Art with ❤️=Sales + charity=Winning!
I’m no math whiz, but I’m convinced the equation above is both mathematically correct and emotionally true. Art with Heart is one of my mottos. Selling my work and donating to charity has definitely made for a winning combination. Many artists have great big sentimental hearts and give their work away all the time to worthy causes. Maybe that’s you. If so, good for you! But as artists, there’s a dirty little secret we don’t often discuss…sometimes we give our art away because we are intimidated by the process of selling it. Selling your artwork can be HARD! I’ve had this conversation a lot recently, and many times with very talented artists.
If you feel this way, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and you should know that you’re not alone. Are you self conscious about promoting your work and/or yourself? That used to describe me. I’d like to share my strategy for overcoming self-consciousness in this area. It’s a method that’s helped me create win-win-win transactions. Sales that just so happen to make the world a better place. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Perhaps my strategy can work for you as well…?
When I first began to sell my work, it was painful. I was very uncomfortable putting a price on my paintings and then even more uncomfortable asking people to pay me money for them. I avoided the discomfort by not even attempting to sell for a few years. Not selling can make you feel insecure and sometimes even make you feel a bit crazy.
Selling is necessary for artists. An overcrowded studio can inhibit your productivity and dampen your enthusiasm for getting your brushes wet. At the least, when work begins to pile up with nowhere to go, it cramps your style! After all,
The process of making art isn’t complete until it’s shared.
One solution for moving your artwork is to give it away. If you’re like me, you are frequently asked to donate your work for free. Occasionally, I give it away to causes I care about. It feels good, but what about the expense of creating it? What about the hours you logged painting it? Don’t artists deserve to be compensated for their efforts? This takes selling.
Then I heard about Toms shows. They became my inspiration. In case you don’t know, Toms donates a pair of shoes to the needy for every pair of shoes they sell. I loved that idea! It made me want to buy their shoes. It also made me think…
How Art Can Make the World a Better Place
It dawned on me that doing something similar with my art sales could be cool. Donating paintings to the poor didn’t seem very practical, so I decided to donate a percentage of my art sales instead. After paying for materials, workshops, photography and framing…I often have $200 or more invested in my paintings. (This is not uncommon for many artists, especially watercolorists.) Galleries take another 30-50%. (Now you know the reason for the “starving artist”, right?!) I decided that donating 30% of my sales seemed like a number that would allow me to cover my costs and still come up with a good sum for charity. This has been my business model for the last few years.
This sales strategy has changed my entire attitude about selling! The more I ask, the more I can give! It’s made me less self-conscious about asking what I think a painting is worth to me. I price it, then let go and let God. Now when I sell a painting, I get to celebrate the sale, but I also get to celebrate the good that’s going to to happen as a result. It’s what I call win-win-win!
This past year was thankfully my best ever (In great part due to the two large paintings above commissioned by Conway Medical Center for their Diagnostic Imaging Center- dream project!!). I saved my funds throughout the year, and earmarked them to give away as a lump sum. Barb Mains and her organization Help for Kids came up with this project in Loris, SC. (Help 4 Kids– Facebook link). Barb has been an advocate for the underserved in our area for over 25 years. Two elderly sisters with handicaps (pictured below) had a need for new floors, painting and roof repairs. These darling ladies scoot around using their hands sitting directly on the floor when in the house. They only using their wheelchairs when they leave home. Their needs were clear, and I was hooked from the moment Barb described the project! She used my donation, the donations of some of my students & friends. VOSCA volunteers from NY did the physical labor.
This group has been coming here over 27 years from NY state since Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina in 1989. They fundraise year after year, and the experience is life changing for both the volunteers and those they help. Many volunteers have come repeatedly. The original trip was organized by high school teacher, Bob Cheney. He has since retired, but continues to supervise and volunteer on the trip. Another chaperone, Cory McMillan volunteered while in high school, and now volunteers as chaperone with plans to continue on in years to come. Their experiences definitely seem to illustrate that win-win-win concept that happens when we set out to help others.
Some of our local churches here in SC make them meals every year (Saint Andrew Catholic Church, St Michael’s Catholic Church), and Garden City Baptist Retreat has been giving them housing when they come. What a fantastic contribution by everyone! I’m so happy to be associated with all this fantastic good energy!
So the bottom line is this: If you have a problem with being self-conscious about your sales, I urge you to try this strategy for yourself. If you’d like to funnel some money to any of these organizations to support their efforts helping the less fortunate, then follow the links embedded in this blog.
Here’s one set of before and after photos from my part of the project this week: I’m hoping to get some curtains and artwork up in a few rooms when I give you my next update on this project.
Thanks again to those of you who have contributed to this effort through your purchases or donations. You can go to bed tonight knowing you did some real good! Thanks also to those of you who read and subscribe to this blog. I love sharing the journey with all of you…
Share Love! Spread Light! Do ART! Give Back!