HELP YOURSELF DEVELOP AS A WRITER OR ARTIST

CHOOSING A SOFTWARE PROGRAM

August 20, 2014

Art is a business, and like any business, it is necessary to keep track of expenses as well as income. I have been searching for a comprehensive program for my art business for years. Currently I would recommend QuickBooks to track your expenses and income. While there are some all-inclusive programs beginning to be developed, I have usually found some flaw in the program; either they were hard to use, or had an incompatible photo program for thumbnails of my art, etc. There are a couple of new companies with programs designed for artists out on the internet (see links below).  DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that I have no practical experience with any of these programs except Working Artist. It is up to you to check them out and decide if you want to use them. Here are some links to potential art software sites along with what information I have on them:

http://www.artlooksoftware.com/Downloads/Introduction.pdf  (Free evaluation copy available) Current pricing is £150.00 (I assume this is British pounds or some type of Euro symbol).

http://www.gyst-ink.com/  Retails for either $59.00 or $129.00 depending on whether you want just the basic system or their Pro program.

http://www.artsystems.com/products/system.htm  this system says it will link to QuickBooks, web manager and has a system for I-Pad. It is also VERY expensive; licensing for this puppy runs anywhere from $5,000 down to $795.00.

http://workingartist.com/   Retails out for between $139 -- $154 with upgrades for $59. This one comes in 4 separate editions 1) a studio edition designed for agents representing several artists, 2) The artist edition, designed the single artist to manager their business. The site also claims to have an edition for Art Fairs and for Galleries, but I wasn’t able to access them by clicking on them. This is the only one of these software programs I have any actual working knowledge of, and it was about 10 years ago that I tried to use this one. At that time, I experienced considerable difficulty in downloading photos of my work into the program, as it would not accept jpeg versions for some reason. I assume they would have corrected this issue in the intervening time.

http://www.masterpiecemanager.com/artistfnb.html  this one says it will manage inventory, contact, point of sale, has art web site templates, e-mail marketing and is available for MAC & PC. This is not that unusual as ALL of the software programs say they have both MAC & PC versions. Pricing for individual artists is $29/month, which works out to about $348 a year. Like Working Artist, this set up also has different programs for Galleries, stores consignment stores, museums, etc.

If you don’t want to purchase an expensive program, you can simply use an excel spreadsheet to track income and expenses but it is very time consuming. For expense tracking, QuickBooks, while a little on the expensive side is pretty user friendly and easily transitions into tax software programs such as Turbo Tax when it comes time to file your income tax. Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that it doesn't mesh as well with Apple products as it does PCs. If you simply want to go the excel program route, you can access copies of my system at http://www.thepracticalartist.com

Yes, Virginia, at the moment I am actually using three programs to track my art. QuickBooks for income and expenses, two excel spreadsheets to tell me where my art is at any given time; (Current Location Report and Painting Information Sheets) to track awards, income from each painting or prints made from it,  and a photo file  with different sized images of my art for various uses (webpage, large-sized prints, and specific sizes for on-line show entries). For Photo Editing I use Photoshop Elements because it is less pricey than the full Adobe editing program and as a painter, I really don’t need the maximum amount of bells and whistles you get with the full Adobe Suite.

I can’t say this often enough; back up your data!

You should keep three types of photo records:

 A photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work, kept separately from your desktop computer. A working copy can be kept on the desktop, but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive.

You will Also Need:

·         A program that tracks income and expenses.

·         A record of each piece of art created and its disposition or current location.

o   Keep back-up copies of these items in a separate place, And up-date your back-ups monthly. Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone. For this, you can purchase separate auxiliary drives that have as much memory as a desktop, or you can back your stuff up into a version of the cloud. There are a LOT of cloud backup systems out there now. Automatic systems such as  I-Cloud, and manual systems like Dropbox. None of these are free and If you can’t keep up the payments I don’t know how recoverable your records might be. Check them out.

 

FRAMING ON A BUDGET: PART 4--Repairing A Plaster Frame

May 26, 2014

As I stated earlier, I don’t recommend re-fitting ornate Plaster Of Paris frames. However, if it means the difference between repairing an existing frame you are already using and purchasing a new one there is a way to fix chipped or broken edges. First, I want you to notice that on most plaster frames such as this one shown in the photo, there is a repeating pattern on the corners and sides. To do this repair, you will need to make a clay mold of the unbroken matching side of the frame, ...


