Art Appreciation

All posts in the Art Appreciation category

IS ART CENSORSHIP REAL?

Published July 30, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Do we apply a double standard in censoring Art? Is there a difference between a Rubens classical painting and Playboy? Most of us think so. Yet some of Ruben’s art is probably more graphic than a Playboy centerfold and his Rape of the Daughters certainly shows violence toward women. Nevertheless, most museums and libraries would have no hesitation in displaying it in a public venue. What then makes the old masters art different from artists who create in the here and now? Should paintings showing nudity, graphic violence like rape, sexual themes or nude statues be shown in a public setting such as a Library, Mall or even an art show at which children are welcomed?

Does it make a difference who is going to be looking at or reading controversial material? Yes, it does. Just as a person isn’t allowed to scream “fire!” in a crowded area for fear of causing panic, as a society we will always need to make judgments as to what is appropriate for our public libraries and other non-profits to display and spend their money on. And yes, in the past governments havebeen very heavy handed on what was considered appropriate.  On that subject, the right of Private adult individuals to decide what they will read and see must always be defended. The internet has virtually ensured that the freedom to view and read whatever we want will be protected; As long as it exists, artists and book publishers will be permitted to sell these items (in the appropriate venues), and I don’t think we need to be too worried about government imposed censorship.

Public galleries and non-profits have also felt the bite of censorship because of shrinking donations; private and for-profit galleries and bookstores are also under pressure not to carry controversial materials. A mom shopping with her 10 year old simply isn’t going to make a purchase in a gallery or art show that carries nudes because she isn’t likely to take her child into that gallery or to that art show in the first place.

As a visual artist who sets up art displays in public places, I am very aware of our American society’s standards of what is considered acceptable for public consumption. All societies have these standards of behavior and yes, the standards do evolve with society. 60 years ago, Tarzan of the Apes was considered too sexy for the libraries! What is acceptable in Europe is quite different than what is acceptable in America also. American standards are usually much more conservative than those prevalent in Europe. In this financially strapped time, Libraries and other non-profits and public venues are very dependent on donations. Let’s face it; donors are simply not going to come out and see or purchase art or books they don’t like and they won’t give money to organizations that support these things.

As to exactly why we think a painting over 100 years old is less controversial than one painted this year, well, all I can say is that history seems to cover a multitude of sins.

WHAT GENRE IS YOUR ART?

Published July 23, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of what that Genre was, and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet:  “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well, so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres. For this blog, I will confine myself to the genres and sub-genres of interest in the one-dimensional Fine art shown at art shows: Abstract/non-objective, Botanical & Still Life, Contemporary, Drawing, Landscape, Portrait, Realism, and Representational.

Abstract/non-objective art seemed to be images, which did not reflect pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all!

Botanical & Still Lifeis usually art about flowers and plants. However many different objects other than plants and flowers have been used in still life art. I placed Still Life with Botanical because so much still life art does use botanical subjects. Wikipedia defines botanical art as “the art of depicting the form, colour, and details of plant species, frequently in watercolourpaintings. Historically, these paintings were often printed with a botanical description in books, magazines, and other media. Art of this type required an understanding of plant biologyand access to specimens and references. These works were often composed in consultation with a scientific author.”3Currently, Photographs have replaced most botanical art in textbooks or other pharmacopoeia (medical textbook). The second most common subject matter found in Still Life is food and the third is the décor stuff my mother called “dust-catchers”. Still Life in art is all about lighting and composition; keeping a painting of inanimate objects interesting is much harder than it looks, and I have nothing but respect for those who paint this type of art successfully.

Contemporaryart was defined on the internet as “Artwork that has been produced employing techniques made popular after World War II”. This was interesting because it certainly didn’t agree with what I have seen in the “Contemporary” categories at art shows! In fact using this definition, most painting materials available are made using modern techniques all artwork painted by living artists could be considered contemporary. At art shows put on by local art groups, I have generally found art depicting abstracts, non-representational art, expressionism, etc., all in this category. It seems to me that oftentimes the subject matter was being used to define the category.

