Losing sleep

Springtime — acrylic on canvas, 280 x 355 mm, 2014
Springtime — acrylic on canvas, 280 x 355 mm, 2014

I’ve spent the last few months getting my head around opening a shop online on Etsy and the day is almost here. Who knew it was going to be this much work?! If all goes according to plan, the official opening will be this weekend. I will, of course, make an announcement here and on Facebook : )

I’ve been researching like mad, making the hard decisions about what to sell and how to price them, painting new versions of old favourites (e.g. Springtime was based on this Shoot it, Sketch it painting) and, truth be told, losing a bit of sleep over it all… I don’t want the shop to become my reason for painting. I paint for the joy of it, for the tactile gratification of making something with my hands, for the wonder of stepping back (on a good day) and saying “I did that!” Keeping that focus is important to me. I’m also mindful of other people ― I find myself somewhere between the worlds of fine art and graphic design. I prefer a brief. I set them for myself all the time (hence the Shoot it, Sketch it posts and the In the style of… challenges). So why is opening a shop any different? I don’t know but it is.

I have also been rereading Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon’s ‘manifesto for creativity in the digital age’. It’s a wonderful resource full of advice, pithy quotes and encouragement. I dip into the pages from time to time and I am always rewarded. Let me give you an example:

“The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use―do the work you want to see done.” Austin Kleon

Is it really that simple? I’ll let you know.

16 thoughts on “Losing sleep

  1. I hope you do better than I did
    I have now closed and opened on Artfinder which has been more successful
    Etsy seems to ignore art I found
    A dedicated art site is proving more useful
    Good luck

    1. Thanks, Brian. I’m sorry to hear that your experience on Etsy wasn’t a positive one. I’ve had a look at some alternatives and there seem to be pros and cons wherever you go. I take your point about possibly being ignored in the huge shopping mall that is Etsy — it’s a good thing I’m a patient optimist. All the best with Artfinder : )

  2. An exciting time for you! Best of luck, Anna. I think the key to success on Etsy seems to be that you need to keep people aware of your presence there via the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and good old fashioned media relations! That book you mentioned sounds very interesting…P

    1. Thanks, Wildsherkin. Yes, it is exciting. I think you may be right about the key to succeeding on Etsy. It is a bit like having one tiny corner of a really big shopping mall — the challenge is to be seen and to stand out (preferably in a good way).

      And yes, ‘Steal Like An Artist’ is a brilliant book. Well worth tracking down a copy to keep on your coffee table : )

    1. Thank you, KnitNell. It feels like I’ve tried quite a lot of new things since 2009 (when I picked up a pen and started drawing again)… Right now, I’d be perfectly happy with a ‘boring’ routine — something like: paint a painting, sell a painting, buy a canvas/more paint, paint a painting… ; )

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