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Dark Whimsical Art Blog
 

Art and Creativity for the strange and unusual.
 

Fourteen Dos and Don’ts When Approaching An Art Gallery to Sell Your Work #artinfo

November 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Want to see your artwork hanging in galleries? What artist wouldn’t. But there is a right way and a wrong way to approach gallery owners and curators. If you approach them the wrong way it won’t matter how good your art is. They won’t want to represent you.  To get you on the right track here’s a list of 7 dos and 7 don’ts when trying to  get your art on the walls of galleries.

1. Don’t look for galleries to represent your work before you’ve sold any on your own. The gallery will want to know where your work as shown before, how much you have sold, and if you have won any awards. If haven’t sold any of your work yet then you are jumping ahead. Do some art fairs. Small local ones count. Keep a list of everything you sell.

 

2. Do get out there and sell at craft shows, yard sales, juried art shows, any where you can to prove your work is sellable to a gallery. Don’t forget online, too, at places like Etsy, ebay, Art America, or Amazon.  Keep a list of everything you sell and where your work has been displayed. If your work wins any awards record that as well. Think of this information as your resume. To the gallery it will be proof your work is sellable.

3. Don’t assume that all galleries sell every type of art. They don’t. Some specialize in photography, some in paintings only. It will do you no good and waste the time of the gallery if you do black and white photography and the gallery specializes in oil paintings. Do your homework. Only submit to galleries that are appropriate.

4. Do research galleries and visit them to see what type of art they represent before contacting them. Visit their webpage if they are too far away to visit in person.  See if they have any calls for artists or specific times of the year they review portfolios. Find out how they prefer to be approached and how they want your work to be presented.

5. Don’t show up at the art gallery with all of your work without an appointment. Gallery owners and curators are busy and normally have specific times they meet artists. Nothing frustrates a gallery owner more than an artist who shows up with all their work demanding to be seen. Don’t be this type of artist.

6. Do research the galleries that represent the type of work you do to find out how and when they like to be contacted by new artists. On most gallery websites you will find information on how to be considered for the gallery.  At The Fine Arts Company where I work we have a form for the artists to fill out before coming in. Here’s a link to our form: Call For Artists

7. Don’t call, email, or visit a gallery (unless your shopping) that you have submitted to asking whether they are interested or not. Again, gallery owners and curators are busy people. They don’t have time to respond back to every artist inquiry, only the ones they are interested in.

8. Do wait for the gallery to contact you, and if they don’t, assume they are not interested. Yes, if they don’t contact you back they are not interested in your work. It doesn’t mean your work is bad. It means your work may not fit the gallery or they may already have a similar artist and don’t want more work that looks the same.

9. Don’t make it hard for a gallery to find you and see your work. Most galleries to save time want to be able to view your work online. They don’t have time to meet every artist in person . They will be more likely to consider you if you have a presence online. Galleries sometimes search the internet looking for new talent. They won’t find you if you aren’t on the web.

10. Do have a strong presence on the internet and do juried shows, and craft fairs to show that your work can sell. There are so many free places you can display your work online. There is no excuse for not having a web presence. If you don’t understand computers and don’t want to take the time to learn then hire someone to create a web presence for you. Ask your kids, nieces, or nephews. Chances are someone in your family can help you out.

11. Don’t show up with your work still wet or not ready to hang. This will make you look very unprofessional. The gallery doesn’t have time to get your work ready for display for you. You need to do your homework ahead of time and only bring work that is completed. An oil painting needs six months to dry so you’re going to have to wait.

12. Do check the galleries website, or email and ask, for mounting and framing requirements to hang your work. Some galleries will require all pieces to have wire for hanging. Some will require sawtooth. Some may only take pieces on canvas, no frames. It’s your job to find out ahead of time and have your work ready when asked to bring it in. We like all of our work to be matted and framed with wire on the back for hanging unless your work is on canvas. The canvas will still need hanging wire on the back.

13. Don’t leave your work with any gallery without a contract. What happens if your work disappears? What if it sells? How much do you get? Who knows without a contract. It doesn’t matter what the gallery verbally told you. You need it in writing.

14. Do bring your own contract or read over the galleries and make sure everything is written down that is agreed upon. The contract should have everyone’s contact info, what works you are leaving, what their prices are, what percentage of the sale the gallery will be keeping, when will you get paid for each sale, what happens if a piece is damaged or stolen. You get the picture. Spell out everything so there is no difficulty between you and the gallery.

