The Sheltering Book Chapter 2

The Sheltering Book Chapter 2

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I am honored to have been one of 17 artists who received an inaugural ‘The WORD Grant 2016: The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize” from the Institute for Jewish Creativity, a project of American Jewish University.

web1The Sheltering Book at The Braid Theatre Gallery, Home of the Jewish Women’s Theatre

The WORD Grant, a project of American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity, supports artists creating projects that explore Jewish ideas, themes, tradition, history, and identity. We believe in supporting a contemporary, vibrant, Jewish cultural landscape in Los Angeles.”  —The Institute for Jewish Creativity

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For my project, “The Sheltering Book“, I constructed a “life-sized” book, to become the backdrop and inspiration point for bookmaking workshops! The book also draws parallels to the “Sukkah”, a small temporary  shelter used in ancient times for those harvesting to eat and sleep in during harvest season (part of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot which falls in October).

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Please join us this coming Saturday at The Montana Branch Library to make books and explore The Sheltering Book in community!

Saturday October 22nd 10 AM – 1 PM  The Montana Branch Library/Santa Monica Public Library  1704 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403

I will also be there with The Sheltering Book from 2 – 5 PM that afternoon for more exploration, bookmaking and sharing!

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The Sheltering Book Chapter 1

The Sheltering Book Chapter 1

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I am honored to have been one of 17 artists who received an inaugural ‘Word Grant 2016: The Bruce Geller Memorial Prize” from the Institute for Jewish Creativity, a project of American Jewish University.

The WORD Grant, a project of American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity, supports artists creating projects that explore Jewish ideas, themes, tradition, history, and identity. We believe in supporting a contemporary, vibrant, Jewish cultural landscape in Los Angeles.”  —The Institute for Jewish Creativity

For my project, “The Sheltering Book“, I am constructing a “life-sized” book, to become the backdrop and inspiration point for bookmaking workshops! The book also draws parallels to the “Sukkah”, a small temporary  shelter used in ancient times for those harvesting to eat and sleep in during harvest season (part of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot which falls in October).

Here is The Sheltering Book in process in the studio:

web3The book is made of corrugated cardboard, primed, base-painted and layered with paint washed, a paint effect, or decorative painting technique. Here boards are waiting to be painted, while the accordion spine

web2is readied to receive its wash treatment on the work table.

web4The base colors are Fine Paints of Europe primary colors, the paint version of the Pantone Color System.

web6Accordion spine made in two parts, with overlapped center.  Extra pieces added to the top to add height.

web24Because the spine was made of moving boxes, there were slits cut on either end. The end that became the bottom of the book was folded over and glued to create extra strength. (Not pictured here.)

web26 The slits and resulting gaps in the top were covered with board prepared in the same manner as the primed, painted and treated surface. The diamonds cover the last bit of gap, and became a design element.

web5Cover board before border added.

web9Cover boards with borders, glued and stitched to accordion spine.

web10Stitching cover board to spine. Interior view.

web8Cover board attached to inside of spine. Left side exterior  view.

web23Cover board stitching. Right side exterior view.

web14Left side pages glued to spine.

web20 Ready to glue left side pages.

web19Harvest colors: red-russet  covers, golden-yellow pages (complimentary purple on reverse- not pictured.)

web28The process: holes punched with awl, spaced with handmade cardboard template. Sewn with 48lb / 21.7kg natural hemp cord.

Please join us for one of the public bookmaking workshops!
  • Sunday October 16th 10 AM – 12:30 PM   The Braid Theater Gallery, Home of the Jewish Women’s Theater / 2912 Colorado Ave #102 Santa Monica, CA 90404
  • Thursday October 20th 7 – 9 PM, 430 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405, A  Community Corporation of Santa Monica (CCSM) Affordable Housing Bldg. (This one is just for building residents and CCSM Staff).
  • Saturday October 22nd 10 AM – 1 PM  The Montana Branch Library/Santa Monica Public Library  1704 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403 I will also be there with The Sheltering Book from 2 – 5 PM that afternoon!                                        

 
                                      
                                        

“Artissima Transitiona” I

“Artissima Transitiona” I

Three years ago, for a number of reasons. my husband and I moved to Los Angeles…Santa Monica to be exact.   Since that time, I  have become involved with the making, study and teaching of artist’s books. I teach bookmaking around Santa Monica and LA County, and am continuously  evolving my own expression of this unique art form. Bookmaking, creating handmade books, unique books, artist’s books, and the book arts overlap as activities. In essence, they employ the form of The Book as an expressive vehicle.

