Is Your Art Blog Boring?

Tell a Story

Do you wish you had more blog readers?  Do you wish you could inspire your readers to take action?

Try this format for a few of your posts:

1) Watch this TED video , The Secret Structure of Great Talks by Nancy Duarte.

 

2) Remember that you are the mentor.  Make your reader the hero.

3) Resonate with your audience (who are they? what do they care about?)  I find that transparency is a key component of resonating.

4) Start with what is and then move to what could be.

5) End with what could be and a call to action.

Want to learn more from Nancy? Her book Resonate is an excellent resource.

Wrap Up

Who is the hero of your blog?

 

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.

MakeBigArt on Facebook
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings on Facebook

—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

 

PS – Are you read to focus on your future?  My 2 online art business classes can help!

1) Setting Goals – Starts September 15, 2013

2) Get Your Art Business running smoothly with Systems – Starts November 3, 2013

I recommended taking both class in sequence.  The first will help you get clear on what you want, the second is all about setting yourself up for success in implementing your goals.

“This workshop [Setting Goals] helped me to FOCUS rather than spinning aimlessly for another year. With the assignments and Lisa’s encouragement, I now have an intentional plan centered on my long-term goals. I developed a 1-year, 5-year and a 10-year plan in order to achieve these goals during this workshop.

Breaking this down into realistic tasks with measurable time frames, gave me the courage to move forward with my art.

I was worried that this might be another time management class. I am even embarrassed to say how many of those I have attempted. But, this class was more meaningful because it allowed me to dream and then plan for what comes next rather than waiting for it to magically occur.

I have a dream and with planning that dream, it can become a reality.

Thank you, Lisa, for another great class. It was organized, informative and a big encouragement to start the year strong.”

~Colleen Kole
Grand Rapids, Michigan

You can read more student reviews here:  Alumni Directory

You get details and register for all of my online art classes through my Online Course Catalog

How to engage your readers with emailed replies while keeping the conversation public (WordPress Blogging Tip)

Responding to Readers

One of the issues a blogger must work out is how they will respond to reader comments.

We love getting them on our blog posts and it often feels right to respond via email directly to engage the reader in a personal discussion.

But then we lose the public conversation which is one of the wonderful features of blogging – community discussion.

I use a wordpress plugin – Comment Reply Notification – that solves this problem most elegantly.  When someone comments on my blog post, I will respond to them on my blog – nesting my comment immediately below theirs.  The plug will take my reply and email it directly to the reader.

I keep both the public conversation and the personal response.  And on those needed occasions I can also still respond in private.

How to Install

If you have a wordpress.org blog (this will not work for wordpress.com blogs) you can use these steps to install this plugin:

1

  1. Click the plugins tab
  2. Click on Add New
  3. Type “Comment Reply Notification” into the search box
  4. Click search

 

2

  1. Click “install now” on the desired plugin (it should be the first one on your list)

 

3

  1. Click activate plugin after it installs.

 

4

  1. Click settings tab
  2. Click “Comment Reply Notification” tab
  3. Choose the “” radio button
  4. Click Update Options

 

Next you really should test to confirm your plugin is working:

  1. Logout of your blog
  2. Visit your blog and leave a comment with a different email address than you use for your blog (Only have 1 email address?  Ask a friend to help or create a free gmail account.)
  3. Login to your blog as admin
  4. Respond to the comment – be sure your comment is a nested comment (click the reply button directly under their comment do nested comments vs just commenting in the box that appears normally).

Bonus geek tip:  you should thoroughly test every change you make to your website – because even the simple ones sometimes go bad.

Wrap Up

How do you engage your blog readers in discussion?

 

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.

MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

I’ve Already Tried That

Insanity

I have a friend that is stuck. She knows she is stuck, she wants to become unstuck.

On occasion we’ll have chats about her situation and I’ll talk about passion and mindsets and gratitude and she listens attentively to what I have to say.

Up to a point.

Then she’ll say “I hear you,” which is very often followed by “I’ve already tried that”.

Aw yes, we’ve all been there. Who among us hasn’t used this line?

“The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.” ~Albert Einstein (Letters to Solovine)

Exactly – We know we’ll get the same results, Einstein was no dummy.

