• thomas neel scenic view
  • butterfly in clouds
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  • sunset mountains


Accepting That You Are An Artist!

The painting pallet of Linda Hendrickson

We artists can be an interesting bunch can’t we? Filled with our quirks and characteristics. One such characteristic can be just defining ourselves as artists in the first place. For some there’s intimidation in the title. That, I’m not worthy, I haven’t earned it, a fear of putting the cart before the horse. Some of this comes from seeing the amazing work of masters throughout history, placed by society in that lofty place they hold in art history.

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When Is It Time To Sell Your Work?

Gallery owner hanging an art show

Okay, so you have been creating artwork or taking lessons for a year or so and you’re thinking you might like to sell your work.  Is it time?  Boy, this can be a hard question to answer.  I’ve found that sometimes new artists attempt or even successfully sell their work too early and here’s why.  Yes, you may be a protégé, gifted beyond belief, but for the most part you still haven’t likely found yourself, or found your feet in all of this.  Just because you are making art, even art you and your friends like, doesn’t mean it’s time.  

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Communicating With Your Galleries

Often artists find gallery representation without even knowing what a gallery's real responsibility is in this relationship.You know your responsibility is to create artwork and get it to them, and it’s easy to assume that their responsibility is to sell it. Frankly, the gallery’s roll is one of representation, which means to show, market and sell your work. That would mean advertise it, promote it through social media, have shows to invite their clients to meet you and see your work.

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H2O Oil Paint

The three brands of H2O Oil paint

 They say oil and water don’t mix. Well it turns out they were a tad wrong about that theory. Over 20 years ago, two very successful artists I knew and represented, largely worked in detail using acrylic paint,. Both over the course of a year made a switch to MAX water soluble oils by Grumbacher.

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The Carrot and The Stick

Carrot and stick

 Are you the old mule, mindlessly pulling the cart in an effort to get the carrot dangling in front of you, while also stepping it up to avoid the sting of that stick at your rear? A friend who published a popular financial newsletter years ago once told me while discussing why people read his newsletter, that people are motivated by two things, greed and fear.

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Book Club, Why Not Art Club?

Art Club sign

What’s the point of a book being part of a book club anyway. There’s a book, you read it, and then get together with like minded people and discuss it. Hey, that’s a great idea! So, let me ask how many of you have traveled to far away cities, and in the process of doing so you have visited an art museum? I suspect, many of you have. So, there inside are treasures from the art world, all with a story to tell.

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Sense of Place

Waterfall photo in Virginia depicting a sense of place

Sometimes creativity comes from a strong sense of place, a good foundation for which you can build on. I happen to be a landscape painter and so my sense of place is ever present in my work. But what is a sense of place? For me it’s a place where ...

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Your Studio Is A Launching Pad For Creative Flight!

Jan Russell's studio

What makes an artist an artist? Creativity right? Creativity is a bit like hurling a rocket into space. It requires fuel - inspiration, imagination, ideas. It requires energy or something to light the fuel - your burning desire. It requires a trajectory and target - your style, subject matter, narrative. It also needs space - a place for it to be in the universe when it leaves the ground.

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The three "I"s of Creativity - Inspiration, Imagination, Ideas

An idea being born

Ever hear of creative juices?  Well, if you don’t have these three things in your creative cupboard, it will be hard to get those juices flowing!  Let’s face it, what makes an artist an artist is action and the action isn’t just a willy nilly movement, it is deliberate movement that gets things done, and done in a way that allows you to reach your goals. 

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Is The Sacrifice Worth It?

Ian Ethan Case playing double neck guitar

It was for me. But if you plan to paint what you want, or play the music you want to play or do anything creatively that doesn’t have the typical 9 to 5 paycheck type opportunities - choosing what I’ll call a fine art path, is not an easy one, usually. It is why many also choose to keep their day job, which in many cases can also somewhat resemble or relate to the path they truly desire.

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Is your Inventory . . . Selection or Saturation?

Supply and demand scale by Tom Neel

From time to time I hear stories of working artists having hundreds of pieces of art on hand from a proliferation of creation.  Can you produce too much art?  It’s not really talked about much.  I can only say this, what seems to be the ever march to learn and love one’s craft, may also work against you in the goal of selling.

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Being Commissioned is Providing a Service

Tom Neel at Lockheed Martin for commission

I’ve been selling my paintings for 29 years now, and of those 29 years, for over two decades worth I have offered commissions as a service to my clients. I use the word service, because I want you to make no mistake, that is what being commissioned is and customer service is what it is all about.

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Whistle While You Work

Whistling artist illustration by Tom Neel

A cheerful tune of our youth that reminds us to be happy in our endeavors, but if your whistle doesn’t work, there’s alway music, podcasts, audio books and more to enthusiastically fill your ears with a motivational pick me up.

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Do You Watch Sunrises, Sunsets, Both or Neither?

End your day with a sunset!

There’s are few things as powerful a jump start for you day as watching the sun rise and fill your surroundings with the energy of light. It is as unmistakable a call to action to get going and make most of your day, as you can have.

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There's Nothing Quite Like a Spring Bloom

A lesson in color in Little Washington

People often talk about the season of Spring as a rebirth.  Well, yes it is.  But it’s also a magical lesson in color. 

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29 Years And Just Getting Started

Teaching an old dog to blow bubbles

Saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, is like saying you could have never taught that dog in the first place. Life does work that way. We don’t learn everything we know while we are young. We do, however form a lot of habits. Some good, some bad and habits are often hard to change, especially the bad ones. But life is yours. What you do with it, what you make of it and what you learn when is up to you.

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