It's hard to believe that this website is coming up on six years old.
I felt like a total imposter when I first set it up, and a charlatan when I set up my Facebook page. I struggled to get one hundred people to even like the page. I was still finding my proverbial voice, and hadn't yet moved into my current style of realism mixed with hints of impressionism.
Two years later, I started offering in person paint classes out of the studio I was renting at 176 Lakeshore Drive in North Bay. My little Facebook page started to gain steam, growing to 500 followers, then over 1,000. I was running a paint class almost every other day. Fundraisers. Corporate events. Birthday parties. Ladies' nights. Traffic to my website began to grow, so I commissioned the logo you currently see at the top of my page.
My former studio/teaching space at 176 Lakeshore Drive in North Bay
When I had my twins, everything ground to a halt, including my own painting practice. I was so busy trying to survive that the thought of painting seemed laughable. But I missed my studio time immensely, and was counting down the days until I could return to my work.
Since the pandemic first began, my page has grown from about 1,200 likes to 3,140. The main reason for this was because of the live painting classes that I offered, including a fundraiser that raised over $3,000 for the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
As my page grew, I realized that my new page followers were not just interested in the art itself, but in the process. It's the teaching that's bringing new people to my page. As I continue to tinker with my own art work and push myself to achieve better results, my followers are interested in the how.
Being a Go Giver
One of my favourite business books to read over and over again is The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg. When you're full of ambition and drive, a typically way of describing you might be that you're a real go-getter. The premise of this book, however, is that the truly successful people focus on what they can offer that is of value to world, as opposed to what they can go out and seize.
I strongly believe in providing a valuable service to the people who have entrusted me with their time and support. Whether you're a member of my art incubator group on Facebook, or a subscriber on this blog, or you simply follow my page or my instagram account, I am absolutely committed to ensuring that the content I produce is of a calibre worthy of your time. Which is why I'm moving forward with a two-prong strategy, to offer a professional experience for both art collectors and painting students alike.
The New Website
The first shift is my website launch, which is happening next Thursday, October 1st. I'm switching over from Wordpress to Shopify, which will allow me to sell both original works and print reproductions directly through my website. While the prints will still be distributed by Fine Art America, you won't need to leave my website to purchase any of the products. Originals, prints and products are now only a click away.
I'll also be offering 10% off all originals for the month of October, which will include my canoe painting in progress, as well as the two paintings featured below:
So many of you have written or commented about how you wish you knew how to paint water, or petals, or skies, etc. Teaching what I know about these specific topics always seemed little biting off more than I could chew, since most of my paint classes were less than two hours. There's so much to share in terms of technique, colour, etc., that shorter classes felt inadequate.
The more I began to think about it, the more I realized there was an opportunity to help people achieve their painting goals through online courses. I teamed up with a wonderful videographer, and we are working diligently (aka almost every day!) creating our course content.
The first series is focusing on fundamentals: the materials you'll need, setting up your studio space, and basic techniques. I'm starting with acrylic paints, since that was how I started with my painting practice and I think is ultimately more user friendly. Once you've mastered the basics, there will be several different courses for you to choose from, including: landscapes, florals, wildlife, and more. Each course will offer you hours and hours of content to work through at your own pace, as well as a free one-year membership to an exclusive Facebook group where you can interact with other emerging artists from around the world and receive support for your artwork.
The courses are still very much a work in progress, but I anticipate that the first one will be ready within the next few months. The footage so far is look very polished, so I can't wait to share some teasers and clips of what's to come.
I have two smaller commissions that I'm finishing up over the next few weeks, then I'll be starting on some large pieces. Some of them will be for sale through my website, others are commissions. Two in particular I'm planning to keep in my own home, since my walls are bare and I'd like something special for my studio and front entryway. If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know that the studio painting is going to be of the dahlia below:
I also have a GORGEOUS shot of a heron from a photographer in Whitby that I can't wait to tackle. So much goodness coming, it's hard to stay focused when I start thinking of it all!
Thank you so much for your support, it means the world to me. Every time you share a post from my page, or interact with me in any way shape or form, it helps me reach more people, and in turn allows me to support more people on their own artistic journey. Thank you for being a part of mine.
With greatest respect and warmest gratitude,