When does one piece of artwork become many? Have you you ever sold your prize painting then made more of them using the same title, same colours and using the same paint on the same sized canvas? Well good. Like many artists before us, there is absolutely no harm or shame in harnessing the strength of a popular piece of work. Build on that piece of work and make more if you wish - this is your choice.Read More
Artists, Crafters, Makers & Freelancers - Does your stock run low come mid November? That big seller - you know - the one thing that everyone wants, did you make enough? No? I feel your pain. Today's post is about looking at last year's art sales and taking in the information they offer us. Christmas in July? You bet.Read More
Do you cringe at the thought of promoting your own artwork? Perhaps you feel that Marketing your work means marketing yourself? Below is my no-jazz-hands-needed guide to self promotion for all solo creatives and hobbyist artists & it's MUCH, MUCH easier than you think...Read More
CPD for Artists - is there such a thing? There is. And there are some organisations that can help, but not many are accessible or free. This video is about the importance of artists continuing to learn independently: to encourage creatives take in new skills & develop themselves as well as their practice.Read More
What is a good way to approach a gallery? Do you just rock up or phone ahead? In my below video I'll chat to you about the best ways I used to be approached when I had a gallery in South London. I'm an artist, I had a gallery and there are good approaches & awful.Read More
Solo Creative is my share of 20+ in my industry of being a self-employed practising artist. Together and in no particular order, I'm going to be re-reading my diaries for you, tacking some of the problems I encountered, all of which are absolutely relevant for today, perhaps even more so that there are so many of us now working freelance.
Feel free to send me any questions and I'll do my best to reply.
One Thing A Day Toward Your True Vocation.
To make this applicable to everyone, I am going to write to you as if you are working in your back bedroom or garage and probably working elsewhere to get the money in. I'm imagining that you are frustrated that all those years of study/work learning your skill has led you to where you are now and assume that you want to go further, earn more money and get a little more recognition for your art and perhaps more importantly, gain more time to make more work - all of which is highly doable.
I remember this stage well. I remember the burning frustration I had at spending at least 8 hours per day on someone else's business let alone the hours I spent on trains and in cars getting to the actual office and back. I'd been out of art school for a number of years by now and wasn't getting anywhere fast - or so I thought. In retrospect I see that all my previous jobs helped me in various ways to become the artist that I am now. I worked for a frenetic event organising agency as a general dog's body which of course helped me in the future to organise my own exhibitions and shows, another job was in The V&A Museum in the book shop, gaining vital retail skills , another position was cold-calling for a presentation company, again, honing those vital communication skills. All very well to look back and see how each job helped me and the benefits I got from them - but not then, in those actual years and months I could not have felt further away from my vocation and my precious time away from my drawing board seemed to go SO slowly.
To combat some of the annoyance at my portfolio of artwork laying dormant under my bed, I told myself that I was going to do one thing a day, just ONE THING that would help me get to my dream of being a full time artist. My one thing a day consisted of anything - literally anything that would help me get to my end goal. Sometimes it was simply buying myself a paint brush, other times it might have been phoning a gallery to ask how like their artists to approach them, visiting an exhibition, calling an old friend from art college, take part in a life drawing class - my one thing a day helped me beyond measure because, weekends included, I was doing 30 things a month and those 30 added up fast to something much bigger.
My one-thing-a-day stage lasted for about 4 years and in that time I held my first exhibition, broke my arm and used the time off to paint (yes, with my broken arm) started to make new paintings and drawings, joined a printmaking studio and did the odd class and workshop and began to connect with other artists outside of my paid job hours. I can't tell you that it was easy, but the frustration was certainly lessoned by my one-thing-a-day-plan. I can see now that I needed that frustration because that gave me persistence and determination to succeed in becoming a full time career artist.
So now over to you - how can you implement the one-thing-a-day-plan? My advice is to keep it simple when you begin, the smaller the thing the more your confidence builds. Don't overtire yourself because you are precious. Keep a journal, sketchbook or notebook to keep track of your things and like planting seeds, watch them grow.