Drawingis defined as images created with conventional drawing materials – pen and ink, pencil, chalk, charcoal…  “Drawing is often exploratory, with considerable emphasis on observation. Drawing is regularly used in preparation for a painting, further confusing the distinction between drawing and painting. Drawings created for these purposes are called studies. There are several categories of drawing: figure drawing, cartooning, doodlingand shading(cartooning and doodling are not usually considered to be fine art). There are also many drawing methods, such as line drawing, stippling or shading. A quick, unrefined drawing may be called a sketch. In fields outside art, technical drawingsor plans of buildings, machinery, circuitry and other things are often called “drawings” even when they have been transferred to another medium by printing.”3 Upon review, I found that although drawing is often considered a Genre at art shows and competitions the internet doesn’t consider it a genre at all. According to Wikipedia “Drawingis a form of visual artthat makes use of any number of drawing tools to mark a two-dimensional medium. Tools can include graphitepencils, pen and ink, inkedbrushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, various kinds of erasers, markers, styluses, and metals (such as silverpoint). A small amount of material is put on a surface or support, leaving a visible mark. The most common support for drawing is paper, although other materials, cardboard, plastic, leather, canvas, and board, may be used. The readiness of drawing tools makes drawing more common than other art media. Drawing is one of the major forms within the visual arts. Old-style drawings were monochrome, or at least had little colour, while modern colored-pencil drawings may cross the boundary between drawing and painting. In Western vocabulary, drawing is distinct from painting, even though similar mediais often used in both. Dry media, normally associated with drawing, such as chalk may be used inpastelpaintings. Drawing may also be done with a liquid medium applied with brushes or pens (Chinese art). Similar supports can serve both: painting generally involves the application of liquid paint onto prepared canvas or panels, but sometimes an under-drawingis first drawn on that same support.”3 For the purpose of an art show, the Drawing category is often divided by medium, with Pastels most frequently considered a separate category all others lumped into “Graphics”.

Landscapeas a Genre was defined as images of landscapes, real or imaginary. This is a category where I wanted to place several “sub-genres”: Seascapes, Cityscapes, interior scenes, etc. I once asked a master artist her definition of a landscape and she told me “anything with a horizon”. Obviously, a street scene might or might not have a horizon line, but a painting of the inside of a house sure wouldn’t have a horizon although I suppose the floor line might be considered in the same definition. This raises another question: does a painting of say a group people on a city street come under the sub-genre cityscapes or portrait/figurative? And what about an indoor scene of a party or a scene in a restaurant that looks out the window to the landscape? Where does this go? Does a scene inside a house or other building come under landscape? If there are people in the scene, does it then become a portrait painting?

Portraitsare images that focus on the personality and representation of a person or animal. This is another category where I wanted to put sub-genres. Portrait implies a single subject, group or object for which that person(s) posed so the art could be created, even if it is a group being painted. Into what Genre then, does a group of people, who are incidental to the painting (there by happenstance) go? For instance into what genre would you place a painting of a street scene or a party or a family dinner where the subjects are imagined? Categorize this for me and put it in the proper Genre:imaginary people, imaginary house, imaginary scene of a modern family on Christmas morning (Mom and Dad in the kitchen making coffee or whatever, a young girl curled up in a chair with an I-Pod or phone, two teenage boys playing a video game on the wide-screen TV and grandparents coming in the kitchen door with packages). It’s not a portrait because the people aren’t real, yes or no?

Realism Artis artwork that focuses on portraying subjects and objects accurately, as they really are. Wikipedia defines this genre as “the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully, without changingitand avoiding artistic principles, implausible, exotic or supernatural elements.”3Another source, absolutearts.com, says, “Realism is defined by the accurate, unembellished, and detailed depiction of nature or contemporary life. The movement prefers an observation of physical appearance rather than imagination or idealization.” There isa type of art called Photorealism, defined as “the Genre of painting based on using cameras and photographs to gather visual information and then from this creating a painting that appears to be photographic.” I have most commonly seen this art done with either graphite or colored pencil and it allows for more detail. However, some master artists do not consider photorealism to be art at all since the image reproduced on paper or canvas is usually copied exactlyfrom a single photograph. However, I have also seen this done purely from imagination of the artist. If several photos are used as reference material and elements from them combined into a painting, then you have produced Representational art rather than Realism art.

Representational Art in the dictionarymeans to symbolize or to stand for. According to Wikipedia, all art is representational if it shows a recognizable object. “The degree to which an artistic representation resemblesthe object it represents is a function of resolution and does not bear on the denotation of the word. For example, both the Mona Lisaand a child’s crayon drawing of Lisa del Giocondowould be considered representational, and any preference for one over the other would need to be understood as a matter of preferences.”3So if you paint a landscape and leave out elements  that are actually in the scene, shift things around or add in things, to make the painting look better then you have created a piece of representational art. Humbling, isn’t it?

