Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pen and Ink Drawing

Framed Pen & Ink drawing - Copyright 2008 Michael Warth

Hi all,

Many of you know I started my professional artist career focusing on pen and ink drawings. In particular, commissioned home portraits in pen and ink. I wanted to share one of my favorites completed during 2008 - a pen and ink home portrait commission for Ms Maria D. I have not lost interest in pen and ink - on the contrary, I love drawing in pen and ink. The problem is time. As you might imagine, they take a long time to complete and oils tend to fair better with the majority of art buyers.

I want to thank Maria D. and her sister for commissioning a pen and ink drawing of her Dad's house for Christmas. I really enjoyed doing the drawing.

Unframed Pen & Ink drawing - Copyright 2008 Michael Warth

I have mentioned this in earlier posts, but 2009 is going to be an exciting time for Michael Warth Studios. I plan to do more commissions and share them here on the blog. One area I'm really excited about is the dog portraits in oil that I am beginning an agressive marketing campaign on - more on that later.



Sunday, December 21, 2008

Art Marketing or Artist's Marketing?

Hi All,

I finally have some time to do the things that I've been putting off or have wanted to do for some time. One subject that always amazes me is marketing. To further complicate the subject I like to focus on art marketing. One area many would be famous artist seeks to 'market' themselves is the web. To be effective, a website must understand Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a buzz phrase for getting websites to the top of those search engine lists. There are many facets to making a site list at the top.

  • Content
  • Clever Keywords, Descriptions, and page title (AKA META TAGS)
  • Browser Friendly
  • Inbound / Outbound Links
  • And so much more
Online, offline, does it really make a big difference how an artist markets their work? I think artists should be effective marketers online but equally (or more) offline. If you are an artist, are you marketing your work, or are you simply an artist marketing? Before I get hatemail on this subject I just want to point out that as artists we have a responsibility to create. I am refering to those of us who produce to sell - if you paint because you want to, and you are simply painting for fun; there is no reason to market your art anyway. I'm not trying to be mean but this post is directed to sellers. Back to the responsibility to create thing...if we don't create we have nothing to sell. The following is a series of points I want you to think about;

  • Create to sell
  • Market the art (don't be an artist marketing)
  • Sell everything (art is only worth what someone will pay for it)
  • Repeat

Simply put, create art to sell because it pays the bills and keeps you learning as an artist. Market the art you create. Online and offline; just market your art and create a brand (you). Be sure not to be an artist marketing. To better understand what I am trying to say; just remember this, marketing your art should be about you and your art. If you are an artist marketing you may be missing the point, you may only be marketing the process of being an artist. Your would be clients are not want-to-be artists, they are patrons of the arts who want to buy your art (so market your art). Sell everything and at a price patrons are willing to pay for it. Sure, selling 50 - $20,000 paintings a year would be great but are your current patrons willing to pay that much? Finally, repeat. All I'm saying here is to get another blank canvas out and paint another one. Paint it, market it, sell it, and repeat - it is that simple folks.

One last thought here. When you are marketing your art, remember to market your name. Was Van Gough really that good? No, but his name makes the art worth something. The same goes for Rembrandt, Vermeer, Pollack, and Picasso. Online and offline, your marketing efforts should help you find patrons for your art - never forget that point. Find them, treat them well, keep them, and find more. Get to the front of the pack through SEO online, or becoming a recognized name in your offline market.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rembrandt - my favorite three by the master painter

Hi All,

I wanted to share three Rembrandt paintings with you for today's post. Most of you are aware that Rembrandt is my favorite artist. The paintings that follow have specific meaning to me and I'll share why each painting intrigues me.

Rembrandt - The Mill - Oil on Canvas (1650)

Many years ago I discovered my father (also an artist) loved The Mill. We were discussing Rembrandt and were amazed that we have never discussed the fact that we both admired The Mill more than any other Rembrandt painting. I find this fact very interesting since we never really discussed our favorite paintings before.

Rembrandt - A Girl With A Broom - Oil on Canvas (1651)

A Girl With A Broom is one of those paintings that just has that warm Rembrandt glow. I remember a reproduction of this painting in Mom & Dad's house growing up. I never knew it was a Rembrandt (of course like many youngsters I didn't really care who painted it - I just liked it). I have to admit it freaked me out a bit because the girl has one of those stares that follow you around like an old Scooby-Doo cartoon. However, this is one of those paintings I was exposed to as a child and later "discovered" who painted it. 

