GAIL DALEY FINE ART specializes in Original unique, exclusive art and prints for the office and home. Her art features opulent, rich-looking paintings for the sophisticated home owner or decorator. Gail combines rich, vivid hues or soft muted shades with vibrant and edgy color infusions. On Gail’s web site you see Landscapes and Still Life paintings competing with Imaginative Realism and Abstracts. In Gail’s art you will see historical art depicting both the old west and the European renaissance in bright, vibrant acrylic shades or soft, muted colors.
Happy Valentine’s Day
Happy Valentine’s Day
When did we start celebrating Valentine’s Day? Well I suppose you could say it began with a poem written by Geoffrey Chaucer, who wrote a poem that cemented a pre-existing general belief, at least in medieval England, that February 14 was the day when birds chose their mates. Chaucer, 1343 – 25 October 1400, is known as the Father of English literature and he is widely considered one of the greatest English poets of the middle Ages. The most popular idea of the creation of St. Valentine was that St. Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who had been forbidden to marry.
Okay, so how did Cupid get mixed up with the saints? In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of erotic love, affection and desire. He is often represented as the son of the goddess Venus, with a father rarely mentioned in ancient Roman sources although most likely his father was either Vulcan, Venus’s husband or Mars her most frequent lover. His Greek counterpart is Eros. Cupid is also known in Latin as Amor meaning love. Although Eros appears in Classical Greek art as a slender winged youth, during the Hellenistic period he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy with a bow and arrow. This is where we get those fat babies running around with a bow and arrow apparently! A person, or even a deity, shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with irrepressible longing. Cupid has wings to symbolize the idea that lovers are inconsistent, foolish and irrational. His symbols are the arrow and torch, "because love can burn (how many singers have used this “burning love” allegory in their music? The arrow comes to symbolize the hurt love can inflict; those we love can hurt us the most. The phrase “love is blind” comes from the fact that cupid or Eros is sometimes portrayed wearing a blindfold.
When I started researching for this blog (yes I do research my blogs!), I looked for art associated with Valentine’s Day and Romance. I discovered that most Valentine art appearing on the internet was in the form of cards and that 85% of the art concerning Romance came up with book covers. The book covers were interesting (sort of) as they appeared to be aimed at a primarily female audience. Does this mean that men aren’t interested in romance? Having been married for over 30 years, I have to say that this is not true, but men and women do define romance very differently. For most women the essence of romance is a handsome, virile lover, preferably a man who can handle himself in any situation. Jeff Foxworthy once said in one of his comedy routines that many women wanted a “dangerous man” as a lover (envisioning someone like James Bond no doubt) and then in reality would find themselves leaning out the window of a doublewide trailer yelling at the sheriff to “lock him up!” Reality meets fantasy.
Several years ago, I decided I wanted to do some romantic art (I admit with the ulterior motive of showing publishers I could do book covers!) so I painted some couples dancing. I used the most romantic images I could think of: beautiful clothes, candlelight settings, ballrooms, etc. I was very happy with the way the paintings turned out and I still feature them close to Valentine’s Day in promotions. I have promotions going now, one for any kind of prints or cards and two for canvas prints in special sizes. The two featured in special prints are Celebration and Lets Dance . Just click on the title and it will take you to the promotion page. This is a time-limited promotion and ends February 3rd so don’t procrastinate!
For the general promotion on cards and other prints, just click on the link Gail Daley's Print Shop and then enter this discount code on your order: DYDUKT (discount Code) and receive 25.00% off any item ordered. Only the first 20 customers will be eligible for the discount and it closes on Feb 15, 2013.
WHY BUY ART FROM LOCAL ARTISTS?