If we’ve tried it before why bother trying it again?

Effort

Why? Because getting up and moving forward sound infinitely more pleasurable than wallowing in defeat.

I think about when I use this excuse, often I might have only sort of tried something, but never really followed through with any real conviction.

Does this count as trying something and it failed? Or does this count as not really trying at all?

And since when were we promised that our first try would always be successful?

Is it just an excuse to not try? Trying takes effort. And doing takes even more effort.

But isn’t doing better than wallowing in defeat?

Next time you hear yourself saying “I’ve already tried that” call yourself on your lack of effort, think big and try again.

Wrap Up

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’” ~Yoda

Where do you need to try again?

 

I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.

MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

A Simple Tip to Gain Control of Your Inbox

Too Much Email

If you are like me, and I suspect you are, you get way too much email. Hundreds a week piling up demanding attention.

I get email from friends, students, galleries, other artists, businesses, airlines, coaches, etc, etc, etc.

Most of it I want (gratitude here for good spam filters), but that doesn’t mean I want to read it right now.

Personal email and email from my students are important I want to see them right away but the newsletters from businesses can wait to be processed in chunks a few times a week or month.

Sorting it Out

We need some sort of tiered email system where the good stuff appears instantly and the newsletter wait in the wings for when we feel like dealing with the input.

Most people I know use filters to direct email into folders to try to solve this problem.

I find that solution unsatisfactory because the email still appears in my main email account begging for attention. I see it come in, I see it sitting in the folder. It takes some of my attention.

Out of Sight

My solution is to use different email addresses for different types of email. Only non-newsletter email comes to my normal email address and gets my attention. (All student email is sent to another email address that is also given high priority action.)

All other email is filtered into different email addresses that I only look at a couple of times a month, when I have time to go see what’s new or noteworthy.

I categorized the types of newsletters I receive:

  • newsletters to keep in my inbox (I limit this to a very small list – currently only 2 – the artbizcoach and NotesFromTheUniverse).
  • newsletters from artists
  • email from galleries, museums and art centers
  • newsletters about creativity, spirituality and positive mindsets
  • newsletters about marketing and business topics
  • emails from businesses, restaurants, airlines, etc

and of course:

  • newsletters I don’t want

I decided to create a separate email address for each category. So if I want to read gallery news – I can check into that email address.

It took a few weeks to sort everything out and update my subscriptions so the newsletters go to the correct email address but once set up, it works like a charm. The amount of noise in my regular inbox was greatly reduced.

I now get to control when I read what without out distraction.

An Added Bonus

Because newsletters are not sent to my regular email address, I can tell immediately when someone signs me up for their newsletter without my permission. It suddenly appears in my regular inbox, uninvited. I usually unsubscribe immediately as inbox bloat is annoying.

Artists, please don’t subscribe someone to your newsletter without their permission. This is called permission based marketing. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, I strong encourage that you read the article that I’ve linked to in the previous sentence.

Wrap Up

How do you keep control of your inbox?

 
I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

 
—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

The First Step to Organization – Define Your Be / Do / Have

Can’t Do It All

As an artist, there are simply too many options available for you to pursue them all: festivals, traditional galleries, non-profit galleries, selling from your website, etsy, coop galleries, juried shows, etc. The list goes on and on.

Trying to do everything dilutes your focus and scatters your attention. Feeling frazzled and overwhelmed is the result.

When presented with an opportunity for your art career, how do know if it is a good fit? How do you know which exhibit spaces and selling venues to pursue?

If you spend some time setting a long term plan for your art, the answers to these questions become obvious.

If you know where you are going, you will be able to set up systems and goals to keep you on track, selecting the opportunities that best support your vision.

Be Do Have

Like many artists, the idea of setting long term goals used to terrify to me. They felt unnecessary and I had no idea how to go about it.

    ”Goals are too limiting.”
    ”What ever comes along is fine.”
    ”How should I know what is going to happen?”

My acquaintance with Be Do Have lists changed my opinion. I was able to employ this simple tool to create a list of long term goals that capture my dreams.

To create your own vision of your art career, try using the Be Do Have list, a life coaching tool that asks three questions:

  • Who do I want to Be?
  • What do I want to Do?
  • What do I want to Have?

