Category: Business of Art

10 Things Every Artist Needs to Have

Paint Palette Artist Needs

1. Time – To relax, dream and breath a creative flow.

2. Security – This can either work for you, or against you. Too much security and you may get lazy and not produce work. Not enough and you may be tempted/forced to focus on things besides your art.

3. Tools – No matter what you do you need some sort of tool, even if it is your finger.  If money is really tight and you can not got your hands on the ideal items, we can learn to use what is available to us, if it is important to us.

4. Space – Even the space between our ears. Perhaps most important the space between our ears! If you can have a physical space to work this shows a priority both mentally and physically.

5. Drive to Create – You HAVE to want it as an outlet and/or as a business need. It is difficult enough to be a creative individual in the world, without a drive to create….forget about it.

6. Discipline – There are a lot of things to juggle when you are an artist: your time, priorities, finances, marketing to name just a few.

7. Passion – An indescribable love of what you do.

8. Support – You need people in your corner, even if it is only the voice in your head.

9. Ongoing Education – You must continue to challenge yourself in order to grow.

10. Guts – (chutzpah) Take the road less traveled and not produce more of the same takes an inner spark.  Some days more than others….

5 Creativity Stoppers

5 Creativity stoppers1. Negative Thoughts – “I can’t do this!” How many times do we hear from others, “I can’t draw a straight line.”? If they tell themselves that it is no wonder! Thoughts are powerful things.

2. Procrastination – Can also be a form of performance anxiety. Tell yourself you will work for ten minutes to start.  If after ten minutes you still do not want to be working on what you are, change it. There are so many things we juggle as artists, that there are always things to be productive.

3. Disorder – I know, I know, I can hear someone thinking now that they are visual people and they require all of their materials out in front of them in order to be creative. The problem with that is that you can wind up with too MUCH stuff out and become visually overwhelmed, not knowing what to focus on. Or you just simply can not find the tools and materials that you need with all the clutter.

4. Over-Thinking – Guilty as charged! This is my weakness. It can be used as a form of procrastination or perfectionism. You simply are making things more complicated than they need to be.  Just start already!

5. Comparing yourself to others – We are all on our own path and your only real competition is yourself. Ask if you are growing and challenging yourself.  All the rest is just distraction.

Create A Light Tent From A Cardboard Box

Note: This tutorial was originally published on my old website. At the time I was sculpting small figures from polymer clay and needed a set-up for taking photos of smaller items.

Start with an sturdy empty cardboard box, small enough to not take up a lot of space. The one we are using here is approx 12″ x 12″ X 12″ when closed. Tape the lower three flaps together at the ends so they are stable.

Drape the fabric of choice inside of the box, loosely lining it.

Tape the upper flap back onto the box with a strong tape. Either roll up and use double faced tape to attach your backdrop cloth to the top of the box. Attach about where the upper half of the fabric naturally would lay. If this is unclear see images.

Attach the fabric to the bottom flap that is laying flat. It will help to keep it from shifting. Here I used a rolled up strip of strong shipping tape for the job. With your hands, press out folds or wrinkles that interfere with the right effect for you images.

I preferred a very flat tight backdrop to the item being shot. So a piece of paper was taped into place inside of the box. This way only the smooth white surface of the paper showed and not the weave of the fabric.If I had only put in a sheet of paper the brown of the box would have not been totally wiped away and the darkness would have not created the look I wanted. Another option is to paint the inside of the box entirely white with a flat paint.

This approximates what the camera will see. The item is encased in white with the light diffused from the upper right hand side.

Because of the position of the set up I chose to not use a tripod. But instead set the camera up on a box for stability. A light, with a Reveal bulb was placed over head to diffuse through the fabric. It was placed closer when shots were taken than shown here. Imagine it placed right over the right hand side of the box, rather than in the upper right hand corner of the shot shown. Here you can see how the fabric is draped from the outside.

5 Tips on Time Management for Artists

Time management image1. Set Goals – Know what you want.  Look at the big picture.

2. Make Lists – If you know what you want, making lists on what to do is the next logical step.  I am a big list maker. This helps you to see how you are going to reach your goals.

3. Be Organized – Be reasonably organized is a big time saver. You won’t waste your time looking for something you need every day. Just be sure you don’t spend all your time organizing and avoid doing what you need to do to meet your goals.

4. Schedule – Have an idea of when you want to meet a goal. Without deadlines you can flounder and not feel a need to complete anything.

5. Do Not Multitask – studies show that the human brain is not designed for multitasking. In face it takes you 50% longer to complete a task if you attempt to do it this way. Instead focus on one thing at a time. Do what is front of you and then move on to the next.

Sponsor A Veteran?

As a sole proprietor of a very small art business I have very little I can put out financially to support community projects. So when I see something worthwhile that will cost me very little I have to look closer.

Glen With Boys - Just Before Shipping Out
Glen With Boys – Just Before Shipping Out

The latest is that of sponsoring a veteran fresh out of the army, to participate in an event. In the past I have used his two sons as models for oil paintings.

Note: Glen was Grand Champion winner along with the Clark Crew last year at the Great Plains BBQ – BBQ for the Troops at Fort Riley, KS.