It’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Local Business Saturday this week. This time of the year is probably when one of the best opportunities to sell your work emerges, yet most artists don’t know how to take advantage of it. Some of them may even feel guilty about promoting sales at this time. For those of you who feel guilty about telling friends, past customers, family and acquaintances “Hey, consider buying from me when selecting Holiday gifts”, let’s consider a few things. Do you know what the 80/20 Rule is? Well it says that 80% of money spent locally stays in circulation locally. By promoting the idea of other buying your art, you are contributing to the health of your neighborhood! When someone buys art from you, they provide you funds which you in return spend on groceries, rent, clothing and other stuff (which hopefully you also spent in a local business!)
Taxes such as sales tax spent with you supports local infrastructure, police, fire and schools, stay with the community when spent in local businesses. The Tax Policy Center: (click here for the entire article), says that “Local governments received transfers from both the federal and state governments equal to about one-seventh of total revenue; from their own sources, they collected about $700 billion, or 17 percent of all government revenue.” When your friends and family buy from you they are helping to return money to their local economy, so you should feel no hesitation in pointing out to them that you are a resource for gifts!
Spending money locally shows pride in your community culture and local products. As a person who lives in the area you are more apt to locally recirculate money spent with you on your art in the form of purchases from other local business, thus supporting the local work force. When you give some of that money to local charities, even if it’s just the local boy or girl scout troop, or maybe the local food bank you are keeping money spent with you in movement. It’s a monetary loop that keeps people working to make the goods they and others purchase.
“I’m an artist, not a business person”, you shout. Well, I hate to break this to you, but anyone who wants to sell art is in business. According to Wikipedia, “a business (also known as enterprise or firm) is an organization or person engaged in the trade or sale of goods, services, or both to consumers”. Q.E.D. Business is NOT a dirty word. Businesses allow us as consumers to buy food, clothes, and gas. It allows us to find a place to live (real estate sales and rentals), and most likely it employs a lot of us who are not fortunate enough to be able to make a living selling our art. There is that word “sell” again.
Local Business Can Support Local Artists
• Local business can provide a mutual support base by being willing to allow artists to display their work for sale in their stores and offices. The artist will come in to see their art and most likely buy something from the business. The artist will also promote the business by telling their sphere of friends and family about having art in display in the business and urging them to come and see it.
• By allowing artists to promote holiday boutiques, shows, sales and events flyers in their business helps develop a mutual dependency.
Local Artists Offer
What value does the community receive when they purchase art from a local artist rather than from a national chain store?
• Well-made handcrafted items give a cachet to their office, home and gift giving. When giving gifts it shows the buyer not only thought enough of the person receiving the gift to take into account that person’s personal tastes, but took the time to check the gift out carefully.
• Buying art from local artists gives the opportunity for a personal experience one-on-one with the artist.
• The buyer has an opportunity to develop a personal and professional relationship with the artist.
• Art is individually created unique, versatile item. Why buy something indistinguishable from what everyone else is buying?
What Local Artists Can Do to Promote Art Sales:
• Remind past clients, friends, and family, church and organization members that they are a resource for buying holiday gifts.
• Offer items for sale as “Christmas specials”.
• A bonus or discount off a future purchase if the buyer refers another buyer who actually purchases art. This type of promotion is done all the time in other industries; it is sometimes called a “referral commission’. No money is actually paid until the other buyer makes his/her purchase and mentions the name (or brings in a coupon) of the referring buyer.
• Adapt some art into small affordable reproductions (cards, small prints, puzzles, ornaments, cups, etc.) for sale at a holiday boutique or Studio Open House.
Dealing With Vilification Of Character Or Work On Social Network Sites
What response do you make when some person posts a negative opinion of you or your work on your website or a social network site? Some tips on what you can do about this without starting a major public feud and how to turn a negative into a positive action. Congratulations. You now have a brand new web-site (or blog site). You have spent hours designing it and putting into it everything you think will help you make it popular. Whether you created this site in the hopes of developing an audience for your writing, selling your art, promoting a non-profit organization, business or for some other reason your new site is precious to you and you need to share it with the world at large. There are so many ways to do this beginning with sending e-mails to friends and family, advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google AdWords, etc.
