Category Archives: Art Topics

What is Art?

white cow in a snow storm

“White Cow in a Snow Storm” 50×50

So What is Art?

I thought I’d share with you my latest painting. It’s an exercise in Minimalist art. The black outline was added so you could see the painting.  No, I’m being sarcastic. I didn’t create White Cow in a Snow Storm, but it does lead me into the topic of  What is Art?

Artworks are like opinions and just like opinions, not everyone will agree on them. Attempts to describe what is art, often becomes a work of art in itself as an exercise in creative writing!

By definition art is an expression or application of human creative/technical skill  and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

However, the genre of Minimalist art which according to one source began in the 1950’s and continued thru the 1970’s was intended to thrive on simplicity in content and form, seeking to remove any sign of personal expression. It was to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely without the distractions of composition, theme etc.

When TV Journalist Morley Safer died in May of this year (2016), a morning news segment highlighting one of his reports on contemporary art was shown whereby a museum curator was describing to Morley the large blank white canvas hanging on the wall was done by a Minimalist artist. As to who created it I’m both ignorant and apathetic. I don’t know and I don’t care.
Thinking to myself it’s no wonder that it was called minimal because it involved minimal work, minimal materials and minimal thought. After all it was a totally blank canvas. There are plenty of those in my  studio. Why I even have a brand new roll of the stuff. I can roll it out anytime and take in it’s beauty.  If you like, I will stretch one for you. On second thought I don’t want to work too hard, I’ll just buy one already stretched, put my signature on it so you can enjoy it on your wall. You can have it today, just let me know. Oh the price, it’s next to  nothing only a $1,000,000.00. Any takers? Please, serious inquiries only.

Not So Minimalist

If you’re looking for something more affordable and not quite so minimalist, I do have three paintings up on my eBay auction. These bear my “Byron” signature. The auction ends  Sunday July 31, 2016 at 6 PM pacific time. Each auction endings are spaced by 7 minutes, so you can have time to bid on another in case you miss out on one. The Bids are already starting. Remember, I never set a reserve and the bidding started at only a penny. You can click the link to go to my eBay profile and access the auction.

Misty Day 9x12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Misty Day 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

impressionist landscape autumn oil painting by Byron

Hues of Autumn 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Spring Days 9x12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Spring Days 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Additionally I have two small 6″x8″ William Hagerman signature paintings shown below at Sherwoods Gallery in Houston, TX.

If interested in purchasing these please contact the gallery at: (713) 974-3700

landscape bluebonnet oil painting with cactus by William Hagerman

Bluebonnets and Cactus 6×8 oil by William Hagerman copyright 2016

landscape bluebonnet oil painting with barn windmill by William Hagerman

Sun and Clouds 6×8 oil by William Hagerman copyright 2016

Thanks for reading!


Decorating: Color Coordinating with Artwork

When it comes to decorating, a color palette is often chosen beforehand in that the walls have been painted, the furniture and accessories are bought and then lastly the hunt is on for the artwork to fill the walls. Then you find a piece of art you have fallen in love with but it doesn’t match your decor or color scheme. Bummer. I hate this approach personally, because it often deprives you of art work that you would love to have. Plus somewhere upon saying “it doesn’t match my decor” an artist just cringed or rolled over in their grave. Instead try this approach in color coordinating with artwork.

Buy the art you love first. What I will show you next is a simple and effective way to color coordinate a color scheme to the artwork you have fallen in love with, using the paint program on your computer. Other photo programs can also be used, but might be more technical for the novice.

Start by taking a good digital photo of your art. Then download it onto your computer. Open the photo of the artwork with your Paint program. I’m on a Windows platform, but I imagine a Mac has something similar. Here I’m showing one of my Byron paintings.

Color Coordinating 1a

Notice that the photo has little handles at the corners and on the right side in the middle is a little box, place your mouse/curser over it and when it turns into an arrow drag it outwards to the right creating a blank white area.

Color Coordinating 2a

Next, look at the tools section for the color picker. Select the color picker and then use it to click on an area of color that you like in the photo of the artwork.

