What I Learned as a Fine Artist in 2023

Dear art friend,

The last few years have been a roller-coaster ride for a lot of artists. Many of those who have good business practices in place have continued to thrive. But each year has brought new lessons to me personally. Here are the three things I learned in my business in 2023 so that hopefully you can take something from my experience and use it when planning in your own business.

1) Not growing my email list

I had almost no growth on my collector email list in 2023. If I look back on where I focused during the year, this makes total sense. A lot of my energy in 2023 went toward creating and marketing my Palette to Profit program.

Of course I was still painting and sending work to my galleries, but what I wasn’t doing was reaching out to new OPAs, “Other People’s Audiences.” Basically, I just wasn’t reaching any new audiences with my art and therefore didn’t have a lot of new collectors sign up for my email list. This is not great for business because something like 80% of my sales come from my email list. More email list members = more sales.

So even though my sales in 2023 were still good, I could sense that I need to get back to basics and start doing the same outreach I used to do in the earlier days of my business so that I continue to reach new potential collectors and get them on my email list.

2) Releasing work in collections really does work to drive sales

Because I was busy with painting and launching my course, I didn’t have the bandwidth to also market collection launches. Early in the year, I decided to release my new paintings one at a time to my email list as they were ready. 

By doing this, my audience missed out on me sharing the behind-the-scenes creation of the new work and the anticipation of the work being ready and available. They didn’t get to go on the journey with me and so there was no excitement built up around my new work throughout the year. The work showed up in their inbox and said “Hey. Buy me.” It wasn’t quite that abrupt, but you get the picture.

So in the fourth quarter, I decided to go back to a collection launch model for my final paintings of the year and sales of those paintings came much more quickly.

Needless to say, I’ll be sticking with the collection launch model from here on out.

3) A diversified business model is truly a gift of financial stability and consistent income

As I mentioned before, I struggled in the first half of the year to sell my original paintings. But at the same time, my print sales and commission sales went up. The overall impact of fewer original painting sales on my bottom line was almost none.

Because I have my business set up to support me via multiple income streams, I have room to experiment within it doing things like less OPA outreach and changing the way I release my work. Those kinds of experiments don’t hurt me when they go less than great. And that kind of flexibility is really a gift.

All right. That’s it for today. I hope these lessons I learned will help you see where you need to focus in your own business. Definitely check out my free Audience Building guide here if that is something you are struggling with. An audience of collectors will make a huge difference for your business.

Thanks and have a great day!

All my best,


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