4 Tips for Preventing Copyright Theft

It all begins with you. Under US law, you own the rights to your work as soon as you create it.  However, loading your work onto your website, online gallery or social media puts it out there for the world to view and to steal.  Though nothing is foolproof, here are four steps you can take to lessen the chance of copyright infringement.

1. Low Resolution Images  

Log resolution images or images that have a smaller file size cannot be printed without the image appearing blurry or grainy.  Therefore, it is impossible to use or resell.  Low resolution images also load faster than higher ones making them easier to view on your website.  

2.     Watermarks

Watermarks vary from the barely seen to the highly visible.  Placing a watermark on your image, a faint logo directly in the center or lightly plastering your name across your work, is effective in preventing your work from being used without permission by basically making it useless.  Who wants a image with your logo stuck in the center?

3.      De-activate the right click

The right click option allows for copying the image and pasting it elsewhere.  By deactivating this option, it makes it very difficult, though not impossible, to copy an image.  Most websites and online galleries will allow or provide this feature.  

4.      Register Your Work

The best option is to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.  You can do this online or by mail.  It’s very simple but the costs can add up.  However, if you have a group of work, you can always register the volume more economically.  Just make sure you keep a copy of the work within the volume.  As always, consult a Copyright/Patent Attorney for additional details.  

3 Ways to Learn from Your Competition

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.  All you have to do is make a better wheel.  So, your competition has plenty of information to provide you, and most are willing to share techniques, stories, paths.  

1.  Find the successful artists; the one’s that are recognizable; the present day ones.  Find artists whose work is similar to you.  Perhaps you already know of them; perhaps, you’ve already emulated their style.  They will have insights as to what products they like; why they like them; they may even give reviews on their website or youtube.  

2.  There’s always more to learn than just style.  View their websites, and social media sites.  Study what they post.  Where they show.  If their work is similar to yours, it stands to reason their path might work for you.   

3.  Artist Guilds, and communities and organizations for the arts are always a good source of information.  Find the ones that that are willing to share, especially the ones online, and be willing to reciprocate.  Like, comment, share their work on your sites.  Ask questions.  Give your input.

Getting to know people who have already figured it out can save you time and energy.  You can use their knowledge and build upon it but be sure to then pay it forward.

Tips for Turning Rejection into Insight

Rejection sucks.  Plain and simple.  Perhaps you have been turned down from an exhibition,  not invited to an art fair or ignored on your social media sites.  They all can sting. However, it proves you are doing what is necessary to put yourself out there, just like any entrepreneur.  So, don’t take it personally.  Use the situation just like any business manager would, as a tool for improvement. 

So, once you receive that first “no” and after every “no” thereafter, (and you will receive a no) calmly examine what went wrong.  Begin to analyze the situation.  You will find ways to make improvements.

Did you follow the rules exactly?

If it was a blind submission, did you remove your name entirely from the application?

Did you turn your application in on time?

Were your images clear and professional?

Review your artist statement.

Did you tell your story?

The list goes on.  Sometimes, it’s helpful if you can attend the show that you didn’t get in, so that you can compare your work to those artists were accepted.  Sometimes, art fairs will provide you with applications and images from all those who applied.  Take full advantage of that information.  

And remember, each no is one step closer to yes.  The trick is not to just keep going, but to learn as you go, using each rejection as insight for improvements.  If it were easy, everyone would be an artist.  

Donating Your Art...Beneficial or Not?

Supporting a cause can be a rewarding experience.  However, is donatlng your artwork rewarding? Is it worth it?

Organizations, groups, and charities will often solicit artists for donations.  In return, you get exposure, tax write-offs and the pride of having helped out a worthy cause.  Sounds good.

Well, many times pride is the only thing you’ll receive in return.  And once you donate you’ll be hounded for more donations from more and more organizations.  The tax write-offs are for materials only.  This means you will lose out on all the hours you have invested in creating the piece, making the deduction minuscule from a purely economic perspective.  

