Check Out Artsy Shark

Wildflower Field with watermark

A few months back I had submitted some work to Artsy Shark. It is a site that promotes artists and their business. I was contacted that I would be included in a page that spotlights artists that celebrate nature. Today it was posted so I hoped that you might zip on over and take a look at all the great artists that were showcased in this. I submitted this mixed media piece that I finished recently named Wildflower Field. Click on this link and it will take you to that page. If you would be interested in a print of this painting go to my Etsy shop.  I had a customer purchase one this last weekend and it really is  pretty print that is uplifting and colorful.


I am also proud to tell you about this painting. I finished it in time to display it in in my art booth this last weekend at the Oakwood Fine Art Fair and I sold it! This was my first original to sell and it was so exciting! It is painted on a 36 X 36 canvas and it is named Harmony. There is a hidden in plain site insect in it. Can you find it? I also have added another art fair that will finish off 2016. It will be the Winterfair in Columbus, Ohio at the Ohio Expo and State Fair grounds. It will be three days, December 2nd through the 4th. Now that it is September, on Saturday the 24th, I will be putting up the tent at Art at the Riverside, located in Leo Gardens. So looking forward to being local, so come on out and say hi, it’s a very neat park. Click on the link and you will see all the talents that will be selling their art. Please like this post to get the word out.  Thanks so much!

Pursue the passion


You have a calling in your heart. Change is hard but that feeling keeps tapping on your shoulder. You want to do it, you want to pursue what you love and make a living from it. It won’t be easy. It will be hard work but it will make you happy. For all of us who have done this, who want to do it….spread those wings. A recently completed, mixed media painting.

A little creating


I promised I would share the outcome of my blocks that I was painting. I am happy to say they were successful and I was pleased with the look.


I first stenciled the Y lightly and painted it black adding turquoise dots and tiny white dots.


I then stenciled the J red and added darker red stripes with white dots.


I signed and dated the backs adding a heart.


The O looks like a leaf wreath and I used colors that can be left out all year round. These were fun to make and I am going to make them to sell in my booth. Just the letters and then customers will have their own ideas about the words or names.


I found a tutorial online using Tim Holtz distress markers. Click here to view it. I didn’t know that distress markers stay wet for a long time. I liked this technique because by using the non-stick craft sheet and a large rubber background stamp that is a cling it adheres really well to the sheet for no slipping. I used a stamp that looked like Van Goghs starry night painting. I cut waterpaper paper 4 1/2 X 5 inches, the size of the stamp. I have a limited amount of distress markers but what I had made pretty colors. The tutorial said to color the stamp and then liberally mist the stamp. I was too liberal on the top papers. They are still usable though. I did it again and was very careful about spritzing and liked the result much better. I used the lower right on my project.


I made our niece Emily a birthday card. The sentiment and dog are by Stamps by Judith. The cake is a Katybug which is out of business and the candles are made by Westwater enterprises. It is an old stamp. I am submitting this to the Sweetstamps Anything Goes for December.


The inside I used some washi tape to make a banner and the sentiment is by Art Gone Wild and the pictures are by Magenta. I also used the Distress Markers to color in the pictures.


I wanted to share this picture of my cat Pavel. I just realized that his nose marking is in the shape of a heart! He is such a sweet, even tempered cat.  It works for him.  Thanks for stopping by!


Starting A Creative Business Part II (Things I have learned so far)


I have decided on my web hoster, my business name and bought my domain, I am building my website and started building my Etsy shop. How am I going to get my art uploaded onto the Etsy shop. What will make it look the best, how can I get the right pixel sizes? There are many options but I chose to get an Epson Perfection V600 Scanner. I LOVE this scanner and it does so many things that I have only touched slightly on. With it came Adobe Photoshop Elements program, which is perfect for editing what I want to do. It is a scaled down version of Photoshop. A scanner makes the pictures sharper. If you don’t know how to do something read the handbook, go to Epson, input the question online and something will come up. Don’t be afraid, just forge ahead and find your answers. Use the resources that are available. The Best thing I have found with Photoshop Elements is how to get my whole picture scanned when it is larger than the scanner. You scan all pieces of the art, make sure they are straight and all going the same way and photomerge it. The program and computer put all those pieces together and make it into one picture that can be printed off to any size you want. To learn to do this, I went to Adobe tutorials and I also went to YouTube. Everyone explains it differently and you can find someone who talks your talk. I took a 24 X 36 painting and stuffed it into Etsy. It is magical.


