Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5, 2015 Newsletter

Sara M. Zak Fine Arts Newsletter
January 5, 2015

 The new year often brings new resolutions for each of us.  One of mine is to become much better at being a professional artist – which much to my chagrin also means becoming a better business person.  Oh, do not go gentle into that good night… I have fought newsletters, marketing, and even business cards for a long time, but I have learned that if I want to be a full time artist, then I must self-promote.  Here is my first attempt – a newsletter!  I think this is something I can pull off one or two times a month.  The newsletter will consist of any or all of the following: new artwork, a recap of a past project, upcoming exhibits, upcoming workshops, a painting/exhibiting tip, a good book, exhibit/grant opportunities, a video or a feature on another artist, and even a newsletter subscriber/blog/or fb follower special promotion.  Each newsletter will go out via email and live here on my blog.

In this Newsletter:
Upcoming Exhibits/New Work
Upcoming Workshops
Past Project Recap
Featured Exhibit Opportunities and Book
Creating Strong Exhibition Proposals

Upcoming Exhibits/New Work
 I’m very happy to be opening the new year with a three-artist exhibit at Studio Hart in Buffalo, NY. Four years ago, I started Painting for Preservation in Buffalo.  I have met some amazing people through this on-site art-making initiative – one of them is Carol Case Siracuse.  She invited myself and Chris Hawley, who I first met at a presentation by Young Preservationists of Pittsburgh,  to show with her at Studio Hart for an exhibit titled “Buffalo – a work in progress.”   The exhibit runs January 9 – 31, 2015.  There is an opening reception January 9th, 6pm – 9pm. 

On Chandler Street
8" x 8"
 All the works in the exhibit are square and  small – under 14” x 14.”    I will be showing 11 paintings… all under $500!! I think that these may be my last “Buffalo Architecture” paintings for a spell as well  – I have so many other subjects that I want to explore!  Here’s a sampling of the work I am exhibiting:
Buffalo Color Plant
12' x 12"
After the Rain
8" x 8"
West Side Sun
12" x 12"

What I will be working on for the next year!

My next big venture is a Castellani Art Museum TopSpin solo exhibit!  I can’t wait to make at least one really sizable painting for this exhibit – my largest painting to date is 90” x 60”  I want to paint something even larger!

Upcoming workshops: 
Alla Prima Portrait Painting – Buffalo Arts Studio, January 10th 9am – 3pm
Shadow and Light: Painting Architecture in the Manner of Edward Hopper with Sara Zak – Buffalo Arts  Studio, January 17th, 10am – 3pm. 
Oil Painting with Sara Zak – Buffalo Arts Studio, Thursdays, January 15th – February 26
To register for any of these workshops, please visit

Past Project

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in my December Daily Paintings FB/Blog event!  It was so much fun and the energy was palpable!  If you didn’t get a chance to participate, you can still check out all the work on this blog – take a peek at all the December 2014 entries!  This project got some cool unexpected press  (from The Public and The Buffalo News), and sent paintings out to new collectors in NYC, SC and Western New York as well as to some loyal patrons who make it so I can keep painting!  It's impossible to pick favorites, but here are 3 (one from each theme) that I really loved.

Featured Exhibit Opportunities: National: Oil Painters of America 24th National Exhibit: The Deadline is January 23rd –no time to waste – I’m starting my painting today!
WNY: Big Orbit/CEPA members show  Deadlines for drop off are this month.

 Featured Book:  My kids got me Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud for Christmas, and I can’t wait to read it!  I’ll let you know how it is next newsletter!

 Sharing: Creating Strong Exhibition Proposals
I know I am always curious as to how artists go about procuring exhibits and grants.  Sometimes I wonder if it is all just connection based.  While I think connections and being a known entity are very important, I also think having well prepared materials and a professional manner are huge contributing factors.  Below, is an example submission letter.   I keep them short and sweet -- how descriptive you get is up to you; you will obviously need more text if the work you are proposing for exhibit differs significantly from the work you are submitting.  I submit my cv, 10-20 images in a zipped file/or on a well-labeled cd sized exactly to the directives of the call for work, and an image worklist along with the proposal.  For hardcopy submissions, I always submit a color worklist on high quality paper for the curator to view while he/she views the digital files.  That way the curator can see the dimensions/materials and the hi-res image at the same time. I’ve copied and pasted the worklist below the letter.   For a hardcopy submission, you can also submit related press articles (with relevant info highlighted if it is not only about you) and a couple of show mailers.  When I was curating for a very brief spell, I received a few submission that went way overboard on the inclusion of press-related materials -- be judicious; your resume has all that info on there, and the curator probably only wants to sift through so much paper.  Also for a hard copy, I put all the materials inside a nice white folder, and send it inside an appropriately sized, new mailing envelope. Thanks to Cori Wolff, former Executive Director/Curator at Buffalo Arts Studio and current Director of Public Art for ArtWorks Cincinnati, for her course on Portfolios and Submissions!

 "Your address
Curator Name
Curator Title

Dear Curator's Name,

Please find my submission materials for a solo/group exhibition of my work at the Blank Art Museum enclosed.  

I would like to propose an exhibit that includes and extends my current practice.  Over the past year and a half, I have been creating medium and large scale oil paintings that explore the shifting nature of time, place, concept, actuality, and paint.  I juxtapose unrelated moments in time in my work, while also showing a dichotomy between a planned concept and an actual existence. I am investigating whether oil paint on a two-dimensional, solid substrate can really express the existential nature of time.  Oil paint, in particular, is imbued with a history so weighty that it is questionable as to whether it can float across time or if it must lay solid on the canvas as a captured instant.

I would love to work with you to create a dynamic exhibition of my work at the Blank Museum. I look forward to hearing from you and can be reached at or phone #.

Thank you for your consideration,

Sara M. Zak


Here is an example of one of my Work Lists.  I have many bodies of work... when I create a submission, I only include one cohesive body of work.  In the text, it is also a good idea to include the year of creation (this particular Work List was only allowed to contain work created in the last 2 years).  It is very important to follow all of the directives put forth by the call for work or the submission procedures.  If you are unsure what the procedures are, email the curator!  This example is in JPEG format because I couldn't think of another way to get it up here conveniently.