Saturday, November 30, 2013

How To Be Queen Content Creator

Buon Giorno Bella!

Do you struggle with content creation for your blog or business?

Content is King, right?  

But, it is a beast of burden to keep up with.

You are only as good as your lastest blog post or lastest innovative business idea.

Well, struggle no more!  

Content may be King but you will become the Queen Content Creator! 

(Or, King Content Creator if you must.  But let's not mess up my headline, okay?)

I have a method that will continually work to create great ideas, fast.  

Ideas that will flow over into your art, craft and business as well.

How do you do it?


Specifically, by playing with words that you see in headlines.

No need to read lengthy articles and books.

If I'm looking for a new idea I read email, magazines,and book headlines.

I do read articles and books when I'm interested, but that's not necessary for great content creation.

Plus, you'll  want to remain authentic and use your own voice and not just rehash other writer's ideas.

One word or sentence will stimulate an idea.
Even reading tweets or Facebook posts will generate an interesting idea as well.

#1.  Relax.  The key is not to get frantic about finding the perfect idea.  Relax and let words and images come out to play.

If you been feverishly churning out blog posts only to find yourself coming up blank, it means you're depleted.

Time to refill your creative well.

Relax your mind and go fishing.  Not for fish of course but for words.

Scan the latest topics.  You find the hottest topics in magazines and book titles.  Email, Twitter and Facebook feeds work well too.

What are people interested in learning today?  What are they talking about?  What are they reading?

#2.  Get a blank note book ready.  Begin to jot down anything that catches your attention.  A sentence, a word or a topic.

Go over each word, sentence or topic and apply it to your topic of business.

If you're trying to solve a business problem, apply a word to the problem.

Here's how to play:


My recent post called 'Artists You Have Freedom To Disrupt Your Industry' was inspired by the word 'Disrupt'.

I free associated with the word 'disrupt' .  Meaning I played around with the word to see what thoughts naturally came up for me.

Disrupt, disruption, disturb, stir up, cause a scene, break apart.

Then I applied the word, 'disrupt' to my blog's main topic.  

My topic is:  Creative  Ideas for Arts and Crafts Business.
Oh dio mio!

How in the world does the word 'disrupt' apply to art?

I immediately thought of deconstruction art.  That's a very interesting topic.

But, nah, my readers don't want info on "How To Deconstruct Art".  

My readers want info on business and how to sell their art.  They already know how to make art.

Back to the word and how it applies directly to art or craft business.

I use the word in a sentence with my topic.

Disrupt your art or craft business!

Now we're getting somewhere.

Sounds like a cool topic to me!

How have artists in history disrupted their industry?

Artists in history have always disrupted their industry.  Just look at the impressionists, abstract painters.

But again, how does this apply to my audience?

How about inspiring yourself to do the same as the artists that came before us?

Sounds interesting.

But, I took the topic even further and applied it to business.

I thought about other creative industries and how people in creative businesses changed their standards of operating.

The brain is going into high idea generating mode.

I remembered seeing a sign recently.  It was for the circus.  I began to free associate with the idea of the circus'.  

I love the idea of a circus but I won't promote them by purchasing tickets and going. I'm against using animals for entertainment.

However, I would go see  Cirque du Soleil.

That brought me to thinking about how Cirque du Soleil disrupted the circus industry.  They left the animals alone and focused on acrobatics and art performance.

Whoo hoo!

What a great idea!

Cirque du Soleil disrupted the circus industry by making the circus a true art form.

Wow, I'm completely amazed that one little word, lead me to a topic that totally applies to business.

Even to a small arts and crafts business.  How does it do that?  Arts and craft businesses can model larger businesses.  They can model how large businesses shake up their industry. 

Words can develop into great ideas for your blog posts and your business as well.

I have true affection for words and how they can stimulate creative thinking.  Don't underestimate the power of words.

Words are magical little gems that inspire great ideas.

I never run out of content when I use this simple method of word play.

Now, it's your turn... 

You have the plan.  Play, twist, bend words to fit your blog or business topic. 

And... if you are craving more idea generation through word play...check out my post  'Mad Lib' for generating new ideas.

And this post  'Brainstorm Twister'.

Also, if you're craving more

Sign up for my Monthly Newsletter.  

Signup box in the right sidebar.

Let me know you're alive out there! 

Leave a comment!  

I'd love to hear from you!



Become More Creative By Doing The Opposite

Buon Giorno!