You then have to decide when someone buys your art how will you get it printed off and sent to them. Will you send it out to various places or will you print it off at home and send it yourself? I chose to do it at home and purchased a Epson Stylus Photo R3000 printer. It makes fabulous prints and I would follow blogs and read what other artists were using. I bought it through Amazon because I could not find anyone local who sold them. It was about 700.00. The scanner and printer were my largest cash output in the beginning and I don’t regret it one bit.

selling your art online

This ia another book that I downloaded recently that gave great information about what places there are out there to have your art printed and he gave his opinion on what works better than others. It also gave more in depth on where you can sell your art, where you can get your art printed on other items like coffee cups and t-shirts. It was very helpful and I also downloaded it for $3.99 because I have a Kindle app on my Ipad. Save anywhere you can.

Epson Paper

I took Kelly Rae Roberts advice and used this Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster. I tried other papers and decided this was the look that I wanted. With this paper and my Photo R3000 printer I have beautiful prints. I have a couple different sizes depending on how I want the art print to look.

Logo new for background on computer resized JPEG

I couldn’t miss showing the logo I designed on Adobe Illustrator. I love that program and it was one of the best classes I took in college. It is amazing also because anything you make on it can be put on a matchbook or a billboard without losing any sharpness. Like anything you just have to practice it. I pay a monthly fee through Adobe Cloud for it because I didn’t want to pay $300.00 for it right away. I never know when I am going to need it but it is handy. I put this logo on my business cards and my website. I plan to put it on a banner also. Since I took a class on this program I have books to find answers but the biggest help for me was the Adobe tutorials.


I wanted to be ready when I got an order. I am going to jump in here and buy the items I will need to ship my art. Clearbags company is where I bought cellophane bags to put the print in and also a piece of cardboard for stability when it is taken out of the mailing envelope.. It’s a great site, all kinds of good items to look at. I also bought from Uline a large size of stay-flat sturdy envelopes to mail the art print and also tube mailers for quilts. The only thing about these sites are the shipping costs are phenomenal. I needed to purchase another size of stay-flats and I just decided to try Amazon and found what I needed at a more cost effective shipping.


So I end this post to tell you that no, my business is not going great guns yet. It took me 5 months to get my first online order. It’s not “If you build it they will come” like the wonderful movie quote. It is “build it, let people know and eventually they will make their way to it”. Find places to show your art, submit it. Brave Girls Club asks for art to highlight with their “a little birdie told me” email. I had quite a few paintings that had birds in them. I submitted and they showed one yesterday.  I had 36 visitors and 100 views on this blog. It was very exciting to me because maybe some of those people will come back and some went to my Etsy shop. You just have to keep working it, follow others blogs and make comments. Make them to be thoughtful and heartfelt comments and others will read them and quite possibly make it to your site. Participate….is a great word. You won’t be found if you don’t do that. I feel comfortable that I am at the right place with Etsy for myself at this time. They get the highest traffic and a great support system. Kelly Rae Roberts book was my life source in this endeavor. I love to create….it is good for my soul. I am very happy being able to do this everyday. You will meet so many different people online and otherwise. If you are interested in Kelly Rae’s book I have a link on the front page of this website. Click on the picture that looks like the one above. I hope that these two posts have been helpful and informative.

And as always  thank you for stopping by!


Starting a Creative Business Part I (Things I have learned so far)

flying lessons

Earlier this year I had come to a crossroads in my working career. I had left my job of 14 years and I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I had no desire to go and work in an office environment again. I really loved being home and I absolutely love to create. I had taken art and business classes and also worked in various business areas so I had that background. Following my heart I decided to open a creative business. Ok, what are my first steps? I needed to educate myself on this. I am a huge book fan and I wanted to find a book that focused on creative businesses online. I decided to go and look at Kelly Rae Roberts because I knew that she would list favorite books on her website that she used. I knew she started from scratch, and she decided one day to follow her heart/calling and open a creative business. Lo and Behold! She had recently written a book about this. It is an E-Book and she decided to do it because when she started her creative business she had to dig and read for everything and she wanted to share what she learned. I cannot say enough good about this book, I refer to it constantly. She is very open with her information and it has been right on. If you would like to find out more about her book I have a link on the front page of my website.

