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Make Art That Collectors Notice

Updated on February 22, 2015

Buying Art is an Act of Passion.

If you want your artwork to stand out and be noticed, you have to grab a buyer's attention and keep it. A good first impression is essential. In fact, I think a comparison can be made between finding your true love and finding a collector who loves your art. First, the other person draws your attention from across a room. Next comes casual flirting. Then, you get serious and look at the details. Last, love or hate is the outcome. So, that is the first hurdle: standing out from across a room. Once you have gotten the buyer to take that long walk over to your work, the next step is engaging the buyer in a personal way with a face-to-face evaluation. The details will make or break the deal. Up close and personal, will the buyer fall in love or turn and walk away?

Painting for Success

Collectors look at your work from three vantage points. How well you understand these different perspectives will determine whether you sell or not.

  • See what it takes to be noticed in a crowd.
  • Keep them interested.
  • Dazzle collectors with the details.

Sea Cliffs at Garapata by Sharon Weaver
Sea Cliffs at Garapata by Sharon Weaver

Step One: Getting Noticed from Across the Room

Or how to get the buyer's attention

You are one of hundreds of artists who wants to sell your work to one buyer who walks into a gallery or is shopping online. How do you grab that person's attention?

First, step back and take a look at your image from across a room. What does it look like from 20 feet away? I am always amazed at artists who sit when they paint. I can't do that. I have to be up and walking around, stepping in and back to see my work from every vantage point. Why? To make sure I like how it looks at every distance. I check to see if the composition is strong. Do I understand immediately what I'm looking at? The colors must be attractive, clear and in balance. The shapes should be interesting, with varied sizes. Is there drama with lighting, negative shapes and contrast?

Did you know that seascapes are the number one image bought by collectors? Images that immediately draw everyone's attention are not that difficult to understand. They are things we love, they contain dynamic color, and they trigger an emotion.

ESSENTIALS FROM ACROSS THE ROOM

Composition: The theory of thirds, point of interest, field of view

Drama: Negative space, contrast, shapes

Color Harmony: Balance, complements, clarity

Along the Kern River by Sharon Weaver
Along the Kern River by Sharon Weaver

Step Two: Face to Face

Now that we've met, what do you think?

So far, so good. You've attracted the collector and he's committed to a closer look. That's a big step, but from four feet away what does the buyer see? Will the reaction be ahhh! or yikes!?

Keeping the buyer interested is your next task. You can WOW him with a color that emerges from the shadows, a detail discovered as he gets closer, a surprise fully revealed. These subtle treatments flirt with your buyers senses. Mistakes will likely result in the buyer walking away, so make sure the perspective is correct, shadows are consistent and everything looks right. I have often placed a painting aside because I knew something just wasn't right, but I was unable to identify the problem. The next time I took it out, I immediately saw my mistake and was able to fix it. Sometimes you have to leave something for a few days, weeks, or even months to get that needed distance.

WATCH FOR THIS AT 4 FEET AWAY

Design: No mistakes, good perspective

Character: Your unique point of view translates to interest

Fun Factor: Color complements, lively shadows, hidden details

The Best Books for Painting Seascapes

Detail of Beached in Long Beach by Sharon Weaver
Detail of Beached in Long Beach by Sharon Weaver

Step Three: Looking at the Details

Liking it up close and personal

Now it comes down to the details. The buyer is intrigued, they step even closer and examine your technique. They want to see how you created this masterpiece. What colors did you use to achieve the luminous light, how bold is that brushstroke, who IS the artist? The collector sees your character in the details and if you were timid when you applied the paint, it will show. If you were uncertain about which color to use, it will be right there for them to see. Your confidence, or lack of it, will be evident in the details. So always paint without fear, paint from your heart and be open to change.

IMPORTANT UP CLOSE

Texture: Brush work, paint application

Confidence: Avoid the fear factor, your personality will show

Interest: Color, even in the shadows

Morning Hits the Rocks

"Morning Hits the Rocks" by Sharon Weaver
"Morning Hits the Rocks" by Sharon Weaver
"Sunny Side" by Sharon Weaver
"Sunny Side" by Sharon Weaver

FINAL STEP

I've got to have it!

Understanding how a collector views your work, helps you make choices which will greatly increase your success. The result: the buyer is in love and a sale is made. What a great moment! The buyer feels as if they have found a treasure; something unique, a part of the artist that they now own.

Every time I sell a painting it is an incredible rush. I feel validated, my art accepted and admired. It is a fantastic experience for both the artist and the collector.

Sienna, Italy  Photo taken by Sharon Weaver
Sienna, Italy Photo taken by Sharon Weaver

Photographers Need Collectors Too

Digital cameras allow everyone to try their skills at taking great photos. I realize that the principles used in painting translate into great tips for photographers. This growing resource list will help all those photographers out there too.

Important Rules for Great Art - Use the Masters Know How.

Other artists have struggled with the same issues so learn from them.

Artists Need Love Too! - Let me know what you think or just say hello.

