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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.

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.

How Do You Buy a Painting Online Direct from the Artist?

26 Mar

Buying art directly from the artist isn’t such an unusual thing. In these days of galleries and exhibitions and professional art organizations and non-profit art cooperatives, we’ve been trained into thinking that we can’t deal with, talk to, or see the artist directly, but really, this is one of the best ways to purchase art.

An original painting is an investment of time and love.

An original painting is an investment of time and love.

Why? First and foremost, when an artist doesn’t need to compensate for a gallery commission, he doesn’t need to raise his prices to adjust for it. That’s definitely a winning factor for the purchaser.

Just as importantly, the purchaser learns more about the painting and the painter, adding even more interest to the artwork.

Now when you live in the same town, or near to, the artist in question, you can frequently call to make a studio visit, and thereby view the artwork in person. When you live across the country, or even on another continent, this is more difficult, but as we purchase more and more items over the Internet, buying art online opens up wider vistas of possibilities for our walls.

At Steve Henderson Fine Art, we encourage people to look through the website and enjoy the images of Steve’s various works. On each page, an artwork will be identified by its medium (oil, watercolor), size of the painting itself — unframed — in inches, whether or not it is framed, price, and availability. When a client finds a piece in which he or she is interested, we encourage them to read about Our Prices, which gives an overview of why Steve’s works are priced the way they are.

Anyone who has looked for original fine art quickly learns that artwork has no hard or fast rule for how it is priced, and some really dreadful work out there is priced very, very high. Our Prices seeks to demystify some of this process, and further you along in your art purchasing education. Fine art, skillfully executed, is the result of an artist’s passion and expertise, and producing a beautiful painting takes time and ability.

Signed, limited edition prints are an affordable artwork option

Signed, limited edition prints are an affordable artwork option

Once a potential client finds an artwork in which he or she is interested, the next step is to contact the artist. We have a Contact form on our site — it’s easy to fill out, and if a form isn’t your thing, we provide a direct e-mail to Carolyn, the manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. We also chat with clients over the phone or via Skype, and this communication process is designed to answer clients’ questions and provide more information about the artwork and how it will fit into the space that the client has designed for it.

Do not be shy about this communication process — purchasing art is, indeed, a process, and an artist’s happiest clients are those who have had all their questions answered and feel confident about the artwork they are purchasing — they know its colors and subject matter, and how those elements will fit into the environment they have set up for it; they measure out its size on the wall to get an idea of how it will hang there; they are conversant with the artist and know more about the painting they are looking at; they are comfortable with the final price and have worked out with the artist a means of paying for it (we frequently set up no-interest payment plans).

We even offer posters of Steve's work -- very affordable fine art gifts for yourself and others.

We even offer posters of Steve’s work — very affordable fine art gifts for yourself and others.

Of course, hitting the PayPal Buy Now button is always an option, and many people who purchase signed, limited edition prints and posters do so with the same confidence that they download an e-book, but always, the option to contact the artist and get those questions answered is a valid one.

Don’t be shy.

Buying Fine Art Directly from the Artist

21 Feb

I don’t know about you, but ten years ago I had difficulty buying anything but a book online over the Internet. I mean, what if I bought socks and they didn’t fit? (This problem was solved when I started knitting my own socks.) Or shoes?

And then I started buying things. I started with tea — I found a reputable tea dealer (Upton Tea, for those of you who are interested), and was ecstatic to find that their product — in addition to being something I couldn’t find locally — was superb, and their customer service was unparalleled.

Buying direct from the artist -- at least this artist -- saves you money. AND you can communicate with the artist personally.

Buying direct from the artist — at least this artist — saves you money. AND you can communicate with the artist personally.

From tea we went to all sorts of products, and now, a significant amount of our monthly purchases are made online through the Internet.

So what about fine art? Can you successfully purchase it over the Internet?

Given that we sell Steve’s paintings online, I would say, “Yes, definitely, depending from whom you are purchasing.” In the same way that I was ecstatic over my tea purveyor’s selection, quality, and customer service, we at Steve Henderson Fine Art take seriously these same elements:

1) We have a wide selection of artwork, in various prices, from which to choose. From originals to limited edition prints to posters, we span the price range and meet any budget.

