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Artist Rules for Working With Clients

“When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em “Certainly I can!”  Then get busy and find out how to do it”….Teddy Roosevelt

How refreshing that is for clients to hear…”Certainly. I can!”  So many times they are told, “No, it can’t be done,” when the truth is anything can be done in the manner you want for a price.

Entertainment armoireBob and I have become the Venice, Florida go-to-people for projects that other companies turn down or would turn into their own projects.  It would be done their way, with their selected materials and end up not accomplishing what the client wanted in the first place. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time we hit the nail on the head and the people are so pleased that we are showered with more business.

Our business success comes from living by these rules:

1.  First and foremost…get into the client’s head. Put aside your own preconceived notions and listen to what they have to say.  What do they really want?  Absorb their surroundings.  Find out about their roots, where they come from and why they moved to wherever it is they live now.  Is it a get-a-way home or a permanent residence?  Are they fun people or traditional people?

2. Find out what they want to accomplish with the work they ask you to do.  Do they want a feeling of paradise or the Orient?  Do they want functionality or decorative.  Do they hate the color orange or love it?  I always ask if mural clients have an aversion to lizards or dragonflies if I am doing a nature mural because I usually use these creatures in nature settings.  Some people hate them, most people love them.

 

 

 

 

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3.  Never argue and never say no.  If a purple flamingo with green eyes is what they want…give them a purple flamingo with green eyes no matter how you feel about it. (This is a hard one for an artist or a decorator) Even if you hate it, the purple flamingo with green eyes is what the client really wants.

4.  If the project is going to be expensive to execute the way the client wants, by all means present them with a couple of options; one exactly what they asked for and one with a less expensive alternative. Some will choose the more expensive way and some will choose the less expensive way.  Don’t be afraid to price the project for what it is worth.

5.  If you do have to say the dirty word “No”, have someone lined up who will do the job in the manner that you would be proud of.  Bob and I have learned over the years that whatever you take on that you hate doing will multiply.  We do not paint whole houses or do whole house faux finishes…except for very special people where the word “no” does not exist.

6.  Do your work as if you were doing it for yourself.  Superb craftsmanship whether you are working for  a company or yourself builds forever relationships.

7.  Always be honest.  Stand by your word and be truthful in what you say and do.  Having integrity not only endears you to clients it enables you to have a good night’s sleep.

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Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone….

“Life Begins at the end of your comfort zone”…. what a statement!  It brought back memories of the ride I took through the rain forests of Puerto Rico suspended hundreds of feet in the air on a wire.  Ziplining in Puerto RicoAs if that weren’t bad enough, I then had to rappel 80 feet down from the branches of the tree I had just landed in.  A feat accomplished with body intact by a woman afraid of heights.  On one of our trips to Key West my little speed demon husband flipped our Skidoo and us upside down in the water leaving us struggling to get to the surface.  My daughter-in-law thought I would come up swinging, but Bob survived and so did I and in the end it was exhilarating.

Throughout my life and my art career I have been blessed with many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone….some intentional…some not so intentional, like the Skidoo episode.  But, I think about where I would be now if I had said “no” to making a career out of art and taken a “real” job instead; said “no” to my publisher because I was afraid I wasn’t “good” enough or “no” to moving to Florida where I didn’t know anyone other than my parents who were here only four months out of the year.  When the opportunities presented themselves, I juggled the yes and no because they were life changing events.  In the end ” yes” won out and I gained one of life’s greatest rewards…I GREW!  My art expanded, my reputation expanded and my life expanded.

May your faith be bigger than your fears!

 

 

 

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Living the Dream….

Work is such a joy!  Bob and I spent the first of this week at the beach working in a quaint little condo on Manasota Key.  Bob hung fans and did some carpentry work Chest and Delft Tilewhile I tweaked a cabinet to go with the decor and touched up the dining room Delft tiles that had been chipped from years of use .  The sound of the ocean waves lapping at the shore as I worked bathed me and I have felt rested and happy for the rest of this week!

God has certainly blessed me throughout my life.  Years ago in Oklahoma I told Bob that I would be happy with a cardboard box on the beach.  Not long afterwards he came home from work with a cardboard refrigerator box and said…”We’re ready to go to Florida!”  We made that move eighteen years ago and have never regretted it.  If you can dream it, it shall come to pass….from the lady with a hibiscus behind her ear and sand between her toes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Two-Day Acrylic Painting Workshop in Pt. St. Lucie

February 8 and 9, 2013 I am teaching a two day workshop to the Treasure Coast Decorative Painters in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  The two projects being painted are “The Macaw” on Feb. 8 and Macaw Chest“Starfish Washing Ashore” on February 9.  I will be sharing my techniques on painting birds and jungle foliage and painting water and sea life during the two day event. Each project requires intermediate to advanced skills in acrylic painting. Bring a prepped surface and your paint supplies including paints and brushes for a fun weekend.  For further information on cost and a supply list contact Kathy Kenney at 1-772-785-7949 or by e-mail at kennykbear@att.netStarfish Washing Ashore

 

 

 

 

Keep an eye open for future Jane Crick Painting Paradise Workshops!

Beautifully Human

In 2013, I wrote this blog post.  In a world full of darkness we need to look for the light in those people who are beautifully human to each of us.

2013 – A couple of weeks ago my husband and I took our grandson to see “The Hobbit.”  One of the movie trailers before the show started was for the new Superman movie……and WOW!  The special effects were so compelling and dramatic it overwhelmed me.  Fixated on that beautiful, super-human alien, my mind quickly wandered to how we all look to super heroes in movies, books and comic books to give us hope and help us feel that everything’s gonna be all right.  At first I thought to myself, why can’t humans be that way?  Immediately thoughts flashed through my mind that humans ARE that way.  We just need to think about who in our lives has been that touchstone…that beautifully human person who brought us joy and laughter.  Someone who entered our life with or without fanfare and left behind their essence of goodness through thought or deed.  Because of this human’s very existence your own life became better.

