EBSQ Friday Five

1. Painted Ladies – The painting above by Deb Harvey is only part of a larger, beautiful painting. Check out her blog post for it and a second painted lady.

2. MOTM: Stay Calm – Have you seen Maureen’s free monthly mandalas? They are free to download and color!

3. Is your Art Blog Helping (or Hurting!) your Brand Online? – Excellent article. “If you’re really not up to using a blog, it’s better to not have that feature at all than to have one that’s been left on your website as an afterthought.”

4. How I made $50,000 Selling Art on Facebook – Natasha Wescoat shares some secrets to her success on TheAbundantArtist.com.

5. I’m always looking for great blog articles to share with the EBSQ community. If you have one email me at amanda [at] ebsqart [dot] [com].

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EBSQ Friday Five

1. Cuban Coffee, Lime and Creamer – Sounds like a perfect way to start a Friday morning, doesn’t it? It’s also a beautiful painting by EBSQ artist, Maria Soto Robbins.

2. Make your own refillable journal – Elis Cook has a tutorial for sale on Etsy you won’t want to miss!

3. EBSQ 12 in ’12 Update – June is the halfway point for the 12 in ’12 Challenge. I posted an update on my blog. Are you participating in the challenge?

4. Guest Blogging Strategy for Artists – EmptyEasel.com has an informative article on guest blogging. Writing a post for another blog is a proven way to generate interest in your own blog.

5. Do you have an article you think should be in the EBSQ Friday Five? Email me at: amanda[at]ebsqart[dot]com.

Have a great weekend!

EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Alma Lee

Who and where are you?

I am an artist and poet, my husband and I live and work in a rural area just north of Green Bay WI aka Packer country. We have come to call our hometown, the Kissikimee of Wisconsin, you know the middle of nowhere just 15 minutes from everywhere.

How did you get started art blogging?

I have to be honest I started only because I was told I should. For the life of me in my native’ I could not imagine how this was going to help me market my art. I have come to understand people have an innate sense of curiosity about art and artists. I was completely dumbfounded about what I would blog about. At the same time there seemed to be some negative chatter around the idea of blogging about yourself. I set out to interview some fellow artists to fill the space. Though it was not a bad idea, I found that many artists are more than willing to share their art, but seem somewhat reluctant to share their processes, or thoughts behind a piece. After a while I realized my entries seemed contrived and more like an artist Crit than an interview. It made me think back to the simple foundation I learned in a technical writing course in college, “Write what you know and dream about the rest” Well I may not be sure of who I am most days, but I do know my art, my processes, and inspirations and dreams behind each work. Once used that knowledge, pick a work of art and used it as a springboard I felt I was on surer footing. And I found that process simpler to start, and very useful even in interviewing others.

Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

I find that I the beginning I was caught up in the hype of blogging. After all this is about marketing and requires some serious planning. Doesn’t it? When you find yourself caught up in the numbers game ie how many hits, likes and followers you have, it can be pretty discouraging. I kept asking myself with all the other blogs people are reading who is going to find time for yours? Then I would look at other artists blogs and see they had more followers than I and I felt totally defeated. I became a comment junkie, if some post went without comment I would wonder what was wrong ? Is it the art or the writing? It became an endless spiral to something that is supposedly FUN! It was some time before I realized that the biggest concerns were not how many would hits, followers or comments. But what is your standing with the search engines, where are you placed? If you can get a potential customer to “google” you, can they find you? Can they find your work, auctions, website ect? Google honors new and frequent content on blogs so if you do it right your blog should appear on the first or second page of the results. And you are able to direct them from there. I am also fascinated with where my audience comes from, I love looking at the analytics, it helps me fine tune just who my target market is. It was vindicating for me to learn that most of my audience aka potential patrons come from far out of state. I learned my art is better received on the coasts and even overseas than the conservative Midwest region I live in, I have to take that into account when I am in the studio. In reality I will probably never meet any of them, but thanks to blogging, we can connect. For me it is like having lunch with good friends, expect I do most of the talking and never blow my diet! Does it get better than that? My best advice would be commit yourself to it, Be bold, make it about your passion, your art. There is no greater patron aphrodisiac than the evidence of an artist’s passion indeed I believe they will not purchase art without it.

What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’re working in your studio?

