Winter Creative Retreat On The Cape West Coast

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All-Inclusive Luxurious & Inspiring 5* Winter Creativity Retreat Package 

31st July – 2nd August 2015

At Abalone Boutique Hotel & Spa

Join Artist, Writer and Teacher, Karen Longden-Sarron, on this Unique Getaway and Rouse Your Inner Painter.

Pamper yourself with excellent food and indulgent spa treatments while also igniting your creativity and learning a new skill if you’ve never painted before, or develop new techniques if you have.

This unique and Inspiring event will take place in the quaint seaside Village of Paternoster on the Cape West Coast at the opulent five-star Abalone House & Spa Boutique Hotel, renowned for its effortless blends of old world elegance with eclectic decadence and now the new home to another famous Reuben’s Restaurant and Healing Earth Spa. ahlogo

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Picturesque Paternoster, with its shoreline, unique buildings, boats and other typical scenes of life in this coastal Fisherman’s village are the central subjects for this creative program, structured to accommodate beginners as well as more established artists, we’ll explore a range of mediums and styles of working.

Only 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Cape Town.

Experience sumptuous accommodation.

Enjoy sumptuous breakfasts and lunches and feast at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant in the Hotel.

Indulge yourself with a Spa treatment in the Healing Earth Spa.

What’s Included

  • 2 Night’s Accommodation in a luxurious Suite (or small groups could also opt to select a 2 or 3-bedroomed cottage nearby.)
  • 2 Full English & Continental Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches (one being an exclusive Beach Picnic – weather permitting)
  • 2 x Two-Course Dinners at the famous Reuben’s Restaurant (situated in the Hotel)
  • 2 x 30 minutes or 1 x 60 minutes Spa Treatment at the Healing Earth Spa (Choice of Back & Neck Massage /Facial/ Pedicure or Manicure)
  • Morning & Afternoon Tea/Coffee
  • Welcome Drink
  • Creative Instruction & Guidance
  • All Artistic Materials & Notes

Additional Activities Included

Participants in this Retreat shall also get to enjoy the following activities offered on this getaway:

  • Inspiring Presentation with Welcome Drink on Workshop Opening
  • A Brandy Tasting
  • 1 Picnic Lunch on the Beach (Weather permitting)

What’s Not Included

  • Transport to/from the Venue
  • Mini Bar in Rooms
  • Refreshments & Alcoholic Beverages other than 1 morning and 1 afternoon tea/coffee per day
  • Specialty Teas or Coffees
  • Gratuities


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Non – Participating Partners

If you have a partner who would like to accompany you on the getaway and share your suite but not participate in the creative program, he or she is welcome to do so at a cost of R790.00, including breakfast. All other meals and refreshments are for their account, although they are welcome to join you in the meals with the participants.


The Cost

Take Advantage of this Exclusive WINTER PACKAGE Offer

All-inclusive Package Deal Price of R4,900 per participant (Sharing or Single) Supplement for Non-participating partners sharing is R790.00, including breakfast, but all other meals are for his/her account.  

The rooms are issued on a first-come-first-served-basis.

Limited Spaces. Booking is Essential.


Book now! Call +27 (0) 22 752 2044
Read more about it HERE

View the Abalone Hotel Website HERE

We Look Forward to Meeting You There!






Pinterest – Not Just A Social Craze But A Great Marketing Tool!

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I know that it’s easy to become Alice and fall down the rabbit hole when you start on social media sites where you end up spending hours discovering new things, and Pinterest could possibly be the biggest rabbit hole yet! However, you really should give it a try, as not only is it great fun, but it can also be an excellent marketing tool for artists.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is an image-based social media site that allows you to easily share your products, artworks, interests and informative content with others.

Why Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social media sites

  • It has 200-million registered users and growing
  • It’s visually attractive – not much text so it holds one’s attention for longer
  • Pinterest users can sign in through Facebook or Twitter, which automatically integrates them into their existing social networks.
  • It has an easy-to-use interface.
  • It’s Free!

