Art Basel

Art Basel

Pink Room created by Sadie Barnette, shown at Untitled Art Fair

If you were following along with my Instagram from this past weekend you knew I was in sunny Miami, hitting up as many art shows as possible while still soaking in some sweet sunshine. If you are unfamiliar with Art Basel, essentially it is a huge art fair that happens every year in Miami. Art Miami has spawn from Art Basel and now several huge art fairs gather in Miami for art week. All of the art at these shows is for the most part modern and contemporary, with almost endless subgenres.

I was able to attend several fairs including Pulse, Untitled, Scope, Superfine, and Basel, with Basel being by far the largest representation. With over 60,000 square feet of space housing galleries and artists from around the world. Art Basel was shoulder to shoulder packed and so much fun.

All of the fairs had very distinctive vibes, and seemed to attract very distinctive collectors, galleries, and artists. Here’s a brief synopsis of each of the fairs by my estimation.

Pulse seemed pretty laid back and made with the millennial in mind.  I really enjoyed a lot of the art at Pulse. Lots of abstract, the vibes I got was a sense of calm, with a lot of really great abstract art selections.

Untitled was interesting, there were a lot of installations and sculptural pieces, but still had a lot of abstract and contemporary work. The people in the galleries were a bit more engaging would start a conversation with passersby. This was the only place I saw this happening. Untitled had some really interesting and engaging booths.

Basel was packed, which makes sense because it was the main course of art week. Arguably these are the upper crust of galleries showing during art week. All of the offerings were very polished and with a glass of champagne in hand I muscled through, shoulder to shoulder with the hordes of collectors and visitors.  Being the fangirl that I am, I had the pleasure of seeing up close and personal the works of some of my favorite artists.

Scope felt like where all the cool kids with hang out and smoke week. In fact, as I was walking in, there was an excessively tatted and pierced girl vaping. I was painfully aware of how uncool I am when browsing scope. Scope was like a club. Neon paint, neon lights, lots of chrome, lots of 3d art, it was mostly pop and political art. Which of course has its place, I’m just not a huge fan in general. It was very loud inside, people were wearing lots of costumes, there were a lot of statements being made both artistically and fashionably.

I thought it was a joke when I went in. It was the smallest most claustrophobic space, and way too dark. It’s really a shame that the location overshadowed the art here. Hopefully they can get a better space next year.

Overall I really enjoyed my first Miami Art Week. Saw some of my art idols paintings in the flesh, met some cool people, soaked up some sunshine and left feeling full. Have you ever been to Miami Art Week? What shows should I hit up next year?

Like and share this post if you learned something new.  Follow me on Instagram @christineolmstead Pinterest @christineolmstead Facebook @ceolmstead


How to Support Artists & Small Businesses Without Spending a Penny

How to Support Artists & Small Businesses Without Spending a Penny

Photo by Tori Watson Photography, check her out here!

It’s the season for giving and the season for spending. I don’t know about you, but when I do my Christmas shopping and find gifts to give I’m always left feeling bad that I can’t support all the small businesses and charities that my friends own and run.

There are so many artists, makers, and small businesses that I want to support every year, but it can’t always happen for financial reasons, or maybe I just don’t have the right person to give their gift to. So this year, I’m creating a support guide.

A support guide is different than a gift guide because you can support any business owner, or any artist using these methods WITHOUT SPENDING A SINGLE PENNY! You want to know how? Keep scrolling….

  1. Like their Content
    Due to algorithm changes that we have all experienced, likes and comments are more valuable than ever. The truth is that networks like Instagram or Facebook, don’t serve a post to all of someone’s followers. They serve a post based on how much engagement it gets within the first hour. One of the kindest things you can do for a small business or artist is to “like” their content to boost their post.
  2. Comment on their Content
    The same engagement algorithms apply when people comment on a post. When someone comments and likes a Facebook or Instagram post, those algorithms will serve it to more people. It doesn’t have to be a long comment, just a word of encouragement or something you like about the post will suffice. Get your double tap on!
  3. Share a Post
    Repost a photo and tag the business in it (always ask permission first). Share a blog post, shop page, or photo on your own social channels, making sure you tag, and link back to them. Re-sharing the content of artists or small businesses makes a huge impact on business. Even if you can’t afford to spend more on gifts, you never know if one of your friends may enjoy the products or services offered by that small business you are supporting.
  4. Re-pin Their Pins
    I’m constantly pinning images on Pinterest from the websites and content my fellow makers and small biz friends have created. Repining an image might not seem like much, but every re-pin counts. Pinterest is such a helpful tool to support small biz, so much so that Pinterest, on average, drives 3 times more traffic than any other paid service, or social media platform. For my business personally, Pinterest drives 85% of my web traffic and sales. Becoming a pinning ally for your favorite brands goes further than you know!
  5. Write a Blog
    If you have your own blog, consider writing a blog post roundup of some of your favorite makers and small businesses that you want to support. Always link to their website and/or social media links. This helps their SEO and will further legitimize their business and website in searching engine results!
  6. Send a Note of Encouragement
    It doesn’t have to be an actual note, it could be a comment on a post, a direct message, or an email. For many small business owners, this is our busy season where we are working overtime to satisfy our clients and make sure everyone receives what they ordered. The holiday season can be exhausting, frustrating, and downright discouraging sometimes when you’re an artist or small biz. Sending a small business owner, a quick note saying, “You’re doing a great job!” Simply telling them one thing you like about what they do or the way they run their business can go a long way. Spread that cheer, far and wide!