How to be an artist, How to earn money from your art, artist, samantha barnes artist, art studio, one thing a day, solo creative, art facts, samantha barnes, The Art Retreat
artist, how to be an artist, how to make money from your art, The Art Retreat, Solo Creative
Big Lunch Extra's at The Eden Project in beautiful Cornwall is my destination this weekend. I'm excited and little nervous about this amazing opportunity - who knows what might come out of it?
This weekend I get to go to The Eden Project on a funded workshop place that teaches and helps the attendee's to define their community-minded offerings and ideas. I deem my community to be both online and in person, local and those not so, via the power of the net. I'm a little nervous as will be going on my todd along with the other 60 people invited from all over the country who are seen to be community movers and shakers.
What am I hoping for? In truth, I'm hoping that I can relax! Relax and take in as many workshops as I can attend. Notepad in hand, I'm going to be scribbling notes of course, but also doing my darnedest to get into the groove of actually being there, in the moment as it were, rather than hammering myself to come up with the answers before I've digested the questions.
The journey to and fro is going to be interesting too. I can't remember how many years it's been since I've been on a train for 5hrs or more - probably way back when I was studying at Edinburgh College of Art which was a long, long way from Winchester were I grew up. I digress, apologies. During the journey I intend to drink coffee and look out of the window, read my book, listen to my audio books and play in my sketchbook - bliss.
See you on the other side...
Eden Project Community Workshops is organised by Big Lunch Extra's and funded by The Big Lottery among others.
Keywords, community support, community projects, social enterprise workshops, CIC business, Community Interest Groups.
How do you ask a question when you are squirming in your shoes with your toes all curled up? Essential pointers from a creative girl in the creative business.
Being brassy and asking for that which you might or might not receive.
Google the question 'what is the best way to ask a question' and a gazillion answers come up. Go find and read them to find out ways of controlling your nerves, your breathing, body language - they all help and knowledge is power. My article here today is about working for yourself and getting your wares out, to be seen and therefore purchased.
Ask & ye shall receive - you shall receive dear heart but perhaps not in the way that you initially set out to. Having worked as a solo artist for over 20 years now, I've had an awful lot of reasons to ask for an awful lot of things. I've gotten much better at it over the years and believe me when I stress that for the major part of my career, I've asked whilst not truly believing in my talents, not really feeling like I am worth that which I'm asking for and generally feeling like an utter fraud. This is entirely natural and generally speaking all part of being a creative. It's the doing that matters here - not the thinking.
I've heard it said many times that 'artists don't like to promote themselves and their work' 'Solo creatives aren't great at getting out there' etc etc and I am sure they have large swathes of truth in them - the thing is though that unless you are prepared to ask, you're not going to be going nowhere, anytime.
I have two examples.
The first of which is from a time that I was new new new to being self employed in the mid 1990's. I was on benefits for having a broken arm - (yes, my painting arm) and was convalescing at home, bored out of my mind and on benefits. I decided that I would send out pictures (no internet then - can you imagine?!) to FIFTEEN GALLERIES PER WEEK. Fifteen letters, by hand and all with photographs. That amounted to an awful lot of asks over the month period. It cost me my benefit money in photocopies, stamps and paper, but beans on toast wasn't so bad - for a month.
In total I sent out about 200 letters - that is 200 asks. Naturally, as is the way of things, I got a mere 7 replies all of which said a polite - no thanks and the rest of the galleries didn't reply at all to me. I was sore (with a broken arm) and very fed up. A year and a half later, I received a telephone call from 'The Pump House Gallery' in Battersea Park (one of the galleries I wrote to) asking me if I would like to have a two week solo show with them in the height of the summer, August. Further to this, the TV company LWT (then bigwigs) were making a film about the park called 'ParkLife' and they would like to include my work, my story and my show in two programmes. Wow. I did, it was a success and all was jolly - however, how the show went isn't really the point here - the point is that one of my many asks I sent out came good in the end. Your asks are still asking - long after you have forgotten them.
My second example is more recent. In 2014 we moved to Suffolk. Away from most of my client base I recognised that I really needed to get booking in some things locally and start introducing people to my work. I had no studio and my art materials were all packed away, still in storage boxes but I had to begin somewhere so I got my thinking cap on. I looked at the big events held in this beautiful county and thought about how I might try to muscle myself in. Latitude Festival is a huge event here and each summer over 25,000 people come up, en famille to rock out, chill out and generally have a ball at this groovy three day party. All my target audience. I wrote to them.
