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Is It Worth Entering Shows?

16 May

Entering your artwork in shows — local, regional, or national — is not an inexpensive proposition. There are entry fees, which can range from $5 to $50 per piece — as well as costs to box, ship, send, insure, and return your work should it be accepted. Oh, and those entry fees? They apply whether your work is accepted or not, and depending upon the size of the show, “or not,” may be a very real option.

Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson. Original sold; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson. Original sold; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

“But think of the exposure if I get in,” you tell yourself. Well, there is, that, but the exposure may not be as grand as you think. Some shows attract the same crowd, year after year; others, which promise exposure through national magazines, take out an ad, one in which your painting does not appear. The top tier shows, the ones that really do draw in crowds, are not particularly friendly to newbies.

So is it even worth it, doing shows? The Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, has entered and continues to enter shows, but we have found that far more sales occur in other venues — through the website, through contact with individual clients, through Facebook, even — than they do through shows. And doing the math at the end of the year — calculating entry fees, shipping, and shipping back — we find that there are more efficient ways to turn a profit.

Being Abnormal, an article by Carolyn Henderson in Fine Art Views (and yes, that’s me, the same person writing this article), talks about doing things differently, including entering, or not entering shows. After you read this article, make sure to check out the comments from the various artist readers; frequently, in any online article, the most interesting information comes from the comments, and most especially from the people who comment through the Fine Art Views site.

So what about you? Have you entered shows? Has it been a profitable experience? Or do you find that you’ve picked up more in experience than you have in monetary compensation?

Evening Waltz, original oil painting, 30 x 36, by Steve Henderson

Evening Waltz, original oil painting, 30 x 36, by Steve Henderson

There are a lot of people out there these days trying to make money off of artists, and one of these ways is through assessing entry fees on shows. I’ve always found that it’s worth being wary of the continuous e-mails in your inbox announcing, “We’ve extended the entry date for this show! You have another two weeks to enter!” Two weeks later, the deadline is extended by another week.

Also not a good sign is a show that is exclusively online. While there are verifiable and legitimate online shows, online events are increasing, and it is becoming easier and easier to put them on. Make sure that, when you send your money and enter your artwork, that there is the potential for something good to happen — actual exposure, to people who are genuinely looking to by art, comes to mind.

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What Fried Dandelions Have to Do with Improving Your Art

10 May

From the Start Your Week with Steve Newsletter of Steve Henderson Fine Art:

Steve Says:

“Today my 18-year-old son wanted to make fried dandelions for lunch, a suggestion that initially didn’t meet with much excitement.

Dandelions are either weeds or flowers, depending upon your perspective. Original available at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

Dandelions are either weeds or flowers, depending upon your perspective. Original available at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

 

“But he’s a determined sort, and like the Little Red Hen he picked the flowers, dipped them in egg and breading, and fried them in butter. Oddly, they weren’t bad, although the egg, breading, and butter definitely helped.

“And, he told us, now that he’s done it, he has no desire to repeat the experiment, but he’s glad that he went through with it. ‘I would always have wondered,’ he commented.

“Good point.

“How many times do we want to try something but don’t, because it sounds odd — like fried dandelions — or our announcement is met with a total lack of enthusiasm and support?

“So we don’t. But we always wonder what it would have been like if we had.

“Why not stop wondering and just do it? At worst, we’ll have inedible flowers, but the compost pile won’t mind.

“At best, we’ll have a unique dish to share at the next family celebration.

“And in between, we’ve got a good story to share.

“The more we do, the more we try, the more we experiment, the more we dream — the more interesting we, and the lives we live, are.” 

What is it about trying new things that is so difficult for us?

Standing behind the easel, paintbrush in hand, who but we will know that we chose a different color for that brushstroke, or a different brush, or a different way of wielding it?

Go on -- jump in. Shoes, and feet, eventually dry. Reflection -- original oil painting and signed limited edition prints at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Go on — jump in. Shoes, and feet, eventually dry. Reflection — original oil painting and signed limited edition prints at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Too often we look at each potential painting as so precious that we don’t want to “ruin” it by doing something different or new, but the risk of this is smaller than the reality of falling into a rut.

Sometimes, we can jolt ourselves out of this rut by saying to ourselves, “Just for the next 15 minutes, I’m going to think about this differently, and I’m going to try something that I’m not sure will work or not.”