 

WHAT IS NETWORK MARKETING

Published July 16, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

There is a lot of talk these days out there about using social networks to market your art. You can certainly reach a lot of people with your message, but simply reaching them isn’t good enough. You must convince them  to buy your stuff. A  key ingredient in successful social media marketing is creating “social authority”. Once established as an “expert” in your given field you become an authority (someone others listen to). You can establish yourself by writing on-line about stuff you know about. It doesn’t  have to be art because if you want to sell your art, its necessary to reach outside the sphere of artists you know to your target audience. It’s a funny thing, but having social authority in one sphere will give you authority other places; just witness all those celebrities who endorse presidential candidates!

Because of social media—and the direct/indirect effect of these marketers, the buying public is more likely to make decisions using what they read and see in social networks, but only if they hear about it from someone they trust. This is the reason a focused, carefully designed social media strategy needs to be a basic part of your marketing plan.

Social Networking sites allow internet users to connect with each other. Most people using social networking sites join a group: former school classmates, a means to connect with friends (like Facebook and Twitter), etc.; most  of these sites also feature a recommendation system linked to trust. Social Network sites are web-based   r allowing users to connect over the internet via e-mail or instant messaging. It can be difficult to create a network of buyers if you are not already acquainted with them most of these networking services do run on “friend recommendations”. If you want your message about your work to be picked up and sent “viral”, you must create a message that is both interesting and attention grabbing.

Viral marketingviral advertising, or marketing buzz refersto practices thatuse pre-existing social networks. The goal is to create viral messages thatattract people with high social networking potential(SNP) so that these people will tell everyone about the message. It’s like a game of gossip.

Generally three basic conditions must be met for your communication to go viral. 1) A “go-between” or “dispatch rider” must pick up the message. There are three types of “dispatch riders” required to change an ordinary message into a viral one: market devotees, social hubs, and salespeople. Market devotees are among the first to get exposed to the message and transmit it to their immediate social network. Social hubs are people with many connections; they often know hundreds of people and can serve as tie-ins between groups with different interests. Salespeople receive the message from the market devotee, amplify it by making it more relevant and persuasive, and then send it on. 2) The message must be memorable and interesting. Only messages that are both will be passed on to others and spur viral marketing. Making your message more memorable and interesting (or more infectious) can be a matter of minor adjustments. 3) the environment needs to be favorable: The timing and context of your promotion takeoff must be right too. If there is something much more interesting going on like the Japanese earthquake, your chances of getting a competing message out are not very good.

Question: how do you find these people? Well, you must put in your time developing on-line relationships. It will be necessary for you to express some type of interest in what they are doing so that they will reciprocate. I am not advocating spending hours on the net; in fact, just the opposite. However, you will needto be able to make a connection with them on some level. Keep your communications short and only respond to stuff that interests you because a phony interest can be easily spotted.

Want to know how effective you are? Here are a few free social media monitoring and measurement programs and tools:

  • How Sociable? A simple, free tool that measures the visibility of your brand across the web.
  • Addict-o-matic A nice search engine that aggregates rss feeds, allowing you to see where your brand is lacking presence.
  • Social mention: A social media search engine offering searches across blogs, and microblogs with a social rank score.

TIPS FOR SHIPPING ORIGINAL PAINTINGS OR PHOTOGRAPHS

Published July 9, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

A Guide To Packing Art For Shipping

By the Practical Artist

http://www.thepracticalartist.com/the-practical-artists-blog.php

Congratulations! You sold some art from your web site! Now you have to figure out how to get it to your buyer. Unless you are hand delivering your work you will need to ship it to the buyer. In order to reach your buyer in a condition that does credit to you as an artist there is a real need to select both your shipping method and your packing container carefully. For packing you are going to need a lot of tape, foam core board, acid-free paper, acid-free plastic bags and foam peanuts. To pack paintings for photographs, first, wrap the art with acid-free paper and tape it together so it doesn’t move. What is acid free paper and why do you need it?  Acid-free paper has a pH factor of seven or above. The pH scale is a standard for measuring the acidity or alkalinity of all kinds of products, including paper.  Before 1860, paper was usually made of rag or cloth stock and high-end expensive stationary is still made this way. After 1860, paper mills began using ground up wood and mixing it with acids and bleach to save costs, all of which have a low pH factor and react with air and water to produce acidic composites. Why use acid free paper? The acidic compounds found in non-acid free paper can migrate to your art and cause decay and damage. In the short time it now takes to ship to your buyer acidic compounds probably won’t cause much damage; however, they may still leave a residue on your work that can cause it to deteriorate over time especially if your buyer doesn’t clean the work immediately after it arrives.

