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First Time Selling Your Art

Updated on February 26, 2015
This photo was shot in Ottawa during the Tulip Festival in 2007. The artist here as you can see was painting on site. I just couldn't remember if he had some paintings displayed next to him.
This photo was shot in Ottawa during the Tulip Festival in 2007. The artist here as you can see was painting on site. I just couldn't remember if he had some paintings displayed next to him. | Source
Portrait/Illustration; Medium - poster colour ~~~ A portrait of the Prince of Wales on illustration board.
Portrait/Illustration; Medium - poster colour ~~~ A portrait of the Prince of Wales on illustration board. | Source

New artists or been-long artists would like the best advice on how to sell their pieces of art for the very first time.

You are a fine artist and a painter but you have art stacking in darkness. Why is that? It is high time to put them out to the bright side, dust them, uncover them, expose them, sell them, and make profits out of them.

Spring and summer, the seasons that make us jolly. The seasons of full colour. The seasons when people venture out under where the sun is shining. The seasons to show your art out. If your art is exposed, you are definitely exposing yourself.

From Vision to Crowd

  1. Show off! Show it off and cater your pricing to the crowd you are targeting, considering the location of where your artwork will be exhibited.
  2. The price is right. My art professor used to remind us that for outdoor & school exhibits, we have to keep our prices low since the art lovers, customers and art critics would know if the artist is a beginner, except if you have established your name and work. My classmate sold a few and it was enough to make him proud of his work. I bet he is successful now.
  3. Set up a creative display. If you can hang them low on trees without damaging your paintings, why not? You can also utilize the facade of your house or terrace like a homey galleria.

Painting/Illustration; Medium - poster colour ~~~ Bird painted on illustration board.
Painting/Illustration; Medium - poster colour ~~~ Bird painted on illustration board. | Source

Outdoor Gallery

  1. Check the weather! A clear sky and not too hot days are better. Better for you, better for your art and better for the crowd.
  2. Make-shift studio. From the comfort of your own home or set up a garage-studio.
  3. Love thy neighbour. Ask thy neighbour. A very good neighbour is standing by. Approach that neighbour who might be all willing to share his front yard to expose and sell your paintings. This will be a fresh, convenient and economical start for you. Lucky you!
  4. Arty offering. Be ready to sacrifice a painting as a gift to your kind neighbour.
  5. What a refreshing art! Include welcome refreshments of easy finger food you can bake from home and a summer beverage. Or combine art with bake sale. Give it an encouraging and creative "name" for the event. This way, you are not losing any sales. Either people get attracted to your paintings or the baked items you are selling on the side. For sure, they will stop to look at your painting display and you can hand out your flyers and cards.
  6. Go Green. Hand-out to your outdoor guests an economical and environmentally friendly piece of information. You can apply your artistic talents onto producing your own eco-friendly flyers and business cards. Use the inside part of paper bags (e.g. liquor, wine bags) and print your event's venue and other catching details. Do not overload. A simple flyer with a catching message is enough. Bold out your telephone number. Add a bit of helpful tips or offer to contact you for questions about painting and framing. For a business card, go beyond the normal regular size. Be it less the size of a postcard or a 5x7 postcard size would be worth reposting on a corkboard in an office, or at a workstation from home. I like keeping cool card and invitation designs (just a thought). You may also magnetize your contact information by gluing on your labelled solid colour, white or canvas type fabric onto the fridge magnet. Use fabrics or canvas pieces to run your contact information through a home printer so easily, then brush with some acrylic paint to give it a design. If you do not have a portable printer at home, call some local printers if they can do it for you. Check out http://craftingagreenworld.com/2009/01/23/5-ways-to-make-your-own-fabric-labels/
  7. Warm colour attracts. Put up some red, orange, yellow balloons or triangular string of flags or streamers that attracts attention because of its colour and movement.
  8. The speaking armour. Have your best friend be around or yourself on-guard to answering questions and entertaining visitors, customers or mere on-lookers. We wouldn't want to bother our good neighbour who already is lending his space.
  9. Get ready, set, go! Be equipped with a pen, paper, business cards and more importantly a measuring tape (just in case someone would like to know if it fits in his car or the door at home or a space on his wall).
  10. Mad with Ads. Advertise on your street and a few blocks away. Make it attractive. Hand-out colourful flyers with pictures of your painting. Distribute them in stores as well as in supermarkets (where they allow the community and consumers to post anything on a billboard that has been provided). Keep in mind the cheapest way to save in your advertising. Speak to the friendly local store owners (convenience stores, neighbourhood restaurants, coffee shops) where you frequent your visits if you can leave some flyers and business cards. They should be familiar with you too to convince them. If they are interested to concession your art, this would be a great opportunity for you (as long as it does not eat up their own space, hahah!).