Spend some time writing your answers to these questions in relationship to your artwork. Don’t worry about the format – bulleted lists, paragraphs, incomplete sentences – it’s all okay. There are no rules and the sky is the limit. Dream Big!

I found that keeping the list on my desk for a few days to catch the last minute “oh yeah” ideas helped me get a complete picture of where I wanted to go.

After you’ve gathered your thoughts in your free form list, distill it down into an organized list for a quick reminder of your vision.

When an new opportunity presents itself and you aren’t sure it is right for you, pull out your list and review it to see if it fits. Saying no to options that don’t move you forward frees you up to spend your energy on the ones that are a perfect match.

My List

This is the vision I wrote for my art career several years ago and it still guides me today as I focused on who I wanted to Be along with some really big ideas for Do and Have.

  • I am creating a body of work that I am proud of and that I know is pushing me to become the best artist I can.
  • I see growth in my artwork.
  • I am authentically marketing my artwork.
  • I quit my day job and live comfortably from the proceeds of my creative talents. [Note: I like clarity so I have an amount written down but think specific dollar amounts are a bit too personal for public consumption.]
  • My work is valued by buyers and collectors, who are willing to pay a good price for my artwork.
  • I create an affordable line of work for those that can not afford my larger pieces.
  • My work is included in four or more museum collections.
  • I publish one or more books about my art and my writing about art. At least one will be a big “coffee table” style book
  • I actively participate in a community of mutually supportive artists.
  • I am an inspiration and mentor to other artists.
  • I continually learn about myself through my art and my writing about art.
  • I enjoy all aspects of being an artist.

 
Read more about Be Do Have lists.

Wrap Up

Setting long term goals allows us to think big about each opportunity that comes our way.

Do you have a vision for your art? What tools did you used to create your list?

 
—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

 
PS. I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

 

Planning for the New Year – Keep it Simple by Reusing your Habits and Systems from Last Year

Planning for 2012

In January of 2011 I spent a couple of weeks planning for the upcoming year.

I had very detailed goals and shared them with my blog readers.

I did have a very successful year, but I feel I over planned. Something simpler would have served my purposes and gotten me back to creating art quicker.

This year I went simple. I spent about 2 hours setting up my new goals spreadsheet with targets for 2012 and writing out a brief outline of the new projects I want to accomplish over the course of the year.

I then went back to making art and teaching my workshops.

Planning didn’t become a big disruptive event this time around.

Reusing Goals – They’re Systems!

Admittedly I leveraged a lot of the work I did last year separating my goals into habits/systems and new projects. Maybe I didn’t over plan. I retract that statement.

Last year I put in the time to create a system of goals that can be reused year after year, which makes my planning much simpler now.

I think of art business habits and systems like washing dishes or doing laundry. Only a lot more fun.

Essentially these are things that you do and then you have to do them all over again some time later. The project doesn’t end because these are things to be done over and over and over again.

Like blogging, writing a studio newsletter and staying in touch with collectors.

New projects are things like art exhibits or creating new workshops to teach. These goals have an end date. The exhibit is over, the book is written, the class is created (and now there is a new system to teach it year after year).

Maintaining and Growing

I’ve found that dividing my goals into these two different categories has made my art business a snap to stay on top of.

Every week I look at my list of systems and make sure I’m staying on top of the recurring tasks. I also select small chunks from the big projects and work on them.

In this way I am both maintaining and growing my career.

References

Wrap Up

Think big and plan for a fabulous year.

Have you set your goals for 2012? What tips do you have?

 
—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

 
PS. I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

 

You want something. Go and get it. Period. => An Interview with Will Smith

An Excellent Interview with Will Smith

Some Quotes from the Video

Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, god like feature that is only in the special among us. It is something that truly exists in all of us. It’s very simple.

The separation of talent and skill is one of the greatest misunderstood concepts of people who are trying to excel. Talent you have naturally, skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.

There is no easy way around it. No matter how talented you are, your talent is going to fail you if you aren’t’ skilled. If you don’t study if you dont’ work really hard and dedicate yourself to working hard every single day you’ll never be able to communicate with people with your artistry the way you want.

