Fifteen Minute Conversation With Lori McNee!




I can't believe it's been over a year since I won a fifteen minute phone consultation with world renowned artist,  Lori McNee! She held a contest on her Facebook page and the painting that received the most "likes" would win a fifteen minute conversation with her. I figured I had nothing to lose so posted my latest painting…the "likes" started rolling in and I actually won! I still can't believe it! That was in September of 2012. Yes, it's taken me this long to write about
…doing the walk of shame right now. 
It was so amazing to have a chance to pick the brain of such a successful artist. The only problem was,  I was so nervous that when we got to the end of our conversation, and she said I had a bonus question, I couldn't come up with anything! Really? Yeah, that happened. I still have the notes from our conversation sitting on the table so I can easily refer to her words of wisdom when needed. I had a list of things I wanted to ask, but she ended up covering everything on my list with me even asking! We talked about social media and gaining Twitter followers. 

What did she say? Follow friends of friends, form relationships, make connections, and pay it forward. I would quote her but I was just jotting down notes.

I think she means if someone retweets you, show them the same courtesy. If they follow you, it's nice to take the time to check out their page and follow them back. Find people with the same interests, in your field, and follow them and their friends. That's how I found her on Twitter, all those years ago. I searched for artists on Twitter and she came up. 
From there, I found her blog Fine Art Tips where she and quest writers discuss all topics about art, from creating art, to the best marketing techniques for selling your art. 

Other tips she talked about were to schedule your tweets using Buffer or another scheduling app. It make sense since you definitely can't be on there tweeting all day! You'd never get any painting done!
Also, half the works is asleep when we're awake.


We talked about how to get in galleries and whether or not that's the way to go. Her advice- Focus on your region, paint local scenes and come up with a series of 12-15 cohesive pieces to present to a gallery. (have I done that yet? no) I feel like I'm always trying to pay my next bill or buy supplies so when I paint a piece, I need to sell it asap. I'm trying to come up with a way I can get around this, maybe time to change my strategy. She mentioned making notecards using Vistaprint for advertising. I'm also out of business cards now so that may be my next purchase…when I sell another painting.
We talked briefly about branding and finding that thing that sets you apart as an artist. This is a difficult one. I think many times it just happens naturally. I wish I could do a survey of successful artists and ask if they consciously created their "it" factor or if it just happened. They may have noticed that they had something special that set them apart and then used that for a marketing strategy. Or maybe someone else drew their attention to it. (wow! That would be nice! Please tell me what sets my work apart!…anyone? haha ) But how many artists actually tried to come up with something out of the blue? This is a big topic for another discussion later. Another point a took away from our conversation was to be a success you need to meet people in person. Galleries need to be approached in person and connections must be made. I wish there was a magical pill I could take for the courage to do that.


My conversation with Lori was beyond my expectations! She was so nice and down to earth and full of insightful information, as she always is. She is a gift to other artists and truly a gift to our world! I'm so glad to have had the chance to speak with her and get to know her a little more on the online community. Thank you Lori for all of your support and encouragement! 


So...reflecting back on what I've accomplished over the years, I feel pretty good about where I am, but would like to take things to the next level. I'm thinking about starting art fairs. Many artists start this way, and besides a small local one years ago where I old hand painted address tiles and hand painted furniture, I haven't ventured into this yet. Lori talked about coffee shops, and I have a few pieces in some local shops, but this is a very small logging town (pop. 3500) and the nearest city of a pop. close to 95000 already has its share of artists in their local shops. I'm not considered local there. haha! So, I need to find another venue. I really feel like I need to move out of here again. I came back with the promise it would only be three years, but that's past now. Promises, promises. Thank the internet! I wouldn't be able to sell anything without it! There are several other ways to sell art and up to this point, I've only concentrated on the "online" art scene, which is definitely a great place to be seen and sell your art, but I'm concentrating on larger pieces now. The largest I've sold online has been a 30x40 and I mostly sell 11x14's, but I want to go bigger!…which of course, will have larger prices…more of a commitment for buyers to make. For my clients who know my work, they can be confident in what they are getting, should they choose to purchase a larger piece. But for someone who has just discovered me, I would understand their reluctancy to make such a big investment online, without seeing it in person. If you're one of the later, just know that I offer a 100% guarantee on all my work. Your satisfaction is my number one priority, as I value each and everyone of my collectors! 


Jennifer




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