Continue reading...
 

Framing On A Budget Part 3--Refurbishing A Used Frame

March 28, 2014

Refinishing Frames The first thing you are going to need is an outdoor workspace. Refinishing frames is messy, and the materials used need good ventilation. You may also want to invest in a folding table that can be put up when not in use.

MATERIALS NEEDED

To repair a wooden frame you will need, shop rags, a box knife, painters tape, small can of wood putty, a hammer, screwdriver, small woodscrews, finish nails, glue, wood stripper, paint or stain (probably both), sandpaper (both fine and...


Continue reading...
 

Framing On A Budget Part 2--How To Choose A Good Used Frame

March 10, 2014

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD USED FRAME                12/1/13

 

 

Another way to frame inexpensively is by restoring used frames. Where can you find used frames? A good source for used frames is flea markets, second hand stores and yard sales.

Choosing A Good Used Frame is not as difficult as you may think. Take your tape measure with you because frames and framed art found here may or may not meet the usual size requirements of the standard canvas sizes sold in the art store. The frame prob...


Continue reading...
 

Framing On A Budget Part 1--Don't Break Your Bank Account

December 1, 2013


Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork; unfortunately, if you don't frame your art wisely it can ultimately ruin the paintings appeal altogether.   We all want our art to look its best, so artists inexperienced in the art of framing usually begin by using a commercial framer. A commercial framer will give you a nice, professional looking frame for your art. They will also give you sticker shock when quoting the price. Depending on the size of the frame wanted ...


Continue reading...
 

Acrylic Painting Techniques - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

October 9, 2013

Acrylic painting techniques are different styles of manipulating and working with polymer-based acrylic paints. Acrylics differ from oil paints in that they have shorter drying times (as little as 10 minutes) and are soluble in water. These types of paint eliminate the need for turpentine and gesso, and can be applied directly onto canvas. Aside from painting with concentrated color paints, acrylics can also be watered down to a consistency that can be poured or used for glazes.

Preventing...


Continue reading...
 

TIPS FOR SHIPPING ORIGINAL PAINTINGS OR PHOTOGRAPHS A Guide To Packing Art For Shipping

September 14, 2013

Congratulations! You sold some art from your web site! Now you have to figure out how to get it to your buyer. Unless you are hand delivering your work you will need to ship it to the buyer. In order to reach your buyer in a condition that does credit to you as an artist there is a real need to select both your shipping method and your packing container carefully. For packing you are going to need a lot of tape, foam core board, acid-free paper, acid-free plastic bags and foam peanuts. To p...


Continue reading...
 

DO YOU REALLY NEED A PROFESSIONAL TO SELL YOUR WORK?

August 27, 2013

I haven’t had a lot of luck using professional agents or web site sponsored promotions to help me sell my art. I am going to avoid mentioning either of the two sites I talk about in this blog by name because I am not really interested in slamming them. I used them only to illustrate the pitfalls of not really knowing much about marketing or how artists’ agents work, and especially not doing your research ahead of time. I freely admit to my ignorance in these matters when I first started...


Continue reading...
 

How Do Copyright Laws Affect You As A Visual Artist?

July 27, 2013

How Do Copyright Laws Affect You As A Visual Artist?

The visual arts category on the U.S. Government website, involves pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including two- and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art. Examples include paintings, photographs; original prints; art reproductions; cartographic works (maps, globes, ...


Continue reading...
 

FINDING THE RIGHT SUPPORT AS AN ARTIST

July 8, 2013

When I started to take my art seriously, I knew that peer group association was important for me to grow as an artist, but finding the right art group to join was a little frustrating.  Why is it so important to associate with other artists? Well, although you can create art in a vacuum, if your art is never evaluated by your peers, you may simply be stuck repeating the same type of art and art subjects at the same skill level forever. Peer groups challenge us to stretch our skills, reach f...


Continue reading...
 

