Ever since I decided to become a roving equine artist a few years ago, I have been blogging about it not only to let people know what I’m up to, but also as a means of keeping me focused on my goal and making me keep to my blog-imposed schedule. It’s amazing, but even early on when I knew nobody was reading my posts I still felt this obligation to an unknown audience to be creative, inventive and informative.The roving artist part was a whole new experience for me, from acquiring all the paraphernalia (exhibit tent, display racks, tables, sample portraits, banners, promotional materials…you name it) to deciding which venues I wanted to appear at (tack sales, horse expos, horse shows). Not to mention cultivating a business persona–me, the hermit who never had much to say in public!
One of my artistic quirks is my tendency to procrastinate if I’m unsure how the finished product should look. Which is most of the time! Since having a finished painting look just like I imagined it would has never actually happened for me, uncertainty ought to be my comfortable companion by now. Instead, I use the blog to show all the stages the painting goes through before it is finally finished. This keeps me moving along, and also lets me appreciate the various twists and turns along the way.
I’ve been painting pretty much forever, but got serious about it around the late 1980’s. At that time I connected with a mentor who helped me let the paintings just happen instead of planning them in the manner of illustration. This didn’t do anything for the procrastination, but it certainly helped me let go of a lot of artistic frustration. Seeing a completed painting produces a measure of joy that quite overcomes the roadblocks along the way. And knowing that I was able to push through those blocks to a satisfying conclusion is a feeling quite unlike any other. So I continue to paint…and invite you to come along for the ride
In 2019 I took a big risk and decided to put the horses in the background and concentrate on the Sky Pads series which I had started in 2016. I signed up for several outdoor art fairs to test the waters and try to find venues that would work for my subject matter. Along came 2020 and of course, “poof”–all the exhibit opportunities were canceled. As we move along in 2022 more venues are opening up, both indoor and outdoor. We shall see what these strange times bring.
All of my current work, along with some highlights from the past, is compiled in one convenient place…www.allifarkas.com. Stop by and take a leisurely tour. You can subscribe to this blog by clicking the box on the right side of the Home Page that says “Sign Me Up!”. If you would rather send me an email than leave a public comment, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for spending some of your time with me!
Alli – found out about your blog through LinkedIn, and enjoyed reading about you & your art.
I’m in a similar position – was laid off from the newspaper industry in January of ’09 (so I’ve been unemployed a year) and no prospects of anything.
My first love was horses, and I (also) have been drawing & painting them since I was very young. I’ve been trying to get myself recognized as an equine artist – but it’s a VERY crowded field out there! I did illustrate one cover of Stablewoman Gazette (stablewomangazette.com) just to get my name out there – wasn’t paid, but at least got some recognition.
I also write a blog through “inspiredbyhorses.ning.com” a site where people find spiritual connectiveness through horses. Good luck with your art & hope you can make $$!
Julie Kline, in Chicagoland
I’m thinking (but I could be totally wrong) that what it’s going to take to be successful as an equine artist is a lot of word of mouth. Get a few clients who love the work and let them convince their friends that they would be happy with a portrait too. I’ve done a ton of marketing–as documented on my blog–but all my sales so far have been to people I already know.
It IS a crowded field out there, so the guerrilla marketing bible says to stand out in a crowd you have to have superb customer service. I’ve told people at my booth at horse shows that if they don’t absolutely resonate to my work then they should look at other artists’ work until they find something that speaks to them. I never do a hard sell because I don’t want to face the consequences later if they’re unhappy. Guerrilla marketing also says “overnight” success in a home-based business means about a year. Much more typical is success in 3 years. So I’m not feeling very unsuccessful at the moment!
I looked at Stablewoman Gazette, it seems to be well organized even though it’s a startup. So good for you, getting the cover and samples of your work in their gallery.
Your art is beautiful, Alli! I read your about and I’m glad you didn’t give up completely drawing horses! ^.^ (Thank goodness my parents haven’t gotten tired of seeing horses everyday in my art! XD) You’re very talented at it. I hope your sales pick up! Have you considered setting up a shop on Etsy.com? There are lots of people selling many different things. Many are handmade. Which includes pet portraits. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would love to have one of your paintings! I myself am hoping to set up a shop with my sister who crochets. I hope to start selling pet portraits. 🙂 So far, I haven’t sold anything (I give too many away! XD I draw things for my friends and family), but I’ve put up posters around town so my fingers are crossed!
I’ve been drawing horses since I think I must’ve been 3. Now I’m 16 and still lovin’ em. 😉 I’ve never rode except once on a neighbor’s gelding when I was 7, and I’ve never really been around them. But I think they must be the most beautiful creatures God created!
Good luck with your art!
Thanks for your lovely comments. I’m glad you enjoy your pet portraits so much. Eventually you will decide that your identity is that of an artist and at that point you may also decide that artists don’t have to work for free. People kind of expect them to, but your work has value and I think you will find that out if you and your sister get that Etsy shop going. You’re young and full of ideas–so take advantage of your enthusiasm and explore your possibilities. I think you’ll do great!
Your welcome and thank you. ^.^ I like to do things for friends but it does get to be a bit much sometimes. Thank you so much for your encouragement! You have truly made my day. 🙂 Thank you!
Your Blog makes me stay ! EM
Glad you enjoyed it! I’m always about to start something new; even if it bears some resemblance to something that came before there’s always a different twist to it.
Lovely to have found such a distinctive blog. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox.
Thanks Thom–I enjoy your blog a lot (you write really well and do an AWFUL lot of research!). Am already promoting it to one of my friends who, if he weren’t an artist, would probably liked to have been a music historian.
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Thanks for the kind words and for spreading the word! Thom.
Wonderful to see that someone is able to coordinate their time to do BOTH art and horses at the same time.
I will most definitely take a look at all your art! Looking forward to reading about your horse adventures, too!