PTSD

Six Hundred Sales!

I can hardly believe it myself! On Tuesday I sold my 600th painting via the online gallery www.artfinder.com. My sales total had been stuck on 599 what seemed like an unbelievably long time – it was a week in fact. I have actually sold more than that either directly or through other online galleries. All of those paintings were unique too.  I have never gone in for mass producing generic scenes. I believe that novelty keeps my work “fresh”.

My work may explore certain themes such as the Brecon Beacons, Gower Woodlands, Swansea people, the Gower coast, but each painting is an individual. Each painting is of a real specific place or of real people. Perhaps that shows a failure of imagination on my part, I don’t know.

Although I may have had periods when I have felt a bit “flat”, such as after an exhibition, but so far I never actually run out of inspiration. This is partly due to the world around me constantly inspires me but also, more importantly,  because of the unfailing encouragement, inspiration and support provided by my artist husband, James Henry Johnston (known to his friends as Seamas – pronounced “Shay-mas”).

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Seamas

Seamas founded our Art business in the midst of one of the most difficult times of my life. I had developed PTSD after a car accident and this contributed to a breakdown. Painting was an essential part of my recovery (and still is). Not only did he give me crucial emotional support through an incredibly  difficult time, (all whilst sitting his Psychology finals) he set up a website and put some of my paintings on an online gallery called Artfinder. To our delight I started selling. Like many artists, I find the marketing side of the business challenging at times. I was terrified that people would be rude about my art and that would then affect my fragile confidence. Happily that has rarely happened.

So in those early days Seamas acted as “shield” and would write all those upbeat posts on Facebook about sales and upcoming exhibitions. He would also work on direct sales, face-to-face and online, negotiating terms with collectors. I have only really come to appreciate the sheer amount of time and effort he has put into promoting my work since I started working as a full-time artist and had to tackle platforms like pinterest and instagram. That term “full-time artist” is a misnomer as it might give you the impression I spend all say in the studio. I spend at least half my time working on social media and marketing.

Artfinder has been a massive part in being able to make that leap and become a full-time artist. Being self-employed is full of ups and downs, it’s very much “feast or famine” so to look back and see 600 sales over 5 years is quite amazing. Long may it continue. I was going to end this by quoting Samuel Butler, Victorian novelist and satirist who said; “Any fool can paint a picture but it takes a wise man to be able to sell it”, but I want to rephrase that with “Any fool can paint a picture but it take a genius to sell it.”

Tenby Tide

Tenby Tide

 

33 replies »

  1. Congratulations Emma. Who couldn’t like a work full of such vibrancy as you create in yours. I’m so pleased your husband was such a big support yo you when you needed it but that’s our role and vice versa.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Indeed it is. That’s what marriage/partnershipship is all about, being there in the good times and the bad. Thank you, David.

  2. Ah, what an excellent achievement. And I don’t mean (only) find the right genius to marry. 😉 I cannot help but wonder how on earth you managed to paint that many works in five years, let alone sell them. You are a proof that it can be done and I’m very happy for you and every artist out there who deserves it. To the future!

    • Manja, I paint all the time, when ever I am not doing other paid-work (like exam marking or exam invigilation). Other people have children, we don’t so that gives me more time, I suppose. I think the thing that amazes me, looking back, is that each painting is different. Still, I look out my window and I see some many more scenes that came be painted! I love it!

    • He is awesome. You should see him in action. He is a charming but tough negotiator (he’s Irish, that helps). I am utterly useless at the face-to-face or down-the-phone stuff – Left to me I’d just give my work away and we’d starve!

  3. Emma, I have long admired your marketing skills too, since I realized you must be spending an awful amount of time doing that. And I’m truly happy for your success! But, I must say, I’m just as amazed by the sheer volume of work you’ve created over the years. Who paints 600+ artworks? That’s so awe-inspiring. My congratulations!

    • Thank you Gabriela – I paint most days of the week, for anything from 3 to 6 hours a day. It’s my therapy. I am happy when I paint. I have always been a very hardworking person (I was a teacher and that career demands an enormous amount of hard work – this is fun in comparison) and an incredible number of hours has gone into the marketing from both me and my husband. Art is a tough business.

  4. Well done, Emma, you are an inspiration! I must follow your example, I tend to just give things to people who like them (family and friends). I wanted to ask you about Artfinder, if it’s worth listing work there, and if they promote it, or do you have to do it yourself mostly?I’ve read conflicting reviews. Anyway, congrats on a great job. I love your work!

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