Don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say “I’m going to build the biggest baddest greatest wall that’s ever been built. You don’t start there. You say “I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid.” You do that for every single day and soon you have a wall.

Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity. There is no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A.

There is a redemptive power that making a choice has rather than being an effect to all the things happening. Make a choice – just decide – what it’s going to be, who you are going to be, how you are going to do it.

If you want something, go get it. Period.

Thinking Big

In short I believe he said think big and do the work one step at a time.

Wrap Up

What brick do you need to lay today?

 
—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

 
PS. I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

 

8 Big Benefits of Blogging for Your Art Career

Writing -> Best Use of Art Biz Time

This week I shared the evolution of my artist statement on my artist blog.

One of my observations on this process:

I am a better writer today than I was 10 years ago. I attribute this 100% to my blogging. I believe that writing about my art every week for my blog is the #1 best use of my art business/office time. Getting better at writing my artist statement is just one of many benefits. Look for an article on makebigart.com on the benefits of blogging soon.

Many people have written about the benefits of blogging. Here is my take. It’s about thinking big about your art and your marketing.

1. Sharing Authentically in Print

Sharing our inner thoughts isn’t something that we all come to naturally. The artist statement I mentioned above is for a series of work that explores the emotional barriers we use to keep people out. It feels safe to not let people too close.

Yet there are big benefits in writing about what really matters to you. Your writing is authentic. You connect with your reader on a deeper level and that connection is the start of a relationship with a supporter interested in you and your art.

This can lead to sales, articles written about your art, gallery representation, exhibits, etc. All of these and more have resulted from my 6 years of writing authentically about my art.

2. Sharing Authentically in Person

Learning to share authentically via your blog can feed into your ability to also speak about your art. Writing about the art is practice for talking about the art.

Once you have the words down in black and white, you are less likely to be at a loss for words when speaking.

The thought of giving an artist talk was terrifying for me until I started writing about my art. Now I love giving artists talks and sharing my thoughts on my art in person. Standing up in front of a group is still scary, but at least I know I have the right words to describe what I am thinking.

3. Promotes Growth

Creating art is an evolutionary process. Usually you don’t have all the answers upfront.

Through the self reflection gained in writing about your art, you gain a greater insight into what motivates and inspires your creativity. This leads to growth as you are then able to go deeper into your subject matter.

The evolution of my artist statement shared above is an example of this evolution. Many of those deeper insights came about as a result of writing about my art on my blog.

4. Give People Words to Talk about Your Art

Writing a blog gives people words to use to describe your artwork and to talk intelligently about your processes. Your work is now much less intimidating and they are much more likely to share it with someone else.

This is extremely valuable for helping art consultants, your gallerists and the press write about your art. Providing them with the phrases and vocabulary for your art makes their jobs much easier. You are likely to get more articles written about your work if you make it easy for someone to write about you.

5. Establish Yourself as an the Artist You Want To Be

Are you a serious artist? Are you funny? Are you approachable?

By writing a blog, you can establish yourself as the artist you want to be. Helpful, knowledgeable, educated, motivated, etc. Pick any words you like. Now establish yourself as the person you want to be by writing from that frame of mind.

This is where you get to think big and then become the authority you know you are.

6. Marketing

Writing about your art and what informs it; sharing photos of your art, inspiration, studio and processes: this is art marketing.

It is often said that collectors buys the artist as much as they buy the art. You have to share who you are for many people to want to purchase your art. Blogging allows you to do this with an international market.

As a bonus, blogging provides you with instant and easy SEO (search engine optimization – ie. showing up in google at the top). Using keywords and phrases is a key part of SEO and writing about your art is a natural way to associate your art with the phrases that best describe your art.

7. Community

Yes facebook also provides a community, but I feel that the community I have created in the blogging world is more substantial. We are writing and sharing on a much deeper level. It takes more time and thought to write a blog post, so I get a more authentic view into the writer’s world.

8. Helping and Teaching Others

Many artists want to contribute to their community. Blogging is an excellent way to do that. MakeBigArt is an example of exactly that.

How do you want to contribute? Think big – and then just go do it.

Wrap Up

One of the beauties of blogging is you don’t have to ask for permission to jump in. It’s free and it’s for everyone that would like to write.

