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

Terminology: Originals, Prints, Works on Paper

Terminology: Originals, Prints, Works on Paper

What does it all mean?!?

I often get emails or comments from collectors, potential collectors, or collaborators who ask for one thing and confuse me when they describe it and mean another.

I’ll give you an example. I recently got an email from someone asking for a print, but she didn’t want it to look exactly like the other piece she liked. She wanted me to change the colors and move some lines around and send her the print.

There is a lot about this that confused me. First of all, I do not do custom prints, I get a lot of requests for custom prints, but it’s just not something I offer right now. Secondly, she was asking for a custom painting (for me to “change the colors” that’s a different painting) and when she was saying “Print” she meant “work on paper” because the piece she liked that she wanted changed was a work on paper.

I get a lot of requests for “custom prints” when people really mean is they want a custom original painting. So by way of education here are some terms so we can all communicate better and we can all get what we want with fewer headaches! Ready? Let’s begin!

  1. Original
    An original is a one of a kind piece. Every painting has an original. It’s the first one the artist made. Originals can be scanned and made into prints via a printer but originals are one of a kind made only by the artists hand and only one exists. Here’s an example, Monet’s painting Meule last sold at auction for $81,447,500. No that’s not a typo, the painting is worth over 81 million dollars. That is the purchase of the original work of art. It’s an original because it’s the original oil he painted with, his hands were the only ones who made the strokes, there is only one of that painting in existence. When I refer to my own originals I usually mean “works on canvas,” which I will explain soon.
    Monet’s painting Meule
  2.  Prints
    A print is a reproduction of a painting. Today you can take a high resolution photo or a high resolution scan and reproduce any work of art at a much lower cost and time. You can make as many prints as you want if you own the copyright or have a license to print from the artist. That last part is essential, as it is illegal to take a photo from a artist and make prints of their work. It’s called stealing. So! you could get a print of Monet’s exact same painting Meule, for a $20 online. Originals are much more valuable and increase in value over time. Prints can be prints on canvas, on metal, on wood, on paper on home goods or other products, prints can be literally “printed” on almost anything. And here is where people get confused!
  3. Works on Paper
    This is probably where people run into the most confusion. Works on paper is another way of saying an original. Just because the surface isn’t canvas, doesn’t mean it’s not an original. Almost every time I show a picture of a “work on paper” I almost always get a comment from someone, “Oh I love that print!” When it’s actually an original. I think the confusion is that when people think of art prints, they usually think of something printed on paper. I think most people know that it’s an original on paper (at least I hope so). Artists will often specify what an original is made on so that people know what surface was used. Works on paper are most often confused with prints, although prints can be printed on canvas, wood, or literally anything else.
  4. Works on Canvas
    Works on canvas are original works of art on a cloth canvas, usually these works are stretched around a wooden or metal frame and painted upon. These are what most people think of when they think of a painting.
  5. Works on Panel
    A work on Panel is a work of art on wood panel. Paint responds to surfaces differently and different artists sometimes prefer the look and feel of wood over canvas, it’s really all matter of preference.

There are a million things you can paint on so I’m not going to over everything! But when you hear these terms, or if you need to use these terms when commissioning art now you know what to ask for!

If you learned something in this post please share it with your friends or on social media. Follow me on Instagram @christineolmstead Pinterest @christineolmstead Facebook @ceolmstead



HOW DO I BUY AN ORIGINAL? Go to my online shop HERE, pick your new original, and check out. I release new pieces a several times a year. I usually announce new collections on my email list first, then on social media and then to the general public. To be first to see new works by getting on the email list sign up HERE.

DO YOU SHIP INTERNATIONALLY? I do. The checkout should work the same as any other order. If you are interested in a large original or commission I often suggest using Genie canvas or shipping in a rolled tube and you stretch it once it arrives.

DO YOU DO CUSTOM COMMISSIONS? I do! Custom commissions are very fun projects and it is always my pleasure and joy to work with interior designers, architects, or private collectors to craft an original custom piece for their space. Custom commissions must be a minimum of 18”x18.” There is always a waitlist for custom commissions, depending on the season or what is already in my pipeline custom commissions take anywhere from 1-5 months. Custom commissions are a first come first serve basis. If you need a piece in a rush, a rush fee will be charged. To inquire about a custom commission click HERE. 

