Wednesday, February 24, 2010

February 22, 2010

FOCUS: The State of BEING A Professional Artist
(all paintings and text are the copyrighted property of Catherine Hillis)
(The attached painting is titled Pedicure and it will be available at Wide River Gallery in Colonial Beach, VA during March of 2010.)

I'd like to invite artists, gallery owners, and art lovers to bring their opinions to the table.

Alright, so you've spent some time thinking about your goals and your definition of success. It's difficult to be honest about this topic and I'd wager that we could all spend another few weeks in thoughtful consideration. If an artist knows what her goals are for her art, if she knows what success means for her - then, what's next? More thinking..... leads me to ask myself if I'm focused, utterly, singularly, professionally, unequivocally.... focused on my goals, my art and my road to success.

  • Am I focused on the WORK (and this is my occupation that I'm talking about) of producing my art.
  • Am I focused on producing only quality work.
  • Am I focused on practising good, standard business practices. This includes keeping financial records in excellent condition, staying organized, maintaining a good credit standing, arranging for insurance, titles, incorporation filings, and yes, making a profit. A viable business must make a profit.
  • Am I focused on using all of my talents and abilities to add income to my business: this might include writing, teaching, selling artwork, managing, or utilizing any skills one might have in their field. Another word for this might be....diversification of the use of your skills.
  • Am I focused on marketing myself and my work.
  • Am I focused on listening to the customer.
  • Am I focused on listening to the gallery owner and meeting their needs for their clients.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life as a Professional Artist

Life as a Professional Artist:

The past two years have been brutal ones for artists and gallery owners alike. Even the savviest marketers have taken a hit and I've been utterly shocked at the many great painters and aggressively successful gallery owners who have had to fold as a result of the 2009 recession. It's definitely survival of the fittest out there!

Perhaps this is a grand time to begin re-defining our goals and re-evaluating why we're out there painting or selling art and whether we are reaching the level of success we desire. Art is, after all, a retail operation, whether we like it or not, so the sale of art requires that the artist be certain that they're running a sharp, effective retail operation with, of course, an awful lot of leeway in between. After all, the purchase of a piece of art is not a necessity but is perhaps the result of something subjective that occurs between the artist and the client.

Think on these subjects if you're an artist. Why are you creating your art and who are you creating it for? What are you doing with your art after it's completed? Are you truly committed to art as business, or is the pursuit of art your hobby? What defines success to you? Take some real time to define your goals, examine where you're at in achieving those goals and evaluate your definition of success.

The painting depicted, Last Day (watercolor by Catherine Hillis, c., 14" x 17" framed), will be available at Wide River Gallery in Colonial Beach, VA for $190.00. (804)224-9984