How has blogging benefited your art career?

 
—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

 
PS. I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

 

How to tell your website visitors you also teach

Lectures and Workshops and More

Recently I started teaching online art workshops and wanted to include the information on my website without detraction from my artwork.

I decided to create a new tab at the top of my page and label it Learn From Me.

Under this heading I am listing my in-person and online workshops, lectures I offer, and articles I’ve written that are helpful to other artists (both on my blog and published else where).

This creates a nice resource for my visitors but keeps it in 1 corner of the website, so I can focus on presenting my artwork on the rest of the website.

Wrap Up

Do you teach? How do you present it on your website?

(You are more than welcome to grab the phrase Learn From Me if desired.)

 
I invite you to become a fan of MakeBigArt on social media where I’ll be sharing additional tips and comments.
MakeBigArt fanpage
MakeBigArt on Twitter

In addition you can also find me here:

My Blog
On Twitter
Facebook Profile
Lisa Call – Textile Paintings Fan Page

 
—lisa

Thinking Big about Art

Three Reasons Artists Need to be More DIY

Take Control of Your Career

Today’s post is a guest post by Kesha Bruce. I asked her to write about her thoughts on artists thinking big about their careers and this is her thoughtful response:
 

For the past 6 months my blog writing has focused on why and how artists can take control of their careers. My main argument is simple: If artists want to grow and expand their careers they absolutely need to take a much more hands-on approach to marketing and promoting the work they create. In other words, in order to be successful, artists need to be more DIY (Do-it-Yourself).

Three huge reasons artist should be more DIY

1) DIY means Community
When artists work together they can create amazing events, exhibitions, and opportunities to promote their work. When my friend and fellow artist dreamed up the idea for opening our own gallery and producing our own events, we knew we would need help—so we turned to our other artist friends for help.

Other artists aren’t your competition. They are your greatest allies. Doing it yourself, doesn’t mean going it alone.

Working alone in your studio can be a lonely task. When you finally come up for air you’ll need the support of people who understand exactly why you do what you do. Every artist can benefit from being part of a network of friends and colleagues that truly understands the obstacles and concerns that other artists face.

Your network, your group of creative peers, are your greatest resource for finding and getting the information and support you need. Artists thrive in communities. Being a part of a community of artists means having a built in support system.

2) DIY means More Money
Let’s do what I like to call “art math”. Let’s say you have a gallery exhibition of 30 artworks, each priced at $3000. The gallery does a great job of marketing and selling the work for you and the show is a smash hit! In fact you sell every artwork in the exhibition. That means $90,000 in sales. YAY!

But wait. Subtract the gallery’s 50% fee they earned for working their butts off to sell your work. That leaves you with $45,000. Oh but wait. Subtract another 15% for taxes. And another 20% for expenses. That leaves you with around $30,000. And then remember that you only have a solo exhibition once every 3 years in that gallery, so divide that by 3. That leaves you $10,000 a
year to live on until your next solo exhibition. Congratulations!

Clearly you need to have other avenues of income if you’re going to survive. You can’t rely on one gallery, or even 3 for that matter, to bring in all of your income. If you really want a fatter bank account, you’ll have to do a pretty big share of the heavy lifting yourself–Especially in the beginning of your career.

3) DIY means Freedom and Opportunity
If you’re the one at the reigns of your career, that means you have complete control over what you make, how often you make it and when and where to show it. Isn’t that the goal?

Sure, it’s great when you find a gallery to sell your new work. But what if you aren’t working with a gallery? Or what if the gallery’s jam-packed exhibition schedule doesn’t have room for your work until 2014? Or worse yet, what if after waiting 2 years for your first solo exhibition, the gallery goes out of business a month before your exhibition is set to open?

Becoming more DIY means embracing the many new avenues that are available to exhibit and promote your art rather than relying one possibility.

Ultimately, when artists embrace the DIY mentality, it means they stop waiting to be “discovered”. It means that instead of waiting for opportunities, they go out and create opportunities for themselves.

Wrap Up

How have you taken control of your career?

To read Kesha’s weekly articles on art, art marketing, and creativity and to download a free copy of her guide “The 5 Step Art Career Make-Over” visit www.KeshaBrucestudio.com