My letter asked if they might need any artists workshops? I would be happy to deliver drawing workshops to anyone - children or adults and happy to offer as many as were needed, in exchange for tickets and simply being there working and doing my stuff. They wrote back and expressed delight at my asking as they love to work locally with artists and craftspersons and hope to show off local talents as much as their own. I was in and all due to my asking them.
So my pointers in asking are:
- See it as very likely the answer will be a no, utter silence or we'll get back to you.
- Keep your ask polite as can be. Not grovelly, just the right side of humble but assertive too.
- ASK IN ABUNDANCE! Ask away people. 20 asks will very probably yield only one possible yes.
- Have in mind a plan in case your yes comes back as a yes and NOW!
- Ask and then move away from your ask. Don't breathe over it. Send your letter and walk away. Perhaps a polite 'just checking your received my proposal' email or call a few days later - once you know they did - leave it be and DON'T HOVER.
- Dream up another 100 asks and ask away by letter, email, social media, carrier pigeon, etc.
This Summer I'll be at Latitute Festival again, delivering my workshops to families for my third year running. It's a great festival and one that I highly recommend - the line up this year is wonderful too, the best I've ever been to.
Make a list of your asks and let me know how you got on. Be brassy and ask!
Samantha - ps, enjoy the short film of me at Latitude 2015.
Keywords, Latitute Festival, The importance of asking, creative clues from Samantha Barnes Artist, Solocreative, artist working from home.
Tags, working for yourself, being a creative, top tips for being a self employed artist
How to look for our life purposes and how to turn them into paid work. Tips to find the things that your are brilliant and could turn into cash. A three part blog posts to help you refind the things that are natural to you.Read More
How Do Children Make 'Doing Art' Look So Darned Easy? My Own Secret Painting Methods I've Learned From The Young 'uns. This week's blog is all about my secret sources of gusto...Read More
This week I've been back in the studio making new paintings intended to reflect our normal family lives. Let's face it, is there ever anything normal about family life?!
'A Quiet Night In'
Open Edition Print
Ring any bells anyone? Send the children off to Granny's or off on sleepovers and your quiet night in turns into a party a deux. Great fun, semi-unplanned and why not?! These prints are 20 x 20cm image size and framed will be approx 28 x 28cm. A great painting to hang anywhere in your house to remind you to pop on those party shoes. Please email to register your interest here. firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Edition Print.
Ah yes, Bathtime. A repeated pattern for every family up and down the country each evening. How many times does it end up to be a swimming pool on your bathroom floor? This painting is a celebration of a nightly ritual that is all too soon over forever. To register your interest, please email email@example.com
'The School Run'
Open Edition Print
The School Run, every family on the run. Too little time, too far to run. My secret is to set your clocks ten minutes fast and then you should just about make it! To register your interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Edition Print
Girls night out. Something to eat then off to the pub, bit of dancing, lots of vino all washed down with tons and tons of laughter and sore feet to finish off. This painting is all about celebrating friendship and good times. To register your interest, please email email@example.com
All prints are to be released in July 2017.
Family life, art for families, artprints for family spaces,Art, bespoke paintings, art commissions, quirky art, folk art, naïve art, family art, art for children’s bedrooms, family spaces, children, adults and kidults too, Art, bespoke paintings, art commissions, quirky art, folk art, naïve art, family art, art for children’s bedrooms, family spaces, children, adults and kidults too.
artworks, artprints, framed prints, parenting, families,
A Day Out At The Boating Pond Anyone?
Boating Pond, A communal playpond is great activity for small children - and big ones! Hours of fun can be had pushing sailboats round and round again, all the fun of the fair - for free!
When my children were little, I found that a family day out to a boating pond was a magic option for filling up day out. It didn't really matter if was a sunny day or a rainy one - my children were always going to get wet either way. We live near to a boating pond now which I go past as I'm walking our family dog, Barney. It's now Barney that ends up going in for a quick swim, much to the annoyance of the senior captains and their model boats - oops.
