I have had an interesting 2021. It was my first year seriously selling my art on a regular basis at farmers markets and the local Arts and Craft shows. Some events were greatly effected by Covid protocols and others were not. The indoor markets all required a face mask, not a surprise, but not as nice as all the outdoor events where it wasn’t required. Even though I focused on my selling my art I would have been a bit of a starving artist if I only did local events. I would need to expand my calendar of events to cover all expenses if I wasn’t successfully retired.
This year was very successful in many ways. I got to show my works to a number of customers and had a number of buyers and even repeat buyers. I met a number of other vendors who have become friends and have found a network of knowledge about events, materials and contacts.
I have come a long way in my painting , a result of having to paint a dozen paintings in a week just to have material to sell at the next market. I was very pleased with the sales of my driftwood accented framed pieces, I had to make new ones every week throughout the selling season. Most popular was the blue herons and foxes. In many events this fall the smaller works have sold very well, many as gifts. The popular size has been my little 5″ x 1I look forward to the winter break, I have a deep need to spend time experimenting and playing. I have Sculpture designs I want to try as well as expanding my painting repertoire into more landscapes.0″ framed paintings. I have found them a ideal size for many people and able to fit into a wide variety of spaces.
The more events I did, I have noticed that my note cards have been a major part of my sales. I scan my originals and then modify them with an editing tool to make them into a PNG format with the background removed. I have developed a document format that allows me to place the images right where I want them. I have only started to take the cards seriously after I purchased my Epson ET-8550 in June. I can print on a heavy 110lb(300gsm) card stock and with the eco-tank printer I have only had to buy ink once after over 1500 cards. Packaging the cards in 6 packs with clear boxes has helped the sales greatly. I even did a couple of Christmas/winter themed card sets, that over the past month were a real hit. I have now started some paintings with a more spring theme that I will make into cards.
I look forward to the winter break, I have a deep need to spend time experimenting and playing. I have Sculpture designs I want to try as well as expanding my painting repertoire into more landscapes.
The moose at the top was wandering around just down the road at a local golf course. I love the Adirondacks.
This has been a very good year and thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for in both my personal and my art life. I have been blessed with new “Art” friends, I find that by attending several art events that I repeatedly run into other artists. Without exception, they are all willing to talk about their art and about the art business. I was told about many art events I didn’t know about and who to talk to and what’s good and bad about the various events. I also try to pass along my understandings and experience to other artists.
While I have decided not to take on any more commission pieces, I did get a request for a commission that I couldn’t turn down. A guy wanted a landscape painting to give to his new girlfriend for Christmas. He was so enthusiastic (in Love) and the subject was interesting so I decided to do it. I had the opportunity to play with the subject a little and I used Hot pressed paper to give me the opportunity to lift and layer paint. I am happy with the end result and made a custom driftwood frame to finish the piece.
I was at the Adirondack Coast Arts and Craft Fair and had a great time. Sales were very good and the crowds were pre-covid level. Yes we all had to wear masks, both vendors and patrons since it was indoors, but it was still a good event. I would be happy to do it again next year, and I know most of the others would as well. I had to create a setup that was 8×10 in size, so I added more of the closet shelves I use as vertical grids to hang paintings and they worked very well. I will use them for other indoor events in the future. I zip tied to the tables and threaded a rod to stabilize them.
As a result of the show I have had to scramble to paint more in order to have items for the 4 shows I have before Christmas. These are just a few of my new paintings.
I am doing a couple of new shows in December One is Sparkle Village in Saranac Lake. It’s an indoor 2 day event held on Friday night and Saturday. The other new event is going to be held on Sunday December 12th in the afternoon at a local restaurant called Living Goods, it is a limited event with only 8 vendors. I don’t expect much but it is one of those events to help another vendor and show organizer.
With the shows spreading out and a little more time to myself at home I have several new projects I am going to try.
Gore Mountain Mastercraft Series on Columbus day weekend was a real success. My biggest 2 days of sales for the season, selling 6 of my driftwood frames pieces and over 30 of my smaller framed pieces, many of them ones that I just finished and never even got them posted to my web site. I also sold a large number of my notecards just to round out the excitement.
The crowds were not huge but they were consistent with someone in my booth most of the time. It was a really nice weekend and the fall colors were in full display, and that helped draw people in.
I am impressed with the results of the couple of days and many of the patrons were happy to be out and to have an event to go to. I think with the restrictions that many people are looking for an easy to attend event and to support local artists.
