How to Find Your Collectors – Selling Your Art

a watercolor of white, yellow and orange roses in a pewter colored milk pitcher in front of a window

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Artistic Affinities – and How to Sell Your Art

I need to tell you a story to explain the importance of finding *your* art collectors…. Hang with me, here.

The watercolor floral still life above was influenced by my grandparent’s New England home.

My Italian grandparents purchased a circa 1800’s house in the mid 1940’s in Connecticut. The center of the house was buttressed by a quarry stone chimney with a hearth on each face, upstairs and downstairs, built by Native Americans.

The stone slab mantles (see below) were lined with hand carved, moveable-part curios my grandfather collected. There was an acquisition story to go with each treasure.

The house was decorated with international sensibilities, because my immigrant grandparents collected things that spoke to their history.

A corner passageway between two rooms in my grandparents house in the late 70’s

Art Reveals the Artist (& the Collector)

My art reveals hints of my own stories; the figures are my family, the still life objects are familial heirlooms, etc.

We paint what’s meaningful to us. Whether we render quiet genre scenes, or garish political statements, or flower-colored abstracts, they are all portals to each artist’s history, character and preferences. Do you agree?

When you exhibit your work, folks with similar sensibilities find you and rejoice in that common ground.

If exhibit attendees don’t share your affinities, they’ll move on.

Knowing my rapport for quiet, contemplative scenes, would you be surprised that I wouldn’t collect a neon pink, bleeding, headless rabbit painting?

Should the rabbit painter be sad, or feel rejected that our tastes don’t mesh? Absolutely not.

Watercolor Floral Still Life underway in the studio

You Are the Model of Your Collector

Just like opposing favorite colors, spicy vs mild foods, city life vs country living…. everyone has different tastes. We bring all of our DNA and Life Experience-infused preferences with us to art shows.

If you show your art, and there’s not much response to it, the only thing you can be certain of is that your people didn’t attend the exhibit.

Never take that personally. It doesn’t mean your art is bad, or other folks who sold tons of work are better than you.

Rather than dragging your sad self back to the studio questioning your place in the art world, sprint to a notepad!

Look in the Mirror

How to sell your art? Make a list of everything you love in art. Colors, subjects, styles, etc.

Think hard about folks in the world who are just like you… Where do you hang out? (That’s where they hang out.)

What are your favorite pastimes? (Those are their favorite pastimes too.)

What style of house and home decor do you love? (They adore the same houses and styles that you love too!)

People who are just like you will respond to your art.

Find the places where those folks hang out, and put some marketing efforts into getting that group to your next exhibit.

Build a mailing list, and fill it with folks you relate to.

You’re not just looking for “collectors”. You’re looking for Your Collectors.

Those are your people.

Two Ideas are Better than One

If you have tips or tricks for building an email list, or attracting your perfect collector to art exhibits, please share them in the comments.

There are a million ways to wear all the hats related to art marketing and exposure these days.

The business end of making art isn’t easy, so we’ll all move forward faster if we help each other. Right?

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post –


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P.P.S. Craftsy just posted awesome Deals Of The Week: Watch as many online classes as you want here. #bingelearning

Art Quote

It is unfortunate that [Degas’] execution is always so inadequate and that his taste leads him to the bizarre or ugly, rather than the graceful. He has an unfortunate weakness for pink-skirted dancers and yawning laundresses. Unhappily, Degas does not have the eye of a colorist nor always the hand of a draftsman.

C. Bigot,critic from La Revue Politique et Litteraire 1876
Have a look at this Free Video Course: Six Tips to Paint More Often

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15 thoughts on “How to Find Your Collectors – Selling Your Art”

  1. Love your paintings and suggestions. True we must have our own people. It is a wonderful feeling when people who “get” you visit your shows, and super exciting when they buy your work.

    Wonderful post.

    1. Hello there my friend! Yes, we must have our own people, as you’ve undoubtedly discovered through all your exhibits! The photos suggest that your enthused art collectors are having no trouble finding you!

  2. Great ideas on how to go about finding your audience! And looking at that photo of the roses in process, it made me think about how little I know about how to approach working on a painting (very novice watercolorist) – I’ve heard people say work from light to dark (or is it dark to light…?), but I dunno – I’m not even sure how to apply that. Wondering if this might be a topic for a future post?

    1. Watercolor is light to dark, meaning the lightest part of the painting is the white of your paper. Watercolor cannot paint white over dark. Once you darken a passage in your paintings, that’s it – it’s dark forever. So, the image of the painting in process on this post shows a technique called glazing. There’s a great book on it by Adele Earnshaw: You can get it used for a few dollars.That book might help you with some step by steps. Plus, I love her work. Thanks for the feedback, and the suggestion of a future post. I’ve added it to the list. πŸ™‚

  3. Accckkkk – “a neon pink, bleeding, headless rabbit painting” you have been reading too many murder mysteries or something my dear!! LOL

  4. kendra page (hi, Belinda!)

    This post is a keeper. It’s so true, especially when you’re first starting out, to question yourself when folks hardly throw your work a glance, but hustle over to items that leave you scratching your head. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kendra – Thanks for the compliments and the back up! I got fresh reminders whenever Nancy Eckels and I were booth neighbors. Some people *only* love abstract work, and they’d flock to her booth, and some people *only* like small figurative work, and they’d flock to mine. People rarely visited both of our booths, which lead to all sorts of philosophising and observations about tastes. ??

  5. Your beautiful painting drew me in today and your grandparents home story was really interesting. Thank you for being so generous with your inspirations and upbeat attitudes.

    1. Hi Joyce! You modeled good behavior; being generous with advice, encouragement and details – to me! The only thing I’m missing in my Joyce-flavored offerings is that chocolate cake! Thanks for your visit, my friend!

  6. What a wonderful, encouraging, and inspiring post, Belinda! Thank you. It’s just what I needed today.

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