I have been on the Artfinder website since 2013, and during that time I have been fortunate enough to sell an incredible 788 artworks! I am very proud of the 254 5-star reviews that I have collected over the years via Artfinder.
So, I thought that I would share with you some of the customer reviews and messages I received last month from the collectors of my work on Artfinder. They are the icing on the cake for me and my husband Séamas, who has been working incredibly hard packing and shipping my work whilst I am recovering from my broken leg & ankle. I often think that my collectors describe my work better than I can and love reading what they say. I am very happy that my work is appreciated and enjoyed around the world.
Review by Maureen, I love these beautiful, atmospheric pieces. Emma captures her subjects to perfection. These two pieces are special to me as they remind me of my youth, growing up in an offshore Island in Ireland I look forward to seeing more of Emma’s work.
Review by Laurent- “This [“Winter Shopping”] is the third painting from Emma I have bought. As before, everything has been perfect… great communication, delivery in two days.. And it is a beautiful painting!
Message: Dear Emma, The painting [“Storm Over Inishbofin, Ireland”] has just arrived safely. It is lovely and I especially like the contrast between the optimistic houses and the darkening sky! Best wishes, Katharine
Review by Cameron, Have been viewing Emma’s works & style for a while now so grey happy to finally have 1 of her works hanging in my home [“Between Tides, Tenby”].
Review by Elissa, “Love this painting [“Hazy Tenby”] which was despatched and received within a few days of ordering. Thanks so much, Emma”
Review By Helen, “We were so pleased to purchase the painting [“Roshin Acres, Irealand”]. It is beautiful and when it arrived it was what we had hoped for when we purchased it. It arrived super quick”.
This blog is made up of 5 photos/images that represent the stages that go into the process of creation of a woodland painting. The first photo is the most joyous. Wandering around the woods (read more about this very special place here), taking photos and marveling at the light. On this day the light was perfect. I was delighted by the way it illuminated the leaves, the moss, and the grass. I was also excited by the fact the woods and stream were flooded with light in a way I had not quite seen before. The time of year and the time of day all affect conditions. No two days are the same. Enjoying the sunshine was the easy part.
Work in Progress #1
Now for the hard work. My woodland paintings are different from my other paintings. I paint them in a different way. They are more of a semi-abstract construction and less organic than my paintings of clouds, coasts or people. I can’t exactly explain how I ended up doing this, I think it was when I was in my fauvist/refractionistphase. It sort of like constructing a giant puzzle and my head usually aches afterward! So I sketch out the basic position of the trees, stream and the main shadows.
Painting is a lot of problem-solving. I have to decide which order to paint different sections of the canvas. Some parts I want to dry and then go back and add detail. So I start by flipping the canvas “upside down” and painting in the light blues and mauves of the sky. I also need to convince myself that this painting will work so I paint in the tree trunks to “anchor” the painting. I look at the painting in a small mirror – this is a way of allowing me to see it in reverse, and trick my brain into seeing it like other people do (rather than what’s in my head). That’s day one of painting.
Work in Progress #2
On my second and third day of painting, I spend a lot of time thinking about colour and how to mix the right shades. Getting the different greens right is vital, from the fresh yellow greens to the very dark hues. The hazy trees in the middle distance are difficult to gauge as mixing green with purple makes a dreadful sludge on my palette and nothing like the colour I want. I am anxious about the dark green on the opposite river bank on the left hand of the painting. I worry about getting it right. I have to be able to represent the damp dark greens effectively, without drawing too much attention to them. I mark in the darkest part of the bank and leave them for the next day. It is slow work.
On the final day of painting, I pick up speed and tackle the far river bank. I attack the most interesting part by painting in the light on the leaves and the purple shadows at the top of the bank. The purple shadow then blends into the green and by the time I have finished with the bank I am pleased with it. The part of the painting that frightened me the most makes me the happiest. Ironically, no will notice probably it. That’s how exactly it should be.
“Path by the Stream”
The final stage of the painting is solving the showed foliage in the lower centre of the painting. This I simply into blocks of colour. I want to focus of the painting to be the hazy light at the top part of the painting and I don’t want to draw the eye to the foreground at the bottom of the canvas. In my mind, I struggle with this process. There is alot of indecision. The literal part of my head wants to paint it “as it is” but my artist’s head is trying to reduce the colours into blocks. To help in this process, I move my reference photo onto a chair so my myopic vision can no longer see the details. I push on and eventually, the canvas is covered.
I then will leave the room to make a cup of tea and return with the express purpose of “surprising” the painting. This way I can see it with fresh eyes from the other side of my studio and decide if I am happy with it. I am.
I am delighted to report that I sold “Path By the Stream” to one of my most valued collectors, who has bought many of my works, in beautiful Kent, England.