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    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @goldenrulecomics: Glad you enjoyed my article. I am always trying to inspire the artist in us all. Thanks.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      What a great lesson for any would-be artist! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @anonymous: Thank you. I see this concept in the best paintings but have not heard to many artists talk about this. Glad it helped you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your work is beautiful! I found the info on making people notice very helpful. Something to keep in mind for my photos. I also enjoyed Byron Pickering's works and Tim Janis' music. Great lens!

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @CnickTuigsinn: I am glad you enjoyed my article. I think that this is something that few artists realize but it is so important for a successful painting. Thanks for commenting.

    • CnickTuigsinn profile image

      CnickTuigsinn 4 years ago

      Extremely useful information and I just love the colours you use in your seascapes. I work in a small studio space so I do have to work on considering what my art looks like across the room. That's a weak point for me because Iâm very detail oriented. Thank you for reminding me about all these points to think about!

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @mcspocky lm: The ocean calls to us all. It is so primal and ever changing.

    • mcspocky lm profile image

      mcspocky lm 4 years ago

      Just before I read the following sentence, I was thinking that I would tell you paintings with the ocean and beach in them are my all time favorites. Right after is when I read this, "Did you know that seascapes are the number one image bought by collectors? " I guess I'm not unique. LOL

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @Richiewest: Thank you for your comments. I am still reading all the information in your article about selling art and will refer back to it in the future. Lots of invaluable info.

    • Richiewest profile image

      Richiewest 4 years ago from Devon, United Kingdom.

      Marvelous lens, first class information, with delightful paintings. I'm sure you must sell well. I have written extensively about the topic of selling art in my lens Top 10 Best Ways to Sell Your Art and Make Money From Painting. Hope you might drop by. Best wishes.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 4 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I love your info here! Thank you for sharing your valuable tips for artists and those that would love to dabble. Your tips are on target for photographers, too! Blessed! B : )

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
      Author

      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @Magda2012: Thank you and seeing my work through the buyers eyes is a good way to understand what works and what doesn't.

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 4 years ago

      lovely paintings! And you are right that understanding how a collector views the work is important.

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @editionh: The emotional connection is the most important. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      editionh 4 years ago

      I find it so true what you say about potential buyers making a connection with your work. They might not be able to express their feelings of attraction or dislike, but people in our times have seen so many really very good pictures in the media alerady, their minds and eyes are trained. People walk away even from a good painting if it does not stand out or has minor flaws.

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @chezchazz: Thank you Chazz. I appreciate the high praise and am always thrilled to have some angel dust.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 4 years ago from New York

      Wonderful work. Returning to see your work again and sprinkle some angel dust on this lens. Also adding it to the featured lenses on "Still Wing-ing it on Squidoo." Love your paintings.

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @ajgodinho: I am glad you enjoyed my work. Thanks for stopping by.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is really beautiful work and I like your concept of being "interested" rather than being "interesting" - that way you're focused on what the other is looking for and then you deliver. Excellent work! :)

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 7 years ago from UK

      thanks for visiting my lens, you have some very interesting and pertinent advice

    • profile image

      jgelien 7 years ago

      This is a very well crafted lens and I enjoyed seeing your beautiful paintings as well. You are extremely talented.

    • Grasmere Sue profile image

      Sue Dixon 7 years ago from Grasmere, Cumbria, UK

      Lots of great tips. The lens looks just beautiful too. Sprinkled with Angel Blessings and added to my Angel lens.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      This is such an interesting take on making art. Of course, it's so important to know what kind of impression you want to make to a potential buyer. Your painting is wonderful!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Another interesting post, Sharon...

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
      Author

      Sharon Weaver 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @DaanBakker: A good story is a great selling tip. I paint on location so often there is a good story to go with the painting and I try to include that in my description. A great title can influence a buyer too. Thanks for your comment.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      You gave a lot of tips I have never thought about. It's the same with poetry - I sometimes write something and then put it away for a while, because you see it with different eyes a few days or weeks later

    • DaanBakker profile image

      DaanBakker 7 years ago

      I love you're helping artists like this!

      I think it's also important to have a great story behind the painting (especially with abstract art); By telling the customer what you experienced while painting livens it up.

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @myraggededge: It is a wonderful feeling when someone is actually willing to spend money on your art. Thank you for the blessing.

    • profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Delightfully done. The only art I've ever sold were salt dough models! I wave my Angel blessing paintbrush in your general direction :-)

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @KarenTBTEN: I think this so important but not many artists take it in to consideration when putting together a composition. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @norma-holt: Thank you skiesgreen for the Stardust. I appreciate having an angel stop by.

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 7 years ago

      I think it's very true that things can make a very different impression from different distances. There is a lot of thought-provoking content here.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Wow, what a fantastic account of not only how to sell your art but of some outstanding works. That Reflections of the Past is like its moving. Blessed and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @WildFacesGallery: Thank you. I am glad that you enjoyed it.

    • Sharon Weaver profile image
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      Sharon Weaver 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      @indigoj: Thank you. I have always enjoyed painting roads and the trees along it were magnificent.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      A very interesting lens. You really do wonderful art. :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Some really great advice for artists here! Thanks for sharing your tips and your artwork, I especially love 'Along the Appian Way'.