The Business of Art, 2015 Retrospective Part 3 of 3: Selling Artwork

Facebook original painting auction

Facebook painting auction

New ways artists can sell artwork online

Originally, my website was set up like most artist sites. If you were interested in purchasing one of my paintings, you would be instructed to contact me or the gallery that represented me – the end. There was no indication that any specific paintings on my site were available for purchase, much less a purchase button. Doing research into how I wanted my site to look I found some amazing artists and I was tempted to purchase artwork myself, but even I never wanted to contact the artist! It seems obvious, but having a clear price list and detailed process outline for commissions and a purchase button for completed paintings, makes it so much easier for you to even begin to think about bringing one of my paintings into your home. It’s the way I would like to purchase a painting so it makes sense that that’s how I should be selling them.

Making artwork clearly and readily available was the first step. But if no one sees my website, no one knows my paintings are available. It was time to take another step and venture into using social media and marketing to help sell my paintings. With the help of posts from sites like artbusiness.com, I’ve been learning, among other things, better ways to optimize my images and text so that I come up in google searches more often. This has helped me get painting commissions from people that never knew my work before. Also, allowing you to click a purchase button directly from my Newsletter, and putting new works up on Facebook has made a huge impact on my sales. I even ended the year with a successful art auction on Facebook. I’m used to the old gallery situation, where I meet people in person and putting a painting up on for sale Facebook really took me out of my comfort zone. My end goal was not only to sell the painting and raise some money for two well deserved charities, but also to expand my audience.

I love selling paintings. I know that’s a silly statement, but it’s true. Selling paintings means I can work a little less at my day job and still pay the bills. Which in turn means there are less compromises in the studio and I can spend more time making paintings I don’t currently have time for.  Selling paintings also means these paintings are going out into the world to be enjoyed instead of being stored in my studio. I’m thankful that you appreciate what I’m making enough to bring my painting into your home and take such good care them.

Where will 2016 take us?

February is already almost over and I’ve been busy ironing out my plan and trying to take into account a new addition to the family. Even with this addition, I expect much of the same from last year, with a few little steps ahead (and maybe even a few leaps!). I’ll be starting a new Monthly Miniature series in April, plan to finish some larger figurative paintings this year and have room for just a few more commissions in the schedule. I’m also going to try to post as consistently as possible and have two new venues for you to learn more about my paintings – a short video published on Vimeo and my website by Aaron Boruget from a recent studio visit, and an upcoming article about my paintings in the Seattle Magazine in April.

I am taking into consideration that a newborn will likely throw a wrench in the works, so if I fall short on my plans, please forgive me! I promises not to be late with your commissions though.

 

Monthly Miniatures - Rabbit oil paintings by Rebecca Luncan

Part 1 of 3: Planning Paintings

 

Rebecca Luncan Instagram account

Part 2 of 3: Communication

 

 

Snow Rabbit Painting is Open for Bidding!

Snow Rabbit oil painting miniature by Rebecca Luncan

Snow Rabbit – December 2015, oil on aluminum, 3.75″ x 5″

 

December’s Monthly Miniature painting auction is now live!

Half of the proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to Special Bunny and Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation. Please visit my Facebook event to bid and to follow the auction over the next week. The auction will close on Sunday, December 13th at 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Thank you for your interest!

Charity Auction for December’s Monthly Miniature Rabbit Painting

 

Snow Rabbit In progress oil painting

Snow Rabbit – December, 2015 in-progress, 5″ x 3.75″, oil on aluminum

Get your bidding cards ready, this painting is going up for auction December 7th!

Painting the Monthly Miniatures has been an amazing journey. Each month I’m creating one new painting of my rabbits, and I love how each new painting ends up inspiring new ideas for the next two or three paintings.

I’ve been humbled by all of the support from everyone out there. Each painting has sold, most within 24 hours of being released (sometimes in minutes!). For the paintings to go to loving homes is such a huge blessing. My heartfelt thanks to all you Monthly Miniature owners out there.

Why an auction this month?

First, since they’re selling so quickly, I thought it would be nice to give more people the chance to purchase one of the little paintings.

Second, I’d like to engage my audience and get more exposure. I love painting, and the more people that know I exist, the better for my art career. So please spread the word!

Third and most important, 50% of the sale price of this painting goes to two local nonprofits who helped my rabbits and their litter mates. Read the story of my two long-eared muses and how Special Bunny and Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation helped them come into my life on my last blog post.

How to bid?

Bidding will be simple and take place on Facebook (but I will do my best to accommodate anyone interested who does not have an account). Bids will be entered directly in reply to a post featuring the finished and framed painting. It will be live for about a week, Monday December 7th at 8AM PST to Sunday December 13th at 5PM PST. Bidding instructions will be found under the “Notes” tab on Facebook, but basically each bid will look like:

Bid $100

If you are the winning bidder, please confirm your method of payment within 48 hours of winning the auction. I would like to get the painting shipped as soon as possible!

No Facebook account or want to be anonymous?

If you don’t have an account or if public bidding will ruin a surprise (or it’s just not your thing), contact me with your maximum bid, and I’ll post for you, complete with an Anonymous Bidder Codename. I will periodically update the leading bid by increments of $10, up to your maximum bid, and send you an update email if you aren’t on Facebook.

