Saturday, September 02, 2006

Will you be a success if you blog your paintings daily?

Yet more coverage yesterday for blogs which feature "a painting a day". This is the link to the New York Times article "Everyday scenes painted every day" in the New York Times on 31st August.

This time the reporter from the New York Times is asking
Will the painting-a-day frenzy last? Or is it merely the fleeting symptom of a new Internet trend?
I think it's possibly more likely that this reporter needed to find a new 'line' given the amount of exposure 'painting a day' blogs and associated marketing has been getting recently in various media. For what it's worth, here's my take on it.

Although it's entirely possible that the 'daily painting' thing is the latest e-bay type fad which has transferred off e-bay into the hands of individual artists, we should perhaps look at the bigger picture.

More and more artists are finding a way to market their work independently of organised institutions (eg traditional gallery; on-line art gallery). Some artists seem to be doing very well while others languish. However, the good news is that there's no need to go down the 'daily painting' route to do this.

Here are some of the things that I know or notice about people who seem to do well:
  • they produce good quality and original work
  • they have a business-like approach to their art business
  • they present their artwork well - using good quality images and good design
  • they have a consistent style - making their work very collectable
  • they use an appropriate medium and channel to allow people to buy at least some of their work at reasonable prices (some sell small works; some sell prints etc)
  • they post their work on a regular basis - on a blog/website/e-bay site
  • they communicate well - they explain what they're doing / say something about their work / say something about their life and how it relates to their art
  • they build up a personal relationship with their customers - many of whom go on to become repeat buyers
  • they make paying for a piece of art really easy
  • work is well-packaged and arrives promptly due to the use of a reliable service - and generates few, if any, complaints about this aspect of business
  • all complaints are attended to promptly and positively
  • selling direct means they (rather than a gallery) get the names and addresses of buyers which can potentially enable the marketing of other artwork through the development of a customer database.
It's good to see:
  • artists getting business-like and getting their art out there
  • artists being rewarded for their hard work at marketing their art as well as all the effort that goes into producing it.
It's less good to hear about (and the grapevine works very fast):
  • sloppy and/or poor quality paintings being marketed
  • artists who are unbusinesslike and/or provide poor service to their customers
Bottom-line generating good sales both now and in the future means producing good quality work on a consistent basis, having good quality relationships with buyers and demonstrable and consistent performance on deliveries. Good art without being businesslike does not work. Being businesslike and producing sloppy or second rate art on an ad hoc basis does not work in the long run. In other words, competent artists who get serious about their marketing can start earning serious income from their art irrespective of coverage by the New York Times or sales from 'bricks and mortar' galleries.

We should respect people who generate art business and sales largely from their own efforts. The easier it is for people to buy good quality art, the more this will trickle through to the art economy as a whole. Those who have dipped their toes into the £100 painting art market will find it easier to move on to higher priced paintings. I hear many artists complaining that sales through galleries have been slow this year. Maybe the 'painting a day' people and other successful on-line artists will eventually help 'bricks and mortar' galleries get back on their feet?

Whatever the future holds for the "a painting a day" blogs, congratulations to all those who were featured by in the New York Times article:
  • Nick Janischigg - (I loved the animation and sounds before I even got to Nick's paintings - and it was really nice to see a bit more text alonsgide the paintings)
  • Randal Plowman - (very refreshing to see a new slant on the artwork a day - this time using collage)
  • Jan Blencowe - (Jan has a number of other blogs and her work can also be seen regularly in the Artwork from Life and Plein Air Forums of
  • Elin Pendleton - (Elin's images are not showing up at present - maybe a case of bandwidth being exceeded by interest in her site! You can also see her work at website - seee below for link)
It's interesting to note that these are all artists who do a lot more than just 'a painting a day' type of blog - all have serious websites too (see links at the bottom of this page).

And if you'd like to see some more of these type of blogs, I note Jeff Hayes has been thinking hard about marketing and has come up with a neat marketing twist. His Squidoo lens "A Painting a Day" lists a number of different artists who are producing daily paintings - as well as featuring his own daily effort!

Technorati tags: , , ,


Maggie Stiefvater said...

Great post, Katherine. And very true. I was browsing eBay yesterday to scope out the market and noticed several not-so-accomplished painters touting themselves as daily-painting-blog artists. Its a marketing scheme/ gimmick that will help a good artist sell paintings, however. It won't do anything for a poor quality painting, because when it comes down to it, what do people want to hang on their wall?

ming said...

great post> you really have been making a mark with your blog since you came on the scene...

it's great that artist have more options now, apart from being at the mercy of the taste or distaste of galleries:)

Peter Yesis said...

Another well written post. The news for the daily painters seems to be gathering steam.
Of course the attention of national media comes and goes but I agree with you the serious painters who put the effort into their art will endure. I think your reference to Jeff Hayes is a perfect example of a daily painter who is working hard to creatively expand the daily painters reach. I would add one more item to your list for success. Be yourself - there is no formula that touches people like honesty.

Unknown said...

Just got on board with your newsletter. Great article, enjoyed it tremendously. I have been selling on ebay since April 02, listing small pieces. I paint more than one painting a day, as do most of those who advertise daily paintings. Good on them! Congrats to the daily painting crowd. Its not easy to produce a good piece everyday. said...

Thanks for posting this essay. It helps dispell the myth that talent is all you need to make a living as a painter. All of the successful painting a day bloggers and ebay sellers work very hard - not just at becoming better painters - but also at being business-smart, and using the latest tools & technology to promote & market their work. It's more than a full time job, requiring two seemingly disparate skills. Folks shouldn't be fooled into thinking it's as simple as posting your work online.

Madison Moore said...

Thankf for the nice article about A Painting a Day
I am a daily painter and belong to the daily painters gallery as well.

Totsymae said...

The information contained on your blog is so informative. Thanks for sharing. It will take days for me to read those key articles but I'm sure, it will be well worth it..


Anonymous said...

very well written and very informative. nice to see people sharing some wisdom :)

Anonymous said...

Id say one needs to blog GOOD paintings fairly often to get any buzz going. I'm a realist painter in Vancouver, bc and sell exclusively via eBay. It works well for me.


thanks for the mention

Post a Comment

COMMENTS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED AGAIN due to very silly ignorant people who leave spam comments without realising they have no benefit for them.

Please feel free to comment on my Facebook Page as my blog posts are always posted there (but please note anonymous comments are not published and I block and report spammers to Google and on Facebook)

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.