My Great Grandpa Hempy, bless his heart, was one of mine.  He was about 5′ 2″ tall, plump and had a thick white shock of hair.  Sugar was his vice.  He would make toast with milk and then load it with sugar.  If Grandma sugared it ahead of time…he would sugar it more. He sugared his applesauce and sugared his watermelon.  He even sugared his ice cream and lived to the ripe old age of 96 with no signs of diabetes!

Grandpa especially loved the little children of the family. I remember sitting on Grandpa Hempy and my second cousinhis lap or at his knee while he told my sister and I stories of days gone by with his 15 brother’s and sisters.  He sang songs to us in a real high voice and would recite ancient poems which I only remember snippets of …there was a skunk on the wall blowing his nose…and a grasshopper dressed in soldier’s clothes. He loved to garden and raised the ripest, sweetest muskmelons and black raspberries you ever ate. He worked hard, he laughed hard and loved a lot!

(Photo to right was my cousin’s daughter)

In his “retirement years” he became intrigued with perpetual motion and had my Grandpa Blauser build a wooden wheel on a stand in the basement.  Then he carefully attached Grandpa B’s empty pipe tobacco cans and loaded them with varying amounts of bolts and nuts to get it balanced enough to spin by itself and never stop.  He worked on it for years.  Every time our family would go over we all went to the basement to see his invention and his progress.  Even though he never perfected his perpetual motion machine before he died, his belief  that it eventually could be done helped me form the notion that anything is possible and to never give up.

About a year before he died I remember the day he told me that he was ready to die.  At the age of 8 and never having dealt with a death of someone I knew personally, I was crushed.  It was hard for me to comprehend that I would ever have to live life without him.  He gently explained to me that he was old and he was tired.  He had outlived all of his siblings and friends.  Born right after the civil war he had lived a long and wonderful life….and he was to ready rest in the arms of his Maker.  He was a gentle spirit, strong in body and strong in faith…and for me he will always be beautifully human.

 

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The Weeks of Fifty Flamingos

The weeks..(yes, I said weeks)… of fifty plus flamingos has finally been delivered!  Have you ever had a job in your life that simply makes you crazy?  Something that seems so simple turns into an elephant on your chest at every turn?  I felt as fiftyflamingosthough my feet were stuck in mud sucking the life out of me.  It made me grouchy, which made Bob grouchy.  In the middle of the flock I swore I would NEVER do this kind of work again!

Then we made the delivery. The decorator loved it.  She love it so much that she said it was “perfect”…no corrections, additions or color changes.  She told me I had a “Warhol” style… and as quick as that it felt like those grueling weeks weren’t so bad after all.

So what did I learn from this experience?  (I’ve traveled this road before).  I recognize three trains of thought in the work that I do.  One….you create your own works of art exactly the way you want to on canvas or furniture and put it out there for sale through art shows, galleries or on-line. Maybe it will sell…maybe it won’t.

Two…you do commissioned work…working directly with the clients..creating works of art that enhance people’s lives and their homes.  They value your opinions and are open to possibilities.  The best thing of all is they are always full of joy when the job is complete and they always pay upon delivery.

Three…working with an interior designer.  They have their own artistic vision: therefore, you must stifle your own creativity and paint it the way they see it.  Unfortunately and fortunately…number three has been the most lucrative for me by far.  So why am I complaining?  The biggest problem is I feel a sense of loss of my own creative voice.  Yes, I painted it, but it was created by someone else’s vision.  For awhile I was teased into thinking that I would be allowed to paint it in my “style” but in my heart I knew that I should just shut up and paint it the way they wanted it in the first place.  So that’s exactly what I did.

I will probably try the decorator deal one more time.  The money is fantastic and I think I have decorators figured out.  Once you have them figured out you know what to expect and know how to feel when they tell you to change something or to just do it their way.  My dad always told me I was too emotional and as an adult I have tried to temper that and not get my feelings hurt by trivial things.  The other side of the coin is being emotional is what drives art; but there is a fine line between making great money and being a starving artist.  We’ll see what the future brings.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!!! …and Bring It Home…Shop Your Local Businesses for the Holidays

Wishing you all out there a very Happy Thanksgiving!  Bob and I have so very much to be thankful for this year.  We experienced a terrible summer in business this year that others have experienced far longer than we did, but the good Lord, our family, friends and especially our client friends helped to turn the tide and so we end the year on a positive note.  I am also grateful for the many business blogs, newsletters and video newsletters that helped to direct and refocus the business.  Not only were they uplifting but they helped me to keep the faith in knowing we are headed in the right direction with exciting things on the horizon for 2013.

With Black Friday on the doorstep, I would also like to mention that the Buy Small…Buy Local Day sponsored by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is this Saturday, November 24th.  The charm of Christmas will be found in the cool little shops in your historic districts…the great bike and board shop off the beaten path…an extremely unique liquor store  (Brindley’s comes to mind) as well as any of your favorite artists (possibly Jane Crick?), photographers, artisans, authors or craftsmen.  They can provide you with very unique and sometimes one-of-a-kind holiday gifts.  The little people of business like these people are what keeps the economy chugging along in spite of what’s going on in the rest of the world. I remember as I was closing out my gallery and having the end of business sale so many people stopped in saying they had always meant to stop and never did.  If you are saying that about a local business that you drive by on a regular basis or know of one off the beaten path….stop in and spend some of your holiday dollars with them.  You won’t regret it!