When I am working in my studio, I start out in silence, the inspiration phase tends best attended by silence it keeps my mind and spirit free lead unencumbered with clutter. However once it is time to translate the vision into reality, I find music blaring, just this side of ear splitting a great catalyst. I have rather eclectic tastes and wander my way through, Selah, LeAnn Rimes, Adele, one of the 3 tenors (my favorite being Carreras), Elton John, Streisand and when I grow tired Heart will always bring me around with Magic Man and Crazy on You.

What’s coming next from your studio?

I find myself drawn to giving my hand drawn, painted originals a 2nd life in digital. I have been entranced with pulling my finished works into Photoshop and Painter and reworking them into completely new digital paintings, with virtually no recognition of the beginning original, the same painting in another dimension if you will.

http://almaleeoriginals-artscape.blogspot.com/

EBSQ Tips for Awesome Art Blogs

Have you run out of ideas for your next blog post? EBSQ Tips for Awesome Art Blogs will feature some of the more creative posts our artists are taking advantage of to spice up their blogs.

Gifted by S Olga Linville
Gifted by S Olga Linville

Today’s Tip: Giveaways

There is some debate about whether artists should giveaway their art. Should you giveaway a large painting? Probably not. But why not something small, like an ACEO or a fine art giclee? No matter what side you take, giveaways are a great way to attract visitors to your blog. Who doesn’t want something for FREE?

What does it take?

Blog giveaways don’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is choose the artwork up for grabs, set the dates of the giveaway, and explain to visitors how to enter. The most common way to enter a giveaway is for visitors to leave a comment on the blog post. You can then assign each comment a number and put those into a drawing for the winner. Many bloggers use Random.org for their drawing but some just throw the names into a hat!

If you are unsure about your giveaway post it never hurts to see how others organize their giveaways. Check out my own holiday giveaway! I used WordPress’ feedback form so visitors could enter without leaving a comment but the rest is no different than your basic giveaway.

Rules of thumb:

1. Be sure to make it clear if your giveaway is open to international entries.

2. Don’t forget to share the news of your giveaway with as many people as you can!

A few EBSQ artists who have taken advantage of the “giveaway” post include: Melia Newman (Blog), Amanda Makepeace (Blog), Sara Burrier (Blog), Maria Soto Robbins (Blog), and Vickie Miller (Blog).

EBSQ Tips for Awesome Art Blogs

Have you run out of ideas for your next blog post? EBSQ Tips for Awesome Art Blogs will feature some of the more creative posts our artists are taking advantage of to spice up their blogs.

Today’s Tip: Videos

Whether you like them or not, videos are a popular way to share knowledge and entertainment on the web. More and more artists are cashing in on this growing fad, with how-to videos and time-lapse videos of their painting process. Videos can also be a great way to drive more traffic to your blog and through Youtube, introduce many more new potential buyers and fans to your art. Today’s video example is from EBSQ artist Melia Newman.

You can see how she incorporated this video into her blog post here.

What does it take?

You don’t need to buy top of the line, expensive equipment to begin recording in your studio. In fact, you may already have everything you need at your fingertips. Melia Newman made the above video using her web cam. Many new laptops are sold with web cam’s pre-installed. Then all you need is something like Windows Movie Maker (free) or Apple iMovie (free) for Mac users. Most any video editing software includes a simple upload to Youtube. Once on Youtube you can easily embed the video on your blog or website!

Rules of thumb:

1. Keep your video under 5 minutes. This isn’t a strict rule, but it does make it easier for visitors to watch whenever and where ever they are without taking up too much of their time.

2. Make sure you have adequate lighting for your video too!

A few EBSQ artists who have taken advantage of the “video” post include: Melia Newman (Blog), Robert Kimball (Blog), Mark Satchwill (Blog) and Noelle Hunt (Blog).

EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Melanie Douthit

Artist Melanie Douthit

Who and where are you?

I’m a full-time artist and freelance craft designer. I live in West Monroe, Louisiana with my husband and two children. I manage my creative biz from my home studio. I inherited my creativity from my grandmother who was of Anishnaabe Algonquin and French Canadian descent from Ontario, Canada. My father was in the United States Air Force and after his retirement, they settled in Louisiana where he was from. I was involved in the local art community in the mid-1990’s and around 2000 I listed my first painting on eBay. I joined EBSQ not long after.

Mardi Gras Dachshund by Melanie Douthit

How did you get started art blogging?

