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Giving away a piece of original art

Don't sweet it under the carpet Original acrylic mixed media painting by Tracy Algar
Don’t sweep it under the carpet
Original acrylic mixed media painting by Tracy Algar

I’ve made an artwork especially to give away to one of my email subscribers on the 1st of November.

It’s called “don’t sweep it under the carpet” and it’s one of my new more abstract pieces that I’ve felt drawn to painting lately.

This piece is about keeping it real.  Saying what you mean. Doing what you say. Not pretending. Being authentic.

There’s been a change in the way I’ve been painting over the past couple of months.  It’s taken me a little while to start feeling comfortable with the change, and to understand what is happening.

I don’t feel the need to analyse the work too much. I don’t need to understand the symbols and have a story reveal itself to me. I am working more from a moment in time, a fleeting feeling or emotion.

My intuitive process begins in the same way, but I’m not trying to focus it in any one direction as the painting progresses. It’s looser. More joyful. Less serious.

To be in with a chance to win this original artwork, you will need to subscribe to my email list. Click here to subscribe. If you are already a subscriber, you will automatically be entered in the lucky draw.

All change! Butterfly moments & save the date(s)

Moon & Bird Art House, Stanford, South Africa
Moon & Bird Art House, Stanford

This is a public service announcement. I am currently undergoing a plethora of changes. I think I may be slightly stuck in pupal stage at the moment, so I’m hanging in there for my butterfly moment. My green parka jacket and kudu leather veldskoene from Swakopmund have grown around me like a cocoon.  And it’s cold out.

As would be expected in any pupa’s life, there will be butterfly moments coming up really soon (more about those below). In the meantime I’m getting my house in order (literally and on the internet), setting up a website for Moon & Bird Art House and migrating some of the content from this site over to that one.

Please forgive me in advance for missing pages, or trouble finding or logging in to anything.  I am trying to do it all with as little disruption as possible, but sometimes that doesn’t go according to plan.  If you have any problems don’t hesitate to email me.

Without any further ado, here are my anticipated butterfly moments for July:

Fri. 6th July 2018 sees the grand opening of Moon & Bird Art House with a gallery exhibition.  The opening starts at 5pm and includes my latest work and work by Siobhan Twomey and Sara Abbot.

Did I mention I was feeling calm?

Yes. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I am touching wood with my forearms (the underneath side) as I type this so here goes… Everything is falling into place quite nicely, even though there have been a few hiccups.

Sat. 28th & Sun. 29th July 2018 will be the first Creative Self-Expression workshop this year after a six month break. There are five spaces available as we have a little bit more room in my new studio (yay!)

The workshop is open for booking.  If you are interested and want more details, click here.

Mon. 20th & Tues. 21st August 2018 I will be holding the second Art Marketing Workshop for artists. There are six spaces available for this workshop.

The workshop is open for booking. Please click here for more info.

As befits being in pupae mode, here are the “before” photos. After photos to follow in another post after at least one butterfly moment.

Moon & Bird Studio, Stanford
This is my studio from the garden. All those windows let in lots of light.
Before photos of Moon & Bird Gallery
This photo is looking through one of the gallery rooms to where my studio is. The photo was taken before my things were in the studio.
Moon & Bird Studio - getting set up
My studio is the one part of the place that’s looking functional. But I haven’t been in there to paint yet.

The rest of this month is all about getting set up and fully functional. See you on the other side.

Into The Shadows: an intuitive art journey of discovery and self-love

Into The Shadows intuitive journaling course

Thank you for your interest in my Into The Shadows journaling challenge.

I am currently repackaging the challenge into an online course and will make it available again as soon as possible.  It will no longer be a completely free course, but I will be selling it at a very reasonable price.

If you would like to be advised when the course is available to buy, please sign up to my email list. You can do so in the sidebar on the right.  Signing up for my email list means you will also be included in my lucky draw to win an original artwork.