Color Coordinating 3a

Next look at the shapes section and select the square. Drag the shape out onto the blank white area. Then go back to tools and select the color fill then go back and hover over the square you just made and click it to color fill it with the color you selected.

Color Coordinating 5b

Repeat the process by selecting another color, create a box and color fill it until you have the number of colors you want.

Color Coordinating with artwork

Once you have your favorite colors picked save your image as a jpeg. I first saved it to my desktop and then I copied it my dropbox which is an app installed on my computer and iphone. Now I can access the photo I created on my phone. If I were going shopping for wall paint, curtains, accessories, furniture or whatever, I have a color palette at my fingertips saved on my mobile device that will guide me in my color choices. Now you’ll never have to say, “it doesn’t match my decor.” This can also be used to update a current color scheme by selecting new color choices using your current artwork.

The above illustrated Byron painting is also one of four new paintings up for auction on eBay. While the auction is still active the listings will show up on my user profile. Once there you can click on the paintings to go to the auction page. My auctions have no reserve and bidding starts at only a penny!

Here are the other Byron paintings:

Impressionist sunset oil paitning by Byron

Texas landscape bluebonnet oil painting by Byron

landscape oil painting of clouds impressionist oil by Byron

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear your comments.


Facing Artist Rejection

Artist rejected

You’ve just finished your artistic masterpiece and decided it’s surely a potential candidate for winning a top award in some prestigious juried art show. You’ve filled the prospectus out, prepared your images for submission and sent in your money along with a self addressed stamped envelope so you can get your notification. Then you wait for the mail. Finally the day arrives. You open the letter with great anticipation, head swirling at the prospective benefits of this show and as your eyes focus upon the words of this form letter, you read: “Dear artist, thank you for your entry into our Not a Snowball’s Chance in July 10th Anniversary Art Show. We regret to inform you that your work was not selected for this exhibit”…….” REJECTED!!

What?? This is totally unacceptable I’m a MASTER ARTIST!! How can they say my work isn’t worthy to be in their little miserable show.  I’m going to send them my own rejection letter, telling them I have rejected their rejection letter!!! That will teach them to disrespect me! (Uh, don’t do that.)

Facing artist rejection is something every artist will experience at some point. So don’t waste a good stamp or envelope. Build a bridge and get over it. Better yet, don’t let it cause you to miss a beat or one ounce of sleep. Take it from someone who has not only been behind the scenes of a juried art show in not only writing a prospectus and more, but having served on jury panels, as well as being an awards judge, entering  juried shows myself having won awards and yes getting my fair share of those rejection notifications in the mail.

But get this. You’re not being rejected. They probably don’t even know you. So don’t take it personally. It’s not very professional.  Here’s from an inside perspective. As a show organizer, there’s a venue space. It has only so much wall and floor space. I’ll call it wall-estate. It can only display so much art. The organizer wants to have a balanced show. So not every oil painting, or watercolor or pastel or whatever other media is accepted for this show has, could all be shown, now matter how good the work is. Someone has to be cut. There’s also the problem of viewing art whether it’s being projected onto a screen or viewing on a computer. The juror can only make a decision based on the quality of the image they receive. Back in the days of slides I’d see ones that were poorly photographed. Also every painting is projected large. A 9×12 painting will be the same size as a 24×36 on screen. What may look good when viewed actual size doesn’t hold up so well when viewed in this manner. I recall one painting that although accepted didn’t have that much appeal, but when seen in person, it was so much better as you can see it in it’s context. So what an artist submits as regards the quality of the photo is essential but even with a good quality photo there are drawbacks. With digital media, the work may be now viewed on a smaller device, which presents it’s own problems when it comes time to viewing a whole bunch of entries.

Selection is also subjective. Even for the juror, given a different day he or she may select other work and depending on the show, it may receive hundreds or even thousands of entries. A daunting task. There have been situations where one work gets refused in one show only to win best of show in another.

