Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Know It All

A fellow student of Sam daSilva's asked me for a bit of advice on how to get out there and sell her art.  I was rather long-winded, so I thought just maybe someone else might get a bit of use out of my response.  Here it goes.

Yes, you need a site.  Best to get if possible.  The easiest way to go about getting a site is to purchase your domain name and have your hosting at the same spot.  To make it easiest to control the content yourself, you'll want to make sure they have a good webpage editor.  WordPress is the standard at the moment, but of course, stuff like this changes all the time.  I designed my new Admin site with WordPress ( and am trying to work up the energy to get around to the art side as well, since it's currently designed in HTML code, which isn't so easy to work with and makes me a little bit more grey every time I edit it.

A couple things about the look of the site - keep it plain and see if you can get a business card to look the same so you present a cohesive look.  And keep it simple, and easy to load.  There are some who prefer to stick a great big photo of a piece of art on the front page of their site, but that takes a while to load (which makes people leave) and takes up a lot of a screen which is annoying (and makes people leave). 

Okay, so now for places to sell.  I have no shame - I did craft sales and galleries.  Sold at both.  I kept my prices the same, so yes I lost when the galleries sold my work, but at least stuff sold, so I figured I was ahead that way.  When pricing, decide on a pricing scheme and stick to it - don't price something higher because you like it, or too low because you're not feeling so in love with it.  I had a piece that was all red & black and I called it "Angry Bitch" and while a lot of people stayed far away from it and I considered dropping the price dramatically, one happy guy bought it and raved about the red and the name. 

As for how to find places to sell, you are coming up on the best time of year to check that sh!t out - you will see sales all over the place!  Google Art Group Calgary, or Art Sale Calgary and a bunch of stuff will pop up.  Try to get in with Calyx, Beacon Originals....the shows with semi annual sales.  And look into the Christmas sales at Spruce Meadows.  And the Telus Art Market.  Freakin' pricey, but some people make a tonne of cash at these events.  Mainly, you'll want to look at Community Halls that are putting on shows, which are most likely local groups of artists...see if you can join them.  Which means you have to have your site and your cards and your price lists done.  Which means you have to have your Artist's Statement done as well.  And a good headshot in case they want to print something about you.

I know Art Central is gone now, but there is supposed to be another space in the new building where it used to be.  See if you can gather any information on them and what it would take to get in there.
Oh, and online, there are a lot of different options, but you have to have really great photos of your work, and when you post them, post low resolution photos that are good, but not copy-able good, and without a watermark, as that takes away from your work.  If some jackass wants to steal your painting from a low res jpg on the web, there's not much you can do to stop it.  Google "selling art online" or "buying art online" and I bet you'll get a tonne of ideas of what to look at and where to start.

The long and the short of it is.... this is a lot of work just to get started.  And at times it can be very disheartening when you spend a buttload of time prepping and getting all your poop in a group...and then nothing sells and some dumbass says "I just don't get it; a 5 year old could've painted that."  Resist the urge to kick that person in the ass, and then resist the urge to burn your canvases, and get back in the saddle and do it all over again, always looking for a new angle and a better way to present yourself.

Sounds a bit daunting, but I've confidence in you!  Above all, don't be stingy with information.  Share share share share.  The more artists you gather into your circle, the more success you can all have, I'm sure of it.  I have run into other artists who hoard their information on how to sell, and not only do I find these people highly offensive and downright mean, I imagine their karma bank account is really low, even if their currency bank account is really high.

A few people off the top of my head to check out that I know are getting their feet wet and working hard at making a go of this are:
Darlene Beck -
Mary Frost -
Diane Kinahan -
Kelly McCarthy -
Darlene Moore -

Good luck,

Monday, September 8, 2014


I can barely believe it.  I made bread. 

I have a Pinterest issue, in that I spend a bit of time on it.  I finally decided to actually make something I had pinned on my 'Food I Adore' board.  And bread seemed like the natural choice, since I love bread and hate the price of bread.
It's pretty damn simple.  It's chewy and crusty and full of beautiful holes for butter and cheese to melt into.

Crusty Bread

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. 
I let it rise overnight.
Thumped it into the pre-heated
cast iron pot with lid (thanks Mum!)
After 30 minutes, I took off the lid.
Right out of the oven.
Onto the cooling rack.
Excess flour brushed off
and looking lovely, I might add.
OMG - it looks like read bread!