire article), says that “Local governments received transfers from both the federal and state governments equal to about one-seventh of total revenue; from their own sources, they collected about $700 billion, or 17 percent of all government revenue.” When your friends and family buy from you they are helping to return money to their local economy, so you should feel no hesitation in pointing out to them that you are a resource for gifts!

Spending money locally shows pride in your community culture and local products. As a person who lives in the area Imageyou are more apt to locally recirculate money spent with you on your art in the form of purchases from other local business, thus supporting the local work force. When you give some of that money to local charities, even if it’s just the local boy or girl scout troop, or maybe the local food bank you are keeping money spent with you in movement. It’s a monetary loop that keeps people working to make the goods they and others purchase.

“I’m an artist, not a business person”, you shout. Well, I hate to break this to you, but anyone who wants to sell art is in business. According to Wikipedia, “a business (also known as enterprise or firm) is an organization or person engaged in the trade or sale of goods, services, or both to consumers”. Q.E.D. Business is NOT a dirty word. Businesses allow us as consumers to buy food, clothes, and gas. It allows us to find a place to live (real estate sales and rentals), and most likely it employs a lot of us who are not fortunate enough to be able to make a living selling our art. There is that word “sell” again.

Local Business Can Support Local Artists

  • Local business can provide a mutual support base by being willing to allow artists to display their work for sale in their stores and offices. The artist will come in to see their art and most likely buy something from the business. The artist will also promote the business by telling their sphere of friends and family about having art in display in the business and urging them to come and see it.
  • By allowing artists to promote holiday boutiques, shows, sales and events flyers in their business helps develop a mutual dependency.

Local Artists Offer

What value does the community receive when they purchase art from a local artist rather than from a national chain store?

  • Well-made handcrafted items give a cachet to their office, home and gift giving. When giving gifts it shows the buyer not only thought enough of the person receiving the gift to take into account that person’s personal tastes, but took the time to check the gift out carefully.
  • Buying art from local artists gives the opportunity for a personal experience one-on-one with the artist.
  • The buyer has an opportunity to develop a personal and professional relationship with the artist.
  • Art is individually created unique, versatile item. Why buy something indistinguishable from what everyone else is buying?

What Local Artists Can Do to Promote Art Sales:

  • Remind past clients, friends, and family, church and organization members that they are a resource for buying holiday gifts.
  • Offer items for sale as “Christmas specials”.
  • A bonus or discount off a future purchase if the buyer refers another buyer who actually purchases art. This type of promotion is done all the time in other industries; it is sometimes called a “referral commission’. No money is actually paid until the other buyer makes his/her purchase and mentions the name (or brings in a coupon) of the referring buyer.
  • Adapt some art into small affordable reproductions (cards, small prints, puzzles, ornaments, cups, etc.) for sale at a holiday boutique or Studio Open House.