The best advice I can give you is if you are going to donate, do so expecting only to receive the good feeling for having done so.  If possible, donate to causes/charities that are somehow related to your work.  If you can tailor your work to fit the cause do so.  For example, if you are a pet portrait artists or your style works with painting animals, donate those types of pieces to organizations supporting animals.  

Feel free to leave your experience with donating art good or bad.  Comments welcome.

ArtResin Vs. Envriotex

Reducing exposure to as many chemicals as possible is a must whether they are known to be cancerous or not.  So, if it says it’s non-toxic, I’m in.  But are the non-toxic products as good?  Some are.  some you have to learn to manipulate them in order to live with them.  

Having used both, Envirotex and ArtResin, I can honestly say, I’ll take the non-toxic (when used as directed) ArtResin every time.  

Both are a high-gloss epoxy resin clear coat and both are simple to use.  Both crystal clear resins protect your work by creating a durable finish that protects against yellowing.  Both are great for jewelry, wood, and enhancing your finished painting.  

But what are the differences?  Why do I prefer one to the other?  

ArtResin is one of the safest products on the market.  It has no VOCs or fumes; it is non-flammable and is certified non-toxic which equates to being healthier and safer.  That is the biggest and best advantage.  ArtResin also has superior customer service and support.  Their website has great advice, tips and tricks.  Additionally, it seems to have a longer working time.  So, for large projects that is a huge plus.  

The downsides…ArtResin seems to be bubble a bit more.  I, however, like the imperfections the bubbles create.  If you are one who strives for perfection, ArtResin will take a little more time and manipulation.  It also takes a full 72 hours to cure as opposed to 48.  But as I said, the upsides outweigh the downsides.  I’ll take the healthier ArtResin anytime.  However, I don’t risk anything anymore.  I still use a respirator and gloves while working with all products regardless of current day claims.  

Comments welcome.

The Emotional Connection

Sales.  It’s all about the benefit a product has to offer.  When it comes to art the benefit is mostly emotional.  Art is rarely just a functional purchase.  Yes.  Art fills a space.  But it does more than just fill a void.  It creates an atmosphere.  And through that atmosphere, personality is expressed.  It’s the expression of personality people are buying.  The connection to the work is what the buyer seeks.  They want how it makes them feel and they want to share that side of them with their family and friends.  

So, understanding what it is your art conveys is the key to finding your audience.  The key to selling your work.  If you aren’t clear about what emotion your art evokes, start by asking your friends and family how they feel when they view your work.  Listen to the people who buy your work.  They will tell you.  

If they don’t volunteer the information, ask.  Share your connection to the painting, and then ask what their’s is.  Ask what drew them to their purchase.  Ask what it in particular they like about he piece.  Just ask.  Sometimes it may not be the painting itself.  At a show in Chicago, I had a customer who purchased a piece simply because of the name.  The name reminded her of the drive up The 101 freeway from Los Angeles to San Francisco.  She had fond memories of that drive.  Coincidentally, that was the inspiration for the piece.  

Once you have derived at the emotion connection, sell the emotion.  Work it into your story.    Sell the story.  And see where it leads.  I bet it leads to sales.  



5 Tips for Hanging Your Work at an Art Fair

1. Hang the Showstopper

    Display your work using your best, high-end piece at the center.  Because it’s an eye-catcher, it will create traffic within your booth and help sell the other pieces around it.  Make certain to display work at all price levels within your booth to have something to offer for everyone.   

2.    Hang at Eye Level

Eye level is the best placement for selling products.  Any one who’s ever worked retail can attest to that.  No one wants to bend down to look at your artwork.  So, take advantage of the eye level strategy by hanging your best pieces at eye level.  

3.    Hang in Odd Numbers

Even numbered arrangements tend to lack interest.  Odd numbers tend to be more eye catching. So, set up your display in threes or fives to keep the eye moving and maintain customer interest.  

