Monday, November 28, 2011

Art Marketing Fun and Magic

Today's post is postponed due to the weather (only half joking on this rainy day), instead,
I'm sharing a link that will entertain and plant some creative seeds for marketing your art:

This is a wonderful Ted Talk about art: "Using three iPods like magical props, Marco Tempest spins a clever, surprisingly heartfelt meditation on truth and lies, art and emotion." Takes only about 5 minutes to watch, but you can't watch just once. If you love your ipod, ipad, or iphone,  you'll appreciate it even more. Marketing Magic.

Yesterday, I happened upon a YouTube piece about one of my artist friends. It was nice to see him in different venues; his work showcased nicely, but the entire video was static, all pictures. Maybe his marketing crew just needs to play with an ipad for a few days, then create another video for him. You did watch the Ted Talk before reading on, didn't you?

Today I'm researching website hosting for my next artist site. It's a difficult decision because one option under consideration is Microsoft Office 365 for the small business. I really like the 365 option. It really doesn't feel artsy, it's business. We need both artsy and business to market art. I'll address this in a future post, and maybe touch on left-brain vs. right brain functioning when an accountant just happens to be a painter.

Another rainy day color sketch

I'm also photographing some drawings from one of my old college sketchbooks today to do a post on the importance of a strong drawing foundation for visual artists. Some painters can dive right into a blank canvas with brush or palette knife while others require fully drafted images to get the studio produced composition right. Most of us fall somewhere in between.

Please share the fun Ted Talk with your artist friends, and any comments on considering MS Office 365 as an artist site would are welcome.

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studios

Find me or my work at the following addresses: 
 Twitter -,  and Facebook - (in process)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday? No thanks, I like blue

It's "Black Friday" throughout the United States and everyone is out shopping till they drop. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is the big day retailers eagerly await all year. Today red ink turns to black as retailers will begin to show the year's real profit.

Yesterday my neighborhood stores were opening (on Thanksgiving day!) as the big bird was still in the oven. Big box stores and little boxes, too, decided to get a jump start on the masses looking for bargains. I'm not sure what this says about our culture. Is bargain-hunting taking priority over this most special of traditional family days?

I think Thanksgiving Day is a great opportunity to give thanks in community service by helping out with meals in shelters, hospitals, and assisted living centers so everyone participates in Thanksgiving. Those residents and patients will not be out shopping.

A top news story today was about a Walmart shopper who used pepper spray injuring some twenty other shoppers last evening. Her reason, to get in front of everyone else to get an electronic game. Police are on her trail.

So what are you, as an online artist, doing about Black Friday? Are you making deep discounts for this day; for the entire holiday sales season on your sites? I noticed many promotions on the Etsy site for most shops, but not so much for art. I decided to offer some small paintings for this period, rather than reduce pricing. If a customer needs a discount to purchase art, they should ask for it and explain why the piece is worth less. If all art is discounted, your work is then worth less as well.

Black Friday? No thanks, I like blue.
I have opted out of the Black Friday madness for the most part. I may run down to Michael's with a 40% off coupon in-hand this afternoon, but I do that almost every week of the year. I don't join the department store crowds looking for a discount sweater or toy, and I don't discount my art.  

Today is a day to relax and enjoy the season. I spent my morning watching children playing on the beach and sailboats, and fishing boats in the channel. No black or red coloring my thoughts.

What are your thoughts?  Your comments are welcome.

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studios

Find me or my work at the following addresses: 
 Twitter -,  and Facebook - (in process)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Marketing to Your 69 Billion Facebook Friends

That's right, 69 Billion potential customers for your art! This post is about the Six Degrees of Separation which Facebook has now reduced to 4.7 degrees.

If you're not yet marketing your art using Facebook as a tool, you might want to give it some thought. It's one of my most powerful tools, yet some of my Etsy artist contacts are "scared" to give it a try. Someone might scam them. Someone might scam them at the local car wash, too, as happened to me several years ago when my bank card was swiped on an employee's personal scanner. I'm taking my chances with Facebook.

I held off using Facebook for the Studio because of software changes Facebook was making and I had no information on how to setup Gail Kent Studio, but it all worked out. I setup a personal page with 2 friends on it for several months, then made the transition to Artist Page Account. It was fairly seamless and I love having the Facebook Artist Page Account as a professional page.