So what if you still feel you missed out on a great opportunity that would have lead to bigger and better things? Let me tell you about an experience I had. Back in 1995 I entered this juried show put on by a legitimate arts association here in Texas. I don’t remember how I found out about the show, but I didn’t know much about it and it was in the days before Google or my having a computer, but it sounded good. Not some small local venue. The show was also to go on tour to several university art galleries. So I thought I’d give it a try. Here’s a picture of the painting I entered.

1995 oil painting titled "The Red Truck"

1995 oil painting titled “The Red Truck”

Guess what? I was accepted! It was juried by some senior curator of exhibitions from some university art gallery up in the state of Washington. There were over 1200 artists nationally who entered and only 48 works by 48 artists were selected and I was one of them. Sounds impressive doesn’t it. I couldn’t attend the opening as it was too far for me to travel at the time, but I got a show catalog. No it wasn’t in color, but still nicely printed. Then I opened the catalog to view the other art. Here’s the kicker. If I could have went and got my painting out of that show I would have. I was appalled at what my work was hanging next to. How about the image of a simple woman’s dress on a hanger that was badly soiled. REALLY? That thing needs to go into the washing machine now! Or how about the one with a mass of zombie looking people with a cow in the midst of them and its head was exploding off into the air. Hmm. Hang that thing in your dining room. I felt like I had just gone down to the police station to purchase an alarm permit, took a wrong turn and somehow found myself in a police line up with several unsavory looking characters. HOW DID I GET IN HERE!!! I threw away the catalog. There was no way I could show that to anyone. I found the show overall to be in poor taste despite the evaluations sent in by host institutions in feeling that this exhibit  was an excellent educational tool for involving and educating their communities about contemporary art.

In my opinion it only presented to the public the view that artists are a bunch of mentally disturbed people who have some severe issues to deal with, based on the imagery seen in the majority of that show.

To this day I do not know why my work was selected or what the state of mind of the juror was in when he picked my work.  I knew something was up when I was contacted by the exhibiting organization if my work could be re-framed as my nice custom frame was too traditional and this was a contemporary art show. Uh oh. The frame they put on it was awful. A simple pale colored wood frame. I wouldn’t have picked that up even if it was in a free box at a garage sale. I’ve seen better moulding at Home Depot. Oh, and when it came time to get my work back my nice original custom frame had been lost.

The painting didn’t sell at that show so I didn’t get any monetary benefit. Plus, I  didn’t receive a single inquire re or any other discernible benefit that helped my art career in any fashion. The only thing is it sounded good on paper. But that’s it. Frankly the expense an artist incurs with juried exhibits often outweigh any perceived benefits.

So if you’re going to put yourself out there and enter these juried shows, remember the expense upon the artist can be costly factoring in the shows fees, shipping etc. and the risk of loss. Plus, they’re subjective, and the opinions of one or a few are at work. If you didn’t get selected it might simply be you got cut because they had to make a decision because of wall-estate. When facing artist rejection do so with your head up. Now if your notification letter was to say something to the effect that they wouldn’t accept your art if you were the last artist on earth, then you can take if personally. Other than that it’s not a reflection on you or your art and even if you do get accepted into one of these shows you might wish you hadn’t.

How to Collect Art

For some, the idea of buying art and building a collection can seem intimidating.  But it shouldn’t be. Read on as you learn how one enthusiastic collector built her collection and how one special painting ended up being aired on the PBS program the Antiques Roadshow.

First let me ask you; do you think you can be a collector of art? Of course you can! Do you know what foods you like to eat and which ones you don’t like? Do you know what kind of movies you want to see? What about your clothes; do you like certain styles and colors to wear, while others you wouldn’t be caught dead in?

If you know the answer to those questions then you already possess the top requirement of how to collect art and that’s being true to your taste. If you’re not sure what your taste is, then it’s not difficult to learn what your taste in art is. For starters you can visit various galleries, art fairs, antique malls, look at artist websites and check out good art books and periodicals at the library. Take note of what art works appeal to you most. Likely a pattern will develop and soon you will begin to understand your taste in art. It could be eclectic or narrower such as in a particular style or genre. You start by purchasing art you like and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break the bank. You can start small. There’s a lot of very good art at reasonable prices. You can even start a savings fund just for art purchases.