If the art is unframed canvas or sheet paper, you will need to make sure that it isn’t bent or folded by rough handling during shipping.  In 2012, Popular Mechanics conducted an experiment to see how packages were  handled by Fed-Ex, UPS and the Postal Service. According to their published results, the package was dropped around three times and flipped an average of seven times per trip. Putting “Fragile” or “This End Up” did NOT increase the care handling the package got; in fact messages like this seemed to make no difference at all. Not that most of these delivery people will be deliberately be careless, but then there wasthat internet video of one of them tossing a flat screen TV over a fence when he couldn’t open the gate… How do you avoid this happening to your expensive art? After wrapping your work in the acid-free paper mentioned above, add a tough, lightweight reinforcement to help prevent bending (extra thick cardboard or foam core works) on each side of the art. Then slip artwork in an acid-free plastic bag to help make it water resistant, and wrap the whole thing in bubble wrap and tape so it won’t move. Why do you need to use an acid-free bag when you are already using acid free paper? When the plastic bag touches your acid-free paper, acid migration can still occur. Acid migration is what happens when acid from one object touches another. Acid migration is particularly dangerous to photographs. Chances are the acid-free paper you bought can still be contaminated by non-acid free plastic because the paper doesn’t have a seal. The acid free bag will seal off the art from contamination by the rest of the packing materials and help prevent water damage. Next, make sure you fill the entire packing container with shipping peanuts or bubble wrap so there is no extra space.

Should You Ship Art With A Frame?Personally, I don’t ship framed art unless it is for a show; and I avoid shipping anyart that is under glass, because if the package is damaged during shipping, the frame itself  could survive  unbroken yet your art could be ruined by broken glass sliding around and cutting or scratching it. If you mustship framed art, then protect the corners with edge guards and substitute plexi for glass. If the buyer wants glass, request that they take it to a framer in their area and get it changed. The other solution would be to ship to a local framer in the buyer’s area and arrange for the buyer to pick up the art after it has been framed.

Since the above study by Popular Mechanics didn’t find much difference in handling packages with the three most popular shipping companies, you need to decide to whether use them or employ a company that specializes in shipping art, which could be expensive. However, if you are willing to pay for it, the specialty company may even pack your art for you.

What About Shipping Insurance? Whatever shipping method you use, I  recommend insuring your package and including shipping confirmation. I highly advocate you ensure your art for the full price in case you have to refund the money to the buyer if it doesn’t arrive intact. A high-value insurance cost does usually ensure that the shipping company will take more care of your work because they don’t want to pay damages.

Tracking The Package.If you are shipping inside the U.S. then you should always get shipping confirmation. Unfortunately, I did discover when I shipped a painting to a buyer in Canada that I could only track it as far as the border, so I don’t recommend paying extra for confirmation if you are shipping out of the U.S. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/301/~/mail—tracking-lost-or-missing-packages, CBP doesn’t have the abilityto track packages across the border. Occasionally a border station will hold a package for another government agency but we regular folks are just SOL. That painting I shipped across the border into Canada? The cost of shipping was almost as much as the buyer paid for it!

Speaking for myself, I now include a note on my website that I don’t ship originals out of the U.S. due to the high costs.

Good Luck!

Gail

 

Defining Your Artistic Genre

Published June 25, 2018 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Abstract/Non-Objective

I was always a little confused as to how certain types of art are placed into certain genres at art shows. For one thing, it seemed to be purely subjective, depending on each artist’s concept of that particular Genre and some art didn’t seem to fit into any division at all! I did find a definition on the internet: “Genre is the general classification of your image.” One of the best examples of saying nothing while seeming to say everything I’ve ever found! Most artists I know seem to classify their art first by the media used to create it and then by the subject matter. For instance, many artists will describe their work as a “watercolor landscape” or an “oil still life”. From the internet, I also got a list of what was considered genre classifications. In many cases, the definition of a Genre was very narrow. Obviously, not all images fit into the Genre categories and I found myself taking issue with the clearness of the description of some them as well so I went looking for comparisons of the definitions and sure enough, everyone has a different opinion! Like many fields, the definition of a Genre seems to depend on which expert you consult. I also found about 30 different genres described, with many of them having sub-genres.

