Saskatoon berries – watercolor by Angela Fehr – sold
notecards available in my Etsy shop

I try not to talk about the economy – the media is doing enough of that for all of us. As someone who creates art, often considered a non-essential luxury, the slump in the economy affects me as a businessperson. It’s got me thinking about bread & butter.

Quality original art is not bread & butter – it’s more like caviar. And you gotta expect that caviar sales are going to decline during tough economic times. So…what’s my bread and butter?

Well, I’ve got the CafePress shop – images of my artwork on lower-ticket items, like tote bags, or ceramic tiles. I’ve been very happy with the quality of the product, and I can set my own markup. So I should focus on keeping that merchandise current, adding new product, and promoting the store.

Sometimes bread & butter means selling what will sell, even if it’s not my first love. Lately, I’ve been taking on some new graphic design and web design jobs. I’m an adequate web designer, and there’s a demand for adequate web design that is priced accordingly. These kind of jobs keep me in art supplies – the trick is not taking on so many that I don’t have time to paint!

As a part-time artist, I don’t rely on my art for my income, so I can take an economic slump in stride and use it as a growing time. Letting go of pressure to sell means I can explore techniques and styles I might not try otherwise.

The best thing about an economic slump? The sales might be fewer but the joy when a sale is made is increased proportionally!