#169 Mary Beth Shaw: Artist and Owner of Stencilgirl Products

Artist Mary Beth Shaw owns the very successful stencil business called Stencil Girl Products. Not only does she manufacture thousands of stencils designed by her and many other artists, but she also offers online classes and has created a community of stencil enthusiasts. You can hear about the origins of Stencil Girl Products in my previous episode with her, #130 from December, 2019. Mary Beth creates abstract and collage art in her studio near St. Louis, Missouri. She also teaches her art techniques throughout the U.S., using the stencils that she designs. We talk about how this pandemic has affected her business and her teaching, and what she’s done to support her artist community and fellow stencil artists.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Mary Beth Shaw

Mary Beth’s website is mbshaw.com.

You can go to her Stencil Girl Products site from her website or you can use stencilgirlproducts.com.

Her online classes can be found at stencilgirlstudio.com.

You can also find her online classes on the stencilgirlproducts website through the Tutorials tab. You can also find lots of free instructional videos there.

Mary Beth and her Facebook Live events can be found on Facebook at Stencil Girl Products.

Stencil Girl Products is on Instagram.

And Pinterest.

And Twitter.

And Youtube.

We talked about Nathalie Kalbach’s Creative Jumpstart. Mary Beth is one of the artist instructors for this. You can still download the 31 instructional videos through November 30, 2020 here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. During this lockdown period, people are enjoying the sense of community they get when watching Facebook Live art events or Zoom get togethers. They are a great way to interact and make art with others distantly.
  2. Facebook Live events are a great way to virtually connect with your artist community. Mary Beth sets up her phone to film on her hands making art, and then she puts her laptop in front of her so she can see the comments and questions from the audience.
  3. It’s a good idea to do your Facebook Lives on a regular schedule, like every Tuesday afternoon, for example. That way your viewers know to expect it each week.
  4. Artists should try to develop a product or service that will provide them passive income. For Mary Beth, she is offering artists the opportunity to sell their stencil designs through her company. This way they are not fully dependent on just making original art.
  5. There are many ways you can help artists right now: Buying their art; buying from small art supply stores; or even buying gift cards for future classes.
  6. Mary Beth reminds people to remember about self-care during this time. People can definitely be susceptible to anxiety or depression when their business has changed, and not by their choice. For her, meditating and exercising has helped.
  7. We also talked about the social activism which is taking place across the country right now. What you decide to do right now is a very personal decision, and it’s OK if you do positive things but don’t announce them to the world. But taking any form of action right now may help you to feel a little more in control after this lockdown period of feeling that nothing has been in your control.

#168 Stefanie Stark: Contemporary Artist Showing in Galleries

Artist Stefanie Stark creates contemporary abstract art, depicting colorful flowers. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, where she’s fortunate enough to have a studio right in her home. She’s only been painting for 4 years, but she’s exhibited her art in local and National galleries. In addition to her personal art website, she’s also started a website called The Creativity Spa. On that site, she hosts art contests and offers activities for kids and adults.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Stefanie Stark

Stefanie’s art website is stefaniestarkart.com.

She can also be found on Instagram @stefaniestarkart.

Stefanie has a new website where she hosts art contests and offers creativity activities. It is called thecreativityspa.com and is also on Instagram @thecreativityspa.

One of the activities on Stefanie’s website The Creativity Spa is a PDF to start your own Covid-19 Journal. This is definitely a strange time we are living in, and her PDF helps you to easily record some of the things you and your family are experiencing right now. Click here for that activity.

She’s also hosting a summer art contest for kids and adults at The Creativity Spa. The deadline to enter is August 15. 

Stefanie has shown her art in many galleries and exhibits. I’ve talked about these websites which list Calls to Artists on the podcast before. Here’s a pretty good list you can start with. Just scroll down in the Show Notes to find the list. This is a link to my podcast Episode #14: What is a Call to Artist and How Do You Respond to It? That’s a good episode to listen to for learning everything you need to know about Calls to Artists.

