Alice has been filming for a guest lesson within a programme. (More coming later on this!)
Are we ever satisfied?
We consider the benefits of settling into a subject matter and a way of working (there are benefits which include easier branding and consistent audience growth) but ultimately we accept that it’s a matter of personality type and that neither of us is able to stay in one place with our work for too long. There are of course, pluses and minuses to this … and we explore some of them in a wide-ranging conversation that covers studio size, ways of working, Ted Hughes, running, and even Eastenders! This one is sure to get you thinking…
Open Studio season is coming up… whether you are an old hand or this is your first year showing in this way we have some ideas for promotion and things to do in advance, during and after so that you make the best of your Open House events this year.
Louise’s promised task from last week has resulted in the satisfaction of a fully completed expense tracking sheet. (I admit why I’ve cheated this in the past) Alice decided a day out of the house was called for and enjoyed the discovery of two new exhibitions, mentioned below, and has been creating a new inspiration board. If this sounds like something you could try, you make like to see this post about creating a mood board for your art.
Making the most of your Open Studio event
Open studios are fast growing as popular and relaxed way to discover work by new artists in your area. Because they are in your home there is perhaps more to think about than showing your your work at a gallery or art fair event. I’ve listed a few of the points we discuss below as quick reference, but this episode is worth a listen if you are showing for the first time – or even if you are more experienced you will also pick up a few tips.
Before the event
Volunteer within your organisation – the success depends on everyone doing their part. They will probably have guidelines for you and be providing certain items, eg advertising posters, flyers, booklets and banners but don’t rely solely on someone else doing the work
Make the most of your own publicity – see last week’s podcast for places to update on social media
Order a card reader (test it!) and receipt book I recommend and use Sum Up because it’s the lowest rate for more irregular usage (this link should give up a discount and me a thank-you!)
Prepare your home – remove valuables, decide which areas are off limits, with a sign if necessary. Let your personality show, but remove other artwork, personal photographs etc
During the event
We discuss different options for clear pricing; wall labels vs lists. And at the end there is a great alternative to the “no photos please” sign – an idea to get people following and sharing what they are discovering!
Consider having things for children to do; an interactive project can be great, but don’t let it take all the attention!
Keep track of visitor numbers – not just as a total, but across each day. This will help next year if you feel it’s a slow or busy day. Memory can be deceptive!
Refreshments – keep you occupied. (Alice makes a cake if there’s a quiet lull and has cordial, but both agree no tea or coffee)
Make people feel welcome. Having the door open or closed is a personal choice, but be clear you are open to all visitors. Ideas include chalk signs on pavements, bunting, balloons, signs …
Collect email addresses from visitors if they wish to hear more – you can do this by having access to an online sign up, but I like to keep a visitor book. Let people know if you are planning future events eg before Christmas.
After the event…
You may feel like collapsing as it’s over for another year, but do follow up with visitors; thank them for coming, send them an image of a painting they were interested in. You can do this as a wider email – or more individually.
https://i0.wp.com/alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Ep-18-Open-Studios.jpg?fit=990%2C800&ssl=1800990Alicehttps://alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Alice-Sheridan-2.pngAlice2019-05-21 08:31:462019-05-21 08:31:51Tips for Artists Open Studios 
This week we have a wide-ranging discussion about promotion for recent projects. Promoting yourself can feel daunting so we have a few ideas for places you can update so that people can find out what’s going on in your world. In addition, we share our perspectives on approaching galleries. Should you really be nervous about this, or can you re-frame the issue and think about new galleries as potential business partners?
Rising to new challenges….
Recent new challenges have required us to stretch ourselves – to learn new technologies, to develop new skills and to get comfortable with promotion. We discuss the blocks to developing the required skills – including fear of failure and worrying about negative reactions – and offer our own perspectives along with concrete tips and solutions.
We also explore the difference between working on promotion for someone else, and versus doing it for ourselves, and discuss procrastination – when is it simply our need to slow down and move step by step?
Ways to let people know about what you have to offer!
Instagram: bio text, link page, post, post shared to your story, story talking, story as a fixed image
Facebook: as well as within posts in multiple ways, you can create an event, share to a relevant group, update your FB Page header
Website: add a section to your home page and then link with more details to a blog post, or a new page, add that to your Menu so people can find it easily. Give people the information or links they need.
