|Sunflowers Outside (c)2011 Dora Sislian Themelis|
The workshop weekend went great. Alyson B. Stanfield conducted a two day workshop called Shameless Self-Promotion which was hosted in Bohemia, NY, on Long Island, by a group of artists called Women Sharing Art. I was on the fence about attending, but how could I miss an opportunity like this, practically in my own backyard?
Everyone was lovely, friendly, and accommodating. The information Alyson gave us was invaluable. Being part of a group of artists, each one with their own talents and experience, made me feel like I had a community, rather than me and my lonely self in my studio. After signing on, I received email from Alyson on what to bring, and expect, to the workshop which was business cards, a portfolio of work, an open mind and a willingness to work, and I did.
A few years ago I read Alyson's book I'd Rather Be In The Studio and it was a big push for me to get myself and my work "out there." There's no magic bullet. You have to work at it, and put the work into it. As Alyson says, the paintings do not speak for themselves, but the artist can and must. It was wonderful to meet the author in person! Alyson looks great, my hair is doing something funny.
All of us were pretty excited to meet our icon! I chose a chair up front, as is my habit. When I sit in the back of a room I tend to become distracted. Another artist came to sit at my table and asked if there was room. Of course, I said. When I looked at her name tag I recognized it as a casual Facebook "friend" and said "Mary? I'm Dora!" We started screaming and hugging!
About a month ago, Mary wrote on Facebook that she had decided to attend this workshop and said "Who's with me?" I answered her with "I'm just thinking about it.." Imagine our surprise when we realized who each of us was, sitting at the same table! This social media thing is amazing, as Alyson explained.
Some artists brought their postcards, others their laptop/iPad/iPhone for their portfolio. I went "old school" with my old presentation case holding some of my work from this past year. Everyone was excited to see each other's art. A table-mate looked through my watercolors and fell for one of my sunflower paintings, and I was happy to sell it to her. I hope it makes Grace happy when she looks at it!
What a wonderful experience this was. We had the chance to meet other artists, learn networking and art business skills, build relationships, move out of our comfort zone to try something new, and hopefully, cultivate collectors of our art.