There are so many ways to support artists, makers, and small businesses without breaking the bank. It’s time to get over the guilt of not being able to support everyone and take charge by supporting them in the ways you can! Can you think of other ways to support small businesses without spending a penny? Share your ideas below in the comments or send me a message!

If you learned something or liked this post, share it with a friend or repost it to your feeds. Follow me on Instagram @christineolmstead Pinterest @christineolmstead Facebook @ceolmstead

Meet My Intern!

Meet My Intern!

Tovala Olmstead is a 16 year old high school student and has been working for Christine since last summer. Tovala is Christine’s sister-in-law. Tovala is somewhere in between and intern and part time employee. She doesn’t have an end date in mind like a semester long intern, but she only works part time.

We are so excited to have Tovala working around the studio with me and her skills are invaluable. Tovala does a range of computer work for Christine. Mostly pertaining to Pinterest and managing products in the print shop.

Tovala wears many hats both literally and figuratively. Working several part time jobs, running her own photography business and keeping up with school full time. In addition to working with me part time, on weekends she is a sous-chef at a wedding venue. She even has a collection of cookbooks.

In addition to being multi-talented Tovala has a great sense of personal style. She’s probably going to way over-pack for her next trip. Her dream is to be a traveling photographer and create her own unique style! She loves capturing people’s personalities and and unique styles. She’s constantly dreaming up photoshoots in different countries. She has a photoshoot planned for all the places that she wants to travel to. She spends a lot of her free time scrolling through Pinterest and saving pins that consist of travel, photography, art, style, and food. She loves scouting out the best coffee shops! If you’re road tripping with her, just know you’ll have an ample supply of coffee and expect her to DJ the ENTIRE way.

We are incredibly thankful to get to work with Tovala and are always looking for future interns to apply email!

Faith over Fear

Faith over Fear

This past week has been a logistic nightmare and frankly it’s hard to think of a time when I have been more stressed over the business side of art.  I have been running around like a madwoman trying to get a high resolution scan of a painting that has been licensed to a big client at a huge size, 10x12ft. The reason this has been so stressful is because it has been difficult to find someone who can deliver this size scan. Adding to this stress, the client who purchased the original painting needs it by next week and I have to ship across the country this week.

I hate this feeling. The pit in my stomach of potentially disappointing clients that I highly value. I like to joke that there are no “art emergencies” because usually buying art is a slow process and no one needs a painting immediately. This is not the case in this one circumstance. This is a quickly swirling vortex of buyers, third parties, and me in the middle waiting for and relying on others to get back to me and deliver on promises they made me too.

I don’t know what is going to happen yet. But I’m doing the best I can to get everyone what they were promised. By the end of the week I’m hoping to have a high enough resolution file for my licensee client. Whether or not I have the high resolution file or not I will definitely have shipped the original across the country. Only time will tell if all the logistics will fall into place.

But here is what I know; I’m doing the best I can with the time constraints, the third parties involved, and the factors outside of my control. I know the world will keep spinning and I know I’m way off course of why I do this.

I’m not here, doing this thing I love to cause stress in my life or others. In fact, the opposite is true, my goal with all of my works is to bring peace, beauty and light, in all interactions, and I will strive to do that in all interactions and as far as I am in control of circumstances.

I have faith that God will work all the spinning wheels and parts out for the best and in a way that will bless others and I hope that blesses and brings me peace too. But for now, I am opening my hand and letting go of what I can’t control.



