Preparing for my first Open Studio!

My favorite place to be is wherever my paint and paper are, 
whether in my backyard, up in the hills, or here in my studio.
But last year I decided to participate in Silicon Valley Open Studios

At the SVOS workshops I learned what to do to prepare.
It was a bit overwhelming, but I used to be a teacher, so I know how to break up a task into do-able chunks. 
I wrote each task on a sticky note, made a page for each month, and put each item on a month. As I finished each one, removed the note. Any tasks unfinished by the end of the month went on to the next month. 

1. Photograph and catalog all of my work. Once it's sold, it's gone.
Man, I had piles of paintings. I took them all outside in the bright sun, and photographed them with my camera (my real camera, not my phone).
Something interesting happened when I started cropping and labeling them. Paintings that I had thought were garbage when I finished them now looked...not so bad. 
Time really does give us perspective; helps us detach from the expectations that were in our minds when we started them!

2. Cut custom mats for paintings I wanted to frame. A friend was kind enough to lend me her mat cutter, and I had experience from waaaay back when I worked one summer cutting mats for an artist in my hometown.

These little ones look pretty good!

3. Pricing. I made a list of the most common sizes of paintings I want to sell. Then decided on a price per square inch that I feel my paintings are worth, considering: a) what other artists in my area are charging, and b) how much my paintings are worth at this stage of my career, and c) the level of difficulty of each painting.
I ended up with 2 categories for each size: Detailed Paintings and Sketches. 
These are priced differently, but prices are consistent for each size.

4. Business cards. has regular sized business cards, and cute little half-size cards. You can choose up to 50 different pictures to use on the back! 

I also ordered little stickers with my name and info to put on the back of each painting.

5. I took the plunge and ordered precut mats and plastic sleeves in the sizes I needed. 

Everything looks nicer when it's matted! 
And although I hate to use plastic, it keeps my paintings clean when people are thumbing through them.

6. Ordered my Square credit card reader. I still have to set it up, but I have the app.

7. I picked up my signs, laminated them at the teacher store, and made arrows. I'll buy h-brackets to set them up at street corners on the day.

8. Directories: I stapled my business card to each one, and delivered them to nearby libraries and shared with friends.

9. And now I've updated my blog with a post about Open Studios!

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are you're interested in SVOS, visit the website. There are so many talented artists around here!