This is my painting 'The Boating Pond' which I like to think sums up all that I love about them. I sat and sketched one afternoon, people watching on a bank holiday weekend. I really enjoyed watching all the children, the families, the couples and the senior citizens meeting their mates at the pond. Model boating is quite a serious hobby it seems. It was merry mayhem!
So, my top five things to take with you to the boating pond are...
- A boat (of course you had that one covered!)
- Spare Clothes
- Food & loads and loads of water for thirsty runarounds
- A blanket or an umbrella as needed - same goes for rain macs or suncream
- More spare clothes for when your spare ones get wet
'The Boating Pond' Original Painting is 60 x 60cm on a 2cm canvas. It is currently unframed but can be arranged if you would like it so. Open Edition Art Prints are going to be available soon and will be 35 x 35cm, 50 x 50cm framed. The Original Painting is for sale at £380 unframed and the prints will be £70 unframed and £99 framed. P&P will apply too. To purchase, please follow this link.
The Boating Pond, Family Friendly Art, Wall art, Art Prints, Samantha Barnes Artist, Nursery Paintings, Art, bespoke paintings, art commissions, quirky art, folk art, naïve art, family art, art for children’s bedrooms, family spaces, children, adults and kidults too.
'She' Show with Art For Cure
June 2017, Aldeburgh.
I've been a busy artist recently with doing my lovely wedding commissions that I am SO enjoying. Last week, the wonderful ladies from Art For Cure came to my studio. Art For Cure is just that, selected artists selling paintings to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. Every other year, these wonderful women lay on a HUGE art exhibition and raise oodles of cash for this much needed cause.
The mega-show is next year 2018 but in between, they are doing smaller shows, one of which is at 'The Garage Gallery' underneath the Peter Pears Gallery, in Aldeburgh. They came to me with the idea of making some artworks that celebrate us broads and thus far I've come up with the following.... hope you like!
Best, Sam x
Art For Cure, Samantha Barnes Artist, She Exhibition, Paintings that celebrate women.
Today is the first anniversary that my lovely stepdad died. A year ago today began a new normal for my mum, my sister and I. He and my mum began their journey together when I was about 13 and pretty much from that moment on he became our rock. Full of advice, love and thoughts that very often we needed but didn't want to hear, Colky was always level, honest and constant.
Seeing us through our joys and our sorrows, our ups and our downs, Colin, or Father as we called him loved us as his own daughters. 5pm welcomed happy hour. He and mum would sit and discuss the day, he with is rum and mum with a glass of wine. Colin had many hobbies and collected things he loved with gusto. British Military Badges being one, he was the authority and his books proved such. When he took my mumma around the world on a once-in-a-lifetime trip (for three months - jammy cow) his precision booking and organising matched his travel diaries which contain every detail, photographs, collectables and memories that my mum treasures now.
He loved my mum with his whole heart and every opportunity he would tell my sister and I - each time we would cringe as any normal teenager might, but he meant it, every word and he NEVER stopped telling us so, right up to the very very end.
My favourite memories of my stepdad are from my tumultuous twenties. They lived in Dorchester and on my visits we would sit in the garden under the big tree and drink far too much whilst Colin and my mumma would pummel me for information about my life. He held my hand through all the highs and lows of being a self-employed artist, never really understanding it given that he was a bank inspector for 40 years - but he delighted at my achievements and comiserated with me when it was all going wrong, and there were plenty of those times.
Once he became a step grandfather, his world was turned upside down by our frenzied visits. My sister and I have six beautiful children between us, and that is alot of baby gubbins, and riotus children that shoved toys in the video machine (and broke it of course numerous times) tears of tiredness (from us the parents ) he showed us lashings of love and compliments that we were wonderful parents and doing it all so well, yeah right, but it was just what we needed to hear and he knew that.
Throughout the 33 years I knew Colin, he never changed. Stoic in his love for mum, my sister and I. He was a rock and we loved him very much.
