Humboldt Painters Get Creative About Selling Art Beyond the Redwood Curtain
If the economic slowdown has a bright side for artists, it is this: the opportunity to explore new ways to create and sell art. “My paintings range in size from quite large to very small, and for a long time I’ve wanted to find a format for showing and selling my small pieces.” said Eureka oil painter Kathy O’Leary. “This is a good time to take some chances and try something new.”
A group of five Humboldt County artists have joined together to take part in a growing international trend called daily painting. Painters complete one small work every day, post it on their blog, and sell it on eBay. The top-selling daily painters have cultivated large audiences and built a steady income selling paintings online.
Eureka author Amy Stewart is a student of oil painter Linda Mitchell. Last summer she went to Santa Fe to take a workshop from one of the most successful daily painters, Carol Marine. “Painting is really just a pastime for me,” Stewart said, “but I’m very interested in seeing what artists can do with technology and social networking. I’ve been blogging for years, and I was intrigued by the idea of selling paintings online and building an audience that way.” At the workshop she learned techniques for composing and finishing small, quick paintings, as well as eBay selling tips.
Now Stewart, Mitchell, and O’Leary have joined together with Dow’s Prairie artist Susan Fox and Eureka oil painter Rachel Schlueter to sell their paintings online through a group blog, Lost Coast Daily Painters (lostcoastdailypainters.blogspot.com). New paintings will go online every day, with bidding starting as low as $25 on eBay. A “Buy It Now” page lists paintings that are available for a fixed price directly from the artist.
Like most professional artists who participate in daily painting blogs, Mitchell plans to continue showing her work in galleries. “I’ll sell small paintings online, and work that I’ve shown before,” she said. “My larger paintings will continue to go to galleries. Most people want to see a larger piece in person before they buy it, and galleries are the place to go for that.”
Schlueter looks forward to the challenge of posting smaller works every week. “The idea is to do something fresh and spontaneous and put it out there, and then just move on to the next painting,” she said. “And it’s nice to be part of a group blog. That makes it easier to have something new up every day.”
Connecting with artists and art lovers around the world is another attraction, according to Fox. “I've been selling small paintings on eBay as an individual," she said, “but I'm really looking forward to marketing my work with four of my colleagues and friends. Daily paintings are a great way to buy a single special piece or start a collection very affordably.”
Visit lostcoastdailypainters.blogspot.com for new work by each artist and links to other daily painting sites around the world.