Most of us have experienced psychologist Stanley Milgren's Six Degrees of Separation theory in which we meet people who know people we know, and we think "what a small world!" The world has indeed gotten smaller with worldwide internet usage. This morning I looked at the traffic on one of my artist sites to see, as usual, an international trail posted with visitors from Holland, England, India, South Africa, Kenya, and half a dozen American cities.

Here's a link to one article about the Facebook effect on the Six Degrees theory. This reinforces my earlier post about marketing your art on Etsy and other sites and the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) as you choose your tags or keywords.

With 10% of the world's population, 721 million sets of eyeballs my friends, as active users, Facebook has determined there are 69 billion friendships established according to the above article link. Whether weak connections, or strong, each one is a potential exposure of your artwork to someone who may be moved to actually connect with you to acquire your art. They may "trail" you for a while before buying in a way they couldn't before. They will know you; they will know your art. They will buy your art.

Before our US Thanksgiving holiday, I'll photograph and upload eight or ten new small works painted specifically for my reproduction site and put the small paintings on Etsy as affordable art for holiday gift-giving. They'll most definitely go onto Facebook, my number one marketing tool.

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studios

Find me or my work at the following addresses: 
 Twitter -,  and Facebook - (in process)



Monday, November 21, 2011

A Keyword Worth A Thousand Pictures?

How about a word worth 12,000 pictures?

Keyword importance in marketing your fine art cannot be overstated! We rise to the top or get lost based on our tags choices.

In my previous post, Marketing Your Fine Art on Etsy, we explored some steps in deciding on the best way to approach generating sales through your online presence:
1) selling your paintings in an Etsy shop 
2) offering your paintings on hosted artist websites 
3) creating your own art website domain yourself or hiring the talent

My own offerings are through Etsy and several other sites. I'm trying to find the time to setup my own domain--slow going since I like to paint, too!

About those hosted sites--as I said in a prior post, we can't just post beautiful pictures and expect the orders to pour in. Websites aren't designed that way, not Etsy, not the artist hosted sites, no sites work that way.

If you've already setup a site, do a search for your art. Don't be surprised if in a matter of hours after uploading your work, you are buried behind hundreds or thousands of other beautiful pictures. Where did your images go? You input all those keywords based on trending words and your images aren't there. "Google" yourself under both the web and image tabs, not much there either if you haven't expanded your presence through links and words.

Last week I searched for my own art on one of my paid membership hosted sites. I'd always been able to bring up many of my painting and photo images under multiple keyword searches. Not this time. I went 20 pages deep, 25 pages, 30 pages--Nothing! 

Then I happened upon the culprit. I slowed down enough to read the artist names on each picture and noticed page after page of the same artist. He has 12,000 pictures! I was fuming angry! I couldn't produce 12,000 original pieces of art if I cloned myself 100 times over! So, I thought maybe it's a sweatshop of artists doing the work. Apparently not, but it doesn't matter.

Abstract work from hosted site
My work is lost since my paid hosted site allowed this production line "painter" to post about 400 of his pictures since I posted mine.  His art and my art have nothing in common--nothing but keywords. Not everyone plays fairly with keywords. We're talking money here. Aspen Trees in Fall by Gail Kent is a sample of my traditional work.  Now I'm reasonably intelligent and can figure out how to trump him with my online SEO, but this is within my own website. I can still work around it, but it will take time and energy that I need for creativity in the absence of my 100 clones.

So lets get busy building our presence and crank out our 12,000 pictures! I'm not linking to the 1st guy to get to 12,000. He promotes himself quite well without my help!

Your comments are welcome - share how you've dealt with similar frustrations and resolved the problem on Etsy or other sites you have.

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studios

Find me or my work at the following addresses:
Twitter - @Gail_Kent, and Facebook -  (in process)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Marketing Your Fine Art on Etsy for Profit

Marketing fine art on Etsy can be profitable if you do your homework. I've had several Etsy shops including one now active for marketing my paintings and photography. Etsy bills the site as "The World's Marketplace" and I have to agree that they are now a multinational business. They recently had a marketing blitz in Berlin (one great art city!) and there are French and German blogs that I've bookmarked so that I can see local items and read the local marketing. Links for these sites are for French  and for German

Marketing for a flea market stall and selling in Etsy shops are two entirely different arenas and you have to remember that when listing your fine art on Etsy. I frequent thrift, consignment, antique shops, and indoor flea markets at home and when traveling. I have managed to score a few pieces of really good art on my outings, but there is some incredibly fine art to be found on Etsy, too,  and you don't have to leave home to get it.

