For years Menlo Park resident Melinda Cootsona took part in the annual Silicon Valley Open Studios, opening her Allied Arts neighborhood home on May weekends to sell her paintings. “I grossed more than $10,000 from the first one, and over the next 15 or so years learned a little bit about what to do and what not to do.”
The artist put pen to paper and the result is Open Your Studio: Nine Steps to A Successful Art Event. “I wrote the book to both encourage people to participate in Open Studios and also to give them clear and simple directions on how to put together a successful event,” she said.
“I know that showing your artwork and talking to potential patrons can produce anxiety. But one of the benefits of open studio is that people see you in your work space and talk to you while looking at your work.”
From her experience, Melinda found that talking about your art is a great selling tool. “If people can learn to talk about their process or why they painted what they painted, it gets people interested. It provides the story behind what a potential buyer is looking at.”
Melinda paints in her studio about five days a week. She also teaches workshops and does a far amount of online teaching via Skype.
She has kind words for the Silicon Valley Open Studios — “it’s become a very strong organization” — but ironically no longer participates. “My art is now in three different galleries, and that makes it difficult.”
The 2014 Silicon Valley Open Studio takes place the weekends of May 3-4 and May 10-11.
Photo by Irene Searles