Most of these sites have suggestions as to how to reach other members to tell them about your new site. After you have followed instructions from these sites to publicize your work, in a couple of days when you call up your site to see if anyone has actually looked at it, and among the positive comments posted, you discover that someone has written something ugly either about the site, your work or you and posted it on your site. This is a little like having someone kick your baby and you are justifiably offended. The question is what do you do now?
In answering this I’m going to make a couple of assumptions: 1) you haven’t done anything to the negative poster to make them want to embarrass you by publicly posting ugly comments to your site, and 2) this isn’t someone you know well because obviously if you were well acquainted with them you wouldn’t have sent an invitation in the first place. If you are like me your first impulse would be to slap back at this person. This is entirely a normal reaction and it is a perfectly understandable, human impulse to strike out at what injures us. However, I urge you not to give in to this impulse. If you start an insult slinging match by posting a nasty response to the negative comment on your site it will only increase the adverse impression of your site with potential customers and visitors that this person has created. It also will make you look unprofessional and probably detract from your sites message which should be about the work or ideas you have presented there.
You can take positive action when this happens, but first you need to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Your first action should be to find out a little about who this person is and how they came to visit your site. When you do find out this information I advise you to resist the itch to retaliate by posting something ugly in return on their site. I understand you would like them to know how you felt but this will only escalate matters, so don’t do it! Once you know who they are, simply remove the comment from your site and if the site offers this feature, arrange to moderate any future comments posted. If the person posted the comment using Facebook or Twitter, you may need to change those settings also to require comments to have your approval before being posted.
You should realize that if this person received an invitation to view your site the invitation may have come from you, especially if you were innocently following suggestions to increase your circle of influence put out by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google. All of these sites encourage members to make new connections by checking out other members who are interested in the same things, belong to the same groups, follow the same companies, etc. and send out invitations to connect. These suggestions are not necessarily bad; in fact you may make some valuable acquaintances and good friends by using them. Please be aware however that the old adage about kissing frogs also applies; you may also have unintentionally reached out to some people who practice behavior my mother used to call “rude, crude, and socially unacceptable”. You won’t be able to screen these folks out ahead of time because this kind of character reference does not get posted on their self-created profiles! Hateful people exist and they just love to spread their discord and repulsive behavior onto others. The positive thing you can do I mentioned? Sometimes it helps to visualize yourself blowing a big, noisy, fat raspberry at this person, and then start a “Do Not Send” list and check it before you send out invitations to view your work. Good luck!
YOU CAN FIND MY ART ONLINE AT THESE SITES AND HERE'S WHY I CHOSE TO USE THEM
Do you have an internet presence? If you do, are you getting value for your money? Do you have only one site, or do you use many? I use about 5 – 10 sites regularly and I selected most of them for specific reasons which I have given below. Why do I put art up on so many sites? Well, frankly, I do it for the same reason Ann Landers syndicates her column in so many different newspapers: so I can get more exposure for individual art pieces. The more widespread your art is throughout the cloud, the more chances it has to be seen. This also gives me the experience of looking at the individual sites and seeing what different artists have done with their sites.
Though painful (and expensive!) experience, I learned to analyze each site I use and to check out how much traffic they actually draw. Some lessons I learned along the way: not to use sites that demand a lot of money up-front, not to depend on the site to promote my work no matter how much I am paying them. Why not depend on their marketing if I am paying for it you ask? Well, just economic basics really. Each site is in the business to make money the more artists that use them the more money they make which means I am not their only customer. Although most of these sites have automatic promotions for their artists, it doesn’t guarantee you will reach potential buyers.
Reason number one for using multiple sites is exposure, exposure, exposure. Reason two is while most of my sites do have some features in common which creates overlap, they are also a way I can increase my Google presence by linking them together. Reason number three is that we all have favorite sites where we look for things, so by using several different sites it increases the potential of reaching more prospective customers. Reason four is more problematical: I want to be taken seriously as an artist and one way to do this is to have a business presence, and investing in an internet web site is a lot less expensive that opening an actual gallery. If you want to check and see if you are being taken seriously as an artist, ask yourself if when friends and family talk about your art usually they say you have a hobby. Then ask yourself if your name would be the first one thought of if they are looking for art for their home or business? I will just bet you that it isn’t. Sad but true and one way to impress upon customers that you are a “real artist” is to spend money on a business presence.
