I submitted three piece of art in a contest held by Artavita, which is a website for artist to post their work and for the public to look for art, and my pieces were one of the top fifty finalist. I received a certificate from Artavita in recognition of my work - which is always appreciated.
I just finished "Aspen In Autumn" and currently working on a winter sene on a 24x30 inch canvas. The inspiration came from a photo taken by my cousin Brian Zingler, an outstanding photographer whose images I've used on several occasions.
The piece will be black, white, and gray, which reflects Michigan's winter landscape. He captured an old barn standing against blowing snow, which offers a captivating image.
I am still trying to coordinate a trip to Michigan in September to attend an art show in Rochester called Arts & Apples. It has been active for over fifty years and attended by 200,000 people over a three day period. I applied for the show back in January of this year more as a whim since I did not believe I would be accepted to this very selective show.
It is my hope that my website, "twowilletsgallery.com" will draw interest in my work and a few pieces will be purchased. Those viewing my work should recognize the fact that my paintings are priced below comparable artwork.
My work is also available on Blink magazine's website, which is viewed by interior decorators, galleries, and collectors. Blink magazine is published by Art Design Consultants, which is a large 8,000 sqft gallery located in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Six of my paintings are being displayed in the Tampa, Florida area by "Gallery On The Go".
I also do commissioned art for those who have a landscape picture that they want painted. I did one last Christmas for a man who wanted to give his mother a painting of her house. She had lived in the house most of her life and was selling the house to move into assisted living.
For the past four years I had a blog, coxenartwork.blogspot.com, where I post my paintings and offer painting tips, as well as reviews of art festivals I have attended. In order to streamline my efforts I decided to use my new website as my blog and have requested my followers to join me.
I have worked hard trying to market my work, which is difficult since there are so many fine artist and unless you are known the road to success is riddled with potholes. I have sold several paintings at art fairs and to friends, therefore I am an accomplished artist but unable to make a living off my work.
In 2013 I self published at book based upon my grandfather's WWI journal, The Great Promise. It was received well but those who had leanings towards being a historian found fault because it had a mix of non-fiction and fiction; plus I didn't include a bibliography. While trading emails with one historian critic I decide to seek her help and rewrote the compelling story as non-fiction. I tried to find a publisher but like painting an unknown author is ignored. I self-published it as an e-book on Kindle, World War One - An Unkept Promise.
The point is, unless one is very lucky and gets discovered one's chances of reaching a level of success is slim. My immediate problem is my eternal drive to paint has far surpassed my ability to sell and therefore I have a large inventory of paintings. Over the years I have given so many paintings to my children they don't want any more.
The last art show I attended was in St Augustine, Florida, which is an artist community. I thought an art show there would draw thousands of people -- it didn't. I met an artist whose work was OK but not superior, was selling his pieces for thousands of dollars. I talked with him after the show and his marketing strategy was to mark his work up so people think it is worth the money and if they dicker on the price, he still comes out ahead. I have read elsewhere that there are two schools of thought, the first is price your work low and hope to sell several pieces, or price them very high so if you sell one you're further ahead. I sold three paintings and pocketed $900, which paid expenses. He sold only one, but it was $1,700. So who came out ahead?
I still find it hard to ask that much for my work, which is reflected in my pricing. However, I am leaning towards the higher price for two reasons. First, my work is on par with those who sell their work at higher prices, and if I sell just a few I'll be further ahead.
I'll leave you with this last thought; A true artist paints with emotion and transfers it into his painting so it conveys feeling to those who view it. A painting without feeling is just paint on canvas.
If you read my profile you know that I was diagnosed with Parkinson's back in 2005. I worked until my symptoms were interfering with my job and was forced into retirement in 2009. In January of 2010 I took an oil painting class and since then I've painted almost everyday.
March of 2015 I attended my first arts and crafts show and actually sold three paintings, as well as receiving many compliments regarding my work. Soon the thought occurred to me that I could use my talent to help support Parkinson's research. So far I've donated over $200 to the Michael J Fox Foundation and ask your support to find a cure for this hideous disease.
I call on you to help me by purchasing one of my paintings and I'll donate 10% of the sales. I know that it doesn't seem like much, but I have extensive overhead cost attending art shows. Those who attend arts and crafts shows may not know that most shows are juried. What does that mean, will the artist must submit four images of his/her work along with a picture of their booth and an application fee between 30 and 45 dollars. A panel of judges review each applicant's portfolio and determine if the artist is good enough to be accepted.
If accepted the applicant must accept or decline. Why would someone decline if they applied, good question, its because one must apply to shows months in advance and since acceptance is uncertain, the artist may apply to more than one show. If the artisan decides to attend, they must pay for their booth space, which is usually 10x10, soon after accepting. The cost of booth space is determined by the size and draw of the show. Most shows cost between 200 and 300 dollars, while large shows charge 350 to 500 dollars.
Since I have been actively attending shows for a year, I have not purchased a trailer so I rent a U-Haul to carry my paintings and booth, which for a weekend is around 80 dollars. Then there is the cost of a motel and food. A weekend show could cost close to 1,000 dollars.
Being retired on a fixed income there isn't room in the budget to support this cost so I have to sell two or three paintings in order to break even. So next time you attend a show keep this in mind and help the artisans if you can.
I have completed three new paintings, Forest Fog, Sunrise Above The Clouds, and Red Flowers - although Red Flowers is not finished yet.
I would appreciate your feedback on my work and suggestions on how to market my work.