Ever feel like things are just not going anywhere in your art or craft business?

Feel like you are just spinning around and around only to do the same old things that you always do?

When I feel stuck and unproductive, I've learned to flex my creative muscles by doing the complete opposite of what I normally do.  

As you may already know, I paint landscapes and portraits in oil for a living.  

In order to get ideas for my work, I play with opposite mediums.

On most days I work in an art journal making abstracts, cartoons, doodles or collage.  

It allows me expression in other forms and pushes the boundaries of creativity.

It also magically unlocks that illusive creativity when I feel stuck using traditional painting techniques.

I've also learned to use writing to express myself.  Mostly, I write these blog posts.

It helps me to stay alert and always generates new ideas for my painting business.

When I blog, I have to do research.  Sleuth out information that is useful for you.

I'm always looking for information on ways to inspire creative thinking for us all.

I like to try out what I've learned and break it down into the most simplified format if possible.  

This way it can be useful for any creative endeavor.

Taking apart ideas and reforming them into blog posts requires me to use those brain cells that are quickly dying off ;)

The blog lets me experience myself  in other ways too. 

 As a teacher,

 Art marketer, 

Craft business owner.  

These experiences enrich me as an artist.

I get to experience business as a newcomer again.  

When you are new, you have freshness, new eyes to a world of possibilities.

Here's how you can use Opposites to create alternatives for your own creativity:

 Re-imagine the familiar.  Use the question "What if?"

What if:

1.  Instead of painting, what if I turned the painting to sculpture? 

  •  How would I work that? 

  •  What materials could I use? 

  •  What forms of sculpture would work?  Wood, paper mache'? 

  • Is there another material that would work well?

  • Fabric?

  • Make soft sculptures?

2.  What if my surroundings were different?  

  • Paint outside? 
  •  Work on the floor?  
  • Work in a studio with other artists?
  • Paint in exotic locations.
  • Paint the ordinary street scene.

3.  What if the canvas was larger or much smaller?

  • Sell cheaper paintings if they were smaller.

  • Sell more expensive paintings if they were larger.

Think in scenarios as well to inspire creative thinking:

1.  What if instead of selling my crafts at a traditional store, I looked for alternative venues?

  • Outdoor craft fairs
  • Hair Salons
  • Restaurants
  • Furniture stores
  • Staging companies for home buyers.
  • Artist Cooperatives
  • Open studio

Expand on the idea: 

  • Create my own craft event.
  • Host a craft night and sell my work after the event.
  • Teach my craft at the local library and exhibit my crafts in the class.  
  • Give my business cards and website to all of my students.

2.  What if  I started my own craft cooperative?

  • A place where people could come and sell their wares but also take turns in running the co-op. 

Expand on the idea:
  • An online co-op
  • A meet-up  group
  • Host events such as craft business networking nights.
  • Host craft business idea generation parties.

If you model the kind of thinking I have outlined above I think you will find that the ideas just keep on coming.

Try it out on your own business and let me know your results.

I'd love to hear from get's lonely when I have nobody to play idea generation with!

Take a look at this video and see if you understand Italian!  LOL!

Here is the Free Report: 

Need more ideas for your art biz?

Hope you are having an amazing summer!

Ciao Bella!


Six Ways To Become A Selling Artist, Not A Starving Artist


I've been thinking of you and how you can change from being an amateur artist to a successful artist who sells their work.

1.  To become a professional artist you must have the right mind set.  Take control of your thoughts.  Right now.  Begin to think of yourself as a professional artist.

So what's in a name?  There is something inherently powerful in calling yourself an artist. Once you call yourself "artist", it means you are someone who creates things.  If you never make art, you really can't call yourself an artist.   

Leading me to this...If you call yourself "artist" you're probably making art.  Calling yourself artist means you have to take action.  You have to do the art in order to have the name.

Many people are squeamish about using the label "artist".  Why?  Is is so terrible to be known for what we do?  We like to make things with our hands.  I think the reason why we shy away from the word is because it sounds like we are bragging.

It sounds like we are saying "I am a great artist."  There is an element of expectation within the word.  Expectation in that now... we must prove it.  We may have to show somebody our art.

The word "artist" also includes the expectation that you are good at it. And we probably are or we wouldn't want to call attention to the fact that we make things.  

Proving you are good at art is futile.  Art is relative.  Some will love our art, some will hate it and others will just yawn.  It's not for us to decide on the outcome.  We just go about doing our art and let the good opinions of our art be left to the individual viewer.