However, buying art to simply fill a void on an empty wall or to compliment ones decor isn’t the same as being a collector although a collection of art can still fill those roles. Like most things that are collected they tend to have a theme of sorts and consideration is given in how a potential work of art fits into the overall theme. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have variety. You may also have different rooms in your home dedicated to art around a different theme. So buying isn’t just random, but purposeful. Even if a work doesn’t fit your theme, but you still love it anyway, go ahead and buy it. There’s no art police who will come and arrest you.
Through my eBay sales of my own art I met a collector who I’ll call Janette for privacy reasons. I’ll use her example of how to collect art.

Regarding her collection of oil paintings she said: “I have collected forty plus vintage Texas oil paintings, by the old vintage artists. My house has no, absolutely no, wall space left. Paintings are hung gallery style, one on top of another. I love them. All are wonderful works, in my opinion. In my home office alone I have 22 paintings and other rooms have the Texas lupine in abundance as well. One daughter thinks that I have ‘too much’ art. However, it has not deterred my collecting. And the beauty of it all is that my collection is for my enjoyment. And I do enjoy it. Some days I look at one or another, and I think and appreciate it, separate from all the rest.’


Some have some interesting stories. I have an 8 X 10 painting of the Alamo in San Antonio Texas. When I saw it come up on eBay, I went aggressively for it. It was painted by a Doctor, possibly in Corpus Christi in 1930!  The Alamo in 1930!


I believe that as a collector, I gather paintings that have a message to me. I enjoy them. Their dollar value and worth is not the emphasis, for me. Their message, their beauty and often times their age, is of most interest for my collection.”


Janette also related another story about one special work in her collection.


Around 1937 her Grandmother wanted to give a lovely old friend of hers a Texas bluebonnet painting. The old woman was a world traveler, even in those early days. She had come to Texas to visit her Grandmother. The old woman saw beauty everywhere and was especially fond of the bluebonnets.


Janette’s Grandmother made a day long trip to San Antonio to search for a painting to give as a gift. Evidently her Grandmother had a very good “eye,” for she selected a painting by a rather unknown painter from San Antonio and at that time probably spent about $25 for it. She sent the painting to the old woman in Illinois. After the death of her Grandmother’s friend, the family returned the painting still in its original frame that had been gifted and it has been in Janette’s collection ever since.

When the popular PBS television program, The Antique Roadshow was in Corpus Christi, TX Janette’s daughter took it there to have it appraised. They knew it had value but were astounded when it was appraised for $10,000.00 – $18,000.00


The painting was by famed Texas painter Porfirio Salinas. Click image for a larger view.

Bluebonnet oil painting by Porfirio Salinas

Bluebonnet oil painting by Porfirio Salinas


That episode of the Antiques Roadshow was originally aired January 21, 2013. You can watch the full video or read the transcript of the appraisal from the show’s archive.
Janette collected art that she loves with a theme around vintage Texas artists and living artists whose works fit well into the collection. Some have histories with interesting anecdotes, so be sure to write those stories down and keep them with the works.


And what does Janette think about my own Texas art works? She said: “My regret is that I had not found YOU and your wonderful style and talent sooner. I love, love, love all of your paintings that I have seen. You are blessed. Perhaps, perhaps…if I can gather the coinage necessary….and find a blank spot on a wall…or move some around, perhaps someday I might have a Hagerman also.” Happy to say Janette has been bidding on my eBay works and I’m so honored!


If you feel the same as Janette about my work and you too would like to start a collection this way or add to an existing one you can access my eBay profile at


If I have something currently listed it will be shown there. Alternatively you can also become a follower on eBay. Simply click the green follow button next to my profile picture. I also do commission work in both my realistic and impressionist style.
So what do you do when you’re collection starts growing and you have limited space? This other article on How to Display Paintings Gallery Style show some of Janette’s collection and how even when wall space is limited, you can still have an abundance of art using this technique.

