To sell artwork, it must be seen.

Artwork in your attic collects dust.

Artwork displayed turns into dollars.

If you wish to sell your artwork, it’s got to be like the corner gas station or coffee stop. People have to see it. The best way to insure people see your artwork is to display your artwork in high traffic areas. In my hometown, you can ‘loan’ your artwork to businesses on high traffic routes. Here’s how….
Let’s face it. It’s fun to paint our masterpieces and hang them on our own walls for a time.

But we always move on, don’t we?

A new subject catches our eye and suddenly we’re off creating a new masterpiece. But after hanging 30 or 40 of these ‘children’ in our homes, we kind of ‘store’ some of these paintings don’t we? Then magically, it dawns on us to try selling these ‘children’s (paintings). (Naturally the older ones.)
What I like to do is find locations that will allow me to hang my oil paintings. These businesses don’t sell my paintings, they simply are on “loan” for a while. The reason I do this is so I attach a small card on to each painting loaned. The card has the following information:

Name of the painting
Original oil on (size) Canvas
Artist: Darrell Crow
Phone Number to Call
You Can See all of Darrell’s beautiful collection on sale now at
A signed, numbered Certificate of Authenticity is issued with all of Darrell Crow’s original oil paintings.
If allowed, put a small plastic box on the frame that contains several of these cards with a photo of the painting on either the front or back of the card. I prefer the front. This means you must check back with each business location on a periodic basis to see if the supply of cards need replenishing.
To really move the painting add a discount on the card that is time bounded: “Celebrate Thanksgiving. This painting is offered with a 15% discount until Thanksgiving Morning.”

I put this one little card (about the size of a business card) in the lower right hand side of each painting displayed. This drives traffic to me on my telephone and maybe even through the web/email. The best offer says the client must call you by a certain date or the price returns to normal. Incentives promote action within a specified period of time.

I’ve even seen wonderful postcard size brochures that contain all of the sales information on one side and a story of the painting on the other side. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but what does happen is that the client is beginning to learn about a particular painting and even developing a relationship. One nice edition is displaying the painting for sale on your website with an audio button in which you tell the story of your painting as well. The story is very important. Each client that buys your painting will tell the story each time they show their paintings they’ve bought. This will prompt the client’s friends to maybe even contact you.
What should you say to build your story?

Why you painted this particular masterpiece
What it means to you.
Any unusual event or incident that occurred as a result of painting or while painting this masterpiece.
Any unusual observation made by someone of recognition regarding this painting.
Any awards or shows this painting was entered into.
Any unusual materials or processes or color used to create this masterpiece.

Don’t be a radio announcer or sales rep when you make the recording, simply relate what you know as a proud artist.
Make sure your website has a gallery that is a fun, pleasing to view and easy to navigate through all your masterpieces. Those pages must also list the same information as on the card with the same offers. Always make sure everything is aligned.

You don’t need a hundred paintings, but you should have five or six as a minimum. And its even cool to show the paintings that have been sold as well on your website. Just make sure your clients can distinguish between the paintings now for sale, and those which have sold.

If you offer art classes as well, you can even have a separate web page for potential students to view and select for upcoming lessons.

The best part of this entire process, the advertising cost to you is zero.

Nada. Zilch.

So how do you get started loaning your paintings to local businesses?

First, how many paintings do you have to sell? If you have four paintings, choose one good location. If you have 24 paintings to sell, try one location first and after you’ve found a successful pattern, find 3 more locations. You’ll soon get a feel for how many locations you can handle. You can even rotate your paintings from one location to another every quarter or half year if you like. Keep a written record of where all of your paintings are loaned. You’ll be surprised by how frequently you can forget.
Simply analyze the traffic patterns in your home town to find the most likely candidates for displaying your artwork. These businesses could be coffee shops, restaurants, fast food joints, gas stations (If there are any non-island stations remaining in the US), bakeries, gift shops, book stores, any business that has a large volume of traffic. You can even try to ‘loan’ your paintings to office buildings, medical complexes, etc…

Find out who owns the business or is managing the building in which you’re trying to ‘loan’ your paintings. Be honest. Arrange an appointment to discuss your request. Bring all the paintings with you for the appointment. Should they say yes, you can hang the paintings right then and there. Make sure they’re all framed and free of dusts. If you can lug all six of them into the meeting do that. If not, bring 2 or 3 and leave the rest in the car, but have them with you. Plan for success.

At the appointment, tell them you’re a local, young artist (no matter our age) and you’re trying to build a name for yourself in your local community. You have some paintings you’d like to display in their ….xyz.., Show them your paintings as well as a one page write-up or bio about you. Make sure the little card we spoke of is attached to the lower right side of each painting. You want no surprises when you hang your paintings.
Repeat the process with all of the business owners/managers until you’ve secured the number of locations you seek.

Remember, not not all businesses will do this.

You may get a lot of ‘no’s before you get a yes.

Some businesses may say ‘no’ on displaying your paintings, but offer to let you leave a pile of business cards for their patrons. So be prepared…..have a pile of business cards with you at all times that tout you as an artist.

Phone Number
Web Address (URL)
Original Art and Commissioned Work.
Call Anytime.

You can even have a prepared postcard sized brochure ready. This would have all the paintings you want to sell (up to a maximum of 6) on one side of the post card and on the other, your contact information and your slug line.

The slug line could be something like….

“We specialize in landscapes, seascapes and florals of the local Massachusetts (name your state) area. Many of our clients commission us for a beautiful oil painting of their homes.”

This is one of the two easiest, free advertising methods I’m aware that’s available to everyone.

You do not have to be an established artist. You do not have to been displayed at a show, but you can steal the show in each of these businesses.

One last word… order for your paintings to sell, they must be seen.