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I have been the principal of my own decorative painting company, ArtiFactory Studio, for many years, primarily in San Francisco, where I resided, also for many years. In this post, I begin to share how I am finding ways to put these two forms together, one, bookmaking, often associated with the small-scale and intimate, and the other, decorative painting, often large-scale, which includes mural painting, glazing, faux finishing, gilding, and a myriad of other ways of “treating” the built environment, IE, the environment created by us humans as the setting for our activities.

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I hope to approach this subject in a series of posts, each showing a slice of what I am doing, and hope to do. I am fascinated with notions of scale, with materials, texture, space and design, as well as with the expressive, provocative,  and multidisciplinary nature of handmade books. In this post,  I will share how I brought techniques and notions specific to the field of decorative painting to the form of The Book in my own work. This process has been part of a greater transition in my life, work, business and career on all fronts.  Hence the post’s title” Artissima Transitiona“. The transition continues…

WEBa1Gilding, or the act of adhering metallic leaf over a surface adds a bit of bling, depth and dimension to an already complex surface on this handmade book cover. The gold rectangle also provides a focal point for the eye to rest on, adding order, focus and coherence to the piece. A piece of board was gilded, then added to the surface collage.

web1Texture can be a huge part of decorative painting. The artist manipulates glazes, paints and other materials over a surface to create both visual and physical texture. Here crumpled tissue paper is adhered to the surface in layers, giving it a satisfying texture, variation of color, and contrast to the look, and feel of the other materials used, which include cloth, hemp cord, beads and paper media.

WEB2The covers of this book are made of boards that have been dragged or “Striéd“, a technique by which paint or glaze is applied to a surface, and a large stiff brush is used to drag through it while it is still wet, leaving a up and down stripe-like pattern/texture.

WEB4Here a “brown paper bag” feeling is created by using humble brown wrapping paper (and bags) to create an earthy  texture on the surface of this book’s covers. Individual pieces of hemp cord are used for the binding, adding to the homespun simplicity and feel.

WEB5This book is created from boards that were originally painted with metallic paint and glaze samples for a client. I loved how these samples looked together, and added the rust, iron and verdigris sample pieces above them.  The rest of the book is made of paper with plant material flowing through it.  It  is bound with linen thread in a  single signature  (gathering of folded pages).

WEBaFinally, here is a book with an accordion spine; a “found” spine…meaning that I happened upon a design brochure, and its size, weight and color worked perfectly the book I developed. The covers are made of paper that has been textured, painted and glazed, then glued onto boards. The contrasting “edge design” is created by the addition of another painted and glazed decorative painting sample, glued on the open edge, then folded over, and glued onto the inside of each cover, giving it more stability, integrity, and visual interest.

I hope you will join me as I journey through this time of creative transition, exploration, and discovery. Although the waters feel uncharted, there are plenty of inspirational and provocative artists, makers and craftspeople to help light the way.  Here’s to diving in!

Happy Hunting: Treasures from the The Huntington 2

Happy Hunting: Treasures from the Huntington Library 2

The Huntington” (The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens) is a place to keep coming back to. After wanting to get there for over two years, a visit was finally made, and some of its treasures revealed. Today we revel in the glories of furniture carved, painted, and upholstered to perfection!

WEBiiiThese look to me for all the world like two proper “sisters” decked out and dressed to the nines…but in perfect taste, of course. They are a…

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WEBiHere’s a closer-up view..to show the incredible craftsmanship. Note the use of complimentary colors…the green of the upholstery contrasts with the reddish walls behind.

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WEBijjThe Gothic Revival bookcase is rich with decorative detail, while its clean lines and shape give an architectural feel.

WEBijjjWe can see the age and weathering of the piece, like layers of history.

WEBlIf this piece was “perfectly restored”, it would not have the same feeling, or emotion. Here we can see the passage of time, though its beauty, artistry and design are timeless.