When I decided to become a full time artist, I had no money  and a big head.  I thought  "I can do this."  Little did I know that it would take even more confidence to get to where I am today. 

A note here:  Women especially need to acquire confidence in their work.  Many woman artists that I meet suffer needlessly thinking that they are not talented enough.  Or feel they are not good enough to make big, big sales.  That's why you see so many successful male artists making the big bucks.  Men get famous and sell paintings for major money because they believe they are worthy.

Sorry, I don't mean to be disrespectful to men.  I'm not trying to be.  I say this only because I meet many male artists that don't have a problem telling me how wonderful their art is.  And I meet many women artists that don't even call themselves artists!  

There is a cultural standard that allows men to say what they do and promote it.  But the same culture says something different to women.  It whispers to women "Don't think so highly of yourself sweetie." or "You're just a show off."

I'm not encouraging women to act like jack-asses.  Or to endlessly brag about themselves.  What I am saying is this... "Women need to build their confidence".  When we sell our art we expose part of ourselves.  We open ourselves to being vulnerable.  It's scary for women to be vulnerable.  It's scary because we've been knocked around a lot.  

Art takes courage to make and courage to put it out in the world.  But our art stands alone.  It is not who we are, only a small part of ourselves.

Everyone who wants make art can make it.  Not everyone can sell it. This is where it gets scary.  Nobody likes rejection, but there comes a point in your life where you must take the risk of being rejected.  Whether you are good or not doesn't really matter for selling.  It helps, but I've seen a lot of shit art that sells like mad.

Don't take anyones opinion as the final permission to sell or not to sell your work.  It's about how you feel about your work.  Do you love it?   I feel it is our duty to make art and forget the opinions altogether.

Do you enjoy making your art?  This is what matters.  The world is filled with lousy art that sells.  The world is filled with amazing art that nobody buys.  Again, it is all relative.

For example the late artist, Thomas Kinkade.  He sold millions and millions of dollars worth of paintings of cottages. Many artists in the art world hate, really they abhor his work.  Many don't even consider him an artist.  No matter what we think of him, he sold his art.  He laughed at those who called him names all the way to the bank.

So regardless of what others think of your work there will be people out in the world who will buy it.  It depends on how you market it, who your contacts are, what kind of energy and determination you have to sell it.  For the love of God...people buy snuggies!  Yeah, a backwards robe.  People buy anything and everything.  Don't get wrapped up in "will they buy" mentality.  They will buy.  If you think it is worthy and put the effort into selling it, people will buy.

Take small steps to sales.  Build your confidence in selling by showing friendly people your art first.  People in art classes and teachers who understand it is a process.  People who understand that making art takes time and practice.  I hope you have a teacher that inspires and doesn't say terrible things to damage your psyche.  Nonetheless, be prepared.  Even teachers can say the most devastating things about our work.

Until you have a good opinion about your art, no one else will.

2.  Make the most personal, most intense art that you can.  Get really good at what you do.  Practice.  You must give up things to get really good.  Give up things like television.  Television and the computer, the big time wasters that you could more productively use to make art.

Make intense, deeply personal art that creates opportunities.  You want to know why?  Because the better you can express yourself and reveal yourself in your art, the more people relate to your work.

3. Learn as much as you can so you can feel good about your work.  You will never know everything but try to be the best at what you do.  Not for others but for yourself.  Until you have really great skills, you will only be on a "so-so" level.  We can sell "meh" kind of work, but we won't feel good about our art.  Get good at it so that you can feel good about what you sell.

Don't wait for mastery to sell.  We will never be perfect.  Strive for mastery but start selling when you like the product you have to sell.  Imperfect even wobbly paintings may connect with others who would like to own your work.  Leave that up to the viewer.  If they would like to buy your work let them.  Meanwhile, learn all those boring things like perspective, color theory and tone.   Get better and better. 

The more you know about art, the more respected you become as an authority on art.  Being an authority drives up your prices.  If you are seen as an amateur, nobody wants to look at your art, let alone buy it.

4.  Get Out and Get Noticed.   Being seen is one of the most important things you can do for your art career.  Sitting at home and  posting art to Facebook may get you "likes" but it won't get you bucks.  Add prices to those posts.   We exchange energy for our work.  Money is just energy.  People like what you have, let them have some.  Share your art with the world.

