Monday, April 29, 2013

Nurtured in Nature - Artist Peg Conley

Last year I walked both Surtex and the National Stationary Show, which are next to each other and loved both the exhibits. It was fun to see what new art and products come to the market but it was also very educational to see who does what. You can see many trends and also how art fits on products.

I personally love nature themes and have been a fan of florals and gardens for many years - they are so inspirational! My latest nature-inspired design was picked up this week by the fabulous Print & Pattern blog (scroll down to see my promo piece), and my matching postcards have now been mailed out to manufacturers, too. This is another step of the promo and marketing I have been working on for sometime.

A love of nature has also always been a part of artist Peg Conley's life. I met Peg at a local artist meeting where she mentioned she was going to exhibit at the NSS this May, in booth # 2043. I asked her if she could tell us her story and share some of her lovely work.

© Peg Conley
Peg grew up in Indiana and, she says, would often jump on her bike to ride out amongst the cornfields to sit by a creek and contemplate life. Since 1981 when she drove her VW bug "out West," she has lived in Salt Lake City, Seattle and most recently San Francisco.

All of these places are accessible to good hikes, beautiful gardens and exquisite scenery. She tells us about Nature's creations: the Beauty of a Flower, the Elegance of the Moon, the Simplicity of Bare Trees and Majesty of Mountains - all images that she captures in her watercolors. "The outdoors inspires me not only with the peace of mind that comes from breathing fresh air but also with the beauty that is inherent in Nature." As is evident in her work, she is "nurtured in Nature."

© Peg Conley
"I began licensing my art in 1999 when Brush Dance picked a few images for their Boxed Holiday line. I continually added images each year for both EDC (Every Day Cards) and their Holiday line of cards. In 2006, I had my first calendar licensed with Brush Dance." "In the Garden," her calendar, was a part of their line until 2012. Peg adds, "I began my own greeting card line called Words and Watercolors in 2010. I've been adding images and additional products ever since. Currently I have over 170 greeting cards in a variety of categories: birthday, inspiration, comfort, thank-you, love & friendship, anytime/blank, baby, wedding, congratulations, anniversary and holiday. Boxed notecards and memo list pads (with magnets) were added to the line in 2012. This year we launched wrapping paper in January. Last spring I had a big sit down with myself and brainstormed, a newsprint pad and markers allowing the creative juices to flow, on how I saw the future. I decided I would continue to pursue my own line of paper products but I wanted to license my art with manufacturers for a myriad of other products."

© Peg Conley
Peg attended the NSS for the first time last year and was very happy with the orders written for her Words and Watercolors line and inquiries into licensing that she received. "I'm happy to announce that my collection of quilting fabric will be available with Clothworks this fall. And I've just signed an agreement for my art on coasters with CoasterStone."

She is now busy preparing for this year's Stationery Show. As mentioned above, Words and Watercolors will be exhibiting in Booth #2043. "I'll have my greeting cards enlarged on foam core boards for display purposes. It is a great way to capture the attention of the buyers walking past the booth … a large image can stop them in their tracks as they take a moment to look more closely. From there I can easily engage with them," she adds.

As for her advice to other artists, Peg suggests this: "Dogged determination and persistence were traits I honed over a 25 year career in Corporate Sales. It was those traits plus my sales background that have enabled me to grow both my own line plus make contacts and follow up with licensing opportunities.

© Peg Conley
"I've been planting seeds and laying the groundwork the past 3 years and expect to see many rewards in 2013. My advice is stay with it, even when you get discouraged. Find a network of friends to talk to. I was lucky enough to find out about the Bay Area Licensing Artists group that meets once a month in Berkley. It's great to network and know you are not alone. Reach out to others, ask questions and have fun!"

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