WEBkjjjjEvery area embellished, ornamented, adorned.

WEBkjRepeated use of line creates whimsical complexity

WEBkjjj“Art”, “Science”, “Commerce”, Literature”, “Music”, “Agriculture”

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WEBq“…representing the medieval union of the liberal and mechanical arts.”

Indeed…Charles Locke Eastlake!

 

Studio Poem: Seeing the Light (if only briefly…)

Studio Poem: Seeing the Light (if only briefly…)

We develop studios…work spaces…work places…wherever we are.

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Palatial mansion (or loft), or a place within our heads.

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The sunlight hit a series of samples which themselves became works.

StudioWEB2Another “sun” was created.

For a moment… I saw things in a whole new light.

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Gotta hold on to that…

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Green, Green, My Heart is Green

Green, Green, My Heart is Green

webEHere’s looking at You kid…with the greenest eye.

Inspired by a post on ORANGE, written by Anna Nahman of L’Essenziale Home Designs, and a little walk i took today, I decided to write about that most Life Affirming of all colors…Green.

It is the Fall season…Autumn…a time in many locales of oranges, rusts, sometimes brilliant reds, and greens that are fading into yellow…but here in Santa Monica, green, bursting at the seams and filled with blooms of color, abounds.

Fall is also a time of new beginnings…new school year…projects, growth and cycles of all kinds.

Therefore…join me please, as I celebrate the glory , growth, and greatness of Green!

3Cmkting13C Marketing Group gets Green Power!!

cc2Green gradations on exterior architecture can brighten even the San Francisco fog!

LAgreengradAnd the Los Angeles “version”…bright light, Chartreuse.

Green 0311Bulls eye…Kelly green seen between two buildings hits the visual mark!

blushThe tart, green apple “taste” of this yogurt shop, (in terms of Synesthesia) stirs up the appetite!

GreenDoorjambGreen paired with its opposite/compliment red (or in this case, pink) makes for a striking interior image.

lady_aThe complimentary red ladybugs stand out against the green background, making a strong statement.

green2Soft, weathered greens flow across wooden poles which form a fence, and blend naturally into the landscape.

green3Verdigris is  the natural patina which forms on the surface of  copper, bronze, or brass as it is exposed to air and water, wind and weather over time.  It’s aqua-green tints work well in natural settings.

WEBBGreens don’t have to be brilliant to be beautiful…a soft grey green exterior punctuated by a wooden door melds perfectly with the dark  green vines which trail over it.  There is a melancholy to Autumn…after all.

But…let us not end on a melancholy note…let’s end with the glory of green…WEBd

Oct122012_6378WBpushing its way through the grey pavement, a go-getter…growing…growth…grown…it just won’t stop, or give up.

And neither should we.

Happy Fall Everyone!

Some Kind of Wonderful

Some Kind of Wonderful

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It is wonderful fun to create these “Artissima Lumens

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These (plastic!)  light switch plates become tiny canvasses, ready for adornment (including the tiny metal screws).

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Each one is carefully sanded, primed and base painted with waterborne paint.

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The surface is then ‘textured” with semi-transparent, waterborne glaze.

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The glaze is manipulated over the dry,  base painted surface with tools such as sponges, rags and specialty brushes.

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Because the glaze is semi-sheer, the base paint shows through, but as an altered hue, with added depth and complexity.

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When dry, the glaze treatment provides an evocative  surface to paint, stencil, stamp and further embellish on.

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Next, pattern, imagery more texture and color are added, often with stencils artfully arranged.

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Finally, the whole surface is varnished, sealed with a clear coat of acrylic (again, waterborne), to add sheen and durability.

Some kind of wonderful experience…this process, and the satisfaction in creating “Artissima Lumens“!

The Power of RED

The Power of RED

Whatever you want to say about it…the color RED elicits strong emotions. What are the associations and meanings  of this volatile color, and what does it symbolize to us?

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An effect of light: COLOR

From an energetic point of view, red is related to the Basis chakra (energy center), and influences the sex glands, and sexual energy.  It symbolizes life and reproduction.  Studies show that it is associated with both love and, to a lesser degree,  hatred,  as well as life, heat, fire and blood.