GAILDALEYSFINEART: GailDaleysFineArt is my own web site which I use to promote information concerning my art, my activities and myself. At one point, I paid lot of money for an “on-line store web site” which sold relatively little; despite all the SEO (search engine optimization) stuff the host site recommended I simply wasn’t reaching very many buyers. I also discovered several drawbacks to selling original art on-line; the most exasperating of these was shipping costs. I once sold a small painting to a customer in Canada and found that it cost as much to ship out of the US as I made on the art! I had the same experience when I sold a print. So I simply put up a notice on my site that originals were only sold inside the continental US. It was a tough decision, but I also scaled back the site to a more informative platform. I can still sell art from it, but I now negotiate each asking price, and I found an alternative place to sell prints of my art.
FINE ART AMERICA: GailDaleysPrintShop . Fine Art America is a great site for prints; you set a base price for the sizes of each print and FAA posts a price that includes their commission. Customers can choose canvas prints, Wrap Style: Black, White, or art prints with any kind of fine art paper. I can sell more prints at lower prices because FAA can print cheaper than I can locally. If the customer orders a frame or mat, I also get a commission on the sale of the extras. The site also offers prints of my work in cards individually or in sets. Shipping and sales tax is automatically computed and doesn’t come out of my profit. Whenever I post a new painting to the site, I can automatically up-date my Facebook page and twitter as well as several other sites, like Stumble on and Pintrest. As a bonus, the site also has a blog that I use. It is relatively inexpensive $30/year.
ARTID: I chose ArtId principally because of the no-cost link to E-Bay store as I discovered early on that listing art on e-bay can be costly. Either prints or original art can be posted. E-Bay is enormous and the competition is fierce so any method I can use to get my art posted not requiring a fee is a plus. ArtId is easy to use if you aren’t very familiar with the internet and it does have some nice features. While it has a free membership, with a “Silver” membership (around $20/month or $240/year) you can unload an unlimited amount of images and also get to list your art free on e-bay. It has links to PayPal, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube; the site also has a blog feature.
ARTISTSITES ArtistSites.org is a site I discovered when I was first exploring the internet. It is free and it also has a blog. Unfortunately if you are a buyer it is not a particularly easy site to use or find a particular artist. For one thing, there is no search box where you can put in an artist’s name, and while the artists are divided by last name, (for me you would look under D), once you reach your designated letter the artists aren’t in any particular order. It also appears to be used mainly by other artists. However, I do maintain it and I find the comments from fellow artists both helpful and interesting.
SELL-ARTS Sell-Arts.com is another free Site. It is also user friendly, and it has links to PayPal, a blog, a forum for artists that apparently isn’t used very much, and, probably the most interesting feature, an Art News section featuring articles from local/national/international newspapers and magazines. I maintain it because it increases my internet presence.
ARTISTSLIKEOURSELVES: The site was created for artists by artists that I discovered in my early internet days. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a high Google presence; when you search for it oftentimes you get an error message, so I while I maintain it, I don’t list it with other links on my personal web site. This isn’t an easy site to use for a buyer either; when you do find it, like Sell-Arts, there is no artist search. It is designed for use by visual artists, writers and performers. The site more or less forces you to interact with your fellow artists because while it doesn’t cost money to become a member, in order to post art you need a certain amount of “credits” which you obtain by viewing and commenting on other artists work on the site. Artists like Ourselves uses a 'credits' system to promote expression of both art and the artists' opinion of others' art. When you sign up, you are given 50 credits immediately. Each time you upload a picture, painting, musical piece, poem etc. you are charged 10 credits. This means that you are able to upload 5 pieces immediately. To earn extra credits, you can send feedback to other artists about their work. Each time you send a comment to another artist, you earn two credits, so in order to upload one new painting, and you need to look at 5 from other artists.
