Painting is Marketing

There is a secret, or maybe not so secret, desire in the heart of every artist. The desire to make art and to have people show appreciation by purchasing it.

But to have people appreciate art they have to know about it, and this is when the dirty word marketing enters in.

There are thousands of blogs, books, and gurus out there trying to teach artists the arcane art of marketing. Some suggestions are practical, and others show a complete lack of understanding of how art works. But with all of the “help” there is one fundamental thing that never gets brought up.

The work is the marketing.

Think about the most successful artists you know of and how much and what type of marketing they do. (I am not talking about the outliers or sensational artists, but the everyday working artist.) The successful painters* I am aware of aren’t blasting social media every five minutes, or putting out a new blog post every day, but what they are doing is making quality work.

To quote artist Stapleton Kearns, “Do you know what kind of paintings sell best? GOOD PAINTINGS.”

To market your art make more good paintings.

If you don’t know if you are making good paintings, then have a third party who knows something about art, and is not emotionally invested in you give you an evaluation.

You can’t market what you don’t have.


*I am a painter and paintings are what I think of when I think of art, but the advice also holds true for most other art forms.

Stapleton Kearns’s take on it.

Lessons Learned From My Art Fast

Today marks one week of not looking at other people’s art.*

It has been both harder and easier than I thought. If I didn’t think about art, it was easy to go whole days without looking. But it was also harder when you had to remind yourself that you couldn’t read your favorite art blog, or couldn’t get on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or any other platform where you might accidentally see art.

But what did I learn from the art fast? Did I achieve my goal?

The first lesson is that a week is not long enough to reconnect with your own muse. I can still conjure up an image in my mind of paintings I’ve seen, so when I run into a problem it’s still too easy to look for solutions outside of my own path. I also wonder if my muse is waiting to see how committed I am to following its guidance.

The second lesson is, if you don’t work enough on your own art, the art fast is a waste of time. I sketched and jotted down ideas this week but I didn’t actually focus on creating any specific artwork. I feel I could have gotten more out of it if I had set a schedule to draw or paint something a little more finished.

So, did I reach my goal? No, I don’t feel I have been able to completely untangle my path from all the other ones out there, but I have a feeling that if I fast a little longer, and more often, my path will shine so bright that I will wonder how I ever lost it.


* Or mostly not looking at art. I had one more slip up when I read an article that linked to an artist’s portfolio, but I caught myself after looking at only a few paintings.

Fasting From Art: Update

It’s been almost three days since I’ve started my art fast.

I say almost because while I was looking up the URL’s in my last post there happened to be some pictures of paintings that caught my eye and before I knew it I was wandering off to enjoy the goodies.

And last night I was working through a composition and thought I would just go look at one of my art books to see how other artists handled it. Luckily I had misplaced the book I wanted and had enough time to remember my art fast.

As you can tell, I am finding it harder than I thought to not look at art. I am realizing how much art is a part of my daily life, and how art helps calm me down when I am agitated, or helps lift my mood.

And I am also wondering if art has become a bit of a crutch when it comes to finding my way out of my own artistic conundrums.

Fasting From Art

I’ve decided to go on an art fast.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since I read an interview with Jeremy Geddes where he stated that he doesn’t look at other people’s art anymore as he thinks it influences him or he might find that his ideas have already been done.

Recently this idea was reinforced by the article Muddying the Waters: Let the River Flow by Luann Udell where she had a conversation with an unnamed artist who said a similar thing.

For me, the pull to follow the style and ideas of other artist’s work is stronger than usual right now. It has taken me to the point where it is hard for me to separate my path from others.

So, I have decided to experiment by not looking at any visual art, other than my own, for the next week.

The goal is to help me realign, or become more tuned in to my own muse again.

And who knows, it might become something I do all the time.

Jeremy Geddes website.
Muddying the Waters: Let the River Flow