Painting/Illustration; Medium - Oil on canvas ~~~ A painting exam I did when I was studying Fine Arts. We were asked to pick out any coloured ad from a magazine and transfer it on canvas.
Painting/Illustration; Medium - Oil on canvas ~~~ A painting exam I did when I was studying Fine Arts. We were asked to pick out any coloured ad from a magazine and transfer it on canvas. | Source
Drawing/Illustration; Medium - charcoal ~~~I drew this out from an old black and white photograph of the  (Mabugat clan) family-owned "Pieta". This Pieta carroza (float) is put out during the Holy Week's Friday procession.
Drawing/Illustration; Medium - charcoal ~~~I drew this out from an old black and white photograph of the (Mabugat clan) family-owned "Pieta". This Pieta carroza (float) is put out during the Holy Week's Friday procession. | Source

The Artist Warrior

"An artist is a lover and a warrior"

  1. Go out and attend exhibits and galleries of other artists.
  2. Explore and admire their work.
  3. Ask questions that could give you tips learning from the artist himself with already a background on putting up art exhibits.
  4. Possibilities are limitless. If you have gathered enough quantity of your quality paintings, you can start online selling wherever the profitable websites are like Ebay.
  5. Art donation. Be good in heart and donate some of your art that could help raise funds for charities. Connect with hospitals, fundraisers, the non-profit organizations. This will reap rewards for you.

Art Exhibits

  1. Early bird haste. Sign up early to any art exhibits at the convention centres. Find out months in advance. It should not be too expensive than renting out a galleria space around the city.
  2. No mall is small. Check out how to display your art inside the malls or a popular farmers market on weekends where people come down from all places.
  3. Check out, check in. Observe the city parks and plazas where exhibits and seasonal food fair comes around and apply to book a space.
  4. Don't just stare at fairs. Join exhibition fairs especially during summer.
  5. Mark it. Register in some art clubs and art-group member shows.

Painting "Mother & Child"; Medium - Acrylic oncanvas ~~~ I have observed a neighbour across our house swinging her baby to sleep inside this hammock made from a flour sack. I painted both mother and child out of memory. Bamboo framed.
Painting "Mother & Child"; Medium - Acrylic oncanvas ~~~ I have observed a neighbour across our house swinging her baby to sleep inside this hammock made from a flour sack. I painted both mother and child out of memory. Bamboo framed. | Source

A pretty, cozy studio-gallery.

A beautiful home studio-gallery of Evelyn Fortune Bartlett. Visit a short story-description at http://bocaratonhomesforsale.blogspot.ca/2012/02/bonnet-house-museum-gardens-in-ft.html
A beautiful home studio-gallery of Evelyn Fortune Bartlett. Visit a short story-description at http://bocaratonhomesforsale.blogspot.ca/2012/02/bonnet-house-museum-gardens-in-ft.html | Source

Communication

  1. Be yourself. Relax, be open-minded, be natural. An artist should be approachable and friendly. The artist should be cheerful and colourful, reflecting her/his paintings.
  2. Be interesting. Converse well and become an interesting "you" as well as your art. Add stories or whatever messages that will make your audience listen to you and get interested in your piece of art.
  3. Approach. You will spot those who show interest on your display. Talk to anyone who is inclined to share their thoughts and conversation with you because you might get contact referrals and learn other things from them.
  4. Be open. Aside from praises and compliments, be open to accept complaints, a bit of advice and what not.
  5. Tweet and Shout. Share information of your art selling event on Facebook, Twitter and other blog sites where you are already getting it for free. Add a slideshow.
  6. Let the message fly. Send out personal email invitations to friends, relatives and co-workers. I mean, do not group your recipients (because this may tend others to ignore your message). Address your email individually and the receiver will feel like he/she is a special guest. Use free online "Greeting Card & Invitation" sites to make them look more polished, designed and interesting. Attach a slideshow on your email.
  7. The higher, the better. Remember to include the higher-ups at work. Management staff from every department including the GM to the CEO. They will be there to support you if when schedule permits. If you're lucky, the human resources department even would help send out your message through the company's monthly or quarterly newsletters (I know this of a fellow employee for we worked in the same hotel); and at the time after your one-man/one-woman show, HR will publish some pictures again. And you will have an idea who are in those pictures (with you).
  8. Torch a personal touch. Specialize a personal invitation card for your V.I.P. and physically hand deliver at their most convenient time so you may have the chance to talk briefly about the event and the artist in you. Target these people with money or because they have a greater network of families, close friends, and business associates with whom they go golfing and fishing together.