How to Display Paintings Gallery Style

In the article: How to Collect Art, I introduced you to a collector named Janette who now shares some of her art work as it’s displayed in her home. Here we will see how to display paintings gallery style. I’ll make some comments on how you too can arrange your art collection based on the photos. Even when your have limited wall space you can still surround yourself with wonderful art. You can click on the images for a larger view.

In the image below we see how several works are arranged in the dining room. There’s a common theme with regards to color with red being dominant. You can see how other accessories such as the red flowers on the table compliment and visually ties in the art to its surroundings.

paintings in gallery style display

paintings in gallery style display

In the following we see several paintings displayed with three similar sized paintings and two smaller equal sized paintings above the organ. Works are unified with similar style frames. Again we have some notes (no pun intended) of red that are in the paintings and then repeated elsewhere such as in the candles.


Next we have similar sized works on each side of the beautiful cabinet display of dishes.


Here in the home office we see the continuation of the vintage Texas themed art works giving multiple windows to an otherwise windowless office space.


Here’s in this bedroom you see again how accessories help tie in the art  through similar color, plus the continuity of the theme of Texas vintage art is  seen. Also as I mentioned in my other post on collecting art, you don’t have to worry if you break the theme as is seen by the work in the hallway visible through the door opening. Well maybe it’s still by a Texas artist. Who cares right? You love it. Buy it. Again it’s enriching life through art and it should reflect your own tastes.


I so much appreciate Janette for sharing some of her collection and hope it gives you ideas how you too can start on the path of collecting and displaying it in your own home.