I have started my next woodland painting, if you want to follow its progress like & follow me on Facebook.
My Top 10 tips for selling art online. I am sometimes asked for advice on how to sell art online. To be honest, I feel like there is so much I don’t know about Art marketing, but I did sell over 200 pieces, originals and prints last year and half of these were direct sales to collectors so something’s working. Marketing and selling art takes an enormous amount of time and effort. At least 50% of my day is spent on marketing. The great thing about it all is that the longer you do it the more followers and fans you will gather. It’s an investment of time – but it cuts both ways. You will spend hours at the keyboard, posting away (sometimes wondering if it’s worthwhile) but you will develop a following. Some of it casual, some of it very loyal and dedicated indeed. You need to remember that it may take months or even years of following an artist’s work and career before a collector buys your work. Your fans are invested their time in your you and your “journey” too so you need to keep them with you.
So here are my top 10 tips (BTW there is no affiliate marketing in this blog post and there’s so much more I could say but I’m sticking to 10 tips for starters).
Your story – Be positive. Nothing succeeds like success. There’s enough depressing news out there and your art is (hopefully) an escape from all that unpleasantness. So it’s important to celebrate all your successes no matter how small; every sale, exhibition, painting-in-progress is a cause for celebration. Don’t ever be tempted to say that you aren’t selling or you hate online galleries. Instead talk about your latest project. Explain WHY you make your art. How does it make you feel?
Have your own website – don’t build your house on someone else’s land. There are many different hosting platforms out there. There are some that specialise in hosting artists such as artweb, fasco and artmajeur or the very popular wordpress. They will all charge an annual fee (update: Artmajeur’s free plan now allows unlimited artworks to the site). You need to make sure that your site has ecommerce facilities. That means it doesn’t just function as a gallery but also as a shop where collectors can buy work.
Start blogging – a great way to tell your story is to write a blog. I use WordPress but there are other blogging sites like blogger and many websites will have a blog page integrated into the site. Your blogs don’t have to be great long essays but the important thing is to blog regularly. Some bloggers blog once a day, others once a week. Don’t be an occasional blogger. There’s nothing more frustrating than a blogger who only blogs three times a year. You will lose followers if you are inconsistent. Keep focused. Blog about your art and inspiration or art in general. Why do you make your art? How does it make you feel? Don’t blog about the news, your family, what you had for tea, latest fashions unless it’s directly related to art, and what inspires you. Which brings me to…
Social Media – there are lots of outlets, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, etc. You don’t have to do them all (I dropped Tumblr, for example as it was a bridge too far) but make sure whichever platform you choose to be, do it well. To honest no one platform is necessarily better than the others for promoting your work, all of them will do something to help. Don’t post twenty times a day – it will seem like you are spamming people and they will unfollow you. Once or twice a day is enough, maybe three times on twitter. Hashtag your own name too #emmacownie so people can follow your work across the platform. The important thing to remember is that it’s called social media for a reason. You have to be sociable. If someone comments on your post it’s good manners to respond, with a “like” and a “thank you”. It’s important that you support other social media users and follow other artists, photographers of any supporters who like, comment on, and share your posts and return the favour. We all need encouragement. It’s important to encourage others. I have made many good friends out there in the online world. Again. like the blogging try not to mix business and personal stuff on your Art pages/sites – have a separate one for your own family stuff and stick to art-related things on your Art accounts.
Pinterest – It’s not just for recipes! It has 250 million users every month, with 25 million users in the US and about 80% are female. It’s not a social media platform but a search engine. It’s well worth joining to get your work seen and develop a following. It also a really good source of information about art marketing. I have learnt a lot about blogging, pinning, marketing, and websites from pins on Pinterest. If you want to see a selection, I have saved my Buying and Selling Art pins here.
Canva – is great for creating professional-looking blog covers, Pinterest graphics, and so on. I use it all the time. There’s also Pablo and Visme which does some pretty awesome infographics.
SEO– Use Key Words in your posts so that search engines like Google and Safari can find you. A website that is well optimized for search engines “speaks the same language” as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site. I find this a vast subject but there are pins on Pinterest and sites like Moz.com will help you improve your SEO. Make sure that when you post your pictures on your website that you filling all the boxes.
Newsletters – build a list of email addresses on your website. These are your fans, collectors and interested artists. Some collectors watch your progress for years before they buy. This is how you keep them in touch with what going on with you. Not every one uses social media, especially older collectors but they read their emails. Again send out your newsletter on a regular basis, say, every fortnight or once a month. Mailchimp is a marketing platform that offers a free (if your list is under 2000 names) sign up forms and newsletter service. There are others here
Finally, Online Galleries – there are loads and loads to choose from. There is a very long list of online galleries here. It’s a bewildering choice. Some work better than others. There are massive ones like Saatchionline where it is difficult to be seen and smaller ones like Artbazzar that have less of a budget for advertising, there are others that charge to be on them like Artfinder and Artgallery. Others are still free to be on them such as Singulart, but they charge higher rates of commission. It makes sense to have a presence on several sites. Online galleries can be good for sales if they promote you.