The Best Ways to Get Noticed: 
  • Enter shows and contests.  This is where collectors see your work.
  • Get seen in magazines and newspapers.  Even if they are only local.  Many people read penny-savers, hometown magazines and you never know who you may connect with.
  • Be social.  Get to know people online and out in the real world.  Join art clubs and forums.  You never know who may take an interest in your art.
  • Teach.  It's a great way to make money and get yourself established as a known artist in your community.

5.  Build up your marketing materials and keep them with you at all times.  It is so important to look and have professional  marketing materials such as business cards, post cards of your art and where you can be reached.  Get catalogs, portfolios and sample work together.  Present it in a professional portfolio and online portfolios.

It's easy to create opportunities for yourself when you have professional marketing materials.  If you happen to run into someone who's wife works for the local newspaper, you'll have a post card on you to give to them. 

I cannot stress enough how ready marketing materials have landed me a golden opportunity.  Simply by being prepared.

6.  Get an elevator speech.  You don't need to constantly talk about your work.  Have a set "tag line" to describe your art to people when they ask "What do you do?"  Be prepared so that you don't miss an opportunity when someone asks.  

"I'm an oil painter" is okay but how about "I paint plein air landscapes of Italy."  That's specific and adds meat to your answer.  Your answer should lead into a conversation. 

 "Really?  A Plein air painter! By the way, what is a plein air painter?"  Or it may lead to "What part of Italy do paint?"  This stimulates more topics for discussion.  It allows others to inquire more details about your art without you sounding like a braggot.

There you have it, 6 ways to become a selling artist.  Start today!

Need more creative ideas for your Artbiz?  Sign up in the right sidebar to get my Newsletter.


Ciao Bella!

Branding, What's Your Big Story?

Buongiorno Bella!

No need to get your knickers in a twist over branding! 

You may be thinking "I'm an artist, I'm not a corporation." 

 However, if you are selling something... you need to have a story about who you are and what you do.  

This is what a brand is.  

You need to create a story for your art, craft or service business.

Here's how:

1. Describe the main thing that you do in your business.  It's your theme.  For example:  "I'm an artisan of vintage, hand-painted bowls".


"I'm a portrait painter who shares her creative process by inviting her collector's to participate in a "salon" style experience.

Having a brand helps your client know exactly what you stand for.  It also tells them exactly what you offer.  

It's the microscopic view of how you serve your business and clientele. 

Branding helps you get clear on what exactly your business is and why you are doing business. 

It shines a spotlight on what you do for your collectors and for yourself.  

Study the big brands so that you can get a good idea of how to do branding right. 

  •  Apple is cutting edge technology to connect the world with the easiest, fastest most streamlined computers.

  • Martha Stewart's craft line is the fine art of crafts.  Offering quality materials to aid you in creating your own superior craft products.

  • National Geographic Magazine is a close up view of the world through exotic photography and adventurous journalism.

Every business needs a brand.  Even small businesses need branding.

It's simple:  My crafts business brand is "Hand-Painted Vintage".    

Simple, effective and straight to the point.  The client knows exactly what they're getting.

It also helps you to focus on exactly what service or product you would like to provide.

Create Your Brand/What's Your Story?

  • Who are your collector's
  • How do you serve them?
  • What are the benefits to owning your art, craft or service?
  • What are your collector's expecting from your art, craft or service.
  • How do you give your collectors what they expect?
  • Why is this important for you?

When you answer these questions you will develop your marketing strategy.   It will also help you to prioritize your time. 

Once you state what your big story is, you will know how to proceed in your business.   If the story isn't the correct story, you will need to change it.  The story will give you clarity as to why you want to do this work.  If your intention doesn't match the story then why are you doing it?

So what's your big story?  What do you think your brand is? 

Need more creative ideas for your Artbiz?  Sign up in the right sidebar to get my Newsletter.

Ciao Bella!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

How To Add A PayPal Button To Your Blog


Are you avoiding using PayPal Buttons on your blog or website because you think it's going to be too complicated?  

Well, I'm here to tell you that it is so simple and so, so very effective that you should do it now. As in, so that you can make some sales.

Here's how:

Go to the PayPal website and sign up for an account.  If you already have an account, simply click on Merchant Services.

Click on "Create a button".

Choose what style of "Buy Now" button you would like for your customers.

List your items separately by name and add the price of each item.  

Add in your shipping costs and taxes.  I add in a specific cost depending on the size and weight of the item.  To make my pricing simple, I don't add taxes to my products, I include the tax in the price of the item. 