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Life Force

Red is arousing, stimulating,  and exciting, relating to both passion, strength, activity and warmth, as well as aggression, rage, intensity and ferocity.   One aspect, it would seem, that can be agreed upon, is that red is energizing!

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I am RED hear me roar!

 Synesthesia, the experience of a sensory “cross-over“, ” is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.“.  Thus a color may elicit associations with particular sounds, tastes, smells, or tactile sensations.  In the case of RED, is associates with loud sounds, specifically, the trumpet, as well as sweet and strong tastes and odors.  Red’s tactile association is firmness and solidity.

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Firmness, Solidity, Strength: holding it all together

What is in common here? Strength. No  half-way measures here…RED packs the proverbial “punch”.  Indeed, if we are punched, the area where we are impacted more often becomes red quickly, as the  the blow brings up our actual blood in response so healing/repair can begin immediately..  Seeing Red anyone?  Well, here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to You!

Let’s look at happy, healthy, healing and sometimes outrageous but always energizing uses of RED!

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Brilliant RED, setting off the adjacent gray, adds fire to this exterior architectural color scheme! Symmetry is avoided, but balance is achieved.

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Red does double duty here  energizing both door  and address numbers, again framed by cooling gray, which makes the red stand out that much more.

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The red door let’s us know exactly where to go to enter this charming Victorian, which also employs grays and blues and a touch of lavender as a counterbalance to the eye-catching accent door and architectural detail.

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The red side of this bar ties into other red hues in the flow-through living room, as well as the kitchen rug, and other details not pictured, such as a bright red teapot! Fresh white trim frames and accentuates it.

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Red is thought to stimulate the appetite, making it a natural choice for an eating area. In this home, the red of this dining room, and  the blue and gold of the adjoining hallway/entry and living room respectively create a potent triad of primary colors!

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Red associates with love and the heart, and thus is a natural, life affirming accent wall color choice for an organization like Dress for Success, which helps women prepare for fresh starts in their lives.

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The associations of red with grapes and wine may be obvious, especially to those for whom such spirits are their “life blood”. This red accent wall provides a vibrant frame around the vineyard scene.

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Red doesn’t always have to cover the wall to have an impact. Above, it is used as an energizing accent, and makes a statement in the context of the painting, textile, and rug. There is just enough to enliven a smallish room, and add warmth, layering and texture to the predominant hues of beige/cream, white and deep blue.

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The painting of red with turquoise blue in this narrow hallway packs the proverbial punch, and lights up our senses. The brightness and richness of both these colors holds our attention and really keeps us awake!

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Red and turquoise play nice together as strong accents on this painted chair, reminiscent of the Southwestern United States, in both imagery and hue.

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Setting each other off like black on white, the green background makes its compliment, red, pop! Loving ladybugs, anyone?

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Red is the perfect choice for a sidewalk “sandwich” sign, designed to attract attention, inform, point the way, and draw in customers!

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Flying high…the associations are here are clear!

What does RED mean to YOU?!

Letter to a Young Decorative Painter: In-depth

Letter to a Young Decorative Painter: In-Depth

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In my last post, Letter to a Young Decorative Painter, I shared a list of tips and ideas, advice and recommendations that I had sent to a “young” decorative painter…IE, someone new to the field, who is just starting out, and trying to get clients and build business.

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How interesting it is to look back, and see all the things we have  done along the way to learn, develop, grow, sustain and thrive as an artist, entrepreneur, small business person, and member of the “creative class” and service industry.  A more in-depth look at my list seems in order.  Maybe it will open some doors for others, wherever they are in their career.

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  • Get a good Website, absolutely, to share and showcase your work. Absolutely essential. Anyone, anywhere needs to be able to access images of your work, your contact information, bio, and references, referrals, and testimonials.  I use my site as my online portfolio, calling card, tool of communication, and catalog! Start small, and develop your site as your business develops. WordPress sites are lauded as being user-friendly, and offering you the ability to update your own site, which can be a boon! You can choose to depict the kind of work you most wish to be hired for, and steer whoever looks at your site in that direction.