Abstract/Non-Objective Art seemed to be images not reflecting pictorial reality as opposed to Realism, which tries to show exactly what is seen. On About.com, I found this 1“In its purest form in Western art, an abstract art is one without a recognizable subject, one which doesn’t relate to anything external or try to “look like” something. Instead, the colour and form (and often the materials and support) are the subject of the abstract painting. It’s completely non-objective or non-representational.” I also found sub-genres in abstract art as well: geometric, figurative, etc. In other words, it did seem to me that anything they couldn’t find a Genre for at art shows got stuck here. Occasionally, I found this category confused with Contemporary art at art shows, which as I later discovered was not the same thing at all! 

A truly abstract work of art is derived from an actual object or things in the real world, something found in nature that the artist has ‘abstracted’.  Abstract art can include abstractions of real-life objects such as trees or it can be non-representational. A non objectivework of art has no ties to any real world objects or things and so it is not an abstraction of anything, it is aptly named, non objective.Non-objective art is a type of abstract or non-representational art. It tends to be geometric and does not represent specific objects, people, or other subjects found in the natural world.

CHOOSING A GALLERY

Published December 25, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Choosing a gallery is NOT a matter of taking the first offer you get from a gallery, or taking a recommendation from your Uncle’s cousin. It is also not about showing trust in humanity. Choosing a Gallery to represent art can be one of the most important decisions an artist can make. This decision will affect who sees the art, and consequently who buys it. An artist is an equal partner with the Gallery: The artist supplies the product sold and the Gallery in turn supplies the selling venue. Neither party can exist without the other. If an artist chooses poorly, it reflects on both the artist and on the art. Art is a business as well as a creative endeavor.  If an artist is pursuing art as a career and not as a hobby artists need to be aware of legal issues that can affect them. Most artists benefit from showing their art at Commercial Galleries (nuts and bolts). Unfortunately, not all commercial galleries are created equal. Some are aboveboard and have excellent reputations and ethics. Others do not. Commercial art galleries derive their profit from sales of artwork, and thus take great care to select art and artists that they believe will sell and enhance their gallery’s reputation. They spend time and money cultivating collectors. If the artwork sells, the gallery makes a profit and the artist is then paid. It is not unusual for a commercial art gallery to charge a 50% commission on sales. Before entering into partnership with a new gallery, the artist should do what any responsible person would do before entering into a contract: check it out with the local Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. Ask to speak to other artists who are under contract. Do they make sales? Does the gallery pay on time when a sale is made? Does the gallery make sales of an artist’s work and not tell artists about it? What about advertising and publicity, how much does the gallery does and who pays for it? Artists should also attend a few of their receptions or events and see who is attending. If it is mostly other artists under contract, very few sales will be made. A successful commercial gallery will be in a location where there is a high volume of foot traffic and visited by a lot of art fans is ideal. A location such as this may be pricey, but if an audience is already there and primed to visit the gallery with the intent to buy, less can be spent on advertising to drive buyers to see the work.

NUTS & BOLTS VS. ON-LINE GALLEIRES

Surprisingly there are a number of on-line and nuts and bolts alternatives for choosing where you will show your art. The words “on-line art gallery” can mean different things, however; an online art gallery most likely will be a website to display and sell art. For example: 1) An on-line art gallery can be displaying art work from their current, future, or past exhibitions, and be set up to promote the exhibition rather than to sell the work via the website.  2)  An artist presenting his/her own gallery, either on his own website and 3) Multi-Artist Sites or shared websites (ArtId, Fine Art America, Etsy, etc.), representing many artists working in different medias and genres. On a multi-artist site the artist either pays a monthly fee or agrees to a commission paid when the work is sold. These are usually non-exclusive and are a risk free opportunity for the artist to sell art worldwide. Search for them using “original art” or “online art gallery”. The advantage of Online Galleries is that while the art buying public is growing, many people are still intimidated by walk-in commercial Art Galleries. If a potential buyer has access to a wide range of art viewed in the comfort and safety of their own home, they may relax and make a purchase. A lot of artists now have an online Gallery as well as a walk-in commercial Gallery, which means that an artist can present a lot more art to a lot more people.

Beginning artists can be confused by Vanity Galleries because Vanity Galleries are not the only type of gallery that charges a fee to the artist; a vanity gallery charges artists fees to exhibit their work and makes most of its money from the artists rather than from sales to the public. Some vanity galleries charge a lump sum to arrange an exhibition, while others ask artists to pay regular membership fees and then promise to organize an exhibition with a certain period. Occasionally a vanity gallery will appear to have a selection process because the number of artists on the membership roster cannot exceed the available time slots for shows. Vanity galleries have no incentive to sell art, as they have already been paid by the artist. They are not selective because they don’t have to be. Most Professional critics and reviewers tend to avoid them.