Follow these tips and you’ll look like a pro and have no trouble getting your work into galleries.


Artist Interview: Sumner Crenshaw Deliciously Dark Painter #artistinterview #artinfo

November 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Welcome Sumner Crenshaw to my blog. She has shown her work  at The Fine Arts Company and many other galleries. You don’t want to miss her tortured but beautiful oil and acrylic paintings. I did this interview with her for The Fine Arts Company and wanted to share it with all of you.

“Often characterized as disturbing, the images I create are at first shocking. But at a second glance, they reveal brokenhearted beings just trying to work through the situation they’re in. I don’t consider my work to be an assertion of hopelessness. Rather, it is an assertion of tension, depicting another side of life that, while often sorrow-filled, is nonetheless a part of the human experience; a dark realm that, if one can find their way out, leads to better things. The figures in my images just haven’t quite found their way out yet.”

Sumner Crenshaw

What made you decide to become an artist?

I suppose it wasn’t really a decision on my part. Ever since I was little, I was always drawn to art and I would always say “I’m going to be an artist when I grow up!”, so it’s honestly never occurred to me to be anything else. I’ve never considered the idea that art wouldn’t be a part of my life

What medium do you paint in and why do you like that medium?

I’m trained in over a dozen different mediums, but I primarily work in oils. I find that oils lend a richness and depth to the image, and they also lend themselves well to experimentation because of their extended oxidizing time.

Your work depicts dark beings trapped in conflicts and tension. It is deliciously dark. What made you gravitate in this direction?

Haha, “deliciously dark”; I like it! I think two things made me gravitate towards images that most would deem dark: first, at a young age I was exposed to the work of the Surrealists, particularly Dali, and so I think that informed my aesthetic early on; imagery that was twisted and exaggerated was planted in my lexicon quite early. I suppose that if I’d looked at books of Monet’s images, not Dali’s, when I was little my work might have gone a different direction. Secondly, I think my work presents as dark because I am inherently interested in depicting not just different worlds, but the inner worlds of conflict and turmoil that we all have.  To me, though, I don’t view it as a depiction of something negative or hopeless, but as an expression of tension; a tension that we all feel. We all have anxieties, struggles and inner conflicts- hopes, doubts and regrets- and I’m interested in portraying these in narrative form- opposing feelings are depicted as characters trapped in a scene of conflict.  For me, by presenting these struggles as images, it’s a way to work through them.  It’s all about exploring the idea of wanting to be more than what you are, but being uncertain of how to make it happen.

Is your personal view of the world as dark as the images you create?

Gentle Persuasion

Haha, I don’t think so. I get compared to Phoebe from Friends quite a lot, so I think most people who know me would not characterize me as a dark person. However, I am a restless person, someone who always wants to be growing but constantly feels like I’m not growing fast enough, and I think that restlessness-that tension- informs my world view and my work.

Does your work have any hidden objects or meaning in them?

I imbue hands with a lot of meaning. For me, my hands are my life- the things that allow me to create-so quite often in my work a characters hands are depicted as tortured or tired; I use them to symbolize artistic and creative struggles. I also will twist portions of characters bodies’ to illustrate their struggles- maybe their eyes are turned inward, to show their lack of insight, or maybe their feet are stuck together, to show their frustration with their own lack of growth.

Do you find it harder to sell work that is so dark in nature?

It can be a little more challenging, as most people shopping for art to decorate their house understandably don’t want a cranky surrealist painting on their walls. However, I do think there is still an audience for that type of work, it’s just more of a niche market, so to speak. I’m lucky, though, in that I like to work in a variety of styles, so usually I can offer something that appeals to collectors.

What was the best advice a mentor ever gave you?

I guess this isn’t technically advice, but when I was working on my undergrad degree one of my professors said “You’re work isn’t so much about color or tone as much as it is about the structure of what it is you’re painting”. I found that observation extremely empowering because it gave me a verbalization of where my work was heading. It’s funny, I feel like as artists we always have an inherent, subconscious journey in our work- we are all striving towards an exploration of something- but quite often even we don’t necessarily know what that journey is or what our goal is. By making that statement, that professor gave me an idea of what I was really exploring, without me even knowing it. And he was right: I have always been all about form and how far I can exaggerate or deconstruct it. His insight was invaluable as it gave me a sense of myself as an artist.