Selling Art On eBay Part Two

art for sale sign

In part one of How to Sell Art on eBay, I discussed the reason why eBay could be looked at as a viable avenue for artists, in having another stream of income added to their marketing mix. In this post I’ll describe a little more about what I did and what you will need to do in order to sell art on eBay.
First set up your eBay account if you don’t already have one. When it comes to setting up your user name, don’t use something obscure. Such a name does nothing in helping to brand your artist name. So use your artist name. If it’s too long like mine I used the more unusual part of my name and that’s my last name Hagerman. So I used hagermanart which also coincides with my website address.
Next I decided I wanted to offer works only in the 9×12 size or smaller. I normally use linen for my studio works, but to keep canvas cost down and time spent on stretching, I ordered pre stretched cotton canvas from Sunbelt Manufacturing in Longview, TX. They offer a medium weave, portrait and gallery wrap styles at a fraction of what you would normally pay.
Next in order to make this eBay venture successful I needed to reduce painting time. To do that, I’m working with a technique whereby I block my work in with acrylic and over paint with oil highlights and embellishments. Again, this is a whole different product than my gallery work. Not only in materials, but, technique and time spent. I liken them to studies and sketches. Some of these have allowed me to experiment with ideas, and even try out different color schemes. They are still art works in their own right, but not on the same level as my regular stuff which is more detailed. Remember they’re a whole different fruit. However, in so doing these new clients have also become aware of my other studio works. I send a card along with their shipment featuring my studio work and web address and contact info along with a personal handwritten note.
Next you’ll want to get your shipping supplies in order. I ordered free regular priority mail boxes online from the post office ( to ship my work in. You could also pick some up at your local post office. You will also need a good postal scale to weigh your packages. I won a brand new digital scale from an eBay auction for next to nothing.  I also ordered from eBay some shrink wrap and some poly bags to package my art with. In so doing and paying promptly I got some positive feedback which you want. That’s imperative to establishing yourself as trustworthy. Vow to never receive anything but positive feedback. Think GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE as your motto whether you’re selling or buying. Negative feedback can be death to your business. You may want to consider separating personal purchases with another account and keep your business separate and not mix the two if you’re concerned with privacy as other people can look at your feedback profile and see what you’ve purchased.
Also when it comes time to list your work, take good clear digital photos. This is what viewers are going to judge your work by. Bad photos may mean no bids. There should be no camera flash glare. Square them up. Crop out any unnecessary background using a photo editor program. You’re a professional so present it professionally.
In your eBay account you will go to the section on selling. The category you will want to list in is art direct from the artist. Write a good description for the title using good keywords for your art so people can find you. Think about what you would do to search for a particular type of art and if you didn’t know the artists name, how would you search for it? Don’t write a “beautiful joyous day under the clouds”. The only valid word would be clouds. Someone might search for that if they wanted a painting featuring that. Use those other adjectives in the descriptive field where you will write about your work.
Also set your work as an auction with a starting bid of only a penny. Did I hear you gasp in horror? That’s right I said a penny. Don’t set a reserve amount or bother with a buy now option. Why? People who go to eBay are looking for a deal. Not to pay full retail. They are not there to buy but to WIN. Setting your auction at only a penny encourages bidding. When someone else notices a bid they sometimes want what other people want so they too want to bid, but then the other person doesn’t want to lose so they bid again and so on. This is what has the potential to drive the price up and up. So far in my own experience the results have varied in winning bids from $41-$400. I still consider this as being positive for just starting out. In part one of selling art on eBay I mentioned that within just the first 30 days, 13 paintings sold with a retail of nearly $2000. I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same results, but, if you’re prolific enough in offering several pieces each week you increase the potential amount of your earnings. Also set the time of your auction to run for 7 days and set the start and end time to 6PM Pacific Time. I first chose Friday evenings, but many people are out and about on Fridays, so I switched to Sunday. If you have multiple offerings, select the start and end times for each auction item 5 minutes apart. The reason is if someone misses out on one item they may have time to bid on another of your works.
If you were going to strive to use eBay as a primary source in your marketing, it would be best to have 4-6 artworks to sell each week.  I try to at least have something every week, but life happens and I may not get something out due to other priorities. However, if you’re going to do this, don’t give up or quit too soon. Do it with a mind set of sticking with it. In essence you’re trying to develop a side business with your art that can help get your name out, but do it just as professionally as your other endeavors and realize it may take some time to get noticed. Even if you do not want to develop it as a side business, you could look at it as a means to an end. For example: You want to make a painting trip or to scout out galleries in other cities and you would like to fund the project, eBay could help you to achieve that goal.
There’s a lot more to this and I’m not trying to write a book on it because there’s already one out there that’s very good. What I have just shared includes some of the points that I learned from the book “The Mystique of Marketing Art on eBay” written by Jack White. If you think selling art on eBay would be of interest to you I would suggest buying his book. I did. It’s an easy read and it’s short and gets to the heart of the matter. Reading it will help you from making needless mistakes that could hinder your success. The tips you will learn from this book will save you time and disappointment and help you decide whether or not eBay is a good fit for you. You can take a look here as well as Jack White’s other marketing books.
If I have something listed on eBay at this particular time, you can see an example of how I set my listing up by visiting and click on one of the listings. If nothing is listed, I’m probably working on a studio painting.
Hope this will help you consider selling art on eBay as an alternative to taking on a “regular” job should circumstances lead you to consider that as an option or simply consider it as an added revenue stream to your current art marketing mix or as a means to fund some other art endeavor.
If you have other thoughts about using eBay or you’ve had experiences with it, negative or positive, please share.

How to Sell Art on eBay Part One

It’s undeniable that eBay has all but become a household word with a worldwide audience. Many are making their livelihoods through it or using it as a means to unload what’s overflowing in their garage or storage. But, can an artist make a living or supplement their income by selling their art on eBay? The answer is yes, but it will likely take an adjustment in attitude as it did mine for any hope of success. Read on to find out.