5 things you need to market yourself as an artist in 2018

5 things you need to market your art in 2018

A basic strategy for selling your art online. What you'll need:

  1. A plan (with reachable goals)
  2. A body of artwork
  3. A website
  4. An email list
  5. A social media presence

There was a time that I didn’t imagine for a minute that I would ever be able to make a living from my art.  I’m not sure what gave me the motivation to give it a try.  I think it was a mixture of desperation and sheer bloody-mindedness.

But when it comes down to it, the reason that my tiny art business has grown and is starting to thrive is because I started to take it seriously. I took my art making seriously and I took the business and the marketing side of making a living seriously too. 

This year, in addition to my other offerings of art and intuitive art sessions and workshops, I’m going to be sharing more about how to sell art online, and how to organise your art business with a plan to achieve your goals and be able to live your dream artist’s life.

This is an overview of what you will need to market your art online in 2018.

A plan

You will need a plan to start with to stop you becoming overwhelmed with the task of marketing your own artwork.  It can seem so daunting at first, the sheer volume of work and understanding exactly what you have to do to make an income from your art.

Your plan doesn’t have to be complex to start with.  Decide on a few goals and be specific about them.  Then organise what tasks you need to complete to achieve the goals.

What to include in your plan:

  1. Your goals
  2. What you’re prepared to do to achieve your goals
  3. Marketing strategy (What is your niche? Who are you marketing to? How are you reaching them?)

I think it’s also worth mentioning that being organised is EVERYTHING that it’s cracked up to be.  If I don’t keep my art business super organised, it completed overwhelms me.

One of my favourite tools to keep organised is Trello.  It’s free to use.

I use Trello as a planner and task tracker.  In a future post, I will share some of my boards with you and explain how I use it to keep track of everything.  If you don’t want to miss future art marketing posts, you can sign up to my email list here and have them delivered to your inbox.

Your art

You will need work to sell, and photographs to sell it with.  Three to five pieces of art is enough to start marketing yourself, but ten to twelve pieces is better.  

Take photographs of yourself as you paint, and photograph your works in progress and your finished work.  Learn to take good photographs of your work, or have photographs taken professionally.

Make as much art as you can, and document it as you go.  Take photographs and videos.  Keep an inventory.

I keep my inventory in a database in Airtable.  You can grab a copy of my inventory template when you sign up to my email newsletter here.

A website

You will need a self-managed website to be able to successfully and cost-effectively implement an online marketing strategy.  If you don’t have management of your own site it will cost you money every time you want to change something on your website.

Even if you sell your art through other websites (Etsy, Society 6, etc), you will still need a website as the central pillar of your online art marketing strategy so that your collectors can go somewhere to sign up for your email list (the most important part of art marketing is this list, there’s no getting around it).  

If you don’t have a website:

Set one up.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  There are quite a few options out there for making your own website easily.  I prefer to use WordPress (which is free to install on your website) because it gives you a lot of control and is easy to use once you get the hang of it.

You will need to register a domain name, arrange hosting for your website and have WordPress installed on it.

If you don’t want to invest in a domain name and hosting yet, you can set up a free wordpress website/blog at http://wordpress.com  Do know that this type of website is limited to just a few themes and plugins and you won’t have the full capability and adaptability of a self-hosted WordPress website.

An email list

Start collecting email addresses of your collectors and supporters as soon as possible.  I can’t stress the importance of this enough.  This is the best way to communicate with people who already like or own your work, so make sure you know who they are and how to reach them.

I use a free Mailchimp account to collect email addresses and send out regular emails.

A social media presence

It’s relatively easy to get eyes on your art with social media.  With all the photographs you take as you work and photographs of your finished artworks, there is lots to catch the eye.

The social media platforms that work best for getting traffic to my website, and eyes on my work, are Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.  I tend to concentrate my efforts in these three places and pay less attention to other platforms.

It’s not necessary to spend hours on social media every day.  Choose a day or two a week to schedule your social media and check in to reply to comments and interact with your followers every few days.

My favourite tools for automating social media are:

Buffer

Later

IFTTT

To be sure that you don’t miss any future art marketing posts from me, sign up for my monthly email just below.

 

5 things you need to market your art in 2018

Starting 2018 with 1-on-1 intuitive art sessions

1-on-1 intuitive art sessions with Tracy Algar

Join me in my studio for an intuitive art session

Starting again in July 2018, intuitive art sessions are available.

