This article is by Carolyn Henderson, the managing half of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She is a Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews and her freelance writing appears in regional newspapers, online magazines, and her humor blog, Middle-Aged Plague.
Recently, aside from reminiscing about the original Star Trek series, I mentioned a social update function that we were offered through a guide book we advertised in, and how a couple of people I talked to – who also advertised in this same venue -- were not taking advantage of this service.
Danged if last week I didn’t run into a third person – not associated with the guidebook but definitely in line with the attitude of the two advertisers I spoke with -- this time with a twist.
“I don’t have anything going on,” she said. “I haven’t entered any shows, nothing’s happening in my galleries, and I’m not in any publications or anything.”
“Well, have you painted anything recently?”
“I finished a piece last week, but nobody wants to hear about that. I mean, it’s not news.”
In my mind, when the Norwegian Artist sneezes, that’s news, and I’ll find some way to let others know about it. (“Prominent Painter Produces Masterpieces Despite Environmental Challenges and Potentially Debilitating Disease”). For sure, when he finishes a painting, THAT’s major news, and if an organization – like our guidebook, or a gallery that shows the Norwegian’s work, or a licensing company that promotes it, or either one of our mothers – offers to disseminate that news via their social media accounts, then I will attach an image of that work to an e-mail, write a little blurb like, “Just off the easel – Eyrie, original oil on canvas, 30 x 36. Spirit of the Canyon is a companion piece to this work, both of which are also available as framed miniature studies, signed limited edition prints, and note cards,” and let them decide whether or not to use it.
After all, if I decide in advance that they won’t be interested and never send the information at all, then there are no surprises – they won’t use the information, because they don’t have it.
This concept seems very simple and straightforward to me, but then again, I tend to be a fairly simple and straightforward person, when I’m not being complicated, that is. When somebody says, “Please send us updates on what you are doing in your business,” I do so, reserving time each week to review what has happened the week before and write a little sentence, with images and links when appropriate, which they can use, or not use, as they see fit.
By keeping up with this task every week or two, I don’t overwhelm myself or the person receiving the information, and I keep up a steady stream of web-based, Norwegian-Artist-themed content. (Just so that I don’t miss anything, I also ask the information disseminating party if I can add them to our monthly e-mail newsletter, from which they can pick and choose nuggets throughout the month. The unanimous response to this request has been yes.)
Obviously, I don’t abuse the privilege or the time of the person offering the service, and I really don’t let people know every time the Norwegian sneezes, but just the process of putting together the updates keeps me abreast of how much we are doing, or not doing, over a period of time.
And when you are aware of how much you’re doing, or not doing, you tend to focus on making sure that you are actually doing something – creating new work, entering shows, blogging, giving or taking a workshop, speaking to a class, putting out a newsletter – if you sit down and brainstorm a list of what you’ve been up to over the last couple months, and what you’re looking to do in the forthcoming two, you might be pleasantly surprised.
And that way, when you are offered the opportunity to share your updates via another person or organization’s social media sites, you’ll also be ready.