I had a great time at The Suffolk Wedding Show yesterday at Wherstead Park in Suffolk. I've never done a wedding show yesterday and deep in the depths of February Winter, this was just the antidote I needed. It was great fun, very positive and really exciting to be around all these brides, families and grooms, all looking forward to and planning their big days.
My stand looked lovely, to be honest I wasn't really sure what I was selling. I knew in my tummy I had a new offering to the wedding and event world in my handpainted personalised signage but as for the actual details I wasn't really sure until I was on the spot talking to the other traders and meeting some of my potential clients.
My moment came when talking to one family about what to do with the signs after their wedding. Before I knew it, I offered to collect them and reuse them for my next wedding commission - of course, personalise and HIRE my boards - doh, so simple yet until I was actually there, I didn't figure the finer details.
Once I had it clear in my head (that took about 20 seconds) I then spent my 4 hours on my stand taking bookings and inviting people down to my studio to see the signage boards I have to offer.
Equipt with lots of enquiries in my notebook, I packed up my stand, ready to unpack into my studio, tired but delighted with my days work.
I have my offering and am off already with some prelim bookings. Thank you Suffolk Wedding Show and see you at the next one.
Best, Sam x
Suffolk Wedding Show, Samantha Barnes Artist, Wedding Paintings & Commissions. Weddings & Bespoke Paintings
Sometimes things happen that spark our imaginations and a new seed is sown. It all began with two sandwich boards I made my lovely husband and his brother to make for me. We got a couple of pallets and after much banging, sawing and a fair share of swearing, I had to beautiful upcycled sandwich boards made from reclaimed wooden pallets.
My boards did me proud for the Christmas Show and clients showed interest in them too. I got a couple of orders on them and proceeded to make some more in different shapes and styles. We tweaked them as went on, improving them until I had a small collection of different designs which were perfect for different events.
So, now it's time for me to paint them up, photograph them and put them up for sale. I love them all. I love that they are functional, beautiful and sustainable.
I'm going to offer to make them and personalise them for weddings, retail and bespoke events. I've chosen the name PalletLOVE as that's just what it is. The name 'The Artist's Pallet' was suggested too, which I think is just genius but PalletLOVE is just perfect for me.
More soon but photo's below. Much love, Sam x
So 2017 has rung in the changes already. We kicked off with an early doors printmaking workshop which was utterly brilliant (please see my last blogpost). We have more 'Mega Printmaking Days' on Saturday 4th March (now full) Saturday & Sunday March 11th /12th (1 spaces left) and Saturday 25th March where I have 2 spaces left. Please contact me for more details on 07891 698 847.
I'm also really enjoying working 1:1 with more clients too. These sessions are proving to be so illuminating for my clients and it's both a privilege and a joy to be part of them. We work successfully in my studio, at my clients home and via skype, all work equally well.
I'll be writing more about about these sessions soon, until then I wonder how you are using your creative skills? They might be dormant but they are there, I promise.
Let me know by commenting below, I'd love to hear.
Much love, Sam x
Ho hum, all things must pass, etc, etc. It's been a fab break and I do feel rested having had so much time away from the studio to be with the family. I returned today to take down the Christmas Decs, (boo) and began the process of getting ready for my impromptu printmaking workshop this weekend (yay).
On the agenda for our workshop we have:
A mixed bag of printmaking techniques for the participants. All coming this weekend are good friends and artists whose work and creative endeavours I really respect. Together we are going to be sharing our skills so that we might all learn from one another. Am really looking forward it it.
I've also just launched our 'Creative Art Classes for Relaxation & Joy' which are being held on Saturday mornings in The Art Retreat throughout January & February. I'm upping the classes this year as I think we need them! Creative pursuits are wonderful for everyone so please, come and get involved too.
Happy New Year, Samantha & The Art Retreat Team x
So on Friday I received a call to inform me that I've been nominated for a 'Star of Suffolk' Award, in the catagory of 'Unsung Hero' for my contribution to local arts. Needless to say, I'm mighty touched and rather flabbergasted to say the least. I'm one of three candidates for the award, the winner of which will be awarded on November 24th here in Suffolk. Posh frocks at the ready everyone! I'm so happy, especially if this means that I can raise more funding for more workshops... happy days x