This year, I will not be running any scheduled intuitive art workshops from my studio. Instead, I am offering 1-on-1 intuitive art sessions in my home studio in Stanford, running over four or eight weeks, for two hours a week.

The sessions are guided by the same process that I teach in my online intuitive art workshop, but with more opportunity to tailor the time to meet you exactly where you are on your creative journey.

For more information about my 1-on-1 intuitive art sessions, click here.

Where? My studio just outside Stanford in the Overberg, South Africa.

Who? Anyone who wants to make art, from complete beginners to experienced artists who just want to learn to loosen up a little with their process.

When? One two-hour session a week for four or eight weeks.

How much? R1200 for four sessions, R2000 for eight sessions.

Click here to book.

1-on-1 intuitive art sessions

Altered Book Challenge – Looking Back, Looking Forward

Altered Book Art Journal Challenge

The Altered Book Art Journal Challenge is a free twelve month challenge to discover more about yourself through intuitive art journaling.  You can find everything you need to know about the challenge, as well as previous month’s prompts HERE.

We've made it all the way through twelve months of altered book art journaling.

This final month we’ll be looking back and looking forward.

Prompt 1: The cover

Looking back over the past twelve months, what has been the theme?  What have you learned about yourself and what you desire from your life? Where has this journey taken you?

Paint and draw on the cover of your book.  

I’ve started on my cover, but not finished yet.  The spirals are symbols of rebirth and new growth.  

Cover of altered book

Prompt 2: What are your intentions for the coming year?

Make a spread about what you intend for the next twelve months.  Use symbols, images and words to craft out a year that honours your deepest desires.

Intentions for 2018 altered book art journal spread

Prompt 3: Pick a word for 2018

Consider your intentions for 2018.  Is there an overarching theme for your intentions, or is there one particular area you’d like to pay special attention to? Take as long as you need to to let your word emerge.  Doodle and think about it.  

I’ve been thinking about my word for next year for a while now.  And then all of a sudden it was clear.  I’ve chosen expand, because now that things have settled down in my life A LOT since a year ago this time, I finally feel like I can relax and expand into the new space I’ve found for myself.  I will come back and doodle on these pages some more.

The Altered Book Art Journal Challenge is a free twelve month challenge to discover more about yourself through intuitive art journaling.  You can find everything you need to know about the challenge, as well as previous month’s prompts HERE.

Altered Book Art Journal Looking Back, Looking Forward

Strategies To Unleash Your Creativity Part 3

Strategies to unleash your creativity part 3

This is one of a series of blog posts about The Creative Mystery and contains strategies and ideas to unleash the flow of creativity in your art and life.  Here are the links to the other posts in the series.

These are the last few strategies in this series.

Give them a try and see what happens to your creative process.

Preparation as ritual

Ritual can take an activity from the mundane  to the divine.  It can move us out of one way of being to another dimension entirely.  As you perform ritual, you move into a more sacred space where magic is allowed to happen.

Use the time before you start to paint to perform a ritual of setting up your art supplies ready to use.  This ritual gets me into a more receptive, creative space as I get to look at and touch my art supplies as I get them ready.

When you’ve finished painting, add an element of ritual to tidying your work area and caring for your tools and materials. 

Completing a simple ritual can help remove resistance and overwhelm and clear the way to enter the space for magical work. Focus deliberately on what you are doing as you lay out your brushes and fill your water jar. Add an intention to work in relationship with your tools. Get to know them.

To turn something mundane into a ritual, focus on it completely when you perform it, repeat it over and over as time goes by, with the same focus and intention to work with these tools to create magic.

Use ritual to invoke the magic of creativity

Allow creativity to happen

When you listen to your intuition, you are met with a flow of choices to make. You can take action or not take action.  If you dither too long, the idea or inspiration may be lost.  

Allow the flow and action to happen, and you won’t have time to be scared of failing, or doing the wrong thing.

To allow creativity to flow. you have to get of our own way. You have to become what you are doing.  