Eventually I realized other artist may be interested in sponsoring him as well. Glen served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Army and is recently transitioning into life as a civilian. He is taking part in the “Backyard Barbeque Contest” as part of the “National Barbecue Competition” in Derby Kansas, Sept. 6-7 2013. To help cover the cost of supplies to participate we are offering sponsorships. In return, the name of your art business (and corresponding web address) will be on display at his work area during his time in the competition. The cost of your sponsorship is up to you. It can be as little as $5. To cover the entire event for him will cost approx $500

Facebook page link:

If you/or your business would like to sponsor him please send payment to his PayPal account at  If you have any questions you would like to ask me please do so at

Art Supply Price Comparison Download for eMail/Newsletter Subscribers

Recently I worked on updating a price comparison list that I keep on hand for personal use. It includes oil painting materials from popular art suppliers such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, Jerry Artarama, Cheap Joes among a few others. Because I find this useful when ordering, I want to share this information with you. It is available in both a .xlsx (MS Excel includes comments related to product comparisons) and PDF file.

If you are already a subscriber we will be sending this to you shortly.

If you’re not – Get on the ball and subscribe today!

Click here to subscribe:


Art Supply Price Comparison Download for eMail/Newsletter Subscribers

Recently I have been working on updating a price comparison list that I keep on hand for personal use. It includes prices from popular art suppliers such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, JerryArtarama, CheapJoes among a few others. Because I find this useful when ordering, I want to share it with you. It is available in both a .xlsx (MS Excel includes comments related to product comparisons) and PDF file.

If you are already a subscriber we will be sending this to you shortly. If you’re not – get on the ball and subscribe today!

Click here to subscribe:

*Note: This information focuses on painting in oils

6 Cons: Day-Job for Artists

Cons of Day job Artists

Last we looked at the “6 Pros: Day-Job for Artists” this time we will look at the cons.

  1. Energy – As we get older our energy is limited. If you use it up at your day-job, there is nothing left for your art.
  2. Time – A day-job can eat up your time, especially if you take your work home with you mentally.
  3. Commitment – Having a day-job is seen as not having a true commitment to your calling as an artist.
  4. Quality – Both  day-job and art can suffer by spreading yourself too thin and not being fully focusing on either.
  5. Rut – Being in a tough routine can wipe you out both mentally and physically can make your creativity stifled.
  6. Security – It can be easy to get used to the illusion of security of a day-job, making it easy for one to loose their identity as an artist all-together.

Least we forget we are not alone in the struggle, a number of successful artists have also juggled a 9-5 quandary at one time or another.

Famous Day-Jobs:

  • William Faulkner wrote “As I Lay Dying” in the afternoon before working at night as a supervisor at a University Power Plant.
  • Joseph Heller (Author of “Catch 22”) Did magazine advertising by day and was a write by night.
  • Joseph Cornell (artist and sculptor) worked 9-5 in a Manhattan Textile studio.
  • Keith Haring worked as a busboy.
  • Jasper Johns was employed as a bookstore clerk to make ends meet.


6 Pros: Day-Job for Artists

Pros of a day job for artists

The reality is most artist work a day-job of one kind or another. Finances, time management and self expression require continual juggling. The myth of the artist working as he or she chooses, not needing to concern themselves with finances and always staying creatively challenged, is difficult in reality.

In the next two posts I will explore the pros and cons faced by artists in having a day-job. First let’s look at the pros:

  1. Schedule – Working around a day-job schedule forces you to focus in on what is most important in your art. You tend to waste less time on things that do not matter to the big picture.
  2. Inspiration – The people and events that you are a part of give inspiration you would not otherwise have. The fact is if you work with the public much you will find yourself often saying, “You just can NOT make this stuff up!”.
  3. Interaction – Working as an artist can be a solitary act. Working a day-job forces you to interact face-to-face with other breathing humans.
  4. Equipment – If you are fortunate you will have equipment openly available to you that you could not afford on your own.
  5. Financial Freedom – When you do not need to worry about a roof over your head because the day-job finances it, you feel freer to explore your creative options. That less than desirable commission can be turned down in favor of pursuing your own projects.
  6. Benefits – Insurance, vacation, sick leave and paid training can be difficult to come by when you work exclusively on your art. If you work it right you can use this paid time to your advantage.

To have a day-job can be a tough personal choice, one that needs to be weighed by an individuals situation. Next we will explore the cons.


10 Steps To Making A Vertical Image For Pinterest

So supposedly the ideal image to have on Pinterest for marketing is vertical.  It helps to gain more exposure due to the layout. But HOW do you go about making one fast and inexpensive?

I have Photoshop and Gimp, both of which can do pretty amazing things.  But I prefer to use PicMonkey these days for quick edits that do not require more complicated results.

Pinterest How-to VerticalLooking at JUST creating the layout that is necessary, lets get started!

  1. First you need the images you want to include in the collage.  It is a good idea to have them where you can easily locate them, such as on a folder in the desktop, or on a jump-drive.
  2. Go to and click on Create a Collage, click Open Photos and add the ones you want to include.
  3. Go down to the icon below Create a Collage, choose Biggie Smalls with the largest number of squares on the right. You can easily change the number of whichever one you choose, but for ease of starting lets stick with that has the most.
  4. Click Open and drop and drag the images where you want them. If you want to add text in an open space keep that in mind and do not place images in each one. (To remove a square go to that square and click on the X to delete.  To add drop and drag you image to the space between the squares)
  5. Save the image by hitting Save, then Save Photo – Again in an place that you can easily locate.
  6. Close the project by hitting the X in the upper right hand side of the PicMonkey work area. Not the browser “X”
  7. Open PicMonkey again and this time click on Edit a Photo and open the collage you just made.
  8. Click on Crop and adjust to create the shape you desire, click on Apply.
  9. Add any text by clicking on the P, choose the desired font and click on Add Text. A text Box will appear on the screen. Make necessary adjustments in the size of the font and location of the text box.
  10. Hit Save, then Save Photo again to your desired location.

TA-DAH!  Now you can upload the image you just made to your Blog or Pinterest.