Learn to make wet cyanotypes and lumen prints: August 18 and 19

August 18 and 19.png

The first workshop was such a success that I'm offering it again! The Wet Cyanotype and Lumen Print Workshop is a two day intensive on August 18 and 19, at my home studio in SW Portland. 

Length: 10 am to 3 pm each day, to take maximum advantage of sunlight, with a break for lunch provided by me unless there are any strict dietary restrictions. 

Saturday: We'll start with the wet cyanotype method, and we'll cover different papers and various ways of altering the emulsion to enhance end results, as well as in the development stage. Each student will be provided with a Jacquard Cyanotype Starter Set, which they'll be able to take home after the workshop to produce prints on their own. We'll also play around with the classic technique. We'll make excursions around the neighborhood to gather leaves and flowers, and play with my extensive library of transparencies. If you have any images on transparencies you would like to bring, please do so! They must be on laser print transparencies and not inkjet. 

Sunday: We'll process our cyanotypes that we left overnight for extra long exposure times and experiment with toning some of the previous day's work, and make lumen prints. I have a wide variety of photographic papers, resin coated and fiber based, with glossy, matte, semi-matte, lustre, and pearl surfaces so students can see the wonderful range of effects possible with them. We'll experiment with toning the prints to enhance the range of colors, using a selenium toner bath. Once again, we'll have a break for lunch provided by me. There is also a Starbucks and grocery store close by if anybody needs anything. 

Price: $375 for both days, all materials included. Students will go home with a boatload of prints and ideas for more! 

Space is restricted to 3 students. As of now one has already committed, so there are two spaces left. If interested in taking the workshop, please email me at krista@kristamccurdy.com

Come explore this wonderful world! 

 

How I Made Over $1000 In April And May As An Artist

As you may know, I've been endeavoring to increase my income from being an artist to replace the income from yarn dyeing, and I'm pleased to say that it has been increasing! Between my Etsy shop, Artfully Walls, and Society6, I made over $1000 in April and May, an increase from February and March...thankfully. It also helps that I've gained more clients in my day job, as a rehab Pilates instructor at Studio Blue in Portland, Oregon. 

April and May Artist Sales

APRIL

April was a good month for me for Artfully Walls, which was nice after such a dismal February and March; in April I made $77.38 from sales on there. Society6 was $38.50 from both the abstracts shop and the more botanical one. After fees and printing costs, Etsy brought in $477.96

Artfully Walls: $77.38
Society6: $38.50
Etsy: $477.96 

Total: $593.84

MAY

May I only made $11.18 from sales on Artfully Walls. Society6 brought in $39.50, almost par with April, and after fees and printing costs, Etsy brought in $533.78.

Artfully Walls: $11.18
Society6: $39.50
Etsy: $533.78

Total: $573.28

Altogether, that makes $1167.12, which is $373.86 more than February and March combined. I'm pleased with that, because it means I am making forward progress in income from art sales. Unfortunately Society6 has pretty much tanked for me since then, so we'll see what happens in the next month and a half. Artfully Walls always feels like a little bit of a crapshoot to me. 

It's slow going, and I do get a little panicky, but I'm so burnt out on yarn that I don't think I can even bring myself to dye the last of it, so I have no choice but to keep going forward!

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Prints of Prints of Prints

(Disclaimer-- this post contains affiliate links. I do receive a small commission if you sign up with Printful) I've been absent from here for a while, but am back! I love that I'm able to offer prints of my work now so easily with the Printful integration with Etsy. Back when I was a practicing artist, over ten years ago, offering prints was a costly gamble. You had to front the money, and there was no guarantee you would sell the prints....let alone being able to afford the money to print different sizes of the same image. Now, there are a plethora of Print-On-Demand (POD) sites, and it's SO easy to offer prints. Printful integrates with a ton of e-commerce sites, like Big Cartel and Woo Commerce, but it also integrates with platforms like Etsy-- in fact, I think it's the only print on demand site fully integrated with Etsy. 

This integration is awesome. All I have to do is upload my images, pick what I want them printed on (Printful offers a wide range of things to print on like T-shirts and mugs as well as art prints), pick the sizes, add my markup price, and list it! All the up front cost to me is the Etsy listing fee and my time. When a customer places an order, It's all taken care of on Printful's end. 