WOULD YOU DO AN EXACT REPLICA OF A PREVIOUS PIECE? No, I will never create an exact replica of one of my previous works. It is boring and completely takes any creativity and joy out of the process. I’m happy to make pieces that are a similar style and flavor to previous works, but it will never be an exact replica.

DO YOU TEACH LESSONS? I no longer offer private lessons, but I do offer workshops from time to time as well as private parties. Private parties are very custom, bespoke events, if you’re interested in a private party please send me an email.

DO YOU DO CUSTOM SIZE PRINTS? I do not. I do not have the capacity to do a custom print for all the people who ask, but I do offer custom commissioned originals.

WOULD YOU DONATE TO MY SHOOL OR CHAITY?  I donate a specific number of pieces and dollars a year to charity. I only support human rights organizations and specific organizations that go to food, education, clothing, and resources for underprivileged and truly suffering people around the world. To see if your charity qualifies feel free to email me.

RETURNS: Every order, commission, and sale is handled with care and as much clarity and transparency as possible. I do not handle the manufacturing and sale of my printed goods due to time constraints, all of those items may be returned directly to the manufacturer, Society6. Originals and custom commissions are final sale unless there has been damage during shipping in which case you can either have a full refund, or I can recreate a similar work or repair the piece if there is only minor damage. All custom commissions go through rigorous consultations and photographs sent to the client before shipping to ensure any changes that need to be made cane be made before shipment.   My goal is for you to be completely thrilled with your purchase!  Please take the time to read descriptions carefully and the check colors on multiple screens if you are concerned about color variations.  I try my best to represent the colors and tones in my work honestly and clearly.

INTERIOR DESIGNERS: Interior designers are some of my best friends! They always do the best job at ensuring my pieces are cherished and styled to reach their maximum potential. If you’d like to get connected and on my list of preferred interior designers to collaborate please email me at I do not allow my works to be marked up for resale.

PRESS:  I love working with bloggers, podcasters, editors, stylists, and writers. I’m inspired by so many of you and your work that collaborating is always something I’m down for.  If you have any questions, please email me.

Do you have a question that is not addressed here? feel free to post it below or send me an email to








Deconstruction Series

Deconstruction Series

These pieces are some of my favorite deconstructed works yet. There are 11 works in total, six of them are framed, five of them are unframed so you can choose your own frame. The pieces themselves are 9”x11” and the framed works are 11”x14”. Several of them have already sold, but I wanted to briefly explain the methodology and inspiration behind these works.

I like to think of these pieces as deconstructed paintings. They allow the elements to shine unto themselves. The purpose of these pieces is to pay tribute and attention to the specific mediums involved. The gold pigment in the pink and gold layers sparkle in the sunshine and are thinned acrylics with gold pigmented mixed in. These layers sparkle from every angle, I love the sheer sparkle of these layers.

See all 11 here. 

The thick layers of white paint are rich and glossy. I love thick goopy paint and these layers do not disappoint. Like sour cream you could lick it right off painting. I go through more white than any other paint, I have to buy almost 4 times as much white than any other color. These thick deep rich strokes are a tribute to the paint I use the most. The goal was to let it shine unto itself, without being diluted with other colors, I wanted to appreciate the stroke for the white stroke itself and all it brings to my art.


The thin graphite lines add a delicate touch, and sense of frailty. I love the jagged pencil strokes because they are imperfect to me they symbolize the frailty of life, the jagged beauty of every day that twists and turns and sometimes goes off the page. It jumps around but the rough beauty holds the rest of the pieces together.


The bits of gold leaf add some sparkle and shine to each piece. The pieces of gold hold the works together and provide focal points. These bits of gold shine unto themselves, as a core feature in all my works. The gold is the good stuff, the parts of life you can’t ignore, the bits that make the other parts worthwhile. These pieces of gold stand alone among the other elements swirling around them, untarnished, unmoved, unapologetic


These pieces are mixed media on paper. The framed works come in framed a glass floater frame and is ready to be hung or stood up with accompanying kickstand. If you would like one of the unframed works to be framed just send me an email and I can easily frame it for you upon request. Thanks for your interest in these works.

Shop all deconstructions here!

Pieces of Cheer Prints

Pieces of Cheer Prints

They’re all here! All the pieces of cheer have been made into prints of every kind. Regular prints, framed prints, canvas prints, tapestries, and more!