Then you’ll forget you are hungry and thirsty, or that you need to pee, because you become absorbed in what you are doing.  Time stops.  

If you struggle with getting into this allowing space, try one of the activities below to experience getting into the flow.

Photo by Sam Austin on Unsplash
Photo by Sam Austin on Unsplash

Look out for these four creativity killers

Neglecting your practice. Not making art.   

Fear and shame, and being too tame.

Making art for reward or punishment, profit or loss.

Not trusting your creative impulse.

This is one of a series of blog posts about The Creative Mystery and contains strategies and ideas to unleash the flow of creativity in your art and life.  Here are the links to the other posts in the series.

The Creative Mystery | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 1 | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 2

Strategies to unleash your creativity part 3
Strategies to unleash your creativity part 3

Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 2

Strategies to unleash your creativity part 2

This is one of a series of blog posts about The Creative Mystery and contains strategies and ideas to unleash the flow of creativity in your art and life.  Here are the links to the other posts in the series.

The Creative Mystery | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 1 | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 2

Subscribe to my monthly art email for the rest of this series in your inbox.

In the previous post in this series, I wrote about how getting out of the way of your creativity is one of the best things you can do for your creative life, and I’ve given you three strategies to do it.  In this installment I give you another three strategies for getting into the flow.  

Work with what you have

Nothing will stop you in your tracks like feeling you don’t have what you need to complete the task. If you don’t have paint or paper or canvasses, use what you already have.

If you have wood, find faces and figures, draw round them.  Now add details.

If there are clouds in the sky,  what can you see? Take a photograph of what you see.

If you have fabric and thread, paint with embroidery.

Our materials impose their own limits on us, and that can be a boon to creativity.  Think about Cuba and how the US embargo forced Cubans to be creative because they could not buy what they needed.

Take a look at more of John Ryle's photographs of the Chevrolet's of Cuba by clicking on the photograph above. Photo credit: John Ryle.

Think of what children manage to make with a few cereal and toothpaste boxes and some glue at nursery school.

Allow your unique style to manifest.

“The creative process is a spiritual path.  This adventure is about us about the deep self, the composer in all of us, about originality, meaning not that which is all new, but that which is fully and originally ourselves.” – Stephen Nachmanovitch

What is your expressive personality?

We are all influenced by what we are taught, and by what surrounds us, there’s no denying that.  But deep inside we are still ourselves.

Painting intuitively allows your style to emerge without needing to copy other styles.  Using the same processes as other artists is not the same thing as using the same style.  

Drawing intuitively in an art journal is a great way to practice your natural drawing style.  

I like listening to podcasts and drawing in my art journal.  

Doodling in my journal while listening to Toko-Pa's Encounters podcast
Doodling in my altered book art journal while listening to Toko-Pa's Encounters podcast

Practice

We learn by doing.  Think for a moment about the difference between projects that we plan to do or imagine doing, and those projects that we actually do.  We may think up fantastic artworks, but the creativity happens when we actually create them in reality.

There’s no perfect time to paint.  Life is going on around you all the time.  It’s all about showing up.  

Altered Book Art Journal by Tracy Algar

Banish the idea that practice makes perfect.  Rather see practice as the goal and work in the space between what you feel and what you can express.  This is where you can discover the unknown parts of yourself and realise them.  This doesn’t end.  This is ongoing.  Not a destination to reach, but a journey to continue while we are here.  How Zen is that?

If you are bored in your practice, change it.  Don’t let it become static.  Change your tools, your surface, your choice of colours.  Be more subtle, or more bold.  Stretch yourself.  

When you practice regularly, and show up even when you don’t want to, you put  yourself in the space for inspiration to come.  You are there, ready and waiting, for a subtle message to appear from within you, ready to hear it and act on it.  

When you allow your creativity free reign, work is play.  You will develop a relationship with your  painting practice and with every painting you create.  You’ll start to really enjoy spending time with your practice without feeling all that original resistance.

The more you practice the skills and techniques that you’ve learned, the more unconscious they become. This is when you can have both technique and the freedom of no technique.  Liberating!

This is one of a series of blog posts about The Creative Mystery and contains strategies and ideas to unleash the flow of creativity in your art and life.  Here are the links to the other posts in the series.