Payment Method

Paypal is easy for most people, but I happily accept checks and credit cards. Just make sure I have a current email and mailing address for you, and confirm your method of payment within 48 hours of winning the auction. If paying by check, make sure to get it to me within five business days to keep your winning bid status.

Will I continue to do auctions?

If all goes well, I may do another one next December, but expect all the future monthly Miniatures (at least January – November) to sell directly from the website as usual.

Questions?

If I seem to have missed something important, please contact me. Thanks for you interest, and happy bidding!

 

An Unexpected Litter of Rabbits: The Story of Charlie and Ellie

Mother Rabbit

Mother Rabbit

The two rabbits that continue to inspire my paintings came into our family unexpectedly. But that never could have happened without the hard work of one dedicated woman and the generosity of two local organizations.

As we enter the holiday season and I finish up my ninth Monthly Miniature, I want to tell the story of how my models and their litter mates came into the world and found homes. Because without the dedication of some compassionate souls, Charlie and Ellie might not be with us today.

Charlie and Ellie came to us through my mother-in-law. She is an amazing woman. She has worked with animals for years, nursing and rescuing furred and feathered fauna of all sorts. From sleeping in the barn for days on end to be on hand for birthing lambs, to rehabilitating opossums in her bathtub, she does whatever it takes to help an animal in need.

If you went looking for Margot just before sunrise about two years ago, you would find her feeding her herds of goats and sheep, three horses, several cats and dogs, and her little black and white Dutch bunny Zorro. Rabbits are very social and Zorro lived alone, so when Margot’s friend Stacey discovered a large white rabbit hiding out in her backyard, Margot jumped at the chance to give him a companion. They figured the white rabbit was a pet that had been let go. Rabbits can be harder to keep than people expect, so they often get “released into the wild,” but sadly most don’t make it long.

It took Stacey two weeks to catch the rabbit, but when she did Margot drove over right away to pick it up. She set the newcomer’s cage beside Zorro’s for them to meet, and then went to the feed store to buy supplies. When she came home thirty minutes later, she noticed the new cage was carpeted with quite a lot of fur. Upon closer inspection, she found she had not rescued just any rabbit, but a mother rabbit! Nine blind, pink kittens (as baby bunnies are called) lay sleeping in a little furry nest. If you recall the number of animals already on her small farm, you may guess that she loves when babies are born! Taking in one bunny is however, very different from taking in ten bunnies!

Things turned complicated as the bunnies began to grow.

Baby bunny rabbit, Eleanore

Baby Eleanore

The babies would eventually need homes, and as the tiny newborns grew and their naked bodies got covered in fur, one of the bunnies stayed smooth and naked, she was completely hairless! Despite jokes about knitting tiny

bunny sweaters, we were worried. Such hairless bunnies often don’t survive. Three of the other little kittens didn’t make it to this stage, and Margot worked hard to keep all the surviving six healthy.

As their eyes finally started to open, Margot noticed that one kitten preferred to keep one eye closed. The little brown bunny’s eyelid was slightly inverted, making her eyelashes poke into her eye. It’s an extremely painful condition and will result in blindness if untreated. There is a surgery to fix it, but it’s quite expensive. A Seattle-area organization, Special Bunny came to the rescue. Not only did they raise the money for the entropion eye surgery and saved the little brown rabbit’s eyesight, they kept her and also took in two more white bunny siblings and found them all happy homes.

Margot decided to keep the hairless bunny (called Bunsy Bigglesworth) even if it meant taking up knitting tiny sweaters. But after a few more weeks, Bunsy miraculously sprouted a coat of soft fuzzy fur! And the fuzz soon thickened into a full coat of white fur, only extra soft.

baby bunny rabbit

Baby Charlemagne

The last two of the litter are of course my Charlemagne and Eleanor. I had rabbits when I was a kid and I had been wanting house rabbits for years. Two years later, my rabbits live a very spoiled life. They have the run of the house, pose for paintings, and occasionally venture into the garden to play.

Zorro recently passed on, but his remaining years were much happier with his two pretty companions, Miss Tribble and her uncommonly soft daughter Bunsy Bigglesworth. They share a stall with an old Angora goat Satin, where they dig warrens in their hay bedding. They are very friendly, and come out for treats and visits whenever Margot goes out. I’m not sure where the other three are but I hope they are just as happy and loved as their siblings.

Help Thank and Support Seattle Animal Shelter and Rabbit Haven

We owe a great deal of gratitude to Special Bunny for funding the expensive surgery to save one rabbit’s eye, and finding homes for three rabbits, and to the Seattle Animal Shelter who provided discounted spay and neuter services for Charlie and Ellie, as they do for thousands of animals each year.

To show our gratitude, half the proceeds of next month’s Monthly Miniature will be donated to the two organizations. The ninth Monthly Miniature is a seasonally-themed portrait of Charlie in the snow, and it will be sold by auction. Bidding will open on December 7th and will close at 5:00 PM Pacific time Sunday, December 13th. Please consider bidding generously, not only to support me as an artist, but also to help support these wonderful organizations. Check back next week for auction details, and follow me on Facebook, where the auction will take place!

specialbunny.org