It's smooth sailing on Etsy
How to begin your homework:

1. Research your work's fair market value
As artists, especially painters, we cannot price our work by the hour. It isn't piece work. Even if you are blessed with divine talent and can whip out a painting an hour, you must price it for the art that it is--unique and extraordinary. We cannot sell a $300 painting for $25 in an Etsy shop because we think we are competing with other $25 items for sale. We are not competing with a knitted cup wrap or a vintage moo-moo someone bought for fifty cents. Though some of those colorful moo-moos could be framed and hung on the wall.

2. Research other websites that offer fine art and compare
There are many artist's sites around with membership prices of "free" to $300 per year or more. Each is different and you just have to start where you're comfortable and get your feet wet. Pay close attention to the genre that is most popular on each site by looking at best sellers. You may want to plan  your own independent website rather than one hosted by Etsy or other sites, if you have sufficient contacts in your personal networks to promote a site.

3. "Convo me" it's how Etsy shop owners network with one another
When you get a shop set up with a few items listed, it's time to interact with other Etsians. It's so easy to do. Just visit other shops and favorite people and shops and then add them to your circle. There is an underlying reason you do this that we'll explore in another blog. For now, you just want to make contacts and have a few conversations with people who create interesting work. I've met established artists from around the world, and a few crafters in this way.

4. You can play roulette or you can sell art
Yesterday, I took a look at my "favorited' items list which brought up shop owner information. One shop had favorited over 50,000 items. Really?! Targeted favorites are what you want to collect. The Treasury list is an excellent way to connect with favorite item and shops. Just jump in and create one. You will be marketing 16 other artisans, but you are also marketing yourself, too. You are not competing with these artisans.  More in a future post.

5. Etsy shops generate web presence through search engines
After you've done all your Etsy shop homework, you need to learn about search engine optimization (SEO) marketing  in order to be successful in today's marketplace. You can very easily make the jump from one little shop to hundreds of your own images and articles available to the public through Google and other search engines.

Now you're ready to Promote, Promote, Promote! Etsy may be just your first piece in the puzzle of how to sell your art.

Here are the links to my shop:
and to  Etsy USA site : 

and here are sample Treasury lists for you to browse through so you get the idea.
I post these to my Twitter and my Facebook accounts.

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studios

Find me or my work at the following addresses:
Twitter - @Gail_Kent, and Facebook - (in process)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Illusive Inspiration

Inspiration can be triggered when we least expect it. I related in my last blog, "Soulful Song in the Sea Fog,"  ( ) how the sound of a distant voice that wafted through the fog lit that spark for me. Sometimes it's inconvenient to follow through on the creative impulse when it arrives. Capturing the inspiration and holding it until you can express it as a visual image can be a real challenge. Just as flashes of memory may be fleeting moments, inspiration can be here one minute, gone the next.

Painters often have the create compulsion at the most inconvenient of times. For instance, I've scheduled today for tax work and cannot allow myself to put that aside to finish up the 5 little works I started yesterday when inspiration took over. I was able to take the hours I needed then to rough in my paintings to almost completion. Yesterday was clear, today is rainy. I'll get back to painting next week. Most of my painting is en plein air, even when I paint mountain themes on the Florida coast. If the weather doesn't cooperate with my creativity schedule, I won't be painting that day.

Five Ways to Capture Inspiration:

Following is a list of  five ways I have developed for generating and holding onto creative ideas when they wander into my mind. Take what you need from my list and, please, add your ideas to share as a comment. No need to suffer the anguish of creative block when staring at a blank canvas.

1.  Record Your Ideas
A small writing pad you can sketch in, or a small recorder, or  phone video or memo that you keep with you is a great way to capture ideas to act on later.

2.  Take a Break in "Thinking" About Art
Immerse yourself  in great art by visiting a local museum if possible, or  larger museums online, or take an outing to the environment that you most express in your painting. You'll find that you are "feeling" the art when you are surrounded by imagery that you love.

