Monday, January 8, 2018

Goals and resolutions

Hard to believe we're a week into the New Year already. Did you make any resolutions? I guess most have to do with health and happiness. Super good goals, hard to quantify. What about art goals? If you're an artist, your art career needs to be healthy to make you happy. And if you're a collector...  find art that makes you smile!

Some of my past goals have included tackling new subjects, showing in new venues, joining new arts organizations, attending workshops, tracking of artwork and sales better and painting more! Generally, focusing on becoming more professional. This year I'm thinking of doing a related series of paintings, but I haven't quite figured out what the theme will be.

I've already accomplished one goal (more of a to-do list item) - reorganizing my studio, with Todd Casey in preparation for his workshop. Amazingly, it really didn't take that long. Funny how true that is for many projects I procrastinate about. My studio  looks so much bigger, so open! Such a worthwhile effort.

If you're into making art goals, an important one is to set up and maintain a website. This was reiterated time and again in marketing sessions at the Figurative Art Convention this fall. When someone has seen your work and been intrigued by your style or subject matter, your website gives them an opportunity to check out new pieces, peruse your body of work, become familiar with individual paintings and get to know you better as an artist. Here's the artwork page on my website as an example.
artwork website, painting website

Setting up a website is not as daunting as it might seem. I'm no expert and don't even know the terminology well enough to explain it all, but I encourage you learn and get your work online. There are many website hosts that are reasonably priced and easy to maintain and edit yourself: Wix, GoDaddy and Network Solutions are three that I've tried. I started with Network Solutions but left because of problems with features I specifically wanted. So I moved to GoDaddy, which is where my website is now. Their customer service has been very helpful whenever I needed them. Wix is another host that I used for an organization I'm in. It has nice design options and was easy to work on.

Ease of editing is not just a stress reducer, it's a money saver. You need to be able to update your website yourself in a timely and accurate manner - and not have to pay someone to do it. You don't have to be tech savvy to use Wix or GoDaddy. Honestly. I'm certainly not! Do some research, make some calls, ask a lot of questions and get started.

And here's why. In the last few weeks several paintings were purchased from my website after buyers had seen them elsewhere. They didn't make the purchase at the time, but kept thinking about it, revisited the work online, then decided to make it their own. With an online presence folks interested in your work have another opportunity to fall in love with it. 

The other reason to have your own art website is that it's what professional artists do. Even if you show in a gallery, buyers expect you will have a website. They will stand in front of a piece they like and google your website to see what else they might love. And galleries want you to have that breadth of exposure and professionalism. Of course you must always abide by your gallery agreement in terms of pricing and sales. It's only fair since they brought your work to the collector's attention.

These are the paintings that were recently purchased from my website. In each case the buyer had seen the work somewhere previously, but was not yet ready to buy. Also, my website has additional information, like what the painting means to me or how the composition evolved. Collectors like to know the story behind a painting.
Ticket to Ride ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Gentleman Caller ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Taking Measure, Following Threads ©2016 Dorothy Lorenze
If Wishes Were Horses ©2017 DLorenze
Tête à Tête à Tootsies ©2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Meanwhile, while researching the technical aspects of hosting, etc., start gathering the content needed: a brief bio, resumé with exhibitions and awards, education, affiliations, organizations as well as any interesting news, publications or press. You will also need decent photos of your work: no frames and no glare. It does sound like a lot, but most of it is material you may have gathered for shows already. 

The thing we really don't want to tackle is the technical part. It may be unfamiliar territory, but believe me, you have done more difficult things in your life! I was at the Apple store in a workshop for new users with a woman who was grappling with iphotos. She was clearly unhappy and feeling incapable. Then the tech guru said, "don't worry, it's not like it's a heart & lung machine" and she sat up and said, "Oh! I can do that!" She was an operating room nurse and he had unwittingly put it in perspective for her. Basically, if you've learned to drive a car, you can handle a website. 

Get to it! And in the words of Dr. Suess, "Oh the places you'll go!"

Have a beautiful and creative 2018! 

Thanks for joining me on my art journey.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Peace, joy and merriment!

Dear Friends,

Here's to enjoying holiday festivities with family and friends!

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is just about behind us and we have the New Year to look forward to with all its creative opportunities. I'm looking back on the past year with appreciation for warm fuzzy moments, artistic adventures and art accomplishments. I hope you are too.