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  • Start a Blog, focusing on the kind of work you would like to do, etc. Many advise that having a blog is also essential in today’s entrepreneurial world. That may be, but only if you post on it  regularly! A blog also can be a tool of communication, a marketing tool, a place to develop ideas and attract audience, followers and colleagues as well as clients, and even create outlines and drafts for other writing projects. I have found that planning specific time each week to post helps get it done. You may want to focus your blog, or a series of posts on specific subjects, or aspects of your business.

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  • Network with Interior Designers and Architects, as well as Painters, Paint Stores, and others in the Building/Built Environment field. Networking is key, and there are many ways of doing this, in person, online, by referral, formally, and informally.  As a decorative painter, muralist and faux finisher, you may find great resources at your local paint store, design center, or design district. You may want to do some demonstrations of your paint store’s product, offer to do signage, or other small project for a designer or architect whom you admire, and would like to work with, or for a favorite charity, non-profit, or organization. Whatever you do, make sure you have plenty of business cards, and other print material handy to post, and pass out to anyone you want to connect with, or to those who may know others who could use your work.

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  • Join a networking group, such as “BNI INTERNATIONAL“, (Business Networking International). (Google it). The “BNI” model is a group that meets weekly, consisting of one person only from any profession, with the purpose of referring clients to each other.  Many skills, and challenges are inherent in the process: defining your business so that you can share about it to the group, presentation, listening and supporting others, volunteerism, and interaction, to name a few!  A tremendous learning and development experience, on both a personal, and professional level.

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  • Take an entrepreneurship or business class, or whole program, and put together a Business Plan. Entrepreneurship classes, programs and studies are becoming much more prevalent in our society, and educational systems. You can learn how to create a business plan, and put money, marketing and management mojo to work, in the company of like-minded individuals. looking at your numbers, putting your goals and objectives down on paper, presenting to a group, learning about others’ business plans can be stimulating, clarifying and sometimes startling, but always educational and growth-inducing!

RenCenhttp://www.rencenter.org/

  • Have a selection of good-sized Samples, depicting your strengths, and the kind of work you most like to do, most want to do, and from which you think you will get the most business. What is the work you most want to do? Are strongest in?  is most sought after by the potential clients that are most sought after…by you? Create a set of samples, and a way to present them, so you can share with others your abilities, and what you can produce. You are in a visual business, so help potential clients imagine how you could transform their environment through your work.

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  • Create brochure, and a postcard, as well as a business card to go with your Site…they should all work together, as your business Visual Identity. Put your card and brochure in Local Paint Stores, and other appropriate venues! This is another arena where you can have fun, and put your color, design and graphics skills to use. it is not possible to do it all, and especially not well, or to professional standards, so enlist the expertise of  recommended / vetted and true graphics/web designer to work with you to develop a visual identity system that does you and your work proud. Your web and print presence are your visual calling cards, so make sure you present yourself at your best, and in the way you truly want to be seen.  Dianna Jacobsen, of  Jacobsen Design is a superb graphic and web designer who can design for clients based anywhere on the globe, and does.  Once you have your visual identity, put it out there…put it everywhere!

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  • Start an email newsletter (it can be simple) , and start building your Mailing List. Use your postcards! Keep in touch with your clients, potential clients, colleagues, associates and networking partners through digital and analogue means.  Email newsletters, blogs and social media can be a great way to stay in touch, but never underestimate the power of a beautifully designed card or stationary, and the handwritten word!

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  • Selectively, Do Some High Profile Work, at a Reduced,  or no Cost, for 1-3 Clients…to get your name out there, and showcase your skills and abilities. Have a party to celebrate it, at the job site if you can, when completed. If you are not yet known, move to a new locale, change the focus of your work/practice,  or have a great opportunity to support a cause dear to your heart, or for an entity that you want to connect with, consider doing a carefully selected and thought-out project that will gain you some visibility, recognition, and contacts, as well as give back to the community. Do not get into a long, costly, back-breaking job that will require elaborate scaffold or expensive materials. Consider something attainable, affordable, and impactful, and then use your communication systems to draw attention to it , create credibility, and potential referrals.  Ask the recipient of your efforts for a referral, testimonial or reference, and try to build your business from their. Most importantly, pick a project you will enjoy doing, and let the love show through!

