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Planning Your Day: Tips and Tricks for Exploring Outdoors

Murray Phillips in the Opus Video,
A Conversation with My Canvas

You’ve put together the perfect painting kit or packed a pencil case with just the right materials – you’re ready to take your art outside! Not so fast. Taking a little time to set yourself up with some essentials can go a long way to a successful and fun day creating outdoors....Read more

The Ceremony of Parting

"And how do people perform that ceremony of parting, Jane?", Mr. Rochester asks Jayne in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. Saying a permanent goodbye, like other major life changes, is a dynamic renewal to some and anathema to others.

Creative people are good at adapting to change and optimists are good with transitions. So, as a creative optimist, I am embracing the change that this last column in the Opus Visual Arts Newsletter brings....Read more

Vancouver Artist's Copyright Stolen - Again

My friend Lilian Broca is an artist living here, where I do, in Vancouver. She is being horribly “ripped off” right now and you will be amazed at who is doing the stealing — a very high-end fashion house....Read more

New Year's Potpourri

There’s an interesting new tool for artists on Wikipedia called DIY Budget Gallery. Select “Index” in the Navigation menu to get an overview of the site’s resources. This site has been developed in an American context but there is plenty of practical information that may be useful to anyone planning a visual art event. wiki.budgetgallery.org

As a technical writer, this happened to me many times: An employer would welcome me, describe the challenge, contract me, and then walk me down the hall to meet “the people I’d be working with.” They would look stunned and then, after the boss left, the “people I’d be working with” would say, “What was he thinking? We’re not ready for you!”...Read more

Using Your Portrait Online

Has someone once approached you who knows you and is very happy to see you and you recognize their face but you can’t remember their name? Or have you been in a conversation wherein you want to reference someone but their name escapes although you can easily recall their face? This aspect of our behavior has some interesting business implications.

We humans are programmed to remember the human face more readily than symbols; this ability is embedded deeply in our DNA so it is not surprising to learn about the results of some marketing research conducted by Medallia, a media research firm....Read more

4 Reasons to Go to The Eastside Culture Crawl

The Crawl is coming, and there are so many reasons to go!

1. Support your fellow visual art creators. There are many ways to support The Crawl and its participating artists.
a. Go to buy your holiday presents. The Crawl is a primary source of career revenue for many creators. Plus, your attendance registers as a positive vote for self-directed marketing initiatives by artists.
b. Send an email about The Crawl to your friends who value hand-made originality. Nothing beats a testimonial by someone known as motivational advertising.
c. Take your friends. Getting a group together to go to The Crawl is a novel way to spend time with friends....Read more

Getting it Right; Getting Rights

Publicity 1

Recently, I was asked to consult with a local visual artist who presented similarly to many other artists with whom I consult: They feign an interest in improving their business practices but reject all advice. What this person really wanted from me was approval of his existing practices. His problem: he was not selling enough art even though he was getting a lot of publicity.

This young man enjoyed seeking and getting publicity and he was really good at it. But my sense was that he does not like selling. He wants gallery representation but does little to secure it. He is always seeking publicity believing it will lead to sales but when I spoke with him, he had no show or sale plans in place....Read more


A long time ago, while I was working at a local theatre company, the artistic director told us he had finally cast a role that was difficult to fill. He had found a singer who was performing in a bar downtown, and that night I went to hear her sing. Seeing Sybil sing in that bar that night was heartbreaking.

Sybil is an extraordinarily gifted singer and that night I watched her without blinking. She was arrestingly charismatic and she had a rich, dramatic voice with an amazing range. I knew that with us, in our show, she was going to bring the house down every night for thousands of people who would be paying hefty admission prices, but that night no one was watching her and no one was listening. She was background music for people who wanted to drink, laugh, and socialize....Read more

How to Lose Business

I am changing names to protect the innocent – this particular innocent is a very talented, polite and charming person. He wrote to me this week asking me to promote a web hosting service for artists. His proposal impressed me. I liked how his service proposed to present artwork; in his proposal art is presented on a wall like in a gallery and you can zoom in to see every detail. I was moved to write this post for my blog:

Teaching professional development to artists isn’t easy. Artists exist to be creative and innovative, so rules are a foreign concept. Consequently, I provide guidelines and examples of best practices as my methodology....Read more

Artists Must Multi-Task

What do you think it takes to become a successful artist? Most people think it requires a vivid imagination plus excellence with composition and colour theory as well as the appropriate technical skills, but a truly successful visual arts career also involves having:...Read more

  • Enough financial security to pay your bills
  • A specialized space to work (temporarily or permanently)
  • Great photography skills and access to specialized equipment to support your sales and communications
  • Excellent writing skills for:
    • Artist statements
    • Applications and reporting to gatekeepers (curators, grant and residency officers, gallery owners, etc.)
    • Marketing communications