4.    Create a Flow

  When hanging your work, think of the grouping as a work in and of itself.  Try to create a flow from piece to piece just a you would when creating each one on its own.  The flow will keep the customer’s eye moving from one to the next and back again.

5.    De-Clutter

  Remember less is more.  Now that everything is in place, step back and check your arrangement.  Are your pieces crowded?  If so, space them out a little.  Give each piece enough room to be viewed.  Cramped spaces and clutter can create uneasiness and that’s the last thing you want your customer feeling.

Comments welcome.

Pumpkin Swirl CheesecakeYogurt Cakes

Again, not my recipe. It is from my favorite wesite…Skinny Taste. Check her out. Her stuff is amazing, as is this recipe. Great for Thanksgiving.


Speaking of Colors...my blue playlist artsoulblog.com

Give Me My Blues-Albert Collins 

Tangled Up in Blue-Dylan

Smokin’ Gun Blues-Robert Cray 

Folsom Prison Blues-Johnny Cash

Firsco Blues-John Lee Hooker

Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue-Crystal Gayle

Brown Eyed Blues-Ben Harper

Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain-Willie Nelson

Talkin’ Blues-Bob Marley

I got the Blues-Joss Stone

Stop Breakin’ Down Blues-Robert Johnson

Blue Monday Hangover-Albert Collins

And because I’m from the Ozarks…

Jackie Blue-Ozark Mountain Daredevils

My Melody Gardot Playlist

Your Heart is Black

Who Will Comfort Me

Our Love is Easy

Lover Undercover

Quiet Fire

My One and Only Thrill

Same to You

He’s a Tramp

Thai Basil Chicken from Skinny Taste

This is one of my favorite recipes. It’s not mine. It’s from Skinny Taste. I absolutely love it. Tasty, low calorie and easy. Can’t ask for more.


It's Still Fall and It's Still Inspirational artsoulblog.com

I love Fall.  Sweaters.  Boots.  Pumpkin lattes.  The colors…chocolate, orange, scarlet.  

The fireplace I had as a child I spoke of earlier, it was accessorized with pellets that turned the flame from orange and scarlet to blue and green.  I was mesmerized by those colors.  All of them.  And I turn to those memories for color combinations over and over again.  As I said, don’t count anything out.  You never know where you will find inspiration or what you will call on for inspiration.  Stay alert.  

Now, I those pellets are sold as campfire enhancers called Cosmic Flames.  Perhaps, I’ll get some for my next camping episode, or bonfire.  It is bonfire time.    

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Let's Here It For The Girls

Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s Gone-Eva Cassidy 

Misty-Sarah Vaughan

Sunday Kinda Love-Etta James

Smooth Operator-Sade

Summertime-Janis Joplin

Feeling Good-Nina Simone

Jolene-Miley Cyrus

Back to Black-Amy Winehouse

Super Duper Love-Joss Stone

Breakdown Mode-Iyeoka

Nah neh nah-Vaya Con Dias

Today I Play...artsoulblog.com

How Jr Got HIs Head Put Out-JJ Grey and Mofro

Stripes-Brandy Clark

Two More Bottles of Wine-Delbert McClinton

Valery-Amy Winehouse

Things Have Changed-Dylan

Hippies & Cowboys-Cody Jinks

Bourbon in Your Eyes-Devil Doll

Casanova-Eric Lindell

I Ain’t Drunk-Albert Collins

La Grange-ZZ Top

Some Kind of Ride-Grace Potter

Peace, Love, and Happiness-GL Special Sauce

Girl Next Door-Brandy Clark

Inspiration is in the Air and It's Called Fall artsoulblog.com

Pumpkins.  Pumpkin lattes.  Bonfires.  Fires in general.