I have received so many requests for these prints and am so excited to give them to you now. These pieces as originals sold out in just a couple of hours. Turning items like these into prints means I can spread the love and everyone can get a piece even if the original is sold. I love getting DMs and emails from people who ordered my prints and them showing it to me in their homes and spaces. I get messages from mothers who buy prints for the nursery of their new baby. I get emails from college students who have decorated their dorm room with a tapestry or duvet cover of mine. I love seeing where they end up, because to me, art is personal. And getting to see where they end up in your lives and to see how much joy they give you, is the biggest blessing I could ever ask for. Here are my 5 new prints available below.

  1. Piece of Cheer 1
  2. Piece of Cheer 2
  3. Piece of Cheer 3
  4. Piece of Cheer 4
  5. Piece of Cheer 5

    Tag your CEO prints with #christineolmstead
Oil Mediums

Oil Mediums


Last week on my Instagram story I took a poll to which more than 70% of you didn’t know that adding water to thin down oils was an art “no no.” It’s not because the all-powerful art gods said so, it’s mostly just really frowned upon. Here’s why adding water to oil paints isn’t the best choice for your art.

Adding water to oil paints has a lot of negative impacts to expensive oil paints. This makes sense when we remember that oil and water are, by nature, repellants. They do not mix well. Have you ever made a salad dressing and noticed how the oil, vinegar, and water all separate at different levels? They all have different weights and chemical components. When we add water to oil paints a few things happen.

  1. The oil paints will become foggy and lose their luster in color. Oil paints are known for being exceedingly rich in pigments and when water is applied it destroys that bright rich color by making it foggy which destroys its intended luster.
  2. Water on oils gets clumpy and difficult to work with. If you’ve ever tried to wash an oil brush with water (as I once did at 10 years old) you’ll realize that it is impossible to clean the paint clumps up and the mess just spreads.
  3. It will not bond as well to your surface. When water is added to oils, being that they are natural repellants, over time this combination will break down faster and cause your work of art to dissolve over time much more quickly than with a medium applied.


What mediums should you use to thin or thicken oil paint? I’m glad you asked, here are some options for you! I will break this down into oil thinners and oil thickeners.


  1.  Neo Megilp
    This medium increases transparency & flow and makes if feel silky when you brush it across a canvas and it gives colors a satin gloss. It takes about 3-4 days for this medium to dry.


  1. Solvent-Free Gel
    This medium makes the paint move through your brush and on to the canvas with an ease of flow. It also makes the colors more transparent while still maintaining the shape of the brushstrokes and increasing the gloss. It will take about 3 days for this medium to dry.


  1.  Galkyd
    This oil medium will thin and increase the transparency of the colors. It will also smooth out brush strokes depending on how much you use and what your desired affect is. This medium dries the fastest in about 1-2 days.


  1.  Galkyd Slow Dry
    This does the same thing as the regular galkyd above, however it takes longer to dry. Why would someone want to take longer to dry, some people like long drying times so they can continue to work on at their piece over a longer period of time. It will take about 4 days for this one to dry so you can take your merry time!
  1. Galkyd Lite
    This one is the same as the first galkyd but it will also keep your brush strokes if you don’t use too much. It’s more fluid and has less gloss than regular galkyd. It will dry in 1-2 days


  1. Refined Linseed Oil
    Linseed oil will increase flow across the canvas and majorly slow down dry times. Increases flow and slows dry time. Use it sparingly and use with gamsol. This medium will dry in 4-6 days.


  1. Cold Pressed Linseed Oil
    This medium slows the drying time and increases yellowing. (booo I hate this one because of the yellowing) but that’s a personal choice. Will take about 4-6 days to dry.


  1.  Poppy Oil
    Poppy oil is probably the slowest drying medium. It is great for wet techniques. It should also be used sparingly and with gamsol. Will dry in 4-6 days


  1.  Gamsol
    This is probably the safest medium, it thins oils and used to clean your utensils. It is reusable and non-toxic, this is probably what I used the most when I was doing oils in high school.




  1. Cold Wax Medium

    This medium makes oil paints thicker and more matte. It also works as a varnish if you’d like to make your oil painting more matte. It takes 4-6 days for this medium to fully dry.


  1. Galkyd Gel
    This medium dries quickly and increases transparency. This is a thickening medium and holds brushstrokes and increases It will dry in a day or two.



I’m sure I missed a bunch, but essentially what I am trying to say is, almost anything is better than water to thin your oils. Please do not do it. It hurts my heart to know that people out there are thinning oils with water. Have any questions about mediums? Or do you have a favorite of these mediums? Tell me below!