Making A Living

First I want to thank Carolyn Edlund for the article featuring my work that was published early this week on her very smart, very informative website – – which is dedicated to helping artists build better businesses.  Carolyn is its founder, with a list of other accomplishments a mile long.

The list tells me that Carolyn is obviously good at keeping a lot of balls in the air at once, and that leads me to what I’ll talk about second.

I am so NOT a multi-tasker (limiting, yes, but I prefer to think of it as enhancing my ability to focus intently) and more than that, it seems I can only wear one hat per day.  If I’m a business person today, I can’t be an artist until tomorrow.

Thinking about business gets me wound up, and here are a few of the things circling my brain:

  –   My current studio

MARCI MCDONALD | St. Petersburg studio | 2014

…(which I love and has a great energy) is attached to our house in a residential area.  Would I make a  better living if I moved to one of the art ‘destination’ districts flourishing here in St Petersburg?

   My adorable sister and I are busy formulating and polishing methods and materials to find and engage suitable galleries.

   I did art fairs with great success for over 25 years.  Should I take advantage of the fact that some of the best shows in the country are here in Florida, and do just a couple of shows?

   Before my recent shift from representational painting to abstract, I had an extensive website (with shopping cart) offering original paintings, original prints and reproductions (all imagery with well-proven salability), and promoting the commissioned works in metal my partner and I do together…

Marci McDonald | Ben Sweeney | water lily console table | bronze and marble | c. 1995

…as well as my own commission work.

It was a beautiful, efficient site, and we spent an ENORMOUS amount of time and money on its creation and  promotion.  It was a little ahead of its time, and sales were more than disappointing. That site has been replaced with a simple online catalog of current work, and an abbreviated archive of sorts.

I’ve gone from being a serious, aggressive advocate of the potential of the Internet as a place to make a lot of money selling art  –  to a disenchanted, part-time observer.  But… should I just leave it at that?  How much time should I give the Internet now?

–   Research for grants and other sources of alternative funding for some exciting BIG projects I have in mind for my partner and me.  I’ll write more about that in a future post.

When this blog was born, I said I’d be writing about some of what goes on in the life of a serious artist.  Mostly I try to make it not boring, but also to focus on all the positive things (which do abound).  This post feels particularly ~~whiney~~ to me, and I DETEST whining, but there it is.  I’ll do better next time.


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