3.  Chat it Up with Other Artists
If you don't have a local group of artist friends, the weather's bad, or you're otherwise homebound, get online with other artists. We are a generous group putting our ideas out there for dialogue on projects or promotions we're beginning or mulling over. If you don't have an online presence, setup one.

4.  Peruse Arts and Decor Publications
I love spending time in a new Architectural Digest ( ) or  Elle Decor @ELLEDECOR ) and other publications where I soak up trends for design colors and in artists' magazines where I read about new products or processes. You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter if you can't get the actual publications.

5. Be a Child Again
It's fun to play with line, color, composition when you're under no pressure to produce your next masterpiece. You can scribble in pencil, paint in watercolor or ink, or do simple studies to juice up your creativity. I keep a stash of  3x5" canvas boards, 8x10" stretched canvases, and inexpensive watercolor paper and bristol board for my play time. You may even sell those small works.

Sea fog conceals a beautiful sunny day that lies ahead.

A clear day vista from my island painting perch

  Inspiration can be gained in many ways. I was pleasantly surprised by my foggy day inspiration. If you find my five ways to kick start creativity helpful, please share them with friends and feel free to add you own as comments before you share.

All the best,

Gail Kent

Find me or my work at the following addresses:
Twitter - @Gail_Kent, and Facebook - (in process)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Soulful Song in the Sea Fog

This is my first blog. It's not easy for me to begin, with so many other things to get accomplished in producing and promoting my art. So, here goes. Thanks for your patience as I learn the fine art of blogging from the little reading I've managed to fit in with Google and two books I found helpful to the blog-challengend among us; Darren Rowse and Chris Garret, ProBlogger, and Mark Bell, Build a Website for Free. These will help if you're considering a blog for your art. I'm still working on that personal website idea I started months ago. You know how it goes. I've always had a techie guru to do that stuff in the professional business world. This website is probably a beginner for me, but as it develops feel free to follow at I suspect that when I learn the ropes, I'll move to a host rather than a Google site.
The purpose of my blog is to network with other visual artists to share resources and information. We can also share our art, that's the fun part. I post my art at and at I find that most of my networking comes from fellow painters with etsy shops--I know, surprised me, too. I've met the most interesting painters and I've learned that each of us must constantly promote. No one is going to do it for you unless your rich uncle owns a gallery. We'll explore various promotion ideas in future blogs. Just having your work on websites will not sell your artworks.

My day began with a trip to "my island" to paint. It's really a combination estuary restoration with a marvelously restored park for the community of Tampa Bay. I frequent the park to paint on the shore with the shore birds, surfers, fishermen, boaters, ships, and hikers to keep me company. I often see dolphins swimming up the channel, playing in the water, jumping in and out as they breakfast along the way. I meet interesting people (wink-wink; nod-nod) and fun people that I enjoy chatting with and they enjoy my art.

Early morning sea fog blanketed the island yesterday and today and was slow to burn off. I had a chance to relax with my coffee, see where the tide was since I hadn't checked the high and low times, and survey birds on the shore and in the water. I used this time to take photos of seasonal blooms and a just off shore fisherman until the fog cleared. This venue is so inspiring to the visual artist.

This morning was just a whole 'nother experience on the inspirational level. I was so moved by the unexpected and highly unusual, that I produced five original paintings, small paintings. After unpacking my canvases and paint boxes, I sat watching the fisherman out in the bay and savoring my Mickey D's coffee. Suddenly the silence of the still morning was broken by a distant sound other than waves lapping at the shoreline. I turned in the direction of the sound, not sure what to make of it since the fisherman and I seemed to be the only two people on the island. After a few minutes I realized someone was singing.

Too far away for me to see from my painting perch, there is an observation deck recently built in the estuary that extends out onto the beach. A soft alto voice came from the deck. The song seemed to be a doleful dirge at first, then I realized that it must be a Christian song, sung in a very old mountain acappella style that I may have heard in my childhood. As the singer moved deeper into her song, the voice became louder and clearer filling the island with it's soulful message of indecipherable words. I don't know what she sang, but her soul reached out for all to hear and it was beautiful and touching. It was a movie scene, I tell you. The fog on the bay, the fisherman, me, and the voice in the estuary.

Such is the life of an artist, whether visual or performing, we gladly take any inspiration that is offered and paint or perform when we can. It was a great day thanks to a soulful song in the sea fog.