I know a couple friends of mine who are artists (One, a sculptor and painter, the other is a portrait artist). Their work have successfully spread out to the families and friends of their bosses and the presidents of the companies they work for just by word of mouth and having bought from them art for their homes. My portrait-artist friend has been successful and still receiving on-going portrait painting commissions and projects of wedding couples (it started with his boss commissioning him to paint a wedding portrait of his daughter as a Christmas gift for the couple), and then his referrals had spread on from the boss's daughter to her friends, friends of her friends...and so on. Visitors to his boss's home during the holiday season were amazed of the fine painting my friend had made; his profit did not stop from there.

Mini Give-away

If it is not too much to work on, prepare 4x4 or 5x5 square paintings to give out to your selected "promising" customers. Or use any scrap material to produce these miniature painting give-away. Frankly speaking, people love freebies and would look for them.

These miniature canvases can come as box-framed-ready (in dollar stores and craft supply stores). You may also choose to give-away loose miniature paintings to let the person who receives it come up with his own style of framing your tiny gift of art.

I wish you the best of luck!

≈ ♥ ≈ © coffeegginmyrice 2012


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    • Robie Benve profile image

      Robie Benve 14 months ago from Ohio

      Awesome article, so full of great advice for any artist, beginner or not. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Robert Britton Jr. 4 years ago

      Nice article, very thorough.

      For me, I find it's so difficult to believe that your art is ready. No sense trying to go to market when the goods aren't baked well enough. So I keep painting and learning. I do want to seize the opportunity to sell and make some income. But I'm not sure if my art is good enough yet.

      http://robertbrittonjr.blogspot.com

    • BeyondMax profile image

      BeyondMax 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Wow, this is really awesome, so much useful information and I love your work, very impressive all over! Wow.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Thank you ananceleste! These are old paintings and I have not done any more at all because I am more into graphic design and have the love for taking pictures.

      A garage would be a perfect display and activity room, wouldn't it? I bet you will attract eyes looking at your interesting pieces at the farmers market and the best of luck to selling them. Have a happy day!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      That's some great news! I am really happy you've made other people happy from your sold pieces and other artwork. Way to go, Georgina! Keep it up and more best of luck come your way!

      Thank you for dropping by. Your kind words make me smile!

    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina_writes 5 years ago from Dartmoor

      Superb paintings and so many ideas of how to promote. i spend maybe 20% of my time creating and 80% promoting my art. just sold a few pieces at a charity auction - Ok they got 60% commission, but I sold pieces And a guy phoned up looking for a print. Rating up and visiting again and again!

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      OMG! Your paintings are exquisite!!! and love the idea for the studio. I have rented a garage next to my apartment, now I am moving everything in there. My stepmother wants me to bring a couple of pieces to the farmers market next month. So, to test the waters. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 5 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      There you go, I think the best of you came out of this article. Great hub!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Hello Fennelseed! I had just attended a full floor art show of the Toronto Art Expo http://www.torontoartexpo.com/ at the MTCC (Metro Toronto Convention Centre). The wide selection of exhibitors (painters, sculptors, photographers) was awesome! I was so excited listening to artists talking about their art. The best demonstration that I had learned that night was from a landscape artist using mass brush strokes as his style. He displayed the magic play of lamp lighting pointing on his art. The dimming and brightening of the lamp changes the mood of the art piece on the wall. It was magical and amazing. First time I have heard of it. It probably works well with your photography display too.

      I'm glad that my hub contributed some inspiration to your photography goals. The enumeration of thoughts and ideas are simple and practical since artists as beginners don't carry a "dream budget", but a "pebble budget" as a stepping stone to bring out their names out there.

      Thank you very much for dropping by, voting and sharing. I sincerely wish you all the best of luck to your artistic dreams.

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image
      Author

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 5 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Thank you ananceleste! Some artists own/rent a flat or a 1-floor-studio-type and use a section of their spacious living into a gallery right in their very home. In consideration, transforming one room in the house- basement or an attic space into a separate artist's studio-gallery could help a lot.

      Good luck in re-establishing yourself in your new hometown. Promising people always bring out the best in them and the best in what they do. Cheers and have a good day to you!

      p.s. I have added a picture above of a cozy artist's (Evelyn Fortune Bartlett)home studio-gallery. Isn't it beautiful?

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      Lovely. this is what I needed to re-establish myself in my new hometown. Thanks!

    • Fennelseed profile image

      Annie Fenn 5 years ago from Australia

      This hub is chock full of ideas and inspiration for anyone who has ever considered exhibiting (like myself), but has found the whole idea far to daunting (like me) and has given up on the idea (like I have). You have broken down the concept into very doable chunks. While I mostly produce photography, your tips work for any genre of artwork, and I feel very inspired and energised after reading this. Thank you. I am voting this up and sharing.