It’s a new year! Happy 2022.
“North County Sky” Pastel on Paper
When I began blogging and posting artwork online, I seemed to be able to post easily frequently. Even as I added websites to my list of marketplaces to sell my work, sitting down and posting the work wouldn’t take more than an hour or two– and that was with writing a blog post and featuring a few pieces of art at a time.
Now, when I manage to sit down and upload artwork, I’m lucky if I can post a few pieces of artwork in one day– and that’s with spending most of the day working on it. It also doesn’t even include a blog post! Why does it take me so long now? I’ll share a few reasons, and maybe you’ll be able to relate.
#1: Finishing and Photographing
Finishing pieces has gotten to be a sticking point for me– partly because of time constraints, and partly because I have gotten so picky about when something is actually finished. I rarely sign a work until right before I post it. Even after signing it and taking photos, if I notice the smallest detail I don’t like once I see the photo of the finished piece, I’ll scrap the photos, adjust the painting, and retake the photos. This may sound ridiculous, but once I post my artwork, it’s out there, and it will drive me bonkers to have to look at a misplaced pastel mark over and over when I see it online, and I’m not really interested in having to go back and fix things later.
#2: Processing the Photos
This probably takes me longer than anything! Trying to match colors to the actual artwork is important, because the last thing I want a buyer to do is open up a piece of artwork and be surprised. This means a lot of back and forth between my laptop and my phone, and trying to find a happy medium between the two while I adjust my photos. Not to mention sizing, cropping, contrast, and having to take photos again because of some tiny flaw like smudged pastel dust. When I began posting photos of my artwork over a decade ago, most people didn’t have smartphones yet. Now you can browse artwork and zoom in to see incredible detail in the palm of your hand. For me as an artist, that means I need to make sure the details on there are the ones I want people to see and not something distracting (I’m talking to you, weird little piece of lint that floated onto the paper right before I took the photo!)
Also, all of the different websites I’ll be posting my artwork to have their own size requirements! So I need to make sure I save copies that meet those requirements as well.
#3 The Online Marketplace
Speaking of all those websites I’ll be posting my artwork to, this is the other huge hurdle in getting my artwork posted. I used to upload my artwork to my own website, compare it to make sure the colors looked right, and then go on to quickly add it to other sites such as Etsy, Redbubble, etc. I’d also do a quick blog post and hop on Pinterest to promote everything. Now, I still start with my own website. I’ll admit that I’ve added a couple more sites such as Daily Paintworks and Saatchi. However, I’ve had to drop the blog posts most of the time. Why? Well, each time I get onto one of those online marketplaces, I have to take a deep breath and be prepared for a lot of scrolling, and clicking, and typing. Each one is just different enough to make it feel like I’m starting from scratch. Over the years, these sites have added so many boxes to check and places for descriptions and keywords (I think I have nightmares about keywords), that the time to complete a single listing has greatly increased– and that’s with me taking advantage of options like copying listings and modifying them.
Also, I still like to make my prints available through Redbubble, but their product offerings have increased greatly, which means I spend time going through each work I post and removing all the options I’m not really looking for (I mean, I wasn’t really looking to see my artwork on hats and socks– the coasters and pillows are irresistible though!)
I understand the need for specificity and the appeal to buyers who can find as much information as possible for each piece– I just wish I knew of a faster way to accomplish that.
So why do it? Well, I actually like seeing my work on all these websites. I’ve gotten sales on each one, so they are useful! I was at a conference a couple of years ago and listened to a speaker on marketing, who shared with the audience that when you post something online, it takes about 18 months to see the benefits of that particular post. So even though it can be time-consuming, there will be benefits that come later. In the meantime, I’ll be painting and posting, even though there will be longer spaces between posts!
“Heron and Fish” Pastel on Paper
Speaking of finishing paintings, this one was rather large for me (18 x 24 inches). Working larger takes me longer too– but worth the time once it’s complete!
Here’s to a creative 2022!