I am so excited that artist Kirsten Sneath is back with us. I have watched Kirsten’s art business excel over the past couple of years and she accomplished this while being a wife, mother and moving to a new location. In this interview, Kirsten shares with us her accomplishments over the past two years and talks about her new book that is available on Amazon.
Be sure to visit all of the places Kirsten showcases her art and her new book. The links are located on the bottom of the interview.
Featured Artist Kirsten Sneath
Dave – Hello Kirsten, thank you for joining me today I am so excited to have you back on Nevue Fine Art Marketing.
I first interviewed you on June 7, 2017, Featured Artist Of The Month.
Over the past 2 years, I have seen your art business grow in so many ways.
Over the past two years you built an artist website on Wix, tell us more about your site and how it helped your business grow.
Kirsten – My website is a very recent development in my art business. I thought it was about time I had one!
It is a great way to have all my information and links to my 5 Print on Demand sites. I need to update my business cards again now!
I had noticed Wix being used as a tool to create websites so I thought I would try it out. I found it very easy to use and navigate.
I do have a lot to learn though and must remember to keep it updated! Eventually, I may be able to use it to sell my actual paintings online but I’m not quite at that stage yet.
Dave – Congratulations on your new site. One of the many benefits of owning a website is the ability to change it as your business grows.
I believe I also saw on Twitter that you presented your art at a craft show.
How did that work for you and how was the experience?
Kirsten – I think I have taken part in a couple of art shows since June 2017.
My most rewarding showing was at a local car dealership……bizarre I know! The marketing manager had created a space in the massive building to be given over to local artists for displaying their work for a month at a time. Brilliant idea I thought! Plus, it coincided with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I donated a percentage of the sales to the cause.
I had an artist’s reception and made a few sales plus I received commissions for pet portraits following the show. It was a good one!
After that, I became a little disheartened at local art and craft shows, as they seemed to be very cliquey, and they were not nicest of experiences.
New artists didn’t seem to be shown as well as the existing members of the art communities. I was really looking forward to perhaps taking part in the big art festival in my previous city, but unfortunately, I only made the waitlist.
We went to the art festival to look around, we were really disappointed by the choices made by the judges, as there were so few local artists featured and those that were had been featured many times before.
I was pretty bemused and upset by this. It makes you question yourself and your abilities.
It is hard to put yourself out there as an artist sometimes, especially if confidence is not your strong point!
My last show was at the local library, where I had a huge amount of space all to myself.
Unfortunately, no sales were made but I think my work was appreciated and admired. I was featured in the local paper too!
Dave – Congratulations on being featured in the local paper. That is great exposure.
I was so excited to see that you created a Children’s Book Cutie’s Big Adventure. Tell us all about that journey and your new book.
Kirsten – My book Cutie’s Big Adventures is a children’s book about our sweet little guinea pig, Cutie.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our little guinea a couple of years ago. After she died, I painted a little watercolor of her riding on a toy train.
I shared this painting on social media and the response was so lovely.
Friends thought it was a perfect tribute and gave me ideas of what else she could be doing. Thus, began my little Cutie painting series!
I had so many paintings that a few people suggested they would make a cute book.
I set about writing some text to go with the pictures. My kids and I have always loved reading rhyming books so it seemed natural that I would write one. I created the book on Blurb and eventually after many rewrites I self-published!
There has been mention of a second book and I would love to give it a go!
I love drawing and painting her and she pops up every now and then doing all sorts of fun things!
Dave – I am sorry to hear about Cutie. Where can people purchase Cutie’s Big Adventures?
Kirsten – My book is available through Blurb (www.blurb.com/b/8696440-cutie-s-big-adventures )as a soft and hardcover and as an E-book through Blurb (www.blurb.com/b/8658887-cutie-s-big-adventures?ebook=661175 ). My book is also listed on Amazon.
Dave – You have many projects on the table, you are an artist, photographer, Child’s Book illustrator and author and a mother and wife.
How do you manage to keep everything together?
Kirsten – I do seem to remember getting some tips from your e-book Dave!
You were very helpful! My family comes first, of course, my kids are still young enough that they need me occasionally.