Emails: Send an email to your list (more than once!), add a link within your personal email footer
I would like to know more about how to approach stockists and galleries? I find this really hard to do. How do I sell my art to them? How do I maintain my confidence through this process? Any tips would be great.
https://i0.wp.com/alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Ep-17-Challenges-in-promotion.jpg?fit=990%2C800&ssl=1800990Alicehttps://alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Alice-Sheridan-2.pngAlice2019-05-14 09:58:282019-05-14 09:58:32Rising to new challenges in marketing and promotion 
Does your family have a creative background? Is your creative streak viewed with suspicion or disbelief. It can be hard to make art if this is what surrounds us so we review our personal histories and how we’ve made changes to the things which influence our beliefs.
PS. This week is fun and a little silly, but it’s us. Hope you enjoy it. This week Alice has been wondering whether it’s possible to make 50 paintings a month – and if she would even want to. We also talk studio clear-outs and what we have learned about launching a course online (even though it’s not even our course!)
OK, main topic….
Did you know that who you surround yourself with makes a huge difference to your life? The quote “You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with,” is most often attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, but science backs him up.
What this means is that if your friends are obese, you are much more likely to also be obese. If your friends drink too much, chances are you will too. But how does this impact our art-making? Study on social influence
We discuss the importance of having supportive people in our lives and we share some of the ways we have done this for ourselves. We also share our thoughts on minimizing the psychological impact of negative comments as these can derail us if we are not careful. In the end, it comes down to choosing who or what will influence our mindset and making conscious moves to ensure we stay in a good place.
We’d like to give a shout out to our influencing magic circle: Tara Leaver artist, online teacher
https://i0.wp.com/alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Ep-16-Magic-circle.jpg?fit=990%2C800&ssl=1800990Alicehttps://alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Alice-Sheridan-2.pngAlice2019-05-07 08:07:522019-05-07 08:07:57Creating your Magic Circle 
“How can I sell more of my work?” is one of the biggest questions artists want answered But if the answer is as individual as your art, where do you begin. For us, it’s not what most of the sales experts tell you to do! We also discuss how to ignite the creative spark and the power of simply not caring what other people think.
This week Alice has been taking part in two very different online challenges and working to find the balance between her own painting and the Connected Artist Club. Louise has also been managing a challenging workload alongside prepping boards/ideas for new work
OK, main topic….
This week we dive into the topic of selling – why it doesn’t need to be intimidating and why – above all – we must develop an approach that leverages our unique strengths and matches the interests of our target audience.
Whether you are worrying about how to do it online or how many people you need to be successful we have some thoughts for you. In the end, selling is like art-making – the more unique and personal your approach, the better you will be. Real world examples include a door-to-door art salesman, an enterprising London painter, and Alice’s window cleaner.
When you’re limited on time, how do you ‘magic up’ creativity? Can you switch it on? Anon
Alice has a view on starting with your energy rather than the creativity. Louise uses a dedication to time and being within her working space, but together we agree it’s not about waiting for a switch or flash of inspiration. However there ARE things you can do to set the scene and make sure the conditions are right for that creativity to flow…
Inside / outside inspiration
Alice is wondering why things take so long to get to – and then feel so easy! The magic of self care and the window pixie. Louise is still feeling inspired by her recent interview with Nicholas Wilton – his belief about artist path and what’s possible for anyone. Especially how to be dismissive of your brother-in-law!
https://i0.wp.com/alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ep-15-Selling-your-way.jpg?fit=990%2C800&ssl=1800990Alicehttps://alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Alice-Sheridan-2.pngAlice2019-04-30 07:46:172019-04-30 07:46:22Selling your art your way 
Have you ever wondered quite what the point is in entering shows, or whether it’s worth your while? This one is for you!
This week Alice has been turning her feelings around by getting stuck into things and honouring her promises to herself, which includes wrecking an old painting. Louise has also honoured her promise to get her home exhibition up and running – and seeing the rewards already. And then there’s a little rant about taking action and not taking up opportunities.
This week, we’re considering event and exhibition submissions and asking what criteria should we use to decide if something is right for us. We consider both the financial costs and reputational benefits of events, identifying areas to consider including costs, location, audience match etc.
But we also go deeper. This topic unearthed a rare difference of opinion as a result of two different perspectives. In the end, we both agree that submission decisions shouldn’t be made in a vacuum – but rather as an element of your wider strategy.