And, of course, the more regularly and often that we paint, the easier it is to experiment, because we tell ourselves, “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll toss it to the side and start over. Or I’ll keep slathering paint and see what happens.”

Ultimately, what this costs you is some time, a canvas, and some paint — a small price to pay for the potential to make mighty steps forward.

Color Coordinating Artwork with Interior Decor

9 Apr

From the Start Your Week with Steve Newsletter:

Steve Says:

“It’s always good when the person you live with thinks similarly to — or at least not radically different from — the way you do.

Available as an original and print at Steve Henderson Fine Art -- Beachside Diversions

Available as an original and print at Steve Henderson Fine Art — Beachside Diversions

“In our house, we decorate eclectically — espresso brown leather sofa; rust fabric glider chair; oak cabinets; sage green walls; knitted shawls and lace by Carolyn; a revolving array of paintings by me.

“In the process of doing so, we have discovered just how flexible color coordination can be — red, rust, lavender, blue, green, gold, orange — all hues wander in and out of our living room, and regardless of which paintings are on the walls, they all fit.

“When you purchase fine art, buy what you like, and don’t worry about how it will look with the sofa — if your home is filled with the furniture and accessories that you love, then it’s highly likely that the newest painting will fit right in.

“It’s your home, reflecting your life, your lifestyle, your family, your being. Surround yourself with beautiful things that you love, and make yourself at home in your home.”

Read more, and consider subscribing to, Start Your Week with Steve, the free weekly e-mail newsletter of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Grammar Despair by Carolyn Henderson

What Is the Difference between an Open Edition and Limited Edition Print?

28 Mar

Wall art comes in all shapes, sizes, formats, and editions — from an original painting to a print to a poster to a greeting card, and the prices vary accordingly.

In the world of prints, there are many factors, but one of the major differences lies between an open edition and limited edition print.

Mesa Walk, its original sold, is available as a signed limited edition and open edition print.

Mesa Walk, its original sold, is available as a signed limited edition and open edition print.

A limited edition print is so named because its run — the number of these prints that are created and sold — is limited to a specific number, say, 200. Each run is determined by size and any other qualifying factors; for instance, you can have a limited edition run of an image in a 12 x 15 size on paper, another run of 16 x 20 on paper, a third run of 12 x 15 on canvas, and so on. If you purchase the 5th print sold in the 12 x 15 on paper run, then somewhere on the print will be written (generally in pencil, since this is difficult to forge) 5/200, which indicates that your print is the 5th piece out of a total of 200 to be created in this particular run.

The print may or may not be signed by the artist, and if so, will be of increased value. It also may or may not include a Certificate of Authenticity, a piece of paper or form that lists out the run size, the number of your print in the run, and information on inks and paper, and the date that the print was created.

Sometimes, but not always, limited edition prints are created with archival quality inks on archival quality substrate — paper or canvas — and if so, the artist or company selling the print will make sure to inform you of this, since these archival quality materials ensure a superior product that will last a much longer time than a print created with non-archival quality materials. Do not assume that, just because a print is described as limited edition, that it is archival quality.

A limited edition print that is signed, archival quality, and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity will likely cost more than an open edition print (but significantly less than the original painting), simply because it has been in more direct contact with the artist.

An open edition print has no limit on its run, and frequently, it can be created in the thousands, tens of thousands, or more. It also costs less, and you will find it in box stores or on large Internet shopping conglomerate sites. There is absolutely nothing “wrong” with an open edition print, as it is a very affordable means of getting art on people’s walls. Because of the low cost factor, open edition prints tend not to be printed on archival quality paper.

"Lady" by Steve Henderson, is available as an open edition print throught Light in the Box

“Lady” by Steve Henderson, is available as an open edition print throught Light in the Box

So, which to buy? It is up to the individual consumer. Prints of some artist’s work may be available only through the artist himself, and if you like his work, then this is the option to consider. Other artists — like Steve Henderson at Steve Henderson Fine Art — offer signed limited edition prints through the website, but also make their work available as open edition prints in the commercial market.

Mesa Walk, for example, is available as a signed, limited edition print in various sizes through Steve Henderson Fine Art. It is also available as open edition wall art through Light in the Box, a globally directed online shopping site. The original painting is sold.

Prints — limited or open edition, archival quality or not, signed or unsigned — enable people of varying budgets and economic lifestyles to enjoy fine art.