Thursday, July 28, 2011

Websites, Blogs & Auctions - oh my

I don't have a new piece of art to share at this time, but thought I would write about Websites, Blogs & Auctions. I would love to hear from any of you as to what you utilize and what you prefer.

My first blog post was in February of 2010 making my blog approximate 1-1/2 years old. I love having a blog. It gives me a connection to the rest of the artist world. I have made friends, contributed to challenges and book projects, and am now involved in a project with an artist friend on the West Coast, Jill Polsby.

Because of my blog, I have been afforded the opportunity to have been involved with the Sketchbook project 2011, and now through collaboration with Jill, will be in the 2012 Sketchbook project as well. I contributed work to the Japan Relief fund and to my amazement, my piece sold at auction giving me a chance to help the people of Japan in some small way. I have also contributed to the Love From Me book project, which is a book put together by Sara Harley to offer inspiration and help to cancer patients. Quite a few achievements in 1-1/2 years, when all I thought I would do is get reacquainted with my paints after a long absence!

Throughout much of that time I could not entertain the idea of selling my paintings. After all, they were my children! (I was emotionally attached) But after the Japan auction I came to realize that my art, sitting on shelves in books with acid-free sheets, is giving no pleasure & no inspiration to anyone. So I decided shortly after that one auction to pursue selling my original work.

For a couple of years now, I have been on Fine Art America - where I have various paintings & photos uploaded. FAA does not offer a method to sell your original art other than to say "contact the seller"  if interested. They do offer cards & prints for sale, with mat & frame or printed on a stretched canvas. I have not made a fortune on FAA, but have sold enough cards & prints to pay the annual cost of membership for the 2 years. But I will say, only cards & prints of my photography have sold. Nothing of my paintings.

To pursue selling my original art, I first started a separate blog to offer original art for sale, but found it too restrictive in design for what I wanted to do. I took the 2nd blog down and pursued a website instead.

I went ahead and setup an account on Fine Art Studio Online as I had seen other artists using that website service. It had a better approach to the design & layout, so I have uploaded some art. Everything neatly categorized & priced, with references on my blog and a "click here" to purchase as well. This is my second month with the website. Now, I didn't have high expectations of selling things galore right off the bat. But I did think that there would have been more visitors & some mild interest. The visitor count is so low, only 1 hand is needed to count. And there has been no interest.

The cost for this website is $28.00 a month ($336 a year), which is quite a bit of money to me - especially since I don't have the traffic coming through nor the potential of selling a piece to offset the costs. Therefore I am thinking the website is perhaps not the best way to go, at least while I'm an unknown in the art world.

So, I've tried Blogs & I've tried Websites. That leaves Auctions as my next attempt. I am eyeing with curiosity the auction setup over on the DPW website. Their pricing is lower than eBay and the website itself is geared toward artists specifically, so I like that also. I've noticed some artist names of people who are following my blog or I am following theirs, and I've seen they have some art up for auction.

And so I'm wondering, is their work selling at auction? The website does not give me the opportunity to search old auctions. It also does not tell what the final bid was on a closed auction - both of which has given me some insight into what things are selling and what the average sold price is. I saw one artist, Tilen (which if you haven't seen his watercolor works, you should). He starts his auctions on his smaller works at $1 - his attempt at giving people a chance to own a small work by him.

Any of you out there on DPW, is it working for you? Are you making sales? Do you also use eBay? Are there others out there only using eBay or only an Etsy shop? Would love to hear from you!


Virginia Floyd said...

Love this post, Nan. I hope you get lots of interesting responses. I haven't tried selling anything so far. Feel like I'm too much a beginner. I'm very interested in seeing responses from DPW painters also.

jill polsby said...

Karin jurick sells on ebay. Check her out? apple......sells either. On eBay or etsy......

I was impressed that you took the time to set up your art for sale.  That alone speaks words of confidence.  Mine is all just thrown in a drawer, no acid free tissue paper here!  Is there an ice cream store where you could hang your art for free?  Is there a local restaurant who would be willing to hang your things?  My friends here who sell a few things are hanging their paintings as stated above with a little luck.  I wonder how we can become "selling artists" ......  It'll be interesting to see what people respond. 

AutumnLeaves said...

Hey there, Nancie...

I've only sold three pieces and each with 100% of proceeds going to bird rescue efforts down in the gulf from the fallout of the oil spill. I sold one on eBay and that was purchased by another artist blogger friend. The other two were smaller pieces and were snapped up immediately on a blog set up specifically set up to sell $10.00 pieces of art (ACEOs generally, though mine were postcard sized) with 100% of proceeds going again to rescue efforts for birds effected by the oil spill.