Rembrandt - Portrait of Artist's Father - Oil on Panel (1631)

The last painting is of the artist's father. I haven't had the guts to try to paint my Dad's portrait yet but someday I may try. As an artist I can appreciate the importance of this painting to the artist himself. I can imagine what Rembrandt might have felt as he was painting a portrait of his father. I consider my father to be my greatest teacher and Rembrandt to be my greatest inspiration, therefore this particular painting is one of my favorites.

- Michael

Monday, June 23, 2008

Making the Most Out of What You Have

Hi All,

A lot of painters struggle with space to create their paintings. A simple search on the Internet reveals most of us resort to a garage, basement, spare bedroom, or even a corner of the room. I too long for the 14 foot ceilings, north light windows, and a 20 foot by 20 foot space just to paint. However, the question is; do you really need it?

Take a look at the en plein air artists. They do not need a massive studio since they work outside. If you don't paint en plein air, you can still adopt their methods. I use my basement to create, frame, and inventory all my work. A small desk in the family room is used for the "office" and I do run all over the house for space from time to time. All my equipment is portable, or easy to store away when not in use.

Here are some tips for all my cramped space friends:
  1. Try using a French easel and storage bag as your "mobile art studio" and paint anywhere you have room. When you are finished, pack it up and put it away.
  2. Use folding tables as work benches and tables when you need the space. When you're finished, fold up and store as needed.
  3. Use a laptop and the kitchen/dining room table. Desktop computers take up way too much space. Plus, the laptop can go with you anywhere! Instant mobile office.
  4. Use a cell phone for the studio. A land line is a waste of money. After all, you shouldn't be tied down to a studio right?
  5. Only purchase the supplies you need to finish a job or project. Avoid the "pack rat" mentality.
I hope these five tips help you find peace when you get frustrated for not having the ideal space. When you do get more space, I would advise keeping the same discipline of "mobility" that way you can keep your space clean, useful, and organized. I do a lot from my 12 foot by 20 foot basement studio and there is no way I could do it all without the mobility of my equipment.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Art News

Hi all,

I have searched the World Wide Web hoping to find art related news worthy to share. To my dismay I found a host of short snippets containing bad critiques, new wave thoughts, and modernism praises. However, one article piqued my interest because it was about the upcoming Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh. A really cool idea was to use refurbished shipping containers as art installation/exhibit halls. Not a bad idea; they are portable, secure, and much better than a tent. The 8 foot by 40 foot containers have been weatherproofed and prepared to show art. Great idea!

As I went on searching for current art news I could not find anything on the kind of traditional art I like. I tend to start reading about past American artists and the Dutch masters of the 1700's. The trouble is that the Internet is flooded with bad art and related news. Studies have shown that 95% of us have never been in an art gallery. Maybe this should be a clue to the galleries and museums showing the bad stuff (I really don't want to name drop here).

I became excited when I read the headline "Most Expensive Living Artist - Lucian Freud." My excitement gained as I caught the words "I'm so glad a painterly painter..."; when I looked at the published image of the work and wondered WHAT? Really...$33.6 million dollars!? I couldn't believe it; the painting looked like a calm version of a Van Gough. Before I get hate mail - Van Gough suffered from many problems and was only a painter for 10 years. He never sold a painting in his life and I feel he was not a master. Again, before you send the hate mail, please understand this is just my opinion. Now back to Freud...$33.6 million! Your kidding right. Why can't I offer to give 30% of the profits to a known critic, and 30% to Christies to auction one of my paintings. If it only sells for 10% of the Freud art then I stand to make a cool $1.3 million!

For artists like myself, and those not "discovered" by the world's critics, it is a dark time. We sell so we can purchase new materials and do another painting. We seek out clients who connect with our work. Almost like we are trying to find a good home for a good pet we need to sell in order to feed our families. Art news today follows the trends of modernism. Galleries and museums cater to the elite art scene. I truly believe the only reason the Dutch masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Durer, etc.) paintings haven't been put in storage is because the establishment views them as old treasures. These treasures are the bread and butter realism, the bar, the pinnacle, the goal for many of us - so give us some real news and stop pushing modernism!