My sincere thanks to all of you who added to my joyful days and spurred me on with encouraging words throughout the year.

THANK YOU! It means more than you can know.

christmas art, santa art, oil painting

Santa's Chocolate Shadow © 2017 Dorothy Lorenze
Merry Christmas
and best wishes for a 
peaceful (and productive) New Year!

Thanks for following me on my artistic journey.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I’m not usually star-struck or celebrity conscious, but when I read about FACE, the first art convention focusing on figurative and representational art, with its line up of contemporary, master artists - I was hooked.

The roster of the amazing included-
FACE 2017, Max GInsburg
Max Ginsburg's portrait demo at FACE 2017
  • Juliette Aristedes 
  • Daniel Graves 
  • Daniel Gerhartz 
  • Sherrie McGraw 
  • David Leffel 
  • Jordan Sokol
  • Max Ginsburg 
  • Patricia Watwood 
  • Michael Mentler
  • Steven Assael 
  • Jacob Collins 
  • John Coleman
  • Graydon Parrish 
  • Gregory Mortenson
Some demonstrated, some spoke. All were there to promote representational art as a source of soulful beauty in a world where Modern Art has come to mean just about anything. Well, anything except skillful rendering and execution (in my humble opinion).

FACE2017, Steven AssaelBelow is an example of classical drawing technique by Steven Assael from his talk, Evolution. Steven said an artist should first "respond" to the subject and then plan the artwork. He told artists,
"develop an awareness of your world - what matters, how you absorb and make use of the past - to find your subject."
(Hmm, maybe that's why I'm always painting old crap! But I do like the sentiment)

Several talks included discussions on upholding the value of skilled representational painting. Shannon Robinson of Collectors for Connoisseurship described visual art as providing personal expression, social function, spirituality, aesthetic expression and more. Artist and art educator Virgil Elliot stated,
“To create compelling visual imagery, I maintain, is itself an intellectually challenging endeavor worthy of the utmost respect.” And “The best artwork ever done has the power to inspire, all by itself. It needs … only to be seen, to work its magic”
Artists and art lovers were challenged to help the work to be seen, to foster and honor the classical traditions of representational art. Ideally realism goes beyond the skill of “painting things to look like things” and captures the spirit and emotion of the subject, as in this self portrait by Daniel Graves, aptly titled, Surviving Modern Art.
FACE 2017, Daniel Graves
Surviving Modern Art, ©2014 Daniel Graves
Publisher and marketing expert Eric Rhoads and magazine editor Peter Trippi discussed the art market today including the role of galleries and social media. They emphasized that even if an artist is working with a gallery, it’s important to have a website and to maintain a presence on social media. We have to be our own best advocates in order to be seen above the busy-ness of our media-driven world.

If you’re reading this I already know that you appreciate representational art. So I challenge you to spread the word, promote the artists whose work you admire and perhaps bestow a bit of beauty in the form of original artwork to those you love this season. Being a Patron of the Arts sounds like a lofty term but it really applies to all who support artists and fine art. Your support will be appreciated more than you know by the artists whose work you collect as well as those who get to enjoy work you admire. More beauty for everyone.

Studio session at FACE 2017 in Miami
For me the convention culminated with artist/professor Brian Curtis’ presentation entitled Beauty, Quality and the Good: Art as a Material Reflection of a Spiritual Reality. That’s a daunting topic. My takeaway is this quote, which sums up the “why” of appreciating representational art:
“Art is an implicit, intuitive, metaphorical, spirit-enhancing sensory experience that nurtures the soul and drives life’s evolutionary arrow forward.”
Who doesn’t want more of that in the world!

In the spirit of Thankfulness for your ongoing interest and support, here are some links of other artist friends whose work you will enjoy… and perhaps collect! I know I'm forgetting some and others don't have a website yet (don't worry, I won't tell Eric) but I'll be happy to share when they do!

Cindy Sacks
Chrissanth Gross
Peggy Davidson Post
Rich Alexander
Laura Gould
Sally Franklin
Lori McQueeney
Jamie Grossman
Johanne Morin
Paula Wittlin
Todd M. Casey
Happy Thanksgiving
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer
Or, in other words -
"... we get by with a little help from our friends."John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Workshop in my studio with Todd Casey and friends, old and new.

Thank you for joining me on my art journey.