Monday, November 30, 2009

Online Galleries - Worth it??

Besides my website, I also have images listed on various online galleries. To be honest, I am not sure it is worth the effort.

Currently I am part of four different websites; DiscoveredArtists.com, Zatista.com, Soleyne.com, and Artfulhome.com. A couple of sales have been made as a result of showing on these sites, but I am still not sure it makes up for the time and money spent to participate.

So why have I chosen to show my work in places besides my own website? There may be a couple of reasons. One is the lure of increasing my exposure. This may be a myth however. I think I read somewhere that showing on different websites increases your ranking with the search engines. Not sure if this is true but it sounds good.

Playing the odds is also part of the appeal of listing on these alternative venues. There is always that thought that someone out there may stumble across one of your images because you were on one of these sites. The flip side to this is that you are usually only one of hundreds or even thousands of artists listed, all competing for that buyer that just happened by.

The costs to be a part of other online ventures varies. Most take a percentage of the purchase price. One of the sites – DiscoveredArtists.com has a multi-leveled annual membership fee that is based on how much they will promote your work. In addition they also charge a commission on sales.

Of all of them, ArtfulHome.com seems to be the most expensive. They began charging a $25 monthly fee to be part of their site last year. This adds up quickly. Why I agreed to this has to do with the tremendous traffic they receive, as well as the opportunity to be chosen to appear in their catalogs. So far nothing has happened has a result of having one of my images selected for their holiday catalog – but it’s not even December yet. They also take a 50% commission.

Besides the ones I have listed, there are many more online galleries out there, with more being added every day. I do know of artists having success on Etsy.com, but I have always wondered if 2D work sells very well there.

I think one of the reasons I wanted to write this post was to see how many other artists are showing their work on similar sites. So if anyone out there has a story to tell, please share it. I am curious to see if other artists feel that sales are possible on these sites or are online galleries just the virtual equivalent of "vanity" galleries?

For more information about listing on these sites, please click the links below.

ArtfulHome.com

DiscoveredArtists.com

Zatista.com

Soleyne.com

Etsy.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

Just a quick post on this day after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) to acknowledge and share all that I am grateful for.

Of course the top of the list includes my family, my friends, my health and the health of all those I love. I also have extreme gratitude for all of you that have taken the time to read my blog, comment and share. I considered myself extremely lucky to have been able pursue my passion all these years and wish I could personally thank everyone who has encouraged, supported and expressed appreciation for my work.

To all my students who have found joy and passion in photography and hand-coloring – thank you. When I started offering workshops I no idea that teaching and sharing what I love would be so gratifying.

Photography has given me so much and I know I look at the world around me with just a little more awe and appreciation than I use to. What a gift that has been. Here’s a little beauty that is on my street and makes me smile every autumn. It the most beautiful tree on the block:

Have a wonderful weekend and if you are shopping, try to shop local and if possible, buy handmade and sustainable gifts.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Different This Year....



Blue Ridge Parkway ©2009 Dianne Poinski

I finished my last workshop of the year on Saturday and it feels good. I enjoyed teaching these classes and it’s the only thing that made it possible for me to take the year off from art festivals - but I think I am ready for a change of pace. It’s similar to the feeling I had at the end of the show season every year.

I thought that taking a break from art festivals would be just that – a break, time off, a slower pace. It took me by surprise to find myself with just as many items on my to-do list.

In the past, after the shows were over for the year, I would usually just stop working. There were many reasons for this. Besides being just plain tired, I was busy trying to catch up on things that had been neglected around my house or reconnecting with friends I had ignored all year and - the break always coincided with the appearance of the red cups at Starbucks.

Every year I go into the holidays with the idea that “this time it will be different”. I won’t have my annual “meltdown” and I won’t be giddy with relief when January 2nd rolls around. To be honest – I have a reputation of being a “grump” (nice word) during this time of year. Like many people, I start to feel overwhelmed with obligations and attempt to please too many people.

I have been giving this a lot of thought and may have had a breakthrough (which is a lot more fun than a “breakdown”). Like I said earlier, I usually stop doing any real work at the end of the year. Could this be one of the reasons people feel like they have to tiptoe around me during December? It’s an idea worthy of exploring.

While I loved teaching this year, I have also felt a little frustrated with the lack of time for my own work – a common complaint of art teachers. With no workshops planned until the end of January, I now have some time.

I have a project that has been stirring around in my brain for quite awhile and I think it’s time to get started. Now – not “after the holidays”. I will share more later about my plans, but I already feel a new energy and a purpose and a reason to do something for “me” this year. There is a good chance that by doing something to make myself happy, the Christmas “grump” (again, a nice word) will take the year off.

I am not promising a Christmas miracle, just conducting an experiment. I will let you know how it goes………………

Friday, November 13, 2009

Going Forward

My black and white prints are framed and up on my studio wall.

This was a good exercise. I think it shook things up a bit and earlier today I was working on a different Paris image that I can’t wait to hand-color.

It’s funny how that works – I felt stuck, stagnated and frustrated. Working on these images as black and white prints and nothing more, made room for something. It felt like I had to take a couple of steps back before I could move forward.

Rue Suger ©2009 Dianne Poinski

I have ideas, visions, and excitement about what I want to be working on next. Not sure how it will all turn out, but I am willing to stretch a little and move out of the box I feel I have created. Stay tuned…………….