I get them off to school in the morning and then check and update my online sites. I will then do a little time on social media.
My dog requires walking at some point so I’ll take him, get my chores done then set about painting.
I am never swamped with commissions and at the moment I like it that way. My commissions usually come from friends, friends of friends or repeat business.
If I don’t have any commissions, I still love to paint animals, with the odd flower, the landscape of seascape thrown in.
I don’t consider what I do “work”, I still very much feel like a hobbyist, painting for my own well being with the odd commission thrown in.
It’s funny, usually like buses they all come along at once! I think having just moved house I feel like I’m starting over, so everything feels more manageable….at the moment! I think the fact I am living in such a beautiful and inspiring place is making life so much easier!
Dave – Thank you for your kind words.
You are very inspiring for people who want to start selling their art and feel like they do not have enough time to do it. I would like to talk about your paintings and photography now.
What makes your artwork unique and separates you from other artists?
Kirsten – Thank you, Dave. I’m not sure how unique my artwork is!
I know there are so many other animal portrait artists out there who are so talented and inspiring.
I have been told that I have a way of making my animal’s eyes show their personality and I really have appreciated those kinds of comments!
I guess my ink and watercolor works are fairly unique, especially when they feature my little Cutie.
I love adding all the tiny details. I think they are definitely recognizable as mine! They are so fun and quick to do.
I’ve just started cartooning my dog, Tinker too. Maybe he’ll get his own book too!
Dave – We would all love to see Tinker.
What message would you like your viewers to receive when they look at your artwork?
Kirsten – Well I know I probably said this before but a feeling of happiness and delight would be nice. It is how I feel while painting.
I love animals and nature, so most of my work centers around this theme.
When it is a pet portrait commission a few happy tears are always a good sign!
Dave – What supplies do you use for your artwork?
Kirsten – I use artist level and basic acrylic paints and watercolors.
I am a regular visitor to the local art shop, especially if there is a sale on! I do love a bargain!
I use gallery wrap canvases for my pet portraits as they can be stood on a shelf as well as hung on a wall.
For my other paintings, it varies depending on which canvases were on sale at the time.
I go through quite a few paintbrushes, especially the fine point ones, so I’m always on the lookout for decent brushes for painting animal fur and other fine details.
Dave – What other mediums do you like to work with?
Kirsten – My cartoons and detailed drawings are drawn out first in pencil, then I go over the image in a fine black pen.
I then use watercolor to color the pictures.
I’m still learning the watercolor medium and hope to improve my technique and try out some plein-air studies.
I do also like to use color pencils for sketching and coloring.
Dave – When did you start selling your artwork and how did you get started?
Kirsten – I think I undertook my first commission about 5 years ago and that was a pet portrait for my neighbor at the time, she then asked me to do another for her sister.
I had just been playing about with ideas and experimenting with different subjects and styles.
I am a sucker for a cute dog face and did many practice paintings for free. Eventually, I had to start charging!
I had a few more commissions after that in dribs and drabs.
My first painting was sold at the local library. It was a large canvas featuring a cherry blossom tree. I was the featured artist for a month and this was my first showing.
The commissions continued here and there and I entered a few local art shows over the next couple of years.
I sold just one painting at these shows, my Sleeping Tiger Cub.
The curator of the show actually bought it, for a little girl who had fallen in love with him.
Dave – What platforms do you use to showcase and sell your artwork?
Kirsten – At the moment I’m not really set up for selling my actual artwork.
Most of my paintings are still in boxes as we moved house in October last year.
I have nowhere to hang them!
I have a lot of my available paintings on my website; however, I do not have a way to sell them online.
I can always be contacted through my site or via my Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.
I am always on the lookout for art shows or events to take part in, but it’s going to take time to get established in my new city.
Sometimes the cost to join is just too much and I have to look elsewhere.
I’m not the most outgoing of people especially when self-promotion is required!
My husband and kids are my biggest supporters and are always bigging me up! My best promoters!
Dave – How do you promote your art online and what changes have you made over the past couple of years?
Kirsten – I am very active on social media.
I share works in progress, completed works, and my photography, as well as funny pictures of my dog and cat.