I received an email from a customer “Jan” who shared how she is displaying my note cards in a multi photo frame. This is not an uncommon occurrence and I have had many customers state that they are going to frame my cards, they don’t want to give them away.
I am busy building back my inventory of smaller paintings and my note card sets. I have even done a few “Scenery” type paintings, like ones that I used for my Christmas Cardinals card sets.
Now that i am doing shows every other weekend my goal is to get back to the wed site and more consistent blog posts.
This past weekend was the end of the farmers markets in the Adirondacks. It was a good season for me and a learning experience in so many ways. I still have several events before Christmas including one on Columbus day at Gore Mountain in the southern Adirondack park near Lake George. It is a two day event and is expected to be a well attended event. I expect good exposure and sales. I have printed a large number of my notecard sets cards, including new cards with winter scenes to compliment my snowmen cards. I have sold a number of the new winter card sets with the “Winter Cardinals” being the best. I will only have an event every couple of weeks and I have completed a number of new pieces that I will be adding to the web site in the next few weeks.
Printing my own note cards has been an experience. Just like painting, paper quality seams to make a big difference in the final result. I have found a source for 130lb paper for the cards, thicker than most store cards. I purchased a new printer at the start of the season that has a straight through paper feed to support the new paper. It is the Epson ET8550, and eco-tank printer that uses the bottled ink and I printed over 3000 pages before my first ink refill. I did discover that the settings on the PC can have a great effect on final quality.
I have found that positioning of my cards and my framed (7×10) small paintings greatly effects the sales. Many people are reluctant to walk into my booth preferring to stand on the outside. When i had one side of my booth open and the table with the cards placed on the side I had more people come up to the cards on the outside than from inside. I want to still have an inside the booth experience and hoping to come up with a compromise setup. I think an awning on the front of the booth may protect the art and create an entrance option to direct traffic.
I have documented every sale for the season and see that while I sell a large piece at almost every event, I will many more of my small pieces and cards. Also a trend is many customers purchasing by credit card, even for a $5 purchase. I was asked about taking Vendmo payments but had not been set up for that. I had my wireless Square reader crap out at one market, luckily I had a spare one that it pugs into the power port. It is not something i would want to be without. I also carry a battery charging pack just in case, and had to use it a couple of times.
I was thankful that my wife can sew, she made my table cloths and made sure everything looked good. I had a set of small round wood slabs that I cut a slot in to hold up individual cards to aid in the display. The first time I used them I had a lady ask to purchase one to show the card on her mantle for Christmas so I sold it for a$1. It was a small piece of round Hornbeam wood from my burn pile. The second time I used them another vendor saw them and purchased all that I had to use for her display of small stained glass Christmas ornaments. I now have to make more for the next time. I will offer them for sale as well now, I have lots of firewood.
this past week I was at the final farmers markets for Lake Placid and Willsboro. It has been a great experience and have made a number of friends along the way from both fellow vendors and customers. It is a bit of a grind and I will re-evaluate the number of markets I do next year (some weeks I did 5 events). I may do more day vendor and less season long commitments, picking the best markets to make a solid commitment.
As the markets have been winding down over the past few weeks, attendance is dropping off as the summer people leave the Adirondacks. I have a three markets left on Saturdays in Saranac Lake NY until October 2nd, two on Fridays (19th and 24th) in Elizabeth Town NY and one Peru NY. Sunday the 19th . I will still participate in the monthly Strand markets held outdoors, October 30th, November 27th and December 18th.
I am looking forward to a two day market at Gore Mountain Ski area Octoberfest on October 9th and 10th. I have been told that it is a very good event by several vendors that will be attending as well. I had to do more to participate in this event due to it being held at a NYS Olympic Regional Development Area (ORDA) site, extra insurances etc. I wont have help since my wife is off to a quilting event that weekend. Only a 1.5 hour drive, so not a big deal going home at night.
I have been painting my butt off trying to keep up with the sales so that I have fresh paintings to display. I need to make a few more of my largest paintings having sold most over the past 6 weeks. I have also found that my smallest paintings of hummingbirds are very well liked and sell well. I end up doing a couple or three every week.
Now that the markets are slowing down my goal is to review my inventory and get everything listed here on my site. Looking to have it all updated by the end of October. I will be adding note card sets that are prints of my works and have been one of my best sellers all summer. I even did a few whimsical paintings of snowmen and winter scenes for the Christmas season.