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ArtBizCoachWEBArt Biz Coach, Alyson B. Stanfield and Artists

  • Get a Facebook Business Page, a  Twitter feed, and a Linked In and Pinterest  account, and keep up with them…interact and support others in related fields, and post many images. Share, support, educate, inspire and inform. Develop your online presence with care, remembering that as is stated in the wonderful film “The Social Network“, “The internet isn’t written in pencil, it is written in ink.” meaning that, assume that whatever you put on the web is there forever, for any and all to see.  So, present yourself truthfully, and as you wish to be seen…hopefully there is not too much of a disconnect between those two (!), and give to others, while spreading your own word and image.

Ext1FBArtiFactory Studio on FACEBOOK

  • Follow “Seth Godin for rich, daily doses information and inspiration. You can research his work  through Google/Facebook. Sign up to receive his daily blog posts in your email inbox.  Pithy, rich, down to earth advice on anything and everything related to marketing, entrepreneurship, creative business, and more. Easy to read, yet resonant, such that you can reread his words many times over.  Enough said…read his generous work!

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  • Don’t get discouraged. Do something to grow your business every day, keep on  plugging, and, don’t forget to help others and give back!!I would love to hear how You are doing in the comments section! Thank you for reading, thinking, considering, and creating.  Bestest wishes!

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Letter to a Young Decorative Painter

Letter to a Young Decorative Painter

WEBa25 Years of Painting

Recently I received  an email, the gist of which was the following:

Hello Debra,
I had an opportunity to view your website and I love your work. I commend you on your business. I recently began my endeavor in running my own decorative painting business, only to realize I have no idea what I am doing.
I have the creative background as well as sales background, but have no idea how to find clients.  I was part of Home Adviser, but they have no real category for someone with my skills.
What advice would a creative mind and business owner as your self give a fellow creative mind? I was given the advice to contact someone who is in the same industry as myself from another city  and ask questions,  being that I am not your competitor. I look forward to your response.
Respectfully,
Rene

Now, I don’t know how old in human years Rene is, but I do know that he has just begun his professional journey as a decorative painter, and thus is a “young” one, in terms of business years!

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Here is what I emailed back to Rene, with a few additions and modifications, to make it  more useful for You.  It was interesting to review what I have done over the years to create, sustain and build my business, and how much it does take!  I realized this list could be valuable to just about anyone pursuing creative entrepreneurship…and entrepreneurship is always creative!

Hello Rene,

Here are my recommendations:

  • Get a good Website, absolutely, to share and showcase your work.
  • Start a Blog, focusing on the kind of work you would like to do, etc.
  • Network with Interior Designers and Architects, as well as Painters, Paint Stores, and others in the Building/Built Environment field.
  • Take an entrepreneurship or business class, or whole program, and put together a Business Plan.
  • Have a selection of good-sized Samples, depicting your strengths, and the kind of work you most like to do, most want to do, and from which you think you will get the most business.
  • Create brochure, and a postcard, as well as a business card to go with your Site…they should all work together, as your business Visual Identity.
  • Start an email newsletter, and start building your Mailing List.
  • Put your card and brochure in Local Paint Stores.
  • Selectively, Do Some High Profile Work, at a Reduced,  or no Cost, for 1-3 Clients…to get your name out there, and showcase your skills and abilities. Have a party to celebrate it, at the job site if you can, when completed.
  • Follow “Seth Godin for rich, daily doses information and inspiration. You can research his work  through Google/Facebook. Sign up to receive his daily blog posts in your email inbox.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Do something to grow your business every day, and keep plugging!

 

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Here is how Rene responded:

Hello Debra ,
What it does in my opinion is simply show support that creative individuals as ourselves are willing to provide one another.  I truly appreciate the advice, and I have already set up a meeting with a client to provide my services at little or no cost, simply to attract his high end neighbors.  If I can ever be of assistance to you in any way, I would be happy to help. I thank you again and I wish you well always.   I would love to share my work with you as well.
Respectfully,                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rene

Have YOU ever looked back at all the things you have done, to establish, nurture, build, sustain, and grow your business?  I am certain that if you make a list you will be amazed at all you have done, and at all it takes. I look forward to elaborating on mine, and going into greater depth with it, for myself and others. It’s a fascinating and rewarding process!

Here’s to all of You creative entrepreneurs!

WEBe