My work works so well as prints. Because the cyanotypes and collages are small, they're very easy to scan. I do have to do all the color editing in the morning with daylight, to get the correct color matching, but that's the only hiccup. What I love is that I'm able to offer prints of pieces that I want to keep the originals of. (reminder to self: remove original Wandering Flowers cyanotype)

 

 

These two collages are ones I made years ago,  and have kept ever since. I love that I can now offer them as prints! It's also super interesting to me to see how my style has changed so much, even though I wasn't really making work between the time I created these and today. Almost as if a separate self was running parallel...... 

Cyanotype Leaves

Although I've mostly stayed away from plant material for my cyanotypes, I've been really inspired by other artists also utilizing the #wetcyan technique with plant material. Check out these artists on Instagram: 

@atwaterdesigns
@hlisasolon
@sstaldermansur
@tone1s
@lindaclarkjohnson
@sue_reno_studio

 

If I've forgotten anyone I shouldn't, let me know! Go to Instagram and search the hashtag #wetcyan and you'll find a wealth of them! I love the way the maple leaves have printed, with that blue "halo". I'm sure it's a chemical reaction that I have no idea about, or basic with acid or....I was terrible at science, but the ones done with actual plant matter really come out differently. I like the surprise, though!  

Let me know how your #wetcyan experiments are coming along and if you have any favorites! 

Why Artists Need To Start Blogging NOW

All over the web, there are articles and posts with social media advice for artists with titles like, "Grow your followers by 1000 in 10 days!". There are other more real life advice ones, but a lot of them are professing to help artists aim towards the goal of selling on IG and Facebook. There's just one problem. It won't work. 

I'm exaggerating, but not too off the mark as it might sound. The reason is that almost all of that advice was given before the algorithms of Facebook and IG changed. Frankly, the only social media advice I come across on how to strategize with these new challenges are sites and podcasts and blogs for the business world. So it's time for artists to really look at marketing on social media from a business side of view, not just the pretty visual side of view. 

I'll go in depth more on Instagram and Facebook in future posts, but artists need to realize that organic reach is only going to go down. Followers and likes don't really count anymore in terms of getting your page or feed seen. In some ways, this levels the playing field. In some ways, it's incredibly annoying if you're an artist just starting out on your marketing journey. (Like, really annoying.) Let's face it, Facebook is a pay-to-play site now for businesses, and Instagram is becoming so as well. Not surprising, because Facebook owns Instagram. 

The biggest takeaway I have from what I've been reading and listening to is that your email list is gold. Your focus shouldn't be on just getting likes and followers, your focus should be on directing traffic to your website and getting subscribers to your newsletter. Also, focus more on SEO. That's something I'm still learning about; it kind of makes my head hurt, but I know it's important. My partner has been working on Google ads for his business, and I'm hoping I can recruit him to write an article.

That's where blogging comes in. That is, blogging on your website. Luring people in with good, interesting content. (That sounds so awful and sneaky. But true.) Using SEO (search engine optimization) to be found more easily in searches. I see so many artist blogs on their website where the last post is dated January 16, or 2015 and 2014 dates in general. Social media has taken the place of blogs for many people in the last couple of years, but it's time to think about going back to blogging. Social media traffic is useless for you if it's not funneling traffic to your website. It's kind of like art school art show openings where all the students show up for the free food. 

We'll go into ideas for writing in another post, but get your blog out of the deep freeze...or if you don't have one, start one! 

You're going to be hearing a lot more from me on social media marketing for artists, because all this information is important and I just am not seeing it anywhere else. Let me rephrase that. I'm not seeing it anywhere where I don't have to buy an e-book or buy and e-course. There is nothing more annoying to me to click on a Pinterest link that sounds informative only to find a few sentences and then the e-book I'm supposed to buy if I want to learn that information. I don't know about you, but I am a little fed up with every website (for artists, specifically, but for non-artists, too) trying to sell me something. 

I want to sell my art, of course. However, I also want you to have the information that I'm learning, and I want you to have it for free. 

Print on the wall is Flaming Flowers.

 

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6 Social Media Marketing Podcasts Artists Need To Listen To

Ever since deciding to really tackle my art career, and to treat it as a business, I've been doing tons of research about social media and marketing. A big part of that has been listening to podcasts. 