I also promote my online stores especially when there are sales or special promotions.
I try not to post too much as I don’t want to annoy anyone!
I also share and comment on other artists’ work. I find it very inspiring to see!
My biggest change was creating a website.
I also joined Society 6, Instagram and Pinterest.
I started on Instagram and found that all my friends from Twitter were already there!
I wasn’t sure how I would manage a 3rd social media site but as it links to my Facebook page it takes about the same amount of time!
I signed up to Society 6 last year.
I only have my best-selling pieces on there and many of the products are not available to me because my uploaded pictures are too small.
I hope to get a new camera at some point and hopefully, my image sizes will be bigger.
I have only made a handful of sales so far but some are better than none! Still makes my day to see a sale!
I always thank the buyer for each item sold.
It’s such a huge boost to know someone likes your work.
Dave – What was the biggest lesson you learned about starting your art business?
Kirsten – I have only just started to think about my art as being a business.
I found out that on Bainbridge Island, and in Washington State in general, I am required to have a business license if I want to sell my art and take commissions.
I am now officially a business!
Once I get more settled, I hope to get my artwork out there for more people to see and hopefully earn a few more commissions!
I do love having a pet to paint! With regard to my POD sites, I have been cutting down on the number of products available, reorganizing and tidying up my shops.
This has made them much easier to manage and keep track of.
I have taken note of which products sell best and removed any that have had little or no interest. Otters and Guinea Pigs still rule!
Dave – What tips could you give to new artists who are interested in selling their artwork?
Kirsten – Be more confident than me would be a start!
Believe in yourself and don’t let setbacks get you down. Just keep doing what you love and the rest will fall in to place.
Ask advice from fellow artists in person and via social media. I am always happy to help if I can! I have learned so much from the amazing group of artists I consider friends on social media.
They are a great source of help, friendship, laughs, support, and encouragement.
My little Cutie book would not exist if it wasn’t for them.
Dave – Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite creations and share the story behind them?
Kirsten – Absolutely! I’d love to!
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This is one of my favorites, I have a few, but this one was painted for my best friend’s birthday. She had sent me a gorgeous photo she had taken of this cheeky squirrel nibbling one of her strawberries. I could not resist painting it!
This is Shadow, a gorgeous older black lab. I painted him a couple of years ago. He was painted for a lady who worked with someone I knew. She had recently lost him and missed him dearly. The photos she provided were amazing, however, the background colors were very, very bright……one red, one yellow, I think. I came up with this background by accident really but loved how it turned out! This one was a bit bigger than my normal size too. I think he is one of my best dog portraits. She loved her painting so much!
This is one of my Cutie paintings from my book. I love this one because she is painting and I love to paint! It makes me want to go and paint outside too. I love to draw Cutie and now I think I could with my eyes closed! Maybe I should try it!
Dave – What social media sites can people follow you on?
Kirsten – I can be found on:
Dave – Where can people purchase your art?
Kirsten – If anyone is interested in any of my available pieces they can contact me via my website https://kirstensneath.wixsite.com/artbykirstensneath or via private message on my Facebook Page. Also, my work is available for sale on many, many products on Zazzle, Redbubble, Cafepress, Society 6 and Fine Art America/Pixels.com. All the links to these sites are also on my website.
Zazzle – https://www.zazzle.com/store/kirstensneathart
Cafepress – https://www.cafepress.com/profile/131533928
RedBubble – https://www.redbubble.com/people/kirstensneath1
Society 6 – https://society6.com/kirstensneathart
FAA/Pixels – https://pixels.com/profiles/kirsten-sneath
Dave – I would like to thank you one more time for sharing your artistic journey with us and I look forward to seeing all of your new creations.
Kirsten – Thank you so much, Dave. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to interview me and so many other great artists.
I am also very grateful to you for all your amazing support and encouragement over the last few years.
I am a great admirer of your artwork both pencil portraits and woodburning. You are so very talented! Someone should interview you! Thank you again.
Dave – Thank you so much for all your kind words and support also.
I am grateful and blessed to be able to meet such wonderful artists and give them an opportunity to share there story.
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