During coffee we talked about how our career paths had changed course over the years and then come to the point where one says, "Okay, what is it that I REALLY want to do with the rest of my life?" For me it was a traumatic event that made me ask the question, rather ironically, at about the age that he is now. For him it was career burnout. Both being normal responses to external pressures.
I'm glad we were able to meet and talk because I think it helped both of us put things into our own perspectives. You know, he said something to me that really resonated with amazing truth... "When you teach you learn." It's so true. I love to learn and my students give me a reason to learn things that I might not actually be interested in learning, but because it's something that would benefit their learning, I learn it too. For that I thank my students, every single one of them! You guys are totally amazing!
So, the conversation then becomes about promoting yourself as an artist, photographer, teacher or whatever you aspire to be. The extended conversation is about getting your name out there so people recognize it and come to associate it with something. Steve Jobs: Apple; Anne Geddes: creative baby portraits http://www.annegeddes.com/until-now-1/; and for those of us that have been around, Laura Ashley: fabrics, clothing, home decor and more http://www.lauraashley.com/.
So how does a local artist, photographer or artisan do that?
Well, let me count the ways...
You could start writing and submitting articles of interest to your community weekly newspapers. No money in it but the articles are often welcomed if they are of interest to the readership.
Writing a blog about your area of expertise, making it regular and striving to expand your subscription rate by promoting it though social media, your mailing list, your friends and anyone who might be interested.
Participating in events and exhibitions where you can show your work, skills and expertise off while also making contact with potential new clients who are in attendance.
Join organizations of like-minded individuals. None of those around... start one!
Keep in touch with the people who have shown interest in your product or services.
Always keep business cards, brochures and posters handy because you never know when the opportunity to distribute them will arise.
If you have happy clients/students, ask for referrals or testimonials about you and what you provided for them.
Keep your eyes and ears open constantly for any potential opportunities that might arise. They often come from the strangest places, at the strangest times.
Love what you do because that passion will come through like a shining beacon.
All that said, and there is much more, it all boils down to a numbers game. The more people who know about you and what you do, the more business you are likely to get. Okay, so now go for it! Oh, and let me know how it's going or if you need some ideas or suggestions. I'm always happy to share what I know if it will help.
Not sure where I learned this... perhaps Mount Allison University where I seriously learned to paint in oils, but the most effective way to wash your paintbrushes is to first rinse them thoroughly with water or solvent, depending on your medium. Absorb most of the water or solvent from the brush with a really absorbent paper towel and then wash them with soap and lukewarm water, creating a circular motion with the bristles in the palm of your hand. This forces the soap and water up the bristles to the ferule (the metal piece that hold the bristles to the handle). Then do the same motion while running the brush under water. This forces the clear water up into the bristles. Then squeeze the excess water out of the bristles with your fingers. If the water is clear then the brush is clean. If there is still come colour in the water repeat the process again.
You also need to be aware that some paint colours will stain the bristles of your brush which can't be washed out. This is not a problem as long as the water squeezed from the brush is clear.
For those of you who paint in oils, here's something I did learn at Mt A, back in the day when we used wooden palettes... always clean your palette immaculately with turpentine. Once it is clean rub in a layer of linseed oil and polish it highly. Back in the day the expertise of an oil painter could, supposedly, be determined by the patina of his or her palette!
This project is something I have wanted to do for a long while. I fell in love with these fossil stencils and a very dear friend of mine gave me some as a very special gift. I've been mulling the project over in my head for a very long time but it has only just come together very recently, after finding a piece of fabric that is perfect for the background at a fabric flea market. This is one of those events where people who create with fabric sell off their excess at bargain prices. I normally wander through and note the fabrics that I like. After doing the whole show I go back and if the ones I really liked are still there, I buy them. This particular fabric, however, was one of those "I just have to have it, NOW" moments and bought it right away! I'm actually embarrassed to say how little I actually paid for it!
So, I glued the fabric to two 12" x 12" gallery canvasses with a thin layer of gel medium, stretching it by hand rather than with the canvas pliers, because I didn't want to damage the fabric or distort the design. After that I applied a good coating of thinned liquid polymer medium to reduce the absorbency of the fabric, which will make it easier to work on. Watch the fossil evolution develop next week! I am SO looking forward to sharing this project with you!
Thanks and best wishes,