2) The quality of Steve’s work — both of the actual artwork and the materials upon which it rests — is superb.

3) We stand behind everything we sell, from a PDF Article Booklet to an original painting.

4) We work as closely with our clients as they wish — each and every purchase made through the Buy Now Button is inidividually acknowledged, and clients are given detailed information as to when and how their product will be shipped. Many of our clients who purchase originals or limited edition prints communicate with us back and forth via e-mail or phone (and we now have the option to Skype), and we ensure that their questions are answered to their satisfaction — before, during, and after the sale.

5) For those people who wonder, “Who are you, anyway? How do I know it’s safe to buy through the individual artist as opposed to a ‘real’ gallery?” we willingly provide business and character references. You will not offend us by asking.

As you will see by reading Our Prices, one of the best things about buying directly from the artist — at least this artist — is that you do not pay the extra price to cover the gallery’s commission, which is frequently 50 percent of the painting’s sale price. Buying direct, in this case, really does save money.

Please feel free to contact us anytime at Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt.com.

Dream Big!

31 Jan

Bold Innocence poster -- Dream Big! by Steve Henderson

Things change as we get older.

Christmas and birthdays come and go without the weeks of agonizing beforehand, that feeling that the good day will never arrive, the sheer joy and abandon when it does.

In the process of growing up, do we become . . . boring?

“Dream Big” reminds us to reach for something that is bigger and grander than what and where we actually are.

Someone wrote me the other day, “Yeah, I could do what I want with unlimited money and time.”

So do we all think, but when we look around at those people who actually do have unlimited money and time, it’s intriguing to notice that even they don’t seem to be doing what they want. Rather, they’re more concerned about keeping what they have, and are worried that if they don’t look a certain way, act a certain way, speak a certain way, they will topple.

Dreams are big things, and they are not achieved overnight, nor without hard work, perseverance, determination, and patience — the gritty elements that work in the background.

Dream big!

(The Bold Innocence poster — Dream Big! is part of Steve Henderson’s Inspirational Poster collection, and is available at Steve Henderson Fine Art.)

We Do This Every Year. Why?

10 Dec

“I don’t even read newspapers, and yet, around this time of year every year, I am aware of the number of articles written about the frenetic, fast-paced shopping and social frenzy of getting through the ‘holiday season.’

“It never sounds like much of a holiday to me, and I ask myself,

BrimmingOver_SteveHenderson_24x18

When our cup, or basket, is running over, that’s supposed to be a good thing. Brimming Over by Steve Henderson.

“Why do we do this to ourselves — Every. Single. Year?

“As we launch into a month that has sacred and secular observances for many, I encourage you to make these celebrations your own, focusing on the meaning and the joy of each, foregoing the mania and the chaos that those newspaper articles, ironically, promote.

“I wish you, and all of us, a true season of Joy.”

From Start Your Week with Steve, the free weekly online newsletter of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

So what does this have to do with art — creating it or enjoying it?

A lot, actually, because it has to do with our perception of what is true, and what is not, based upon the external influences that push themselves into our lives, in this case, newspaper articles.

Around this time of year, article after article, blog after blog, offer 10 tips, or 7 tips, or the 3 ultimate tips, for avoiding holiday stress, hammering in the message with such force and strength that we never stop to ask ourselves: “Are my holidays stressed? And if they’re not, should they be? Is there something wrong with me?”

Most of the time, we don’t stop long enough to ask ourselves these basic questions, simply internalizing, without thinking about it, the message of the day, to the point that we unconsciously murmur in agreement when someone says, “Oh, those holidays! They’re stressful.”

If it’s not the holidays, then it’s something else — like what constitutes good art, or what we “should” be hanging up in our homes, or what “collectors” value, or what colors work and which don’t, or whether abstract is a higher form of artistic expression on the evolutionary scale or not — article after article, written by expert after expert, or worse yet, advertisement after advertisement, carefully crafted by marketing strategists, hammers in the message until it becomes a part of our inner being, and colors our actual judgment of the situation.

Stop. Breathe. Free yourself to ask the basic questions — who is going to get inside your head and scold your for independent thought?

And enjoy the holidays, by the way.