No Yes Maybe sign with art work background
I never considered eBay in selling art; after all I’ve been a professional artist for 30 plus years, I show my work in galleries and I’ve had one person shows in a museum setting with my landscape paintings consistently selling for several thousand dollars. So why would I consider it? Because it’s another potential stream of income you can add to your marketing mix.
Another reason is this: If you read my other post titled Pricing and the Value of Art, I mentioned the art market. As with any type of market it too will fluctuate. Sometimes an artist can’t keep up with the demand, other times the market slows for various reasons such as a downtown in the overall economy, and those wonderful sales have now slowed to a crawl, but your bills haven’t. They just keep on coming and seem to multiple like rabbits all the while your savings are disappearing like green grass during a drought.
So what is an artist to do? Some artists feel forced into taking on a “regular” job to pay their bills, or other part time work, knowing this can often leave little time for their art and sap their creativity. Or they can look into other potential streams of income using their art. Many artists, teach art, write art books whether hard print or electronic, have prints, cards and so forth,  or they even start hitting the art show circuit in an effort to put their work before more people. Each of these has their own costs involved and some more so than others to make them pay off.  However, in making choices, try to work smarter, not harder.
I knew for myself that I already had a full plate, but I wanted to add another source of income into the mix, so that if one income stream slowed I could fall back on another for a time to compensate. I think that’s called not keeping all your eggs in one basket. What I wanted was something that could be done without a lot of cost in overhead, time or leave me spent of my creativity, but at the same time advertise my work and get my name out there before a larger audience.
This is where eBay entered the picture. You might think; “I don’t know how to sell art on ebay,” or “Oh I could never do that. That would be beneath me to put my art on eBay. That’s selling out!” OK fine. Go fill out a job application and take on extra work as your other income stream and one which you’ll probably hate. Or you can adjust your attitude towards eBay as I did.
Maybe this will peak your interest. In just a little over the first 30 days of my eBay experience, I put up 13 small paintings, sold all 13 and retailed nearly $2000.00. I now have new collectors, I’ve shipped work out to two different states and within the local area I have sold to new clients who have never purchased work from me before. Additionally in reviewing the bidding history,and the bidder’s area codes I have seen bidders in the United States from the North, South, East and West. This means my art work and name has been put before others that I have not met or who have unlikely been in one of my galleries, but who are now familiar with my work.  Instead of spending $2000 on advertising hoping for a return on investment, I felt like I was getting paid to advertise instead! Also the amount of time and cost to my creative energy was less than what it would have been if I decided as an alternative income stream to take on part time work that’s unrelated to art.
However, I was not going to sell my regular gallery work on eBay. That I knew for certain. The materials and time I spend on creating those would make my overhead too high with not enough return, plus I did not want to undermine my gallery sales. So I decided to create another product which kept my costs down, but still produced a great product that would be a good match for an eBay audience. I liken it to a sketch, study or plein air work, that is not a part of my gallery work. Some of you artists may already have alternative works in the way of sketches or plein air studies that are not a part of your regular studio work or that you would be selling in your galleries, yet are nice art works in their own right. We’re not comparing apples to apples here. They’re a totally different fruit and you may already have a studio full of them.  If they’re not of a particular use to you anymore why not sell them? Shouldn’t you at least be able to get something back from your labor and have the advantage of creating a little more studio space in the process? Would you give a thumbs down to a sketch by Rembrandt just because it wasn’t his “regular” work? I don’t think so, so don’t give a thumbs down to your own work. Alternatively, can you use your talent to make a product that differs from your regular if you don’t have a studio full of alternative work that can help advertise your name while still providing a great value to your eBay audience? Think about it.

In Part Two of Selling Art on eBay, I will discuss what I did and what you would need to do in order to sell your own art on eBay. Plus I’ll tell you about a great book I read that helped change my point of view as well as serving as a valuable guide to eBay selling.

Teaching Art

Teaching art has been a part of my life since the age of 15 when I taught my very first art lessons. Throughout those years and into the present, I’ve always endeavored to share what I know and what I’ve learned along the way. I just had opportunity to share some of that accumulated knowledge with a nice group of people on September 6, 2013 at the Ginger Lily, a small studio and gallery in the West Texas town of Lamesa.

In regards to the class, owner Ginger Witte, said this:  “I learned more about oil painting today, than I’ve learned in the last 40 years, combined! THANK YOU! Your entire presentation was phenomenal!”