We also talked about a program Stefanie signed up for which helps you to improve your art. It’s called The Creative Visionary Path and you can find out about it here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When you’re first making art and you’d like to show it in public, don’t turn down any opportunity, no matter how small. Your first exhibit will be great experience for your next exhibit.
  2. Some shows require a list of previous shows that you’ve done, so make sure you keep track of the dates, locations, and themes of all your shows.
  3. Start out with local shows. You can find them through local art organizations as well as small businesses, like coffee shops, restaurants, and community buildings.
  4. Of course, as you apply to more shows you naturally will get more rejections. That’s just a part of it. Stefanie keeps herself going by just applying to more shows and continuing to move forward.
  5. There are many websites that list Calls to Artists. You can search them by type or by location. I’ve listed a few in the Show Notes of Episode #14 of my episode called What is a Call to Artist and How Do You Respond to It?
  6. When you’re applying to Calls, you need to keep a list somewhere of when you applied, if you’ve been accepted, when the art needs to be delivered, and how long it will be there. This is important so that you know where all your art is, but also so you don’t commit your art to two different places at the same time.
  7. You also need to keep a list of all the shows you’ve been in that you can use for your CV. Sometimes when you apply for shows they will ask for a list of where you’ve shown before.
  8. Understand that when you exhibit at a show, you may not make a sale during that time. However, people often contact you later when they’ve had time to look at your website, and you may get a sale later.
  9. Stefanie has also found that co-working spaces are great places to show your art. It can be seen by all the businesses who use the space as well as their clients.
  10. Stefanie shared something she learned in the Creative Visionary Program about creating a collection of work. It was suggested that you work on several pieces at once, switching back and forth between them after each layer.

#167 Rae Missigman: Making Art and Sharing with Others

Mixed media artist Rae Missigman teaches online classes, sharing her methods for making small and quick art pieces covered with her signature mark making. She partners with artist Sandi Keene for some of her classes, and they’ve managed to produce some of those classes virtually. She had to cancel some upcoming art workshops, including one in Italy, but she’s continued to make art and share it with others. If you’d like to go back and listen to my original interview with Rae, you can listen to Episode #120 here.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Rae Missigman

This is Rae's book that you can purchase here.

Rae’s website is raemissigman.com.

Her Instagram is @raemissigman.

Rae’s Pocket Journal Class that she teaches with Sandi Keene can be found at popupartclasses.com.

You can find her line of stencils with StencilGirl Products here.

You can find information about The 100 Day Project here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Rae uses a small journal that she calls a Pocket Journal to make quick art pages. A small size is great to take with you but also so that you can have the feeling of accomplishment of making art and finishing a whole page.
  2. She also pre-decorates some of the pages, by either using found papers for the pages themselves or by adding some paint or color to the page. This way she’s not starting with a blank page, so it’s easier to get started on a journal page that is already started for you.
  3. The 100 Day Project, which is directed by Lindsay Jean Thomson, is a great way to keep you motivated to make art every day. You can give it your own parameters as to what you’re doing, what size, and what materials. By posting your artwork each day it gives you a bit of accountability to make art, but it also gives you a daily creative outlet.
  4. Rae recently spilled a bunch of paint in her studio. Rather than just cleaning up and wasting the paint, she mopped it up on sheets of paper. By letting them dry, she could cut them into small pieces and use them on other art. You can also take art that you didn’t like and cut that up to use as background pages or journal pages.
  5. You can also just use paper as a palette and cut that up later to use in your art.
  6. When the world shut down and everyone self-isolated, Rae realized that she needed to continue to make art. She also felt that she should continue to post it to help the people who like to look at art daily. Remember that making art in an unsettled time could help you, but it also could be very comforting to someone else. If you’re able, continue to post your art for others to see.
  7. Rae makes a distinction between art that she does for her business and art that she does for her hobby. Of course you can do art that’s just for you that you don’t share with the world. It’s nice to have some art that you do where there’s no pressure to make it perfect or a certain way.
  8. Be open to collaborations with other artists; you can learn from their styles as well as learn to use new tools and techniques.
  9. Of course you can still collaborate with artists even with social distancing. Rae films class videos with her partner Sandi Keene, but if they can’t get together in person, they can film separately and piece them together.
#166 Nick Onken: Traveling Photographer Creates Hats Too
2020 - Lynette Cenee & Nick Onken - Joshua Tree

