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Archive for September, 2007

Shellybee’s Seashells of the DeepJust when I say size matters, I receive an order for three art prints, two of which are the smaller size — the third is my signature print and most popular. I printed them on large paper, though, to give them generous margins and allow for framing without a mat. When I started to wrap up the package, I was really struck by her choices.

My latest art appreciator chose three seashell ink drawings on deep blues. Together, they have a very different impact than I had imagined, and I wonder what drew her to these in particular, and what the combination might say about my subconscious thoughts.

Showcasing different drawings or paintings from the same series did occur to me — and I think I might still have suggested pairings live at Shellybee’s. But her collection is really unique and somehow mysterious and ominous, and I wanted to share it with you.

Oh! I should mention that I experimented with a new, smoother paper for “Starfish Nightmares” (the lighter blue one above) and it really turned out rich and deep and fabulous. I used Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Satin and the pigments look like paint — like you’d see with a fine screen-print or dyed fine leather.

All images copyright (c) 2007 Shelly Bowen. All rights reserved. Thanks!

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Knowing of my interest in the business of art and the launch of my shop at etsy, my friend turned me on to this site called 20X200, an online art gallery that features two new pieces each week: one photo and one graphic piece on paper. The thing that caught my eye was “Great Art. $20. Really.” The $20 editions are a limited edition series of 200, and are smaller than 8.5 X 11, from the small selection I previewed. Something about having all the prices be the same appealed to me. Also, they listed how many were left, rather than what print number you would get if you bought right then. Interesting. Larger pieces are $200 and $2000. Now, the small print seemed like a better and even better deal next to these “pricer” options. I also noticed they don’t really give the specs on the printing — just “archival pigment print.” I would want more, but maybe most consumers would prefer less.

My takeaways? Try:

  • A universal price and size for all prints, so it’s easy to shop.
  • Increasing my number of limited editions and decreasing the price.
  • Reversing the limited edition number to show how many are left.
  • Offering the originals to show comparison value.
  • Less info on printing specs

What do you think. Any of these appeal to you? Do you spot any other opportunities they are using I could borrow for Shellybee’s Art Studio?

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Fine Art Print packagingIt’s been three weeks since the launch of my shop, Shellybee’s Art Studio at etsy, and the traffic is beginning to build. I’ve sold several art prints, not quite enough for a true test of what’s working — price, what’s featured, shipping, tags, titles, limited edition or no, keywords? — but just enough for me to find one thing in common among all the sold pieces: SIZE.

My artwork is diverse — at least, I’m featuring at least two distinct styles, arguably three. I have my black and white drawings of sea birds and seashells on rich background colors. And my beverage series prints of oil paintings, which includes two fairly realistic portraits of women and six more graphic profiles of friends sipping cocktails in silhouette with wallpaper-like patterned backgrounds. You can see for yourself what’s sold by checking “sold” in my shop. At first, it doesn’t appear as if there is a pattern. Sipping Sunshine is popular — two limited edition prints have sold, and one inquiry about the original — and people really love the shells, but only Wild Abalone has sold. Then, of course, I realized. Duh. They are all larger prints. The 5x7s are collecting virtual dust. Interesting.

Then my favorite photographer Gary had a suggestion — I turn to him for art direction whenever I’m stuck. He suggested turning to larger format paper, to easily fit in a 11 x 17 frame. The paper these prints are made on is really beautiful, and could be considered a mat all by themselves. The prints are more expensive to produce, as you might imagine, but I tried it for my last sale, and it really turned out beautiful. I hope she likes it!

Would you like to see larger format seashell drawings offered from my studio? Let me know!

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Wanna Dance?

Wanna Dance? Archival print of original oil paintingHere’s a new piece I painted in oils a few years ago, but wasn’t ever totally satisfied with it, and justyesterday I added bits of magnified dust and light, as if their dancing stirred up such disco spirals and spirographs of hearts.

I haven’t offered it up in shellybee’s art studio yet. Wanted to see what you all thought first.

This one is 4.5 X 9 inches. Archival quality print, as usual.

Copyright (c) 2007 Shelly Bowen. shellybee.etsy.com

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Someone commented in an Etsy forum on my art shop that she wanted to know how much the prints would be matted (I had asked for feedback). Currently, I’ve made them available without mats, because I thought people would prefer to mat the work themselves. Now I’m not so sure.art print of woman in tiki bar

I’ve recently received a ton of hits on my Orange-Hot Tiki Bar first edition print of an original painting. I’ve just added the mat to that listing.

What would you be more likely to buy — an archival art print with or without a mat?

Let me know in the comments section below! Thanks!

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caribbean sea bird print (c) bowenI’ve completed a new ink drawing, inspired by a bird who waited patiently in the Caribbean heat for a crumb of my sandwich, but all he got was his portrait sketched.

In this one, I’ve explained a little more about what inspired the colors and the details within the drawing in my shop description. I usually leave interpretation up to the viewer, but I’ve had some comments that readers like the descriptions, so I keep telling the story of what inspired the drawing or painting or technique.

At the same time, I wonder if describing in more detail the texture of the paper or the saturation of the inks would be more useful. The screen really doesn’t do them justice.

I’m really liking my ocean-inspired ink drawings — mesmerizing for me. They hold a little bit of those million-dollar moments for me. I think I’ll hang a few of the printer’s proofs in my new office.

All images on this site copyright (c) Shelly Bowen. All rights reserved.

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snowy white egret print 8x10 (c) bowenI sold my fourth fine art print! This time, the buyer had a little trouble with Paypal, and abandoned the buying page, so I had to figure out how to resend the invoice for her. It’s interesting that out of all 21 or so art prints I have available, she chose the only one (at the time) that was drawn from a photograph of a snowy egret by her all-time favorite photographer, Gary Allard. I’ll have to send that news along with her bird, after it finishes curing.

Today I’ll be shopping for new brands of fine art paper. I’ve been using Ilford’s Galerie series of professional smooth fine art paper, and the results are truly amazing. Each one looks like it was inked right on the paper by hand. Actually, better than by hand. You don’t get any of the rumpled, rough edges that comes from handling a piece for as long as it takes to ink it.

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