I took a creative detour around 2004 and got involved in the paper craft arena. I loved how I could incorporate photos and family memories with my artistic urges. I joined the design teams of several paper craft manufacturers and started selling designs to craft magazines. Blogging was what everyone in the industry was doing, so it was a natural path to follow. When I got back into painting full-time again, I started my blog for my art.

Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

For people to be attracted to your blog, photos are a must – and if you are marketing your creations, then good photography skills are important. Develop your “voice”, and be real on your blogs. Don’t be afraid to share bits and pieces of your life with your readers. If readers like your art already, they will love getting to know the artist behind the creations. Since I only started my art blog a year ago (to be separate from my paper craft blog) and haven’t been faithfully maintaining it as I should, these are things I’m currently striving to reflect on my own blog. Sometimes don’t have any new art I can share, so I’ve decided to just be creative. I may go through some old or new photos and tell a story about it. I’m so thankful for camera phones because it makes a blogger’s life so much easier. If you are new to reading blogs, I suggest spending time reading a variety of blogs and making notes of what you connect with the most.

To make sure my blog gets some attention, I post a link to my Facebook page every time I post a new blog entry. My Face book “page” (separate from ID) is linked to my Twitter account so it gets posted there as well.

Another way to gain exposure is to participate in blog hops and network consistently with other art bloggers. I’ve recently opened up my blog to include guest bloggers, much like what EBSQ is doing here.

What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’re working in your studio?

I love music while I create! I love having my creative biz at home because once everyone is at work and school, I can have my music as loud as I want and play what I want. My music varies from old rock, alternative, new country, soft rock and maybe some Louisiana Zydeco. I like to mix it up and keep it fun.

What’s coming next from your easel?

For the next six weeks I’ll be fulfilling commissions and creating gift size New Orleans themed art.

Thanks to EBSQ for allowing me to share with you. Happy Creating!

http://douthitgallery.blogspot.com/

Thank you Melanie for being an EBSQ Blogger of the Week!

If you are an EBSQ Artist and would like to be considered for Blogger of the Week just add us to your blogroll. I’m searching EBSQ profiles weekly for links to artist’s blogs. If you aren’t an EBSQ Artist, what are you waiting for?

EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Charlene Murray Zatloukal

Charlene Murray Zatloukal

Who and where are you?

I am Charlene Murray Zatloukal…mother of six and grandmother of ten. Widowed five years now, my husband was truly the source of my inspiration and continues to be. He made me believe in my gifts and talents and encouraged me to try to make a living doing what I love to do..my art.

In thirty five years together, my husband, myself and our children lived in a number of different states; including Washington, Wyoming, Tennessee, Iowa and Nebraska. We came back to Nebraska, my home state, in 1997.

Steampunk Flight by Charlene Murray Zatloukal

How did you get started art blogging?

Shortly after taking early retirement from corporate America, I decided to try selling my art on eBay. I was ecstatic at how quickly my art began to sell. I encouraged my husband, my youngest daughter and one of my sons to give art a go and we were soon selling as a family group. It was then that I wrote my first blog post…I didn’t even know what a blog was until then.

I blogged about what we were doing with our art..and then I began to include updates of my husband’s health and how he was doing. I ended up starting a couple other blogs for my art but, still maintain…somewhat all three blogs.

The Spirit Within by Charlene Murray Zatloukal

Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

Try to stick to just one blog, if you can. Three blogs are a bit much…but since my first blog was a group blog and contained so much personal “history,” I couldn’t bear to let it go. I do have my “main” blog and it has the most followers. I try to balance information about my art with information about myself, so my readers can get to know the ‘artist behind the art if you will.

Forest Deep by Charlene Murray Zatloukal

What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’reworking in your studio?

Since I’ve moved to a much smaller house I find that I’d much rather listen to audio books while I work. My books of choice…Harry Potter. I listen to those over and over. I’m ‘hooked’.

Alice in Wonderland Encore by Charlene Murray Zatloukal

What’s coming next from your easel?

I just finished my first two panel fairy tale painting. Alice in Wonderland – Encore and I loved painting it and how it turned out. This week I will be working on a Snow White painting and a Red Riding Hood painting, both much smaller paintings so I’m hoping I can get both done by the week’s end.

http://anotherpaintingblog.blogspot.com/

Thank you Charlene for being an EBSQ Blogger of the Week!

If you are an EBSQ Artist and would like to be considered for Blogger of the Week just add us to your blogroll. I’m searching EBSQ profiles weekly for links to artist’s blogs. If you aren’t an EBSQ Artist, what are you waiting for?