Does this sound like you or has this happened to you?
You finished taking a fabulous class and walked away with a new-found love affair with a new medium, a new instructor, new techniques, and a new direction with your art.
You start to unpack all of that knowledge. What does this mean for my future you wonder?
And, then you begin to paint and create with a passion and commitment you have not had in the past.
Your excitement is palpable to family and friends, too.
Through many, many hours of practice, quite a few opportunities for growth along the way, and determination, you learn to develop your own unique style.
You post in your social media groups and friends and family start telling you that your art is wonderful, stunning, and….oh, by the way, where could they purchase it?
Or, here is another scenario:
You take the same steps as above. One day, you are sitting in a great little coffee shop sipping your cappuccino and look around the walls to see that they are covered with artwork with little labels describing the artist, the title, and the price.
You start to hear the whispers….”You could do this, too”, but you dismiss those whispers.
Perhaps you find yourself in a great little gallery and notice artwork on the walls and you think….”I wonder if my art would be a fit for this gallery?”
Another whisper...another nudge….another pull toward the doors of possibility.
So, with both fear and excitement (they often live side by side), you approach the gallery owner or the coffee shop owner and he/she is thrilled - no, overjoyed to showcase your art.
They ask you, "Do you have a business card to share with us?"
Need even more possibilities? Your art is seen by an artist magazine and they reach out to you to showcase your art the following month.
This is exactly what happened to one of my students last week and here are her words:
"One small but important glitch is I don't have a website set up. I do have my Facebook art page, my Instagram, and Pinterest, but I still need a website at this point! I guess I better get on it."
You are excited beyond belief, and want to shout from the rooftops to everyone you know and then realize this one startling point:
YOU HAVE NO WEBSITE AND NO BUSINESS CARD TO SHARE.
Your art will be hung and no one will know where to find you or even purchase your art.
What do you do?
You are now pressured into creating a website, trying to figure it all out, seeking help from family and friends or taking a class, but it feels like anxiety now rather than joy.
What I Know For Sure...
I am not Oprah, but what I do know for sure is that one must begin with the end in mind.
Beginning With The End In Mind
As a curriculum designer and e-course instructor with soon-to-be 13 online classes under my belt, I’ve learned that beginning with our end goal in mind makes the process much easier.
I just gave this same advice to my students in my own e-courses and I want to share with all of you, too.
Many of my students are in my classes because they want to move forward with their art and do exactly what I mention in the scenarios above.
They gain quite a lot of confidence and encouragement and feel ready to take the next steps but they wait to create a website….holding off to see if anyone is truly interested in their art.
Take a Gut Check
As you start to receive accolades on your art, this is a really good sign that someone is ready to buy your art.
When you start to hear these requests, take the time to looking into easy-to-make websites for yourself.
Whether you want to use Squarespace, my favorite, Wordpress, or go through Wix, Weebly or even Fine Art America, make sure that you get that website started right away. And, make sure you get a website that will grow with you.
what should your website have on it at a minimum?
Your Artist Statement
Your About page (who are you and why should they be interested in your art?) Give them insight into who you are and your background.
Beautiful, high-resolution images with titles and prices, if applicable.
Easy-to-read font. I love funky fonts, but you want others to read your website easily. Clean and legible is a good rule-of-thumb when it comes to fonts.
Aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Proper placement of images on the page.
Room for growth - meaning that in the beginning you may just want a few pictures to show your style of art, but with the idea of beginning with the end in mind, allow your website to grow. You may, at some point, want to sell through Fine Art America or start to create a blog. Make sure whatever website you choose, will grow with you.
The ability for someone to BUY your art and pay for it easily online. You will need to outline shipping and return policies, etc.
Yes, I know, this sounds like a lot of work, but trust me, it is well worth your time and effort. There is nothing that makes an artist feel better than sending possible customers to his/her website. You immediately have moved from hobbyst to a professional artist.
I am constantly coaching, daily in fact, and providing this type of mentorship to students in my e-courses and soon will begin Creativity Coaching with various packages to support students in their artistic growth.
But, in the meantime….
Once you have your business cards and website designed, when you walk into the coffee shop or gallery, they will know you are indeed an artist who is truly proud of her creative journey and now wants to share it with the world.