Click on "Create button" to generate the code for your website.

You can reuse the button as a template for more buttons.  Or you can create new buttons.

Instructions for adding the code right under a post on a page.

Or you can add the code to your sidebar with a photo of the item right on your blog.

If you are on Blogger, simply go to your dashboard, on the left side, scroll down to the layout.  Then to add a gadget.

Scroll down to add your image.

Name your item.

Choose a photo of the item.

Upload the image.

Click save and you're done!

Promote your page and you are on your way to making money from your blog or website.  

PayPal and Blogger are so "user friendly" that their is no reason to be scared to add buttons on your site.

I hope this tutorial helps you make some sales today!

Ciao Bella!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Turn On The Ideas With This Trusted Idea Generation Tool

Buongiorno Bella!

It's time for some new ideas, so let's play with an idea generation technique called the SCAMPER method.

The task of continually coming up with new ideas for your creative business can sometimes be daunting.  The SCAMPER method is a good technique to use when you feel like you are out of creativity.  It stimulates new ways to think about solutions to  problems and gets you out of a business rut.

How to use this method:
SCAMPER is an acronym for a list of words that are used in a way to get you to think differently about a problem areas.


What can you substitute in place of what you are doing now?  What other elements can be used?  Is there another material you can use, another process, place or thing?

What two elements of your business can you combine to form a new product or process?

What can you adapt for a new solution to a problem?  What other things are like this or similar in some way?  Is there a method that can be adapted or tweaked to use in another area of your business or making your products?  What other idea can you use a product for?  What could be recycled for a new product?

Is there an a change that you can make to an old product to make it into something new?  Is there a change you can make in your mode of operation of your business?  Can you change a color, form, shape, meaning of one thing to create something totally new?

Put to other uses:
How can you use your products in new ways?  Can you use your business in new ways, help people in a different way that you haven't done before?

What can you remove from a product or service that will turn it into a new product?  What can you remove from your business that is not working so well?  What have you been doing that is not very successful?  Can you cut costs? 

Is there another way you can rearrange your product or system that will make it more streamlined?  Rearrange patterns, ideas, layouts to create new products and services.  You may want to rearrange your schedule to times that are more productive for yourself.

Each word in SCAMPER is an active verb.  It causes you to think about a new idea as well as to take action on it.  You associate a problem with active solutions to fix them.  The beauty of the SCAMPER method is that instead of simply throwing out ideas, the ideas can be used immediately if you take the action it describes. 

***  Think about going wild with the verbs.  Go in completely opposite directions to get truly innovative results.

Let's have some fun and take the ideas above and make them more elaborate.

Say that we wanted to make a new type of art class.

Substitute art materials.  Make marks with other types of material other than normal art supplies.  Nail polish, home-made tempera paint, use natural pigments from herbs, tea bags, dirt, natural stones such as red paint pots.  

Try alternative art making tools.  Try instead of brushes, using sticks, rocks, leaves, your fingers and hands, cut vegetables and carve into them as stamps.

Combine art class and music class to create a new class filled with visuals and sound. 

How do the two differ and how are they similar?  Combine the great artists in history to the great composers in history, look at how they created in similar or different manners.  How can their methods be applied today?

Adapt your teaching style to an old method of teaching.  Design a class using the style of the Dutch masters.  
The Dutch masters used a 7 layer technique of painting.  Show students this style and adapt it to modern techniques.

Modify the way students interact with drawing and painting.  Draw  a drawing from an upside down reference.

  Paint standing up holding arms outstretched.  Stepping back from the canvas as much as possible.  Paint to music.  Have students switch paintings with classmates often to loosen up their need for perfectionism.  Paint on the floor with bolts of canvas. Collaborate on paintings. When finished, cut up the canvas to create new paintings.

Put to other uses- Turn painting or drawings into animated short films.  

Turn paintings into books.  Have students write about their process.  Turn paintings into sculpture, jewelry, paper mache' dolls, abstract art.

Eliminate the use of canvas.  Only paint on cardboard, recycled newspapers, old books.

Rearrange the way you make art.  Ask students to bring in finished works of art and deconstruct them.  Start from an endpoint and simplify by making a series of new paintings eliminating the elements of the painting down to simple lines.

I really like these ideas.  They've inspired me just by writing them down.  I think I'll go  create some art now!  

How about you?  If you liked any of these ideas, let me know in the comment section what ones you plan on doing.  Are you going to try generating some new business or art with the SCAMPER method?