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Submitting Your Work to Art and Photography Galleries

January 28th, 2016 10:19 pm

The primary thing to focus on with art gallery submission is persistence…never give up. All galleries receive dozens, many hundreds of unsolicited submissions yearly. The reality is that of those many submissions, only a select few ever get chosen to be exhibited. Essentially, submitting your work and then patiently waiting is what’s involved here. With many galleries you may wait forever. With others, you may occasionally get lucky and find one who offers interest in your submission. It is very important to periodically follow up with a gallery after you submit. There is a fine line between persistently following up with a gallery, and being an obnoxious pest. However, it is critical to stay in touch with the gallery owner/manager so that they know who you are and that you are serious about representation/sponsorship.

Lets break it down into a step-by-step process from start to finish… Find galleries who accept or are looking specifically for your brand of work. This task is probably the most difficult part in the overall process. First off, most reputable/successful art galleries have their own website, listing their preferred style/brand of artists/photographers, their targeted browsers/buyers, their contact information and submission instructions. As you begin the daunting task of visiting the many and varied gallery websites whether in your location or nationally/internationally, you will quickly discover that most of them are not even accepting submissions. Ouch! Reality shock here. Yes, these are the cold hard facts. Most galleries will list this on their websites, or explain this to you via phone/email.

Now, assuming that through your tireless research you finally find a gallery that exhibits your style of work and is currently taking submissions, please follow their submission instructions carefully. It doesn’t hurt to call them just to be sure their website information is current. This will save you much wasted time and money. Many sites will accept your work electronically, either on CD disk, some even via email. Others prefer hard copies. Postal mail sometimes is the only method. Regardless, do exactly what they request. Generally they will ask you for 5 to 10 samples, sometimes more. Do this please. Do not send them dozens of pieces. Rather, select a few samples that best represent you the Artist, which reflect your soul, your personality, your inner work. Pick the work that expresses you the way you want your viewers/buyers to see you as an artist. Even include some work already sold if it exemplifies your best work, but its probably best to have the majority of your pieces not sold yet.

After submission, wait at least the minimum time per their instructions before contacting them with a follow up call/letter. Often this will be 4-8 weeks or longer. Trust that they received it and be patient. Now, give them a call. Formally introduce yourself. Be polite and professional. Let them know that you are extremely interested in their gallery, their style of art, and their sponsors/buyers. Be sure to keep detailed records for yourself, listing dates of your submissions to which galleries, contact names, phone and email addresses. Keep in mind that staff come and go at galleries, so it is very important to be able to drop a name of who you spoke to. If a visit in person is possible, this is the preferred follow up. Give them your business card. Smile, and appear confident. They are fully aware of the tedious process that you have been through just to be lucky enough to submit to a gallery. Do not appear frustrated or defeated. Look and sound upbeat and ready to discuss business. Be sure that you have thoroughly read through their website prior to your first contact.

Do your research. Be able to speak knowledgeably about their gallery. Leave them with a positive memory about your interview. You may only have a few minutes to chat on the phone or in person, so make it count. If you are lucky enough to have submitted to a local gallery, look professional and dress appropriately for each visit. Bring a professional portfolio with you. In it, be sure to have a current and complete hard copy of your resume. Include all past art showings that you have done, with the most recent listed first. Include names, dates, and references. List all of your relevant educational degrees/certifications.

Of course, include in you portfolio high quality hard copy photos of your samples, and at least one CD disk with samples. They may ask you for samples in person. Again, look and sound professional. Before visiting the gallery, be sure that you have made a previous trip to scope out the location, brand of art viewing customers, management and the parking situation. Realize that most art/photography galleries are physically located downtown in most cities. Allow time for traffic commute and parking. If this is a follow up interview, do not be late. Remember the saying, ‘early is on time, and on time is late’. Be punctual. If a gallery is gracious enough to agree to interview you either in person or via phone, come prepared.

Often galleries will only open to submissions for a specific event or special exhibit. Typically, a gallery will have a few different showings per year. A showing can last just one day, but more often it will run for a few weeks, even months. Usually these are ‘theme’ exhibits, showing a certain topic/subject. They are looking for artist who has that particular style or feeling of expression. Topics vary from a historical period of canvas painting, to a contemporary style of sculpture. You must be constantly checking postings and ads for what is up and coming at different galleries in different cities. You can’t afford to miss a rare window of opportunity allowing you to submit your work. A gallery may only accept for a few days/weeks, and then may not accept again for a year or so.

Five Simple Tips to Paint Better With Oil Paints

January 4th, 2016 1:27 am

Oil paints when used for painting on canvas or any other surfaces have a glossy and shiny finish; and as we all love the durability and strength of oils, we also know how oil paints are difficult to handle and especially while using in painting. Artists, when using this medium, sometimes find it difficult to handle the medium and resort to quick drying acrylics or water colors. In this article I would like to share five simple tips to paint better with oil paints.

The first tip for using oil paints in a painting is you have to be prepared for the mess it creates while painting and the time this medium takes for drying. Oils are messy, and while painting, be careful of your hands, your clothes and your studio. You have to be prepared for oil paints- with rags, extra rough tissue papers and extra space in your working studio. This is very handy when you accidentally drop some or drip some paint on the floor, or accidentally on the artwork itself where you do not wish to have it. You have to be prepared for the time it takes for drying. Oil paints do require a lot of time to dry so keep empty space or a wall to let your artworks dry for the required time.

Secondly, it is important to use a good quality thinner while using oils. Selecting the right quality and the right quantity of oil paint is very important. You can try the brush strokes with color on a corner of the canvas to understand the right required shade as too thin color will not be sufficient to bind the color and too thick a medium on brush will not be easy to paint and will create a rough texture on your canvas. A very thin medium will not give the desired effect and may also make your art look dull after drying.

The third tip for using and painting better with oil paints is to select a quick drying agent. A good quality oil paint drying agent works wonders and reduces the drying time considerably, this means there is less dropping and spilling of color and color dropping accidents. You also finish the artwork faster. Many artists do not know about these quick drying agents that facilitate drying of oils faster and reduce the required time for drying. This tip for using a quick drying agent is very helpful when you have a lined up commission work and less time, especially during monsoons when this medium requires the most time to dry and also in this season there are chances of your artwork catching fungus during the drying process.

The fourth tip for using oil paints in any artwork is the appropriate technique and process. While you paint step by step using oils, you must always remember to begin with using the lighter colors. First use lighter colors by filling up the major parts of your canvas where light colors are required. The outlining and details in your artwork must be painted later on. This minimizes the over lapping of oil paints and you also use less quantity of color as compared to when you paint darker colors first, where you would use up more of light color oil paint and still have difficulty in getting the right appearance of the object you are painting.

The fifth simple tip to use this medium effectively is let the layers of paint on your canvas dry well. This is very important that you allow the base and all the paint layers to dry off well. This tip is especially helpful when you are doing a color field abstract art piece. You minimize the risk of getting muddy colors on your canvas. Usually when we paint abstracts the process is laying of one color over the other, the artists selects few areas that they wish to highlight and some that are hidden and over lapped with another color. Here this tip would be very helpful, otherwise in the end you may get a muddy and dirty colored artwork with patches of dirty browns, which may be of no use.

Oil paints are a very good medium and following certain simple tips, you can paint easily with this medium and make good artwork.