I admit that I am surprised any of these pieces sold and sold so quickly. There are lots of original artist works for sale both on ebay and over at Etsy. I don't attempt to sell anything because I know I'd feel dejected when things didn't sell. Too, I do have that attachment to my pieces still.

I know that both Dean Haven (Deano's Den) and Andy Smith (A Painting a Day) sell through their blog and through eBay. The blog link usually takes you to the eBay listing, if memory serves. Jane Hunt and Saundra Lane Galloway sell via their blog and I believe the DPW site.

I wish I could buy more art, but I am limited by both the price of a piece and the fact that I just lost my job. My ultimate goal is to at least buy from the bloggers I follow, even if it takes me years to do so.

I believe Camille Olson sells via a site that is both a gallery and has her blog included in that site. Also, I do believe you can set up websites for free online (just do a search for free websites). I saw one such site but for the life of me cannot remember who/where it is.

You might also consider ordering some business cards and leaving them around your community. Restaurants often have bulletin boards, as do some grocery stores, possibly the library. Sometimes you can leave them in hair salons (probably not the high end salons but smaller community type salons) and you can even run a small add in the PennySaver or your local newspaper. You might consider too checking with any local galleries or small stores that might sell your pieces on consignment (one thing I loved about Borders in Tacoma, WA, was that they had art for sale and it was simply displayed on the wall that was on the side of the staircase.

I'm fresh out of ideas now!!

The Desert Girl said...

I, too, have had very little success selling online. Art is so hard to buy, especially when you can't see it in person, hold it in your hands. I have had some pieces for sale on, and a few have had hundreds of views, but no bites. There are hundreds of thousands of painting for sale on etsy.

I have a website and a blog, but I have only sold a few commissions based on those websites.

Commissions are tough. I'm sure you know. Especially if you have more than one person approving your project (like I have going on now).

Your best bet, at least in my humble opinion, is to sell in person. Your work is so dynamic and popular that you should be able to sell pieces if you can get them up on the walls somewhere. Maybe frame out a few and find a local shop who will hang them for sale and receive a small commission if they sell. I wouldn't be surprised if you sell quickly.

Business cards are also a great idea. I have some and from them I have picked up a few commissions from referrals.

Other than that I can't say. If I had to live off of my art sales I would be a TRUE artist. That is, one that is starving!

Good luck!

Claire Beadon Carnell said...

Hi, Nan. I would have to say that I do best in the galleries. Of course that means I am paying a hefty commission for every sale, but I honestly feel that the galleries I have my work in do a lot to promote/generate sales.
I recently joined the Daily Paintworks Blog, and started putting things in the auction area, but did not have a lot of success, so I decided to just post my paintings in my gallery (where they can access my email to contact me if they are interested in something posted there). I have had several 'nibbles' and two completed sales in the past three weeks that I have been doing this. It's a great site that charges a reasonable fee, and I am hoping that I will be able to sell my smaller works online through them.

Thanks for your advice on my recent blog post - I am definitely feeling the same way!

dominique eichi said...

Great article.......... I'm investigating this too. Glad to see I'm not the only one !

NMG's art said...

Nan, thank you so much for putting this type of information out and sharing it, for those of us who are "newbies" in so many things it saves us going down non-productive paths. Will be interested to see what other feedback you from, although many of the ideas above sound like things you read about in the art magazines on how people got started and built a resume and clientell.
Thanks again for your candor.

Denny said...

Nan...good blog!
Postcards are a good source of promotion.Clients and friends sample your painting(s) on the front and can be easily handed out or mailed.
BTW your work is really wonderful...especially like your green colors in "Anywhere You Want it To Be"
I just recently joined Etsy, but haven't posted anything yet.

padmaja said...

Thanks for this post, it was like reading my own thoughts!
Just the other day, I had been to an art exhibition, the art was lovely, it was the final day and not a single piece was sold.. the artist was a young man trying to make a living. I feel that selling is much harder than creating.
I started posting on my blog about an year ago and since then some commissions have come my way.Though commissions are tricky because we have to please the customer to the core, I take them because they help to keep my faith in my art to continue!
I havent been able to sell anything through auctions till now.
When I exhibited my work at my own apartment with no affording capacity for a gallery, I could sell a lot of work. May be it was just a fluke, but it did make me optimistic.:-)


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