How I Create and Release Quarterly Artwork Collections

In the midst of releasing my April artwork collection, I thought it could be a fun blog post to go through all the steps it takes for me to get one of my quarterly releases together. As I "typed" (aka used the talk to text option on my mac- sorry for any typos) this out I realized how insane this list is! I hope this peek behind the curtain is interesting for collectors and artist. 

  • First, I work backwards in the calendar so I can to figure out my collection launch date. I try to give myself  four to six months before each release. This gives me enough space and time to create and strategically think about how I'm going to market and launch the release.
  • Then, I figure out how many paintings I want in the collection. I try to make sure I have 2-3 smaller works, 3-4 medium size works, and then one larger piece. My sweet spot for each collections 7 to 8 pieces. For me, more paintings than that gets too overwhelming and then I'm not having fun painting. 

    • Next, I email my framer so they can stretch custom canvases for me. I started doing this last year and it has been amazing. Previously I bought canvases through art stores but even some of the expensive canvases would warp on me eventually. It was so annoying! I just gave up so now I spend a little more money and have custom canvases made. The best thing is for a small fee they deliver to my home studio. This means I don't have to take all the car seats out of my car and jam the canvases in!
    • Then I set all the canvases out on my vertical hanging system in my studio. I like to have everything that I'm working on out at once. This helps me make sure that the collection is cohesive. It also helps me If I mix too much paint for one canvas. I can use it for another painting.
    • Next- the fun part. I start painting! This is the part that is hard to predict how long it will take. If only original artwork was a widget! People often ask me how long it takes me to paint a painting. Sometimes it's three months, sometimes it's three days. I never know. 
    • Happy dance, I've decided that the paintings are done. I go through a two-step varnishing process. Oil pastels never dry and they smudge very easily so I use a golden fixative to make sure that the oil pastels won't smudge. After the spray I go over the piece with a liquid mat varnish. I allow the piece to dry for at least 36 hours. 

    • Framing is next!  I have a standard gold floater frame that I use on most of my pieces. I schedule a pick up with my framer and they bring their giant sprinter van to my house again and load up the paintings for me to take to their shop. I'm always amazed at what a difference framing makes. It always completes the painting in my opinion. This is why I don't sell unframed artwork. 
    • When art comes back from the framer, it's time to get it photographed. I've done this several ways and with several different photographers, but usually it takes four of five hours to shoot a collection. For the photoshoot I always have to pick out several outfits, arrange for fresh flowers, and make sure my house is clean which some days feels like a monumental task!

    • After the photos come back from the photographer I go through them. I plan which photos I will use on Instagram and in my emails. I also load the photos and art info to my website. This takes an entire day. 
    • Then, I schedule an email about the art for my newsletters subscribers. 

    • Next, it's a flurry of a week where I answer emails and phone calls during the release about the artwork. 
    • Once a piece sells I use a local UPS store that's amazing to package and ship my smaller artwork. For larger pieces I use an art shipper. I despise packaging artwork so I like to outsource that.
      • And that's it! See, it's so easy. 
      I think when you see the price of artwork it's can be a mystery why things cost what they do. I'm hoping this gives a little insight into how much time and work goes into creating the art, getting it to collectors and shipping it. Hopefully this gives collectors and other art enthusiast a backstage pass into what goes into my releases! 
      XO, MDM