The Creative Mystery | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 1 | Strategies to Unleash Your Creativity Part 2

Strategies to unleash your creativity part 2

Altered Book Journal Challenge – Transform

Altered Book Journal Challenge - Transform

The Altered Book Art Journal Challenge is a free twelve month challenge to discover more about yourself through intuitive art journaling.  You can find everything you need to know about the challenge, as well as previous month’s prompts HERE.

The theme for the eleventh month is Transform.

You’ve made it almost all the way through the challenge so this month the prompts are all about celebrating transformation.

Once you have travelled the soul journey that we have over the past months and really taken a good look at yourself and put some effort into learning your own truths, there is no going back!

You have initiated yourself into the deep forest of the soul!

“The desire to know your own soul will end all other desires.” – Rumi

Prompt 1: How have your transformed and what's next

Consider what you have learned about yourself in the past ten months of art journaling and make a page that represents your transformation. 

Have you learned to recognise and acknowledge your fears and joys?  Have your discovered what’s holding you back from having what you want to have?  What’s preventing you from doing what you want to do? Can you see the path that you desire ahead of you?  How can you move forward into the life/work/space you desire?

Prompt 2: Have you accepted your shadow realms?

No one is all light or all darkness.  We are a balance of the two, with many shades of grey inbetween.

Make an ink or paint blot on your page and close your journal to make a mirror image on the opposite page.  

Have a conversation with yourself on the pages about the sides of yourself that are hard to embrace, hard even to accept.

Find balance in the pages and in yourself.

Prompt 3: Showing up no matter what

Make a page about showing up as you are, even when you don’t feel like it, even when you are scared.  Even when life throws you a curveball. 

Creativity turns up when you are doing the work.  Don’t stop.

The Altered Book Art Journal Challenge is a free twelve month challenge to discover more about yourself through intuitive art journaling.  You can find everything you need to know about the challenge, as well as previous month’s prompts HERE.

Altered Book Art Journal Challenge - Transform
Altered Book Art Journal Challenge - Transform

Instagram giveaways: six prizes in six weeks

6 weeks of Instagram giveaways with Tracy Algar

 It’s giveaway time again!

It’s hotting up for the summer season down here in the Overberg.  The village of Stanford is livelier and fuller that it’s been during the winter months, and notices for seasonal events are starting to pop up on Facebook and village newsletters.  There are exhibitions, performances, festivals and the Sunset Market to look forward to in and around the village.  I love this time of year.

It’s also the countdown to my 46th birthday, and I’ll be entering my 6th year of being a full-time artist!

To celebrate all this loveliness, I’m am giving away six prizes in six weeks on Instagram.

You can follow me on Instagram here to be sure not to miss out on a chance to win.

Here’s what I’m giving away:

Week 1: 30 October – 5 November – an artist’s proof print of the first painting I ever sold, Green(wo)man

Week 2: 6 November – 12 November – a place in my self-paced intuitive mixed media online art workshop

Week 3: 13 November – 19 November – an artist’s proof print of my painting, Mermaid Tears

Week 4: 20 November – 26 November – a place in my self-paced intuitive mixed media online art workshop

Week 5: 27 November – 3 December – an artist’s proof print of my painting, A Little Birdie Told Me.

Week 6: 4 December – 10 December – a place in my self-paced, intuitive mixed media online art workshop

How to enter:

Each Monday for the next six weeks (starting today) I will post the current week’s giveaway on Instagram.

To be in for a chance to win that week’s prize: 1) follow me on Instagram 2) Like the giveaway post and 3) tag a friend in the comments who you think would also like to know about the giveaway.

That’s it!

Rules and other info:

Entries are welcome from anywhere in the world.

All entries must be submitted by midnight South African time (GMT +2) on the Sunday of that week.

The winner will be picked at random and announced on Instagram the following Wednesday.  I appreciate your patience while I verify all the entries. Good luck!

As per Instagram rules, I must mention these giveaways are in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, you confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.

Please note that leaving a comment on this blog post does not constitute an entry into the giveaway.