Can you discuss the fear of sharing work in progress. This all relates to the fear of judgement and being assessed… it could even relate to the fear of being copied.
Inside / outside inspiration
Alice re-discovers the simple joys of returning to easy colour after some time away, and Louise is boosted (and maybe a little offended?) about the power of self-belief in determining the level of our success after watching a documentary about Sean Scully. (BBC)
https://i0.wp.com/alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ep-14-selective-about-submissions.jpg?fit=990%2C800&ssl=1800990Alicehttps://alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Alice-Sheridan-2.pngAlice2019-04-23 09:00:592019-04-23 07:47:15How to be selective about submissions 
Does your art need a gimmick to succeed? If art has a quickly recognisable ‘hook’ does that make it easier to sell?
This week Alice has been learning the value of taking detours – Louise is in flow with her work and both have been working together to share a free art workshop with Nicholas Wilton which will show you the three most powerful principles you can use to transform your art.
We explore the idea of having a ‘gimmick’ – what does it mean within art? Is there a difference between artists who have settled on a process and/or subject matter that works for them, and those who are continually searching. Perhaps there isn’t as much of a difference as we are assuming and there is something here we can all learn from.
Our discussion ranges from pop art to cubism and from Damian Hirst to a colour-blind Yorkshire farmer. Perhaps it’s not that art needs a gimmick to succeed – but that it needs a story, so that others can relate to it. Have you discovered yours yet?
“How much do you concern yourself with contemporary, ‘critically relevant’ art? How do you navigate the call to innovate versus just following your own pleasure and intuition?”
Inside / outside inspiration
Louise finds joy, and a bit of surprise in the fact that she’s begun to have calls from interested buyers who want to buy her work … “I need to make that easier.”
Alice has been inspired by others doing what’s necessary to move things along for them, including learning new technology in order to get results.
https://i0.wp.com/alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ep-13-gimmick-succeed.jpg?fit=990%2C800&ssl=1800990Alicehttps://alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Alice-Sheridan-2.pngAlice2019-04-16 09:00:392019-04-16 07:49:12Does your art need a gimmick to succeed? 
A question from a listener leads us into a wide-ranging discussion about the artist life. Many feel a frustration about limited time to spend on their work and don’t feel it counts alongside another career, but a recent study by The Arts council found that 68% of artists support themselves with other jobs, so if that’s you, you are not alone.
Louise is helping with organization of North Yorkshire Open Studios and facing the reality of quite how long it takes to manage an event – and find volunteers. Alice is feeling twitchy because she hasn’t painted in a few weeks.
Because I don’t ‘art’ full time, I sometimes struggle to call myself an artist and feel like a bit of a fake and a fraud… not deserving enough to call myself a proper artist. If people ask me what I do I hesitate as In my heart I’m 100% an artist, in my 9-5 day to day I’m something completely different but that’s not really me!
I have to work a full time 9-5 job so squeeze my art in at every opportunity of my spare time. I really would like to turn it in to my job eventually so am working hard for it.
Have you ever felt like that? How did you overcome it?
We have no desire to put you off, or say “be careful what you wish for”, but it’s easy to feel frustrated if you can’t spend as much time on your art as you want and assume it will all be heavenly when you are a “full time” artist. The reality may be different – but that can be OK too.
So, what is it really like to work as an artist? What is the fantasy and how does it stack up to reality? Do we risk losing the joy when we turn a hobby into a career?
We cover all this and more as we discuss our own journeys from hobbyist to professional. We talk about how we strike the balance between business and art, how we keep the joy in our professional lives, and how to get comfortable calling yourself an artist.
Inside / outside inspiration
Louise has been on a day trip to see two major exhibitions in London – Tracey Emin ‘A Fortnight of Tears’ at White Cube Gallery in Bermondsey and Van Gogh in Britain at Tate Britain (on until 11 August 2019). Both were inspiring for different reasons, but the artworks shared an emotional power and raw honesty that has Louise wondering how she can bring more of that into her own work. (Alice isn’t competing with this!)
https://i0.wp.com/alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ep-12-fantasy.jpg?fit=990%2C800&ssl=1800990Alicehttps://alicesheridan.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Alice-Sheridan-2.pngAlice2019-04-09 07:45:032019-04-09 10:08:01The artist life- fantasy vs. reality