CHOOSING A SOFTWARE PROGRAM

August 20, 2014

Art is a business, and like any business, it is necessary to keep track of expenses as well as income. I have been searching for a comprehensive program for my art business for years. Currently I would recommend QuickBooks to track your expenses and income. While there are some all-inclusive programs beginning to be developed, I have usually found some flaw in the program; either they were hard to use, or had an incompatible photo program for thumbnails of my art, etc. There are a couple of new companies with programs designed for artists out on the internet (see links below).  DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that I have no practical experience with any of these programs except Working Artist. It is up to you to check them out and decide if you want to use them. Here are some links to potential art software sites along with what information I have on them:

http://www.artlooksoftware.com/Downloads/Introduction.pdf  (Free evaluation copy available) Current pricing is £150.00 (I assume this is British pounds or some type of Euro symbol).

http://www.gyst-ink.com/  Retails for either $59.00 or $129.00 depending on whether you want just the basic system or their Pro program.

http://www.artsystems.com/products/system.htm  this system says it will link to QuickBooks, web manager and has a system for I-Pad. It is also VERY expensive; licensing for this puppy runs anywhere from $5,000 down to $795.00.

http://workingartist.com/   Retails out for between $139 -- $154 with upgrades for $59. This one comes in 4 separate editions 1) a studio edition designed for agents representing several artists, 2) The artist edition, designed the single artist to manager their business. The site also claims to have an edition for Art Fairs and for Galleries, but I wasn’t able to access them by clicking on them. This is the only one of these software programs I have any actual working knowledge of, and it was about 10 years ago that I tried to use this one. At that time, I experienced considerable difficulty in downloading photos of my work into the program, as it would not accept jpeg versions for some reason. I assume they would have corrected this issue in the intervening time.

http://www.masterpiecemanager.com/artistfnb.html  this one says it will manage inventory, contact, point of sale, has art web site templates, e-mail marketing and is available for MAC & PC. This is not that unusual as ALL of the software programs say they have both MAC & PC versions. Pricing for individual artists is $29/month, which works out to about $348 a year. Like Working Artist, this set up also has different programs for Galleries, stores consignment stores, museums, etc.

If you don’t want to purchase an expensive program, you can simply use an excel spreadsheet to track income and expenses but it is very time consuming. For expense tracking, QuickBooks, while a little on the expensive side is pretty user friendly and easily transitions into tax software programs such as Turbo Tax when it comes time to file your income tax. Unfortunately, I have heard rumors that it doesn't mesh as well with Apple products as it does PCs. If you simply want to go the excel program route, you can access copies of my system at http://www.thepracticalartist.com

Yes, Virginia, at the moment I am actually using three programs to track my art. QuickBooks for income and expenses, two excel spreadsheets to tell me where my art is at any given time; (Current Location Report and Painting Information Sheets) to track awards, income from each painting or prints made from it,  and a photo file  with different sized images of my art for various uses (webpage, large-sized prints, and specific sizes for on-line show entries). For Photo Editing I use Photoshop Elements because it is less pricey than the full Adobe editing program and as a painter, I really don’t need the maximum amount of bells and whistles you get with the full Adobe Suite.

I can’t say this often enough; back up your data!

You should keep three types of photo records:

 A photo log with both high- and low- resolution photos of your work, kept separately from your desktop computer. A working copy can be kept on the desktop, but be sure and back up your files each month onto a separate disc or jump drive.

You will Also Need:

·         A program that tracks income and expenses.

·         A record of each piece of art created and its disposition or current location.

o   Keep back-up copies of these items in a separate place, And up-date your back-ups monthly. Once your records are lost due to computer crashes, natural disaster or any other reason they are gone. For this, you can purchase separate auxiliary drives that have as much memory as a desktop, or you can back your stuff up into a version of the cloud. There are a LOT of cloud backup systems out there now. Automatic systems such as  I-Cloud, and manual systems like Dropbox. None of these are free and If you can’t keep up the payments I don’t know how recoverable your records might be. Check them out.