Fires.  As a child, we had a wood burning fireplace.  I grew up in the country in an all electric home.  A fireplace was necessary supplemental heating.  My parents partitioned off the house, keeping the kitchen and family room at 70º with the help of the fireplace, while the living room, dinning room and bedrooms were kept at 55º.  Quilts.  Lots and lots of quilts.  

Keeping the fire going through the night every night was the goal.  But during the times we lost electricity, and there were many, sometimes for days and days, keeping the fire going was vital.  But that took effort.  Wood.  All through the day.  All through the night.  Not a task for the lazy.

Not sure my parents slept during those power outages.  Without electricity, we only had the fire for heat.  The bedroom temperatures dropped well below 55º.  So, we all piled in the living room by the fire.  Quilts.  Lots and lots and lots of quilts.  I loved those days.  I loved those quilts.  

Quilts.  They are still useful to me today.  Though not in the same way.  I like the patterns.  They're a great source of inspiration when designing.  Don’t count anything out.  You never know where you will find inspiration.  

Discipline Takes Creativity artsoulblog.com

Painted all morning.  Getting closer but the finish line keeps moving.  I’m tired.  I’m hungry.  I need a break.  But I really need to finish.  I can’t take a break.  Big sigh.

Food.  I need food.  I must have food.  My shoulder is screaming. So, I take a break.  From painting that is.  I’ll take a working lunch.  My website needs updating.  Marketing is a must.  Photos.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.  Ugh.  

As I walk to the kitchen, I remember the laundry and a package that needs to be mailed.  Errands.  Another big sigh.  

Discipline.  When you work out of your house, discipline is a necessity.  Most days, I have it.  I have it to spare.  Today is not most days.  

So, today, I leave.  Laptop in tow, to rid myself of distractions.  To eat.  To sit elsewhere.  Amongst people.  Human contact.  Sort of.  The introvert trying to be an extrovert.  

Bourbon salmon.  Rice.  Asparagus.  My favorite.  All prepared by my favorite cook, Brandon 3000.  My stomach takes delight.  My shoulder has quieted.  My blog is finished.  My time has been used wisely.  

Discipline.  Sometimes it, too, takes creativity.  

Wall Art artsoulblog.com

Made for decorative purposes, wall art is usually a print of an original.  It’s what you buy at Target, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel.  It’s not for every artist.  But it is something to consider when you are picking your style and defining success.  For me, it’s how I got my start.  

As a full-time corporate employee, I didn’t have much time to devote to art.  If I was going to pursue art as a career rather than a hobby, I had to turn out work rapidly, utilize my time wisely.  Every minute counted.

Acrylic dries quickly but the process is not always speedy.  The preparation alone can be time consuming.  A change of clothes.  Paints.  Gels.  Glazes.  Brushes.  And then there’s the clean up.  Acrylic can’t be left out.  My fifteen minute time slot was up and the canvas was still blank.  

I needed something I could walk away from, come back to, finish quickly.  Mixed media wall art fit the bill.  Rarely, do I sell the originals.  They are turned into prints and then used for marketing purposes.  The prints are sold in large quantities over a number of years.  I keep it separate from my other work, which explains one of my split personalities.  

Now, even though I am no longer a corporate employee and am in charge of my time, it still fits the bill.  I still do it.  I still love it.  It cures burn out.  Spawns creativity.  Again, it’s not for everyone, but if time is an issue for you, give it some consideration when selecting your style and defining your success.  You might find it fits.

Karma artsoulblog.com

What goes around comes around.  It’s true.  Sometimes I have my doubts and sometimes it feels like forever before the old adage rings true.  But it does ring true.  

So, treat others as you would have them treat you.  Share each others’ blogs, artwork, music.  You never know who you know who you may be able to help.  Maybe a friend needs artwork for their new office.  Perhaps another needs to hear an inspirational blog or someone’s music lifted another’s spirit.  

You never know how one like, share or kind word can will blossom in not just one friend’s life but perhaps many.  And you never know how it will come back to you.