Cooperative galleries (sometimes called artist-run initiatives), are galleries operated by groups of artists who pool their resources to staff the gallery, pay for gallery space, exhibits and publicity. Most cooperative galleries carefully jury their members. Also, most, galleries of this type do require membership fees. Sometimes members must share the overhead cost of operating the gallery.

Before joining a gallery or on-line site, it is a good idea to check out their sales record. Talk or e-mail artists using the site and ask their opinion of the Gallery.

 

CHOOSING A SOFTWARE PROGRAM

Published December 18, 2017 by Gail Daley Writer & Artist

Art is a business, and like any business, it is necessary to keep track of expenses as well as income. While you can do this by hand, nothing beats a computer program to track stuff!  I have been searching for a comprehensive program for my art business for years. While there are some all-inclusive programs beginning to be developed, I have usually found some flaw in the program; either they were hard to use, or had an incompatible photo program for thumbnails of my art, etc. There are a couple of new companies with programs designed for artists out on the internet (see links below).  DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that I have no practical experience with any of these programs except Working Artist. It is up to you to check them out and decide if you want to use them. Here are some links to potential art software sites along with what information I have on them:

http://www.artlooksoftware.com/Downloads/Introduction.pdf  (Free evaluation copy available) Current pricing is £150.00 (I assume this is British pounds or some type of Euro symbol).

http://www.gyst-ink.com/  Retails for either $59.00 or $129.00 depending on whether you want just the basic system or their Pro program.

http://www.artsystems.com/products/system.htm  this system says it will link to QuickBooks, web manager and has a system for I-Pad. It is also VERY expensive; licensing for this puppy runs anywhere from $5,000 down to $795.00.

http://workingartist.com/   Retails out for between $139 — $154 with upgrades for $59. This one comes in 4 separate editions 1) a studio edition designed for agents representing several artists, 2) The artist edition, designed the single artist to manager their business. The site also claims to have an edition for Art Fairs and for Galleries, but I wasn’t able to access them by clicking on them. This is the only one of these software programs I have any actual working knowledge of, and it was about 10 years ago that I tried to use a free trial download. At that time, I experienced considerable difficulty in uploading photos of my work into the program, as it would not accept jpeg versions for some reason. I assume they would have corrected this issue in the intervening time.

http://www.masterpiecemanager.com/artistfnb.html  this one says it will manage inventory, contact, point of sale, has art web site templates, e-mail marketing and is available for MAC & PC. This is not that unusual as ALL of the software programs say they have both MAC & PC versions. Pricing for individual artists is $29/month, which works out to about $348 a year. Like Working Artist, this set up also has different programs for Galleries, stores consignment stores, museums, etc.

If you don’t want to purchase an expensive program, you can simply use an excel spreadsheet to track income and expenses but it is very time consuming. For expense tracking, I would recommend QuickBooks to track your expenses and income. QuickBooks, while a little on the expensive side is pretty user friendly and easily transitions into tax software programs such as Turbo Tax when it comes time to file your income tax. Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that it doesn’t mesh as well with Apple products as it does PCs. If you simply want to go the excel program route and manually track stuff, you can access copies of my system at http://www.thepracticalartist.com.

Yes, Virginia, I am actually using three programs to track my art and my expenses. QuickBooks for income and expenses, two spreadsheets that tell me where my art is at any given time; (Current Location Report and Painting Information Sheets) to track awards, income from each painting or prints made from it. I also use a photo file  with different sized images of my art for various uses (webpage, large-sized prints, and specific sizes for on-line show entries).

For Photo Editing I use Photoshop Elements because it is less pricey than the full Adobe editing program and as a painter, I really don’t need the maximum amount of bells and whistles you get with the full Adobe Suite.

I can’t say this often enough; back up your data!

You should keep at least two types of photo records:

A photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work, kept separately from your desktop computer. A working copy can be kept on the desktop, but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive.

To keep track of your business and be able to recover your files in a disaster, you will need:

A program or system to track income and expenses;

A record that includes an image of each piece of art created and its disposition or current location.

Keep back-up copies of these items in a separate place, And up-date your back-ups monthly. Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone. For this, you can purchase separate auxiliary drives that have as much memory as a desktop, or you can back your stuff up into a version of the cloud. There are a LOT of cloud backup systems out there now. Automatic systems such as I-Cloud, and manual systems like Dropbox. None of these are free and if you can’t keep up the payments, I don’t know how recoverable your records might be. Check them out.

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