 

FRAMING ON A BUDGET: PART 4--Repairing A Plaster Frame

May 26, 2014

As I stated earlier, I don’t recommend re-fitting ornate Plaster Of Paris frames. However, if it means the difference between repairing an existing frame you are already using and purchasing a new one there is a way to fix chipped or broken edges. First, I want you to notice that on most plaster frames such as this one shown in the photo, there is a repeating pattern on the corners and sides. To do this repair, you will need to make a clay mold of the unbroken matching side of the frame, ...


Continue reading...
 

Framing On A Budget Part 3--Refurbishing A Used Frame

March 28, 2014

Refinishing Frames The first thing you are going to need is an outdoor workspace. Refinishing frames is messy, and the materials used need good ventilation. You may also want to invest in a folding table that can be put up when not in use.

MATERIALS NEEDED

To repair a wooden frame you will need, shop rags, a box knife, painters tape, small can of wood putty, a hammer, screwdriver, small woodscrews, finish nails, glue, wood stripper, paint or stain (probably both), sandpaper (both fine and...


Continue reading...
 

Framing On A Budget Part 2--How To Choose A Good Used Frame

March 10, 2014

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD USED FRAME                12/1/13

 

 

Another way to frame inexpensively is by restoring used frames. Where can you find used frames? A good source for used frames is flea markets, second hand stores and yard sales.

Choosing A Good Used Frame is not as difficult as you may think. Take your tape measure with you because frames and framed art found here may or may not meet the usual size requirements of the standard canvas sizes sold in the art store. The frame prob...


Continue reading...
 

Framing On A Budget Part 1--Don't Break Your Bank Account

December 1, 2013


Framing fine art can enhance the overall appeal of a piece of artwork; unfortunately, if you don't frame your art wisely it can ultimately ruin the paintings appeal altogether.   We all want our art to look its best, so artists inexperienced in the art of framing usually begin by using a commercial framer. A commercial framer will give you a nice, professional looking frame for your art. They will also give you sticker shock when quoting the price. Depending on the size of the frame wanted ...


Continue reading...
 

Acrylic Painting Techniques - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

October 9, 2013

Acrylic painting techniques are different styles of manipulating and working with polymer-based acrylic paints. Acrylics differ from oil paints in that they have shorter drying times (as little as 10 minutes) and are soluble in water. These types of paint eliminate the need for turpentine and gesso, and can be applied directly onto canvas. Aside from painting with concentrated color paints, acrylics can also be watered down to a consistency that can be poured or used for glazes.

Preventing...


Continue reading...
 

TIPS FOR SHIPPING ORIGINAL PAINTINGS OR PHOTOGRAPHS A Guide To Packing Art For Shipping

September 14, 2013

Congratulations! You sold some art from your web site! Now you have to figure out how to get it to your buyer. Unless you are hand delivering your work you will need to ship it to the buyer. In order to reach your buyer in a condition that does credit to you as an artist there is a real need to select both your shipping method and your packing container carefully. For packing you are going to need a lot of tape, foam core board, acid-free paper, acid-free plastic bags and foam peanuts. To p...


Continue reading...
 

DO YOU REALLY NEED A PROFESSIONAL TO SELL YOUR WORK?

August 27, 2013

I haven’t had a lot of luck using professional agents or web site sponsored promotions to help me sell my art. I am going to avoid mentioning either of the two sites I talk about in this blog by name because I am not really interested in slamming them. I used them only to illustrate the pitfalls of not really knowing much about marketing or how artists’ agents work, and especially not doing your research ahead of time. I freely admit to my ignorance in these matters when I first started...


Continue reading...
 

How Do Copyright Laws Affect You As A Visual Artist?

July 27, 2013

How Do Copyright Laws Affect You As A Visual Artist?

The visual arts category on the U.S. Government website, involves pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including two- and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art. Examples include paintings, photographs; original prints; art reproductions; cartographic works (maps, globes, ...


Continue reading...
 

FINDING THE RIGHT SUPPORT AS AN ARTIST

July 8, 2013

When I started to take my art seriously, I knew that peer group association was important for me to grow as an artist, but finding the right art group to join was a little frustrating.  Why is it so important to associate with other artists? Well, although you can create art in a vacuum, if your art is never evaluated by your peers, you may simply be stuck repeating the same type of art and art subjects at the same skill level forever. Peer groups challenge us to stretch our skills, reach f...


Continue reading...