#166 Nick Onken: Traveling Photographer Creates Hats Too

Artist Betty Franks Krause lives in San Jose, California, where she creates beautifully colored abstract paintings. She shares her techniques through her Youtube channel, Instagram posts, and now through Facebook. In fact, when I first talked with Betty, she gave us a lot of great technical information about making videos, so be sure and go back and look at Episode 109’s Show Notes on my website. In today’s conversation, she tells me how she had a year of travel and in person classes scheduled that she’s had to cancel. She’s filling her time instead with more painting and live art demos as well as classes for her followers. She’s also offering smaller artworks on paper.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Nick Onken

Nick’s websites are:

photographsbynickonken.com

nionradio.com (his podcast)

His Instagram:

@nickonken

@onkenhats

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. You can use your Instagram as a portfolio of your artwork, and direct people there when they want to see what you do. This can be in addition to your website.
  2. The down time that you have right now in your business is a great time to work on your craft or on your marketing. You can focus on those two things while you don’t have a lot of clients.
  3. To optimize your life and your business, you need to develop your creativity, your health and wellness, personal development, spirituality, money and business, and relationships.
  4. Nick believes that building relationships is a great way to build your business. You may get someone as a client years later that you built a good relationship with before.
  5. It’s never too early to build an Instagram for something new that you’re doing. Nick started making hats, and as soon as he got some notice, he started an Instagram for them. He wasn’t fully prepared to make a lot of hats, but at least he had a space he could direct people to see what he had done so far.
  6. Nick has found that if he just keeps creating with his business, and he is open to pivot as needed, then he can keep his business going. That’s been a very helpful attitude during this year.
  7. He also noted the importance of having income from a few creative sources. You never know when an aspect of your business may go up or down.
  8. He also feels it’s important to build your skills in many areas, like photography or graphic design, so that you can use those skills for other income sources as needed.

#165 Betty Franks Krause: Staying Connected through Paintings and Videos

Artist Betty Franks Krause lives in San Jose, California, where she creates beautifully colored abstract paintings. She shares her techniques through her Youtube channel, Instagram posts, and now through Facebook. In fact, when I first talked with Betty, she gave us a lot of great technical information about making videos, so be sure and go back and look at Episode 109’s Show Notes on my website. In today’s conversation, she tells me how she had a year of travel and in person classes scheduled that she’s had to cancel. She’s filling her time instead with more painting and live art demos as well as classes for her followers. She’s also offering smaller artworks on paper.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Betty Franks Krause

Betty Krause has a website that is called bettykrauseart.com.

To be the first to find out about her upcoming classes and art sales, sign up for her email list.

Betty will be hosting a June 27, 2020 “Paint with Betty” class, so be sure to sign up for her email list to find out more details.

You can find her on Facebook at Betty Krause Art and on Instagram @betty.krause.art

Betty is selling face masks with her art through Fine Art America here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When everyone went into lockdown, Betty wanted to find a way to stay connected with people. She decided to make some small art and give one away per week for free. She’s found that it’s very important to be engaged with your customers every single week.
  2. Betty has found that people still want to buy art, but they’re more likely to buy smaller, less expensive art. She’s made available small artworks on paper and has had recent success selling those. Some she even sells with a mat.
  3. When Betty sells her small artworks, she makes them available to her email list first. That way they get first dibs as her biggest followers.
  4. If you’d like to develop more followers on Facebook, then a Facebook Live would be the way to do that. Don’t worry about the numbers, just go for it, and each time you do it you’ll get more people watching.
  5. It’s a good idea to announce your Facebook or Instagram Live events ahead of time. They should be announced on those platforms, but they can also be announced to your email list.
  6. When you do video demos or lessons on Facebook Live or in a Zoom meetup, you can then upload the video to your YouTube channel so people can easily find it there.
  7. Zoom is also a great way you can offer live classes to students. People can ask you questions, they can make art along with you, or they can look back at the recording later.
  8. Treat those that have signed up for your email list as your biggest fans. Let them be the first to know about upcoming events, and maybe even give them discounts to events.
  9. Betty sets up private sales of her art just for her email subscribers. She’ll set up a private page on her website and send them that link where they can see and purchase the special sale art.
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