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Festival Network Online News Letter
                   February - 2002
Well it may be a little late, but hey we are 2 for 2 so far on the FNO "monthly" Newsletter! This month's article by Diane Elliott Bruckner, has some good ideas on keeping your creativity flowing. Even if you are not an artist or musician in the classic sense of the word, we all must engage our creativity to succeed as small business owners. Enjoy!

Our Feature Article for this month:

Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing!

   "What should I paint? Why should I paint? Who cares if I paint?" These are all questions I'm sure you've asked yourself a thousand times. If you're not a "painter" then substitute the word "create, develop, grow, market" and you'll see we're all in the same boat. If your sales haven't been very good then you ask those questions even more. As strictly a "festival artist" I have had occasion to ask these questions often. We all know how unpredictable the show circuit can be. I remember once I had just done three shows in a row that were horrible. Total sales of all three shows were under $500. Although my next show was a "Fine Art" event, I was facing it with little enthusiasm and trying not to get my hopes up. BUT - wham! my sales topped $3,000. for the weekend and I couldn't wait to get home and PAINT!

   Now, I've heard all the stories about how we are supposed to create whatever we want to create, and not focus on what will sell. If I'm ever independently wealthy I'll believe that one. It's difficult to come home and be creative after a bad show. Especially after "several" bad shows. You start having all kinds of self-destructive thoughts: "my work or product stinks," "what am I doing wrong?', "I'm never going to be invited to a show again," "maybe I should paint on rocks, or pots, or anything other than canvas" - you know, all those thoughts you would never admit you have - to anyone.

   It's difficult (and rare) to find a show that caters and advertises to the type of cliental that would buy an $8,000. original painting. They ARE out there but you have to be willing to travel AND you have to have original paintings. I did a show last weekend where the artist across from me had sales nearing $25,000. I know for a fact that $20,000 of that was from sales of original paintings. Selling reproductions will not get you the big bucks, instigate the commissions or catch the eye of a visiting publisher.

   How do you keep your creative juices flowing in the mean time? BE SELECTIVE. Stop doing shows just to "do shows." It's better to do six $2,000. shows than twenty $200. shows. If you feel like you're going through "show withdrawal" then just go and visit one. Spend your valuable time PAINTING, CREATING, GETTING ORGANIZED...! Good shows are difficult to find and even more difficult to get into. Don't think you're alone.

   Other ideas: visit a museum every month (the Masters are great for inspiration), take a class (in your medium or product or related to your business), join an organization related to your work that meets monthly, have a "home" showing, go on a photo shoot or some related activity for reference material. Whatever you decide - remember YOU ARE UNIQUE, no one creates the way you do, so keep on, keeping on! :-)

Article by:
Diane Elliott Bruckner
Diane is an oil painter, and her subject matter is America's endangered species. She has been a festival artist for over ten years and travels the country looking for that "great show." She is also the California State Reporter for "Sunshine Artist" magazine. (email:

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