Monday, November 9, 2009

Second Saturday

This Saturday, November 14th is the Second Saturday Art Walk in Sacramento. Every month “The Artists Upstairs” (the unofficial name of those of us with studios upstairs from the Art Foundry Gallery) join galleries and other studios in welcoming visitors into their spaces.

Second Saturday has been around for quite a few years. It began when Michael Himovitz, along with his partner Chuck Miller noticed how other large cities had made an “event” out of gallery opening receptions. This observation sparked in them the desire to create a similar experience in Sacramento. In 1992 the first “Second Saturday” was launched and continues to be an important part of the Sacramento art community. To read more history, see this 2008 article at Sacramentomonthly.net.

The article touches on a little bit about the evolution of this event. The scene in midtown Sacramento on Second Saturday has developed into quite a party. I have mixed feelings about this. I love the energy of midtown and the chance for more people to be exposed to art, but I am not sure how many are there for that reason.

My studio is located in downtown Sacramento as opposed to midtown. While we enjoy a nice turnout every month, the numbers in no way compare to what they are seeing elsewhere. This is ok with me - the ones that do visit are usually there to experience art and talk with the artists.

Our local PBS station recently aired a documentary on Second Saturday that includes footage and information about the various activities available each month. Two of the “Artists Upstairs” were also featured – Taylor Gutemute and Merle Axelrad Serlin. If you missed it last week, you can still watch it on the KVIE website.

For those of us that participate in Second Saturday each month, the benefits are many. Every month is an opportunity for people to see my work, ask questions and maybe sign up to be on my mailing list. I have also had quite a few people register for one of my workshops because they found out about them on Second Saturday. Knowing that I am showing every month motivates me to make new work. We get many of the same people visiting each month - if I don’t have new pieces to show every once in awhile, they may stop coming. This month for example, I will be showing a few of my new black & white images from Paris.

Getting ready for Second Saturday includes making sure I have enough cards and other promotional material out as well as the "treats" I sometimes buy for people to eat when they visit. One priceless benefit of Second Saturday is that I am forced to clean up once a month, insuring that my studio doesn’t get completely out of control with tools and materials covering every inch of my workspace.

If you live in the Sacramento area and have never experienced Second Saturday, I encourage you to give it a try. Go to midtown and enjoy the energy and excitement that is generated there, or visit other areas for a more relaxing art experience. Of course, if you are anywhere in the vicinity of 10th & R be sure to stop by and say hello. I sometimes have candy………………



Friday, November 6, 2009

Autumn Stairs

I love this time of year. The colors are beautiful, the air smells good, and here in Sacramento the cooler temperatures are eagerly anticipated all summer long.

My image "Autumn Stairs" was actually one of the first black and white photographs I hand-colored. I had been printing strictly black and white images for a few years but had always been interested in hand-coloring. When I printed this image the first time, I liked it, but something was missing.


©Dianne Poinski

In my last post, I wrote about working on some of my new images as straight black and white photographs. This is quite the departure for me. Since I first hand-colored "Autumn Stairs" almost 15 years ago, I have hand-colored every image I have shown.

What happened with "Autumn Stairs" was the exact opposite of what I found myself experiencing with some of my new images from Paris. "Autumn Stairs" (in my opinion) is a much stronger image in it's hand-colored version. Again, this is just my opinion, but after my observations this week, I have been doing a lot of thinking about this subject.


©Dianne Poinski

One reason I believe most of my images work as hand-colored photographs is that I shoot with that end result in mind. Once I started hand-coloring, my photography changed somewhat.

I think most of my photographs could work both ways - hand-colored or not - and most of my images from Paris fall into that category. Discovering that it doesn't always work that way has given me a fresh perspective as I continue to edit photographs from that trip. Only good can come from a "fresh perspective".................right?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Black & White??


The Palace - © 2009 Dianne Poinski

With everything else that has been going on recently, I feel like my trip to Paris quickly faded into the background. I also feel frustrated by the lack of finished work from that trip.

When I got back from Paris, I quickly got to work printing, coloring and sharing images. These first pieces were all small prints that I worked on. Since that first burst of inspiration, I have only enlarged, colored and scanned two images - “Morning in the Park” and “Bateau à Giverny”.

For the last several weeks, in between workshops and other events, I have been combing through all the files from that trip and revisiting the ones I had already worked on, trying to find something that excited me enough to complete. I made quite a few large prints, started to color them, and with frustration, put them away unfinished. Something was missing, nothing was working. Why was this happening?

Two weeks ago, in another attempt to find something to work on, I kept coming back to a couple of images from our first day in Paris. Our plane had landed early and after unpacking and washing up, I grabbed my camera bag and walked over to nearby Luxembourg Gardens. As soon as I walked through the gates I took out my camera and decided to just have some fun.

One of the images from that day, “L'auteur Grec”, had caught my eye more than once. This time however, it hit me that the reason I had never printed it was because I could not see where hand-coloring would add anything to it. In fact I felt color would detract from the composition. Then I had the most interesting thought – what if I printed it and did not hand-color?

L'auteur Grec- © 2009 Dianne Poinski

At first I dismissed that idea – I have colored every image I have shown in the last 15 years. However, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I started looking at my other images with a different eye.

With this shot of inspiration, I am excited to announce that I am working on a body of work from my trip to Paris that will be black and white, toned, but not colored.

It’s been liberating to make this decision. Of course I still love hand-coloring and will continue to do it. Some of these new black and white images may even end up hand-colored some day. (On the flip side, some of them have already been colored but will be shown as black and white images.) But right now I am looking forward to stretching myself a little bit and I have a feeling I will have more to share about this experience…….