The Party’s Over (for this year, at least)

What a great two days I’ve had here at the OPA event. Everyone made this first-timer feel very welcome. I met so many artists who not only do great work, but are terrific people too.

One of the nicest things about the morning demos, besides seeing “how it’s done” was that we, the artists, mostly had the whole gallery to ourselves. It was so packed last night that it was hard to really appreciate a lot of the work. This morning we could all wander around to our heart’s content inspecting paintings, talking shop and watching the other artists work.

This afternoon I attended` back-to-back sessions presented by Alyson Stanfield who runs She’s written a book called “I’d Rather Be In the Studio: The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion”. The morning session was “Getting Comfortable Promoting Your Art” and the afternoon was “How to Use Email, Websites and Blogs to Amplify Your Online Presence.” I’ll review the book after I read it (it only seems fair), but I can safely say that her presentations were packed with useful information.

For any other artists reading this blog who want to make a living making art, let’s face it, we’ve got to deal with the marketing part. Alyson takes the intimidation factor out of it and makes a very convincing case that not only should we being doing proper self-promotion, but that we absolutely can do it effectively and still get in our easel time.

Tomorrow I’ll get to spend time with the Mongolian scientist I met on the Earthwatch project I did there. We have kept in touch, but haven’t seen each other since then. I’m hoping to learn more about conservation work in Mongolia and how my art can support that, along with just getting to learn more about a country that I’ve come to like very much.