Just remember that putting all your energies into one website or social media site is foolish, as it’s like building your house on someone else’s land. They all change their algorithm, pricing policies, curators, and what might work for you one year may not the next. I’ll give you an example, last year Facebook shut down my Emma Cownie Artist Business page with no explanation. This is not uncommon on Facebook. I tried in vain to find out why it had happened and to get it restored, to no avail. I lost thousands of followers and their contact details. I was devasted. That’s not a story I usually share as it’s not a positive one but let that be a warning not to put all your eggs into one social media basket (thankfully, I hadn’t, but it still hurt).
It’s always sensible to be on several platforms and sites and encourage your followers to follow you on different platforms. You can do within many ways such as an email signature with links to your social media platforms. There’s so much to learn and there are plenty of people out there who will offer tempting online courses on Art Marketing but I prefer to teach myself. I hope that this post will help other artists get seen. I welcome any comments, suggestions from other artists or commentators
It’s funny to notice the colours I favour in my paintings. When I put together a collage of all the paintings and prints I’d sold in 2019 there some surprises. The greens, yellow ochres and blues are to expected as I paint a lot of coast and woods. The reds and oranges, however, are a little more unexpected as I have this idea that I hardly ever use red in my paintings, unlike my husband who says it’s his favourite colour in his work. The oranges don’t just appear in my urban painting where you’d expect brickwork, but also in the russets of the winter bracken on the Welsh mountains.
It’s not all the works sold as I haven’t included the last two months yet. Watch out on facebook/instagram for an update there. Once, again thank you to all my collectors, supporters, fans, commentators and family who keep me going.
This is the second in a series of urbanscapes in which I paint cities other than my home city of Swansea. Here we start with the first painting of a busy street in New York There will be urban cityscapes to follow of London and more of New York, among others. I love the brash, invigorating colours of New York streets, how they demand to be seen, noticed and paid attention to. The fluorescent and neon sign lights from banks of advertisements blend with a river of colour, awash in the rain soaked streets below. I love how the orange yellow taxi wheels spin up grey-green spray as they tear up the streets. How the garish orange-pinks compliment the deep greens, bible blacks and devil reds on the wet roads.
All the colours seem visually orchestrated by the elements and the street bustle in a chromatic symphony. Chaotic but in continual synchronicity.
“Freedom of the Road” which takes it’s ironic title from the taxi in the painting parked in the wrong side of the road and pointing the wrong direction as if it had freedom of the road. This painting is 80 x 60cm
This painting is a bigger version of a recently sold oil painting “Taxi from Uplands” but from a more distant view point, to include more of the atmospheric, rain soaked road. An evocative night time oil painting of Uplands, an inner city area in Swansea with a taxi parked, facing the wrong way, in the middle of the road. It’s main dipped head light blares white down the shiny jet black road and intermingles with back-light reds and street-light amber and LED silvery white. They all seem to wash and stream down the wet city road with the rain.
Delighted to say I have just SOLD this lovely oil painting “Swansea from Mumbles” direct from my Art gallery and via a visit from the buyers to my art website at emmafcownie.com – great how artlovers are now contacting me directly to buy artwork. The collectors are from Swansea originally and will have a lovely reminder of Swansea on the walls of their home in Wiltshire, in the West country to remind them of home. They are also collecting the painting personally which will give us a chance to enjoy each other’s company again. The best thing about selling direct is getting to know very interesting people who love one’s work. It is a much more personal and rewarding experience for both parties. Plus if art lovers make the effort to buy art this way, I am more inclined to reduce the price to reward that effort.
I am delighted to say I have just SOLD this oil painting “Winding Valley” direct to a lovely couple from Wiltshire who visited my Art Gallery yesterday.
I am so happy I am beginning to get art sales via my own website emmacownie.artweb.com and art gallery.
The gallery is available for viewing just give us a call and we can arrange a private viewing?
Rossbeg (sometimes spelt Rosbeg) is a tiny townland on the west coast of Donegal, just south of Portnua and Nairn. There is a pier and a scattering of houses, some are modern, but many are old cottages, probably used as holiday lets. The day we visited the weather was calm and sunny. It was just perfect.
Oiláan Na Marbh is a poignant island on the edge of the land in Donegal. It is inaccessible at high tide. Both beautiful and very sad. For it was on this island that over 500 stillborn and unbaptised babies were burried between the time of the Great Famine in the 1840s, and 1912.