Archive for the ‘Art Marketing’ Category

Choosing  a title for a painting is always an interesting proposition. In general, I either title the pieces individually or I use a series title and a number. For the large number of small pieces that I make, the series and number approach works well. For larger work, I prefer more individual titles.

Now here is my dilemma. This work is part of a series, but it also sort of has its own title.

The initial title for the series was the Facebook Series. I figured that might get me in trouble, so I’ve titled it the Social Media Series.

This painting is part of a series, so it could be Social Media Series #1, which is kind of how I’m thinking of it. BUT one of the ideas behind this series was to use text as a graphic and a titling element. Most of the text will be covered up or drawn through – obliterated in some fashion. There will however be some text that’s still readable. This could be the title as well.

OK. So should this be “Social Media Series #1” or “”food to last the trip” or maybe “Social Media #1 – food to last the trip”? In some ways, calling it “food to last the trip” is a bit confusing. On the other hand, one of the ideas behind using the text is to put in glimpses of the conversations we have in Facebook, Twitter, and the like.

Any ideas?

Ethel Hills - Mixed Media Collage - Black & White on white background with bits of gold & red

Ethel Hills – Social Media Series #1 – Mixed Media Collage on Paper – 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2




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I’ve just finished reading Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work”. Like his earlier book “Steal Like An Artist” , this is small, easy to read, and fun. He puts forth 10 basic principles on how to “Share Like An Artist”. Although this is light-hearted and easy to read, it’s full of great advice and simple truths.

Here are a few that I want to work on right away:

    • If you want followers, be someone worth following.
    • Share something small every day.
    • Strike all adjectives from your biography.
    • Small things, over time, can get big.

Since I’m working on self promotion right now, these are all things I need to hear. Next week, I’ll be picking out other gems to concentrate on.

Thank you, Austin Kleon. You just made my work easier.




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Please join us tonight for the reception for “Transcending Reality”, the annual exhibit for the Abstract Artists Group of New England. The reception is from 7 to 9pm at Newburyport Art Associationar, 65 Water Street, Newburyport, MA.

In addition to a fabulous collection of abstract art in various styles, colors, mediums and sizes, there will also be live jazz performed by Barbara London and Rick Kress. Not to be missed.


Postcard for Transcending Reality

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I listened to a talk earlier this week by Janet Vanderhoof for Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Incubator. She talked about her 2012 Big Picture Goal of completing 52 paintings over the course of the year. One of her posts from December of last year lays the groundwork for this project. It started me thinking about my own work. For the last two years, my painting goal was to complete 50 to 70 paintings each year. Last year I completed 65 paintings, 20% more than 2011. Don’t be too impressed. My work is much smaller than Janet’s.

I love the idea of starting out this kind of challenge on January 1st, but it is after all the end of March. This year’s almost 1/4 gone, but I’ve already completed 19 paintings. So a not unreasonable goal for me would be to complete 80 paintings this year, almost 25% up from 2012.

In Janet’s case, not only did she complete her 52 paintings, but she got them out there – with her blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. OK that’s way too many things for me to learn today, but maybe not over the course of the year.

So I guess the nucleus of my challenge to myself is to complete 80 paintings this year and to let the world know about them at the same time. This does tie into other goals I have for learning how to use social media. More next week.

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Ethel Hills - "Color Block # 3 - 6 inch" - Mixed Media Collage on Panel

Ethel Hills - "Color Block # 3 - 6 inch" - Mixed Media Collage on Panel

 I’m currently enrolled in a professional development course called the Artists Professional Toolbox, APT. It’s a wonderful program run by the Arts & Business Council in Boston. A recent exercise was to ask customers and friends for 3 words or adjectives to describe your work. As part of this process, I asked a group of fellow artists and friends to take a look at the work in my Provident show and give me 3 words. I’ve been pleased that several people actually took the time to do just that. We also did this same thing as a group exercise at our APT workshop. I think for most of us, the words weren’t a total surprise. However, it has me thinking about how I describe my work and possibly even more about what the work is about.

I’ve usually described my work as colorful abstract landscapes. Not bad, “color” or “colorful” was by far the winner in the branding words game. For single words, the next most frequent was “abstract” and then “bright”. However, only one person put down “landscape”.

Beyond those few words, individual words only showed up once or twice. So then it’s not really a case of counting how many times a word appears, but of grouping words to come up with related ideas. When I looked at the words this way, I came up with several important ideas or themes that recurred –positive emotion (cheerful, fun, good day, playful), spiritual (serene, inspirational, restful), evocative (memories, suggestive, ambivalence), and finally landscape (outside, topographic, space).

I think there’s something important about these non-art elements in the paintings that make them powerful and finding ways to describe these aspects will be important to me in presenting the work to the world.

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