ARTANDDESIGNONLINE ArtandDesignOnLine.com is another site with dual type membership: Free and paid. I found it in Artist’s Magazine. Although I set up a page on this site I don’t utilize it much. However the search engine is super easy, and with a free listing you are given a basic account with up to 4 photos, a subscription to Art and Design Online Newsletter, a personal My InnerCircle © account, full access to comment or network with fellow artist's/gallery listings, a personal Event tool and Calendar, and basic access to the Email Blast tool. The paid membership is relatively inexpensive around $10/month or $120/year.
Why Do I keep mentioning Blogs as a plus when choosing a site?
I have a whole blog on promoting my art which I will cover later. Just be aware that blogs are another way to let people know about you, about your art, and what you are doing with it.
MODERN CENSORSHIP IN THE ARTS – GOOD? BAD? INDIFFERENT?
Should paintings or nude statues be shown in a public setting such as a Library or Mall? As a visual artist who sets up art displays in public places, I am very aware of our American society’s standards of what is considered acceptable for public consumption. All societies have these standards of behavior and yes, the standards do evolve with society. 60 years ago, Tarzan of the Apes was considered too sexy for the libraries! What is acceptable in Europe is quite different than what is acceptable in America also. American standards are usually much more conservative than those prevalent in Europe. In this financially strapped time, Libraries are very dependent on donations to purchase their materials. Let’s face it; donors are simply not going to purchase materials they don’t like and they won’t give money to organizations that do. Just as a person isn’t allowed to scream “fire!” in a crowded area for fear of causing panic, as a society we will always need to make judgments as to what is appropriate for our public libraries to spend their money on. And yes, in the past governments have been very heavy handed on what was considered appropriate. On that subject, the right of Private adult individuals to decide what they will read and see must always be defended. The internet has virtually ensured that free speech will be protected; As long as it exists, artists and book publishers will be permitted to sell these items (in the appropriate venues), and I don’t think we need to be too worried about government imposed censorship.
Is there a difference between a Rubens classical painting and Playboy? Most of us think so. And yet some of his art is probably more graphic than a Playboy centerfold and this image certainly shows violence toward women. Nevertheless most museums would have no hesitation in displaying it in a public venue.
A great many "women’s romance" novels do contain what used to be called soft or “vanilla” porn (sexual situations which are sometimes graphically described although I find the authors usually use euphemisms). These novels ARE purchased by libraries; I have checked them out myself. The main difference between hard pornography and these novels is women’s romance books usually don't also contain profanity in describing the sexual adventures of their heroines, and although the libraries do purchase books, videos and games containing graphic sexual themes or graphic violence, these materials usually aren't kept in the juvenile section. Most county libraries require a parent’s permission for a child to check out materials from the adult section. Is this censorship? Absolutely. Is it appropriate? As a parent, I have think so. Children often lack the maturity to put what they are reading and seeing in context and require adult interpretation to help them do so. If an adult is there to provide an explanation of, oh—visuals of the Nazi death camps or the Manson murders or the books “Helter Skelter” and Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, then it can be appropriate for a child to see those images or read those books. Only a parent can truly judge whether or not their child could handle such graphic images, or if the child has enough of a grasp on the difference between reality and fantasy to be allowed to play a video game that is rated “mature”, read an explicit book, look at a Rubens painting or watch such a movie. For myself when setting up a public art display I find the following criteria helpful in judging whether or not reading matter or an art display will be acceptable to the general public: 1) the context in which it appears; i.e. A painting, recording or a book containing graphic sex or violence will be much more likely to be acceptable if it contains historical facts. 2) The age of the audience the video game, book or display is intended for. I agree with the view held by most Americans’ the subject matter should be age appropriate. So Yes, Censorship can be a positive force if used properly.