Stretching Your Own Canvas

Stretching Your Own Canvas

Every time I stretch canvas and show sneak peeks of the process on Instagram I get a ton of questions. Most of the questions pertain to what I’m doing, or why I do things a certain way. Most of the questions revolve around very Googleable (it’s a word, don’t even pretend it’s not) questions. Questions that either Google can answer for you, or that I have already answered in this Resources post.

Occasionally though I will get questions that I really like. For example….

WHY, would you stretch your own canvas when you can buy stretched canvases at an art supply store?

The main reason is size. When I get into a really big size canvases most art supply stores do not sell the exact dimensions I need, or I’d have to order it online and pay an exorbitant amount in shipping for a pre-stretched piece. The main reason I like to stretch pieces is because of the manhandling. Stretching a big painting usually takes a few hours from the assembling the frame, to measuring and cutting the canvas, to actually stapling and drilling the thing together. The canvas and I have already gone through battle together before I’ve even started painting, and I won. It helps me relax when I’m painting knowing that I’ve already conquered the canvas on some level. And even though after stretching I’m usually left with aching hands, a sore neck and back and blisters on my fingers, it’s worth it knowing that I showed that canvas boss, and I’m going to do it again when I paint it.

Don’t you have to be strong to stretch canvas?
I like to think so. I used to not be able to stretch my own canvas and always enlisted the help of my husband because I was afraid I would get too many wrinkles, or that I wouldn’t pull tight enough. All that is lies, I can stretch a piece on my own without assistance because yes I am strong enough and you probably are too. It’s more about technique than strength.

What are the benefits of stretching vs. buying pre-stretched?
There are several benefits. I can order stretcher bars for ANY SIZE CANVAS and stretch it. The customization is unmatched. You can really do whatever size you want. You cannot order whatever size you want pre-stretched. Not every shape and size exists unless you stretch it yourself. Stretching your own canvas also means that you can pick the materials, primed or raw canvas, regular wooden bars or steel bars etc… The options and accessories are endless and you can’t get that with store bought. Another benefit of stretching your own canvas is you can prep the bars properly.

Do I still buy pre-stretched canvas? Absolutely if there is a sale going on or if the piece I’m making is a standard size that is small. I usually buy small canvases pre-stretched. But for the bigger stuff I like to do it myself. Where do I get my materials?




What Goes into a New Collection?

What Goes into a New Collection?

SO MUCH. That is the short, nondescript answer. A new collection is mostly a lot of decision making . Here is what it takes to put together a new collection.

My collections tend to be very separate from each other. You can tell the artwork is by me, but the colors and/or the moods are very, very different. Before I begin a new work, I must have an idea. For me, a collection is usually inspired by one of several things, namely: music (a particular song will stick to me and I have to keep painting till I get it out), personal life events (i.e. The death of a loved one, a chronic stressed relationship, or something that continually frustrates me), a memory (or a series of memories tied together and the feelings they evoke), a philosophy or idea I’m trying to perpetuate.

One of those topics will bubble up and I need to deal with it. Whatever the inspiration, I always ask myself three questions. “Where is the beauty here?” “How can I find peace in this?” “How can I bless others with this?”

Once I’ve answered those questions I pick how many pieces should be in the series. Sometimes a series is as few as 5 pieces, sometimes it is as many as 30. It really all depends on how much I need to express, how I think they will be received, and if they will be in a show or not.

Now that I have selected the theme, I choose how many pieces I will paint. I usually have to order materials. With the exception of smaller works, I stretch many of my own paintings. Depending on how many works are in a collection, cost for materials range anywhere from $150 – sometimes $3,500. It really just depends on what is needed and how much gold I have to order.

When everything is ordered, all the canvases are stretched, I play with my palette. I always know what colors will be involved in the pieces and map out in my mind which pieces will get different treatments, different amounts of each color. The main thing to keep in mind when working with color is asking yourself, “Does this add to or detract from the underlying mood and message?” I mix almost all of my colors from primary colors with the exception of metallic paints.

Painting a whole collection again greatly varies depending on the size of the pieces and the number of works in the collection. A series can take anywhere from 2-3 months to several years.

When the pieces are finished they must be titled, priced out, photographed, photographed in rooms, uploaded to the store, have a description written for each piece and have a general description written for the series as a whole. I pick titles that coincide with the original theme, things I associate with that theme.

Creating a new collection has never taken me any less than 3 months. The average amount of time and money it takes for a new collection is 6 months and about $1500.

That’s what it takes to put together a new collection. If you have any specific questions feel free to comment below or send me an email, and as always if you learned something or liked this post please share it with your friends.

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