I wish I had gotten into all of this two or even 3 years ago, before all the algorithms started. You know, when Instagram was chronological. When organic reach was easy.

But, to quote Michael Stelzner, "Those were the good old days. The good old days are gone, and they're never coming back." 

So, in no particular order, are the main podcasts I've been listening to:

Artists Helping Artists This is one of my favorites, specifically geared towards helping artists market their work online. Leslie Saeta, the host, is a delight to listen to, and has mad marketing skills. She always has a co-host, who can differ, but always add value to the show. 

Social Media Marketing Podcast Michael Stelzner, who I quoted at the beginning of the post, founded SocialMediaExaminer.com and also has created the Social Media Marketing World conference, the largest social media marketing conference out there. He has fantastic interviews, and his knowledge and wisdom about social media today is unparalleled. He also has a fantastic voice that I've developed a bit of a crush on! 

The Science of Social Media This podcast is produced by Buffer, which is designed to help you manage all of your social media on one platform. I haven't tried them yet, but they do have a free version you can try out. This podcast also has great interviews, including ones with Michael Stelzner, with social media experts. It's smart, to the point, and enjoyable. 

The Strategy Hour is a podcast by Think Creative Collective, and the two women are always incredibly fun to listen to, have great advice, and are up front and honest about all the good and the bad of being in business for one's self. Some of the episodes are just them talking, but other ones have interviews. Their interview with Nathan Barry of ConvertKit is one I've actually listened to twice, and made me decide to use ConvertKit for handling my email marketing. 

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield Although this podcast is aimed at entrepreneurs launching their own online courses, there's still plenty of information that anybody can use. It's another interview style podcast, with a great range of experts interviewed, including Michael Stelzner. (Ok, I really like the guy.) 

Manly Pinterest Tips Podcast It's got a quirky bit to it, "adding testosterone, one pin at a time", but it's not nearly as male dominated as it sounds like it might. Humor aside, it's another interview type podcast, with the same great content as the other podcasts I've mentioned. It doesn't stick to just Pinterest; in fact, Pinterest doesn't seem to be its main focus, social media in general is. Fantastic guests as well, including, ahem, Michael Stelzner. 

There are a lot of podcasts out there on social media marketing, and a lot of podcasts skewed more towards visual artists, but these are ones I've actually found the most helpful, and the most enjoyable to listen to. I've learned so much that I had absolutely no clue about before, and continue to learn more with every podcast I listen to. One thing to be aware of is that there are a lot of podcasts that sound great, and I subscribe, only to realize that the last episode was in 2016 or 2015. They may have been great, but with social media changing practically every week, I need to know what's going on today.

The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere. Car, gym, vacuuming (just did that one today), walks, you name it. The ones I've mentioned here, too, have built up quite an inventory of episodes, so you can search and listen to the ones that you think you will most benefit from. 

Do you have any favorite podcasts that you learn or have learned from? What are they? I'd love to hear them. 

 

 

6 Reasons Why You Should Sell on Society6

When I was last in the art world, Print On Demand (POD) sites simply didn't exist. The amazing internet options for artists didn't exist. If you wanted to sell prints, you had to shell out the money up front and hope you could recoup it in sales. POD sites are a game changer. 

There are tons of POD sites out there, but my preferred one is Society6. Why?

1. The layout. Like most artists, visual aesthetics are important to me, which is why my partner and I will always disagree about Macs and PCs. (Hint: I'm the Apple lover.) It's clean, attractive, and dead easy to navigate, from both the consumer and the seller side. 

2. It costs nothing to get started. Literally. 

3. You set your own profit scale. When it comes to art prints, there is a base price, and you can markup how ever much further you want to increase your profits. That's not the case for the other products, though. Those have fixed markups. 

4. The options. You can sell far, far more than just art prints. You can have your images available on everything from pillows to totes to phone-skins to clocks to window curtains, to t-shirts and leggings....

5. You keep the rights to your artwork. The copyright always remains yours, which means you can sell the same image on other sites and platforms if you want. 

6. Exposure. It's an added way of getting exposure. You do have to work at it, but it's a way of getting your artwork out to an audience that might not otherwise find you.  

I also love that I can upload images to my website and then just add the clickthrough URL of the individual image's Society6 page on my Buy Prints page. 

My Society6 page