I have enjoyed making the cards from prints of my work and it has been a great seller at the markets, covering the costs of the materials and the market attendance costs. Then my painting sales are profit on top of the cards sales. I am only charging $15 for the card sets, half of what it costs for cards in a drug store. They come in a boxed sets, and at the Art and Farmers markets I also sell them individually.
May August started with a first for me. I attended a 3 day art fair to sell my art for the first time. The event was in Lake George NY and was held in a great location. This was put on by the Vermont Craft Producers, and was a partial success. I sold sever large paintings as well as a number of smaller driftwood paintings along with my small paintings and cards. I say partial success because the 3 day event only lasted 2 days and the last day was canceled due to a major storm system coming through only an hour after scheduled opening. So 3 days was compressed to 2 and sales were less than expected. I did enough to pay expenses plus a little bit but the third days would have all been gravy. I am happy that i didn’t have to survive a thunderstorm with hail in my EZ-up shelter, that could have ben more costly than any profits.
One of the lessons learned is that it would be great to have another set of hands to work a busy show, My wife planned to join me for the last day but i talked her out of it. With rain and storms I didn’t expect any crowds with storms. I am looking at finding other large crowd, longer events. More expensive to attend but better exposure and chance of sales. Networking with the other vendors around me put me on several possibilities and a few to stay away from.
I did show several new pieces and sold them both in the first day.
I have done several summer markets in the past 2 weeks. Sales have been unexpectedly high, with the exception of the farmers market in Willsboro, it hasn’t had any traffic so I will give it another week or two.
The newest market was in Peru NY at Hayworth park, it was a first time event and very well run. The Peru market was over 90* and a very light wind. The Strand Art Market was also on a hot day with high humidity, has been a pleasure to attend and the staff has made the difference. I have done a few of the Lake Placid farmers markets and I am very surprised at the results, several sales of my nicer pieces, even with light traffic, the summer season is just starting there.
I purchased an new printer to support making cards, its the new Epson Ecotank 8550. It is able to print A3+ size but the reason i bought it was to make better quality note cards. I have sold a lot of the note cards and I am working on producing set to sell on this site. I have tried printing some larger images as a test and I am very impressed. It handles the heavier card stock very well (I like the 110lb stock).
I have sold a number of paintings over the last few markets, so now I need to paint more just to keep a stock for the various markets I do. I have sold Loons, Herons and a Fox driftwood frames.
This past week I participated in 3 Farmers Markets and another Strand Art Market. Four events in four days, and each one very different. It started with a new market for me, Lake Placid. The main road through town is all under construction and it’s a little congested, it was a decent market for me. I sold a lot of cards and have found that the layout makes a difference. Putting the cards at the front of my booth they get seen and purchased. At the Willsboro and E-Town Market they were back at the table and didn’t sell as well.
I was also at the Strand on Saturday and that was the best market so far. I sold several of the driftwood pieces and my smaller studies as well as sold most of my cards. It will be a busy week to make a few more paintings and printing more cards.
I finished two new cardinal paintings early last week and put them up in the market, both sold quickly. Cardinals are one of my most popular birds. I also sold a Humming bird painting that I added it last minute after fixing the frame. I had one the paintings blow off the grid racks and break the branch off the frame.
This past week I did a series of Turtle paintings . The inspiration came from seeing a turtle on a log in the marsh at Ausable Point Beach. I was impressed with the bright bottom side of the shell as it was reflected in the sun.
The paintings will be mounted in driftwood frames, some I have already made and others I will have to do soon. I will have them available at the next art and farmers markets. I will also post them on this site as soon as I can.
At the past Strand art Market I sold almost all of my cardinal paintings and decided I need to have a few more for my first Farmers Market in Lake Placid. I expect the market to be very interesting an believe that my driftwood frames will make a positive impression.
I am painting in the sun room full time now and saving the studio in the basement for frame work.
Yesterday was the Mothers Day Art Market at the Strand Center for the Arts. It was a very good market and almost felt like a pre-Covid event. There were 45 vendors with a wide variety of booths.
I had a very good market and sold several paintings, and a bunch of note cards. I really need to get the card sets on the site. After the last market I sold 2 commission pieces. I had many other inquiries again this market, mainly for pet portraits. As you see below I have been busy in the studio.
This is the new fishing series that I developed for this market. One is already sold.