What was the worst advice you ever received from a mentor, fellow artist, or viewer of your work?

I’m actually pretty lucky in that I don’t think I’ve ever received any bad advice!

Two Nudes

When creating your work, do you have a process that you go through?

My process is actually embarrassingly simple! My ideas are actually quite often born from a statement; for instance, I might say to myself “Ugh, I just don’t feel creative today! I feel like my creativity decided to take a vacation!” And there it is! The muse deciding to leave the mind of the artist, that can be a compelling image. After I’ve toyed with an idea, I usually do a sketch, sometimes a few, to nail the composition and jot down a few phrases that illustrate the theme, then I outline it on the canvas, then I paint it. For my more abstract works I rarely even bother with a sketch. From there, I do spend a lot of time just living with the work, taking many chances to just view it while it’s in progress, letting it seep into my mind to see what areas make sense and which need work.  And then, once every area of the canvas is covered, I’m done. Once in graduate school a professor said that one’s process should consist of sketches, quick studies, detailed sketches of light patterns, detailed underpaintings, covering the canvas layer by layer, section by section, and then making a checklist to ensure each area of the image was analyzed for composition, focal point, etc. Truth be told, I thought it was malarkey! Painting is like dancing, the canvas being your partner; you push and pull and move the image until it makes sense. It’s intuitive. There is no need for a drawn out process.

What projects are you working on now or have coming up in the future?

 

I’m working on reopening my Etsy shop, with a focus on selling prints of my original pieces, and I’ve also got 4 exhibits in the works that’ll keep me busy through June of next year!

Juried Exhibitions:

  • 2010- Self: Group exhibition at the Croft Art Gallery, Waco, TX
  • 2009- Awesome Doesn’t Pay the Rent: Group exhibition at The Soundry Gallery, Vienna, VA
  • 2009- February 2009 Exhibition at House of Scratch, online art gallery.
  • 2008- Dreams and Visions: Group exhibition at Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights, IL
  • 2006- Nancie Mattice Award exhibition at Dangenart Gallery, Nashville, TN
  • 2005- Chelsea Global Showcase 2005 exhibition at Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York, NY

Group Exhibitions:

  • 2008- Summer Art and Music Festival, Ico Art and Music Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2008- Atlas!: Group show at Ico Art and Music Gallery, New York, NY
  • 2007- Works included in Slide Slam and donated for Real Party 2007 at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
  • 2006- Group exhibition at the Gallery on Seymour Lane, Newport, VT
  • 2006- Group exhibition at Silo Elevated Cuisine, San Antonio, TX
  • 2005- Group exhibition at The Well Gallery, Jeffersonville, VT
  • 2005- Seeing Red: Group exhibition at Catamount Film and Arts Center, St. Johnsbury, VT
  • 2005- Retro: Group exhibition at Catamount Film and Arts Center, St. Johnsbury, VT
  • 2005- Participated in For Art’s Sake, an annual art fair held in Stowe, VT
  • 2004- Dreams: Group exhibition at Catamount Film and Arts Center, St. Johnsbury, VT

Artist Interview: Painter Eric Carter #artistinterview #artinfo

October 26, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
Please welcome Eric Carter to my blog. I did an interview with him for The Fine Arts Company and thought I'd share it here.

Eric Carter is a self-taught award-winning artist who experiments with many different styles, including Wildlife, Landscapes and Abstracts. His desire to paint Still life’s eventually became the focus of his work. He chooses to paint those objects he sees around him. Simple, everyday objects that he finds beautiful and are often overlooked. Landscapes are inspired by the pleasant aspects of the countryside scenes to be found around his western Maryland home.

When did you decide you wanted to become a painter?

There wasn’t a moment that I decided, I just enjoyed painting and was determined to teach myself the art of moving paint around on canvas.

Was anyone else in your family a painter? What was that like?

My younger brother is a Graphic Designer…but I’m the only one who paints.

Did your parents  and friends encourage you to pursue your dreams or were they the “get a real job” type?

Received a lot of encouragement from friends.

How did you learn to paint so well?

It’s true what they say….Practice, Practice, Practice. I devoted time every day to paint something. You have to put that time in, in order to get better.