green geeks

So, I am going to be online, and I wanted to do it right with a website that I can grow with. I needed a domain name and a web hosting site. This was a huge learning curve for me. There are so many different options that it is head spinning. My biggest advice to you is read, Read, READ! If you are going to do this. Read especially the support FAQ! You will not generally get an answer to an email back in a timely manner. Many sites have support where you post a question and a moderator may try to answer it. Other users may answer the questions and they are very helpful because they have been through the problem. I chose Green Geeks for my web hosting. I liked their prices, which other companies were comparable. I liked that they were environmentally friendly. So far it has been a good experience with them. It has been a quiet existence between the two of us, I haven’t had many problems and they just keep everything running smoothly.This service you pay for and it is renewable every three years.  I could have chosen to use their email, but I have kept the one that everyone knows. I don’t want to have to monitor several emails. It gets confusing and time consuming. I then had to decide on a name to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue and also to get a domain. I was going to go with my name…Robin Hawkins and have the domain (website address) the same but it was already taken. If you have an idea, search for it on a search engine. This is why I use Here’s My hART….I like hearts and art. Green Geeks helped me register my domain name and I have to renew it every year. It’s a little over $100.00. You want to make it pretty easy so customers can remember. I then had to decide on where I was going to build a website. I chose WordPress because anything I read said that it integrates easily if you should want to have your shop on your website. The thing I learned here was even though I had a blog for 5 years through Blogger it was not just a snap of the finger to get my website built, it took me three weeks of reading and trial and error before I was comfortable making it live. I still change and add all the time.  The sky is the limit. WordPress has a large amount of free templates with all different styles and themes. My theme is called Sela. Two other important ideas.  When getting your website set up be sure to download Jet Pack for WordPress.  It offers many more widget options.  In the options is a program called Akismet.  It stops spam.  Something happened to mine at one point and I was receiving 50 or more comments per day, all nonsense.  Imagine my surprise because people don’t leave a lot of comments unless you are super well known.  They were all spam.  I got that fixed quickly! It is amazing all the spam that goes out.


I went ahead and changed my Pinterest account to the business name instead of personal, I opened an Instagram account, which I like very much and am still learning hashtags. I also opened a twitter account. All these are free marketing accounts where you connect with the outside world. I also ordered business cards through VistaPrint and was very happy with my product. I made a mistake though and the address is wrong to my Etsy Shop. I left a word out. So here are my little sticky labels to correct the problem. I bought 500 cards. Remember to check your addresses! Now with my Etsy shop, I have a link from my website. I also have added an Etsy mini it is called that it shows 9 pictures of my art that is for sale and it links out to Etsy. Etsy has charges, 20 cents per item listed and a 2 percent charge on what you sell. I also had to set up a PayPal account. All this requires many passwords that are important, make sure you can find them again. You can find these links to my different accounts on the front page under “follow me” at the top.


Facebook for business owners

I have a personal facebook page and then also a business facebook page. It is taking a while to build a following. There are all kinds of experts out there who have a lot of good advice. Take advantage of their free webcasts. They don’t give you all the information because they want you to sign up. No faulting them for this at all. With a new business, funds are limited try to find the most bang for your buck as they say. I watched a free webinar with Amy Porterfield about marketing with Facebook. She gave some very good points especially shedding some light on problems I was having. I wanted to further my research  and found this book that I am showing. I liked it that he was a graduate of Indiana University. I downloaded this e-book for $2.99 because I have Amazon Prime. It gave me good information. Facebook for business has many rules. My problem was that I had not built my site up yet and had under 50 followers it was not sending through my posts. Thus I had no opportunity to get likes or shares. Facebook does not like that you send through posts about promoting what you sell. Because it is a social network it doesn’t believe that people want to read about that. It will take that post off also, plus you can start to sell on facebook and you can buy ads then they get the money also.  It is good to know the ins and outs of Facebook.


I have this quote hanging right beside my computer. It’s inspirational and says it all.


When I started this business I knew it would take a while to build it. I not only have to make the inventory, I have to market it and sell it. I am learning all the time. My advice, use the free stuff! YouTube is a huge source of information. Join Facebook groups, webinairs, never stop learning. Keep your mind open. Submit your work to get it noticed. Always keep searching out opportunities.


Here is another book I bought from Austin Kleon. It talked about how to sell your art, how to get noticed. They are short, sweet and to the point. Good information. Here is his website.


This book talks about opportunities for artists like licensing and how to get noticed. There are people perusing the internet and Etsy all the time to find new talent. The writer of this book is Lilla Rogers.

Painted Blossoms

I loved the cover of this book and I really fell in love with this style of painting of Carrie Schmitt. I have bought a package with DVD’s along with paints that I had not used before. I just love to learn new things. I have an e-course that I have downloaded on faces that I have to do yet. I discover something new all the time to learn from. I have taken a big step and applied to show my work at the Roanoke Renaissance Art Fair in October. It is juried and I don’t know if I will be accepted, we will see. There is all kinds of art mediums and all kinds of people in the world, not everyone likes the same thing. Get out there, show your art, it’s really great fun!