She also stated this on her Facebook page. “An amazing amount of information, wonderful presentation with examples, continuous personal attention and consistent help. Great demonstrations – a FULL day of oil painting! William Hagerman is a Fabulous teacher! WoW!”

I appreciate those comments, but I also really appreciate the students and the questions they ask. This is what makes it special for me. I never consider any questions as being stupid ones, even if they think so. Teaching forces me to translate the why’s and what’s of oil painting, often using verbal illustrations to help the students grasp certain concepts as well as offering encouragement and motivation to continue in their artistic pursuits. Plus, it reminds me of the reasons I do what I do in my own paintings. So teaching often teaches me!

The following is me reviewing and discussing some of the basics of oil painting such as how to analyze color and mix it with the classes rapt attention. Thankfully no one fell asleep during the morning lecture!

William Hagerman Teaching Art at the Ginger Lily in Lamesa, TX

Here, I’m discussing and preparing to do a small demonstration to assist a student with the beginning stages of their painting as others also look on.

William Hagerman Teaching Art at the Ginger Lily in Lamesa, TX

All in all, It was a fun filled day of art instruction and painting for everyone. I look forward to the next months session and see their progress.

Pricing and the Value of Art


Have you ever watched the Antiques Road Show? When we have time my wife and I love watching it.  It’s always interesting to see the “wow” reactions when an item has great value or the disappointed look when a person learns their item isn’t as popular as it was a few years ago and now it’s not valued as much.

This also reminds me of the housing market. Sometimes the same house is valued at one price and then higher or lower at other times even within the span of a year or two. What drives the value? The market.

You’ve heard the term the “art market.” Is it any different? A while back I was visiting in a gallery and discussing different buying patterns or trends. In his gallery he said if a painting had a cowboy hat in it, he couldn’t sell it, unlike what it was previously when western art was very popular. He also mentioned other subjects that weren’t doing as well or as popular as they had been.

I thought again about the Antiques Road Show and how the market drove the price and the perceived value of something depending on the genre’s popularity. An artist may be faced with a dilemma in pricing art when an artist who might be painting a particular genre that’s popular at the time and is selling well, may suddenly finds sales have slowed and then realize the subject is not as popular as it was, yet the quality of the painting is still the same.  Perhaps during this “good” time an artist’s work appreciated in value and price. I’ve heard it said that artists can go up on their prices but can never come down. I’m wondering why not? When the market goes soft, do we just leave our prices the same and not raise them for a period and then just hope things pick up before the savings run out or perish the thought take on extra work outside of our artistic passion of painting, so we  can feed our family and pay the bills? Or do we adjust our prices to mirror what the market will bear?

Would doing so break some cardinal rule? Would it make our collectors unhappy if we had to lower our prices?  For those who invest in art and perhaps bought with the hope of prices going up, do not most who invest in things whether real-estate or art  know that what’s true of any other investments there’s always a risk the prices can fluctuate in response to the market? Or would they be thrilled that they can buy more of your work and when the market returns, they’re collection will be of even greater value? I was told by someone attending one of my art shows that they had wished they bought one of my paintings when they had a chance before my prices had risen.  What if due to a soft market the prices of the paintings were lowered and are now once again affordable for them?

Pricing in general has always been an issue for an artist with so many factors to consider. Some price paintings by the square inch. Perhaps with a slightly higher dollar amount for small works and a slightly lower one for large works to keep them all within a reasonable range. However, if one painting by an artist features mostly  sky, verses a painting of the same size with a complex composition of say a flower market scene that includes some type or building architecture, do you price it the same just because it’s of the same size? What about aesthetic values? Some paintings have a greater appeal and for that reason have a higher perceived value and naturally the price would reflect that or so one would think.

Well what do you think? If you’re a collector and love to buy art, but the overall art market is soft would you be upset if an artist’s prices were lower than before or be pleased to purchase more?

Artists; how do you manage your prices? Do have a system in which you use that has proved successful during downturns in the economy? How have you had to adjust? I would love to hear your comments.