 

Can you recall the first piece of art you sold? What was that like?

Well my first craft show was in Martinsburg, WV about 12 years ago and only a few people showed up and I didn’t sell anything. Then a week later I get a call form a guy in Ohio, who pick up my card at the event and wanted to purchase 10 paintings. I was so excited, could not believe it. So that goes to show you that you never know.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your approach to colors?

I try to inject it into the painting in a way that excites

Do you teach art?

I have done some workshops.

Have you ever had a painter’s “block”? If yes, how did you resolve it?

Yes all the time. You have to wait for the inspiration to show up… and when it does…go for it!

How do you divide your time between doing business and actually painting?

The only time I paint is between 6pm to 9pm that works well for me

 

 


Book Review: Tumbling in Time by Denise L Wyant 4 out 5 Stars

October 23, 2015  •  1 Comment

 

Tumbling in Time

by 

The story takes place in several locations both present and future and jumps around following the pair Tasha and Arikk as they battle demon’s, hang out with angels, and try to stay alive in a future full of paranormal danger. The novel is well formatted for the kindle layout and is professionally edited. I only found two errors, a missing period and a missing quotation mark. Kudos on the hard editing work. The book is a short read and fast-paced. It won’t leave you time to take a breath. You can sit down and read it easily in a few hours so it’s a perfect choice for the romance lover and action seeker with limited time.

Tasha is feisty and won’t stop until she gets what she wants and is always jumping into danger head first before thinking about the consequences. She is a nice change from the usual shy or low self-esteem characters plaguing most paranormal novels. Arikk, her love interest, spends most of his time trying to fight off her advances or keeping her alive.

My only issue with the book and the reason I give it 4 stars instead of 5, it’s not a complete story. You’ll have to read on when the next books comes out which I know are currently being worked on. I had the privilege of reading the beginning of the draft for the next part. Whether the second part will conclude the story or if it will continue as a series, I don’t know. If the next book is like Tumbling In Time then it will be worth picking up a copy.

About the Author

Denise Wyant enjoys writing romance and urban fantasy stories and novellas. She is easily distracted and doesn't see herself completing a novel anytime in the near future. She started writing approximately three years ago. The idea of crafting stories with lovable, realistic characters and happy-ever-afters keeps her inspired. 

She resides in Maryland with her Himalayan cat, Willow. When not writing (or working), she enjoys reading, cycling, and caramel lattes.

 


Author Book Signing: The Weight of Chains by Lesley Conner #horror #halloween #amreading

October 20, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I'd like to introduce you to Newly published local author Lesley Conner. Her newly released book The Weight of Chains is a perfect read for Halloween. That’s why I picked her to be the first author to do a author signing at The Fine Arts Company. Here signing will be October 30th from 2pm to 5pm. If you can't make or don't live near Hagerstown MD, you can still get a copy at Amazon. Just click the book title above. If you are a Kindle Unlimited member you can read it for free!

TheweightofchainsAbout the book

In fifteenth century France, many rumors are whispered about Gilles de Rais killing the village children. But he had control over every aspect of his subjects lives: the servants he employed, the village he lorded over, the carefully crafted visage he showed to the world. He dictated where his subjects live, what they ate, if they lived or died.  Nothing could be done to stop him. When a wizard is hired to raise a demon for Gilles, the wizard loses control of the beast. Gilles’s tight grasp on his world begins to slip. His cook plans to flee, taking her son away from the dangers of the castle. His guard wants to claim Gilles’s lifestyle as his own. His wizard frantically searches for a way to survive both his lord and the demon he has called into the world. And the villagers – like Jeanetta and her family –move through life in Machecoul too consumed with the task of surviving day to day, and oblivious to the turmoil building within the castle that is threatening to break out and consume them all.

 

 

10665311_10204850145512498_770233720606426016_nAbout the author

A writer/editor, managing editor of Apex Magazine, and a Girl Scout leader. When she isn’t handling her editorial or Girl Scout leader responsibilities, she’s researching fascinating historical figures, rare demons, and new ways to dispose of bodies, interweaving the three into strange and horrifying tales. Her short fiction can be found in Mountain Dead, Dark Tales of Terror, A Hacked-Up Holiday Massacre, as well as other places. She lives in Smithsburg, Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and is currently working on a new novel.