Thursday, January 29, 2009

Selling art online - 10 benefits of a recession

Ecology Park Pond #5 - Willow Pond, 21st January 2009
36cm x 26cm, coloured pencils on Arches HP
Ecology Park Pond Series - copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Look at the cheery news that I woke up to on the front page of the Guardian this morning!!!
The International Monetary Fund added to Gordon Brown's woes last night when it warned Britain will be at the bottom of the league table of major developed countries this year, in the weakest year for the global economy since the second world war.

After seeing activity collapse in every continent over the past three months, the Washington-based fund said it expected the UK economy to contract by 2.8% this year – its worst single-year performance since the Great Depression of the 1930s
The Guardian - Britain faces worst year since 1930s, warns IMF
Fortunately I'd already found and saved something that I'd read on another blog for just such an occasion............
10 benefits of a recession
  • It causes you to get more creative.
  • It forces you to make the tough decisions.
  • It thins out the competition.
  • It makes you realize you can’t take anything for granted.
  • It reminds you that real wealth isn’t about the stuff you own.
  • It fosters out-of-the-box thinking.
  • It makes it easier to abandon business-as-usual.
  • It brings you back to the basics.
  • It accelerates change.
  • It causes you to be less wasteful.
Howies Brainfood - 10 Benefits of a Recession
That comes from Howies Brainfood and was posted last November. Do check out the Howies website - it's an excellent example of a creative business which started by selling T shirts to cyclists, is values based and ethically aware and has grown and grown.............

Part of the reason I've been prompted to do this short series of posts on selling art online (other than Anita asking me a question!) is that I genuinely think now is the time to really look long and hard at the way we've been going about things. We need to 'abandon business as usual' thinking and get back to basics - whichever industry we're in.

So just as the recession is going to make sure that the car industry really get to grips with "going green" rather than "gas guzzling" so artists can really focus on their basics too.

For me, it means:
  • drawing the subjects which attract me the most in the way I like to see them. (I think I'm getting there!)
  • taking lessons from other artists but without trying to copy them
  • using coloured pencils the way I find best rather than in the way that somebody else finds best. (lots of structured erasing and dry brushwork in the one at the top of the page!)
  • getting a big flat space with lots of subtle variation into as many drawings as possible somehow!
  • always doing the best I can - in my own unique way
  • only selling art that I'm proud to have my name on
I now need to go and have somebody put drops in my eyes for an examination (have I ever told you all how I have the fastest blink reaction ever known and have had six people holding me down while they to get drops in before now?) before they put machines up far too close to my iris. Then I have to finish off my tax return for online submission before the computers all go down at the weekend when everybody else finally decides to avoid the £100 fine!

So quite a cheery day really............... ;)

What are your 'back to basics' mantras?


  1. I agree completely - time to really get down to serious work and development and personal growth in depressed financial times. Thank you so much for this series of posts.

  2. Beautiful dreamy mood to your Willow Pond drawing, Katherine.

    Having decided before the walls came tumbling down that I no longer need 'stuff' and because our life is already very simple, my mantra for the recession is Don't Panic!

  3. Katherine, sorry about the eye drops and the tax work you have ahead of you today! I identify with the last of your mantra list; only selling work I am proud to have my name on. I once agreed to do a six piece commission because I was hungry. The client wanted a certain type surface, which was ridiculously hard to work with, and certain colors that I abhor, and painted on circles no less. Creatively it was the most difficult job as my back was to the wall. At the time I chalked it up to doing what I had to do, and in the end I couldn't bring myself to sign a single one. My hope this recession brings out more singularly creative ideas from artists.

  4. Exactly! It's a year of opportunity, perhaps not the opportunities we all would wish for, but opportunities nonetheless.

    Thanks, I needed to be reminded of this...rough month around here.

  5. Howies on Katherine's blog! Whoot! *does a little dance*

    Now go get that tax return done. Talk about procrastinating, I'm disappointed in you missy.

  6. HAVE AN IDEA, however flaud, it's better than no idea at all.

    DON'T PROCRASTINATE, the moment you think you have everything under control, all hell breaks loose.

    WORK HARD, it's the one, and maybe the only, variable that you have control over.

    DRAW SOMETHING EVERY DAY. that's the foundation, now go build on it.

    READ A NEWSPAPER EVERY DAY. It helps to connect you to your time and place, not to mention raises the level of discourse at cocktail parties.

  7. Ouch, I hate those eye exams. Good luck. (My last one told me my cataract was now large enough to operate on, woo hoo. Not.)

    Great tips. I love the forcing us to be more creative one.

  8. I stay on the positive side by reminding myself of all I have to be grateful for. I also stick to painting things I like. My son-in-law has his mantra on the wall above his desk: Get Reat! Are you really doing the best you can? It seems to be working for him.
    I have really been enjoying you pond series. Beautiful colors and compositions.

  9. i've always been a bit stingey(sp?)with my art supplies so that's no problem. what i have done is start taking a few risks with my artwork and trying for something more unique and not just technically 'well done'. my mantra is to keep taking risks(i'd rather think of them as adventures)and create from the heart. hopefully success will follow.

    i wondered how you got such a wonderful watery look to your pencil painting. thanks for the tip, Katherine!

  10. This one is my absolute favorite in your pond series yet!

  11. just what i wanted to hear,thanks katherine!
    most of my work sells to the states and now with the pound on an all time low against the dollar,things are going well,you can never tell...

    love the abstract and suggested qualitys of your willow drawing.

  12. My mantra for the tough economic times?
    Paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, paint, and then don't forget to paint when you have a few minutes. Been spending too much time at the "other job" for $ reasons.

    So, I'm coupling the hard economic times with the little plateau I feel the quality of my work has been on lately. Step it up! Be more involved in the game! Paint!

  13. My Back to Basics

    Create in THREE standard sizes. To create more economically feasible ordering, shipping, pricing,& framing strategy.

    Create EVEN if no sales. While everyone one else is moaning on the Internet, I am creating a HUGE body of work during this slow time.

    CLEAR OUT, CLEAN OUT after cleaning out my life -- studio, closets, inbox, etc. I am getting back to the basics and the JOY that got me into this art game in the first place.



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