Halley 2

Halley, 8 x 10 Pastel (O, P)

I did this pastel as a demonstration at the Brighton Arts Festival.

Brighton Arts Festival 2012

I entered three paintings in this year’s art show.

Cow 1

I’ve been asked by ARAUNY, a local animal rights organization, if I’d like to sell my animal artwork at Greentopia, a big environmental fair downtown in September.  The idea of sitting at a craft fair table for an entire weekend makes me want to crawl out of my skin, but I think this would be a good match for me since animal rights motivates so much of my art and I had been trying to think of a promotional outlet for it.  I don’t expect a large number of sales, but am hoping I can make some connections and get some exposure and creative ideas.

We haven’t ironed out the details, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to get a start on some more works of the subjects  I want to highlight at this venue: farm animals.  You can see more of them at the “Barnyard” link above.

This young cow was rescued and lives at Farm Sanctuary near Watkins Glen.

Pet Portrait Posters

I have mostly relied on word of mouth for my business, but decided to start advertising.  When I mentioned my vet’s office idea to my art friend, she suggested making a poster, and then I had the idea of using some blank 6 x 5 cards I have printed on before.  They are very inexpensive at Michael’s.

They open up to 6 x 10.  I printed them up on my Canon Pixma 9000 as shown, with the fold just above the bottom cat.  Then I made it into a business card holder by cutting about 1/2″ off one business card and taping it words down with clear packing tape to the blank side of the card behind the upper cat’s head.  It is taped on just the upper and lower sides so that about eight of my business cards can slide into it and just peek out to the right of the upper cat.  I wrote “Take One” there.  Even with only one card in it it seems to hold well.

Then I folded up the card, inserted a cover letter, and put it in the envelope.  When you open it, it looks like a cat card, but it’s a business-card-holding poster that can be hung up either as shown or if space is a problem, folded under with just the top half showing.

My original idea had been to use the inside of the card as the request-to-post, so no separate cover letter.  To do that I’d need to put the business cards behind the big cat instead, which would mean no fold-up option.

For the closer vets, I included in the cover letter an offer to bring by some framed prints as display samples for their walls.  My friend suggested offering those removable 3M Command hooks.

I’m feeling pretty clever!  Now all it has to do is work.

SOS IRS

Normally I have my taxes done at this time, so I’m beginning to feel antsy. I do them by hand with pen on paper forms because I think it’s un-American to have to pay someone for the privilege of paying my taxes. I’ll consider the free fillable forms if they’re easy. But even though I’ve tackled Schedule C with previous businesses, it’s been a while and I had a whole set of questions.

After spending some quality time at irs.gov, I was still confused, but a call to the IRS got me a reasonable wait time and all my questions answered by a friendly and informative agent. My only complaint is that if they’re going to put me on hold for 15 minutes, they need more than one thirty-second song loop.  At least it was so forgettable that it’s not stuck in my head.

My questions hinged on the situation that I’ve been an artist for years, with all the same expenses, and I’m selling art I made before going pro. I had planned ahead and kept all my receipts. So can I deduct old expenses? Sometimes.

If you’re in my situation, of course you’d better get your own advice, but what I came away with was that I can deduct any materials when I sell the painting if I put them in the cost of goods sold section. I think the idea is that whether the paint is in a tube or smeared on paper, it is still inventory until I sell it. I’ll calculate the average cost through the ridiculous method of counting my paintings and then squeezing my paint tubes to see how much is left. It seems so silly since my per painting cost is going to be very low (the price mostly pays for my time, creativity, and experience), but when I shell out $50 for pastel pencils for a business, I deserve a deduction somehow.

I can deduct my art classes, books, trade magazines, advertising, and home office (studio) expenses, but only starting from when my business began in earnest.

Prints for Sale

I finally got my act together and posted prints for sale.

I decided to go with a pretty low price point for the smaller prints, so that my art is affordable for everyone.  These prints are beautiful copies, and I’ve offered a real bargain.  They’ll look like original art on the wall.

I verified with Hahnemuhle that Canon Fine Art Museum Etching paper is vegan and went through my WordPress photo files and figured out which paintings I can sell prints from.

Unfortunately, some of my favorites are from photos I don’t own, particularly my early paintings of the animals from Farm Sanctuary.  I am still hoping to be able to work out something with the photographers, in the way of donating profits to Farm Sanctuary.