Since I started my art painting and print business, I have periodically evaluated where I stand from a marketing point of view. Most artists will say they find it very difficult to switch from a right brained activity like creating a painting to thinking about analytics, selling and ways to reach out to people. But, let’s face it, the best compliment anyone can give is to purchase an art piece and then give it pride of place in their home or give as a well thought out gift. We will not get many buyers by working all the time in our studios.
I soon turned to creating a personal website LynnHosegoodStudio.com which has been in place since 2011. At that time I decided that site was suitable for a gallery of my large works, intended for art society juried show submission and sales of original and giclee prints.
But before I created my personal web site I imagined painting and printing small prints for local distribution. I am fortunate to live in Williamsburg, VA. where we have many sites of historical interest: Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown and, within a short distance, the beaches and the Bay Tunnel Bridge. Going further afield, Charlottesvilles and the Blue Ridge Mountains are only 2 1/2 hour drive. I approached my local Barnes and Noble store which is located in Merchants Square, part of the Colonial Williamsburg district. I discovered they were interested in carrying watercolor prints of scenes from the campus at College of William and Mary and, in particular, the Crim Dell Bridge.
There was much to consider like printing and resourcing materials like wholesale mats, backing boards, packaging then consider the price I needed to sell in order to make this new business viable. I had to keep in mind that it had to be a wholesale price because any retail business would want to add at least 100% mark up. I had to consider optimum size of the print and its mat. Then, probably the most important consideration, was what painting technique of watercolor painting should I use and what size the prints should be. Equipped with my new 35mm digital camera I took many shots of the Crim Dell Bridge but soon realized I needed a photo editing program. It took about a year to master Photoshop and I found the best way to learn was to solve specific problems, ask specific questions and then find the answers. This way the operations stayed in my head rather than going through a rote process of all the program is capable. Although I also purchased video, instructional tapes to speed things up. At first, I really only used Photoshop for cropping photo images and some simple enhancing with tools, like changing value contrast. But I also used it to get my scanned painted images by using photo merge for the larger images. This way I could enhance how the image would look in the finished, print product. The image I saw on my screen had to correspond with a clean, sharp image from my newly purchased, Epson Chrome Ink printer.
It was the start of my new print business starting with the Crim Dell Bridge at the College of William and Mary, quickly followed by the Wren Building and scenes from Colonial Williamsburg. The store later asked me to do in-store print signings which gave a lot of valuable, buyer interaction and information. Like the demand for other, local scenes and offering a choice of different sizes. After learning how to accomplish all the individual necessary tasks, I quickly turned to offering my prints to other colleges, mostly in Virginia. It helped my marketing efforts that I had a website to which to I could refer my prospects.
But, in the time of COVID-19, like many businesses, college campus book stores have closed and, consequently, their orders for art prints. But Etsy continues to pick up sales, even the larger, high resolution prints, or Giclees
I intend to use this Blog to share my passions, my thoughts, techniques and methods about art, watercolor painting, color theory, design, art marketing, art critique, art trends, art travel, workshops, personal experiences and whatever related subjects comes mind. I hope this finds others who have a spark of interest in its content and I will be pleased to exchange with any interested reader.
Please feel free to leave responses, questions and, hopefully, we can have some valuable exchanges.