Pinterest Demographics

On researching this I discovered that 68.2% of Pinterest users are women, compared to Facebook’s user gender demographics, which are 57% female and 43% male. Females slightly outnumber male users on Twitter also.

Therefore if your audience or customers are predominantly female, it makes good sense to target this market. However, Pinterest is still useful when your customers are male, because in my opinion, they are still likely to have an interest in art, literature, music etc where the females are also looking at interior design, fashion and cookery related topics, which raise these demographics to show a higher female audience.

Ways Pinterest works for marketing your products

▪ Increase awareness about your brand – Pinterest enables you to establish authority in your field. By pinning your products you create a platform for building relationships with your audience, as they get a better sense of who you are and this can lead to personal connections with them.

▪ Accumulate fans – Pinterest works to establish fans, who, through following your activities on Pinterest, are far more likely to share your pins and spread the word with their connections because they feel they have gotten to “know” you.

▪ Be useful to other users – You can pin other boards of experts in your field – when your board contains accurate information on a subject it becomes useful to others. People can follow your board and you thus succeed in building a place of helpful resources.

▪ Expand your reach – promoting deals, coupons and special offers is a great way to develop your brand, create awareness and reach potential customers.

▪ Drive traffic to your website – using Pinterest can certainly assist in driving more traffic to your site, as there is an option for you to add the source of your product so people can click through to view more info, which they will do if they like what you pin and want to get to know more about you.

▪ Potential sales – whilst Pinterest is not necessarily a shopping site, creative’s could definitely find customers through this network. When Artists, Musicians, Photographers, Authors and Designers, for example, pin their artwork images, book covers or designs, they attract the initial interest because it is at first visual, the proven way to engage people. But then this can take the viewer to your website/blog to see more or buy an original piece, or prints, read an excerpt or download your book, or view your designs/ commission your services.

Helpful Boards

You can create your boards with examples of your products as well as other topics of interest, but you can engage more people too by creating Group Boards or Guest Boards, which can expose your brand and content to more people and increase your user engagement. It works pretty much like a regular board, only other people are also allowed to pin onto it. You can see it’s a group board by looking for the group icon at the top of the board when you are browsing someone’s page.

I found the information regarding the marketing aspects of these boards very useful on this link:

It’s easy to review the interest in the items you pinned, by making use of the handy  Pin Count tool. This will show you the number of times a page or blog post from your site has been pinned and repinned within Pinterest.


PinterestI’m sure there’ll be all sorts of new features and ways to expand on what is currently available on Pinterest in the near future, but don’t discount the advantages it offers presently. You don’t need to spend hours on it either; you can just update your boards as regularly as possible to build followers and keep the present ones in the loop, but it is truly beneficial to follow other people and interact with them whenever you can and enlarge your boards with repins from others of interest in your field.

If you’d like to give it a try, go to this link to learn all about how to get started on Pinterest

I hope this enlightens you to a few ways this platform can serve you and get your name out there and I hope that you too shall follow me on Pinterest!

Spend the weekend pinning! It could be such fun, and I look forward to seeing you down the rabbit hole!


The Three H’s for Artists & Photographers

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris
The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to producing a successful piece of art or a stunning photograph, there is a little formula which works every time – it’s the three H’s:

  • Head
  • Heart
  • Hand

The first one, Head, means you use your brain to formulate your ideas and the message you want to relay into a pleasing composition.You decide which format, which medium, which viewpoint etc would best portray this message in an art piece – it’s the planning stage of the project where thinking is required.

Then you use your Heart to determine the best possible way to relay that particular message. It’s the feeling stage – aspects such as the mood and colour and lighting are decided upon, through sentiment towards the subject. Another “H” comes into play here – Hunch – where the creator follows his or her gut-feeling and intuition of what to reveal and how. It’s the stage where the creator feels the excitement and anticipation of the actual doing, as well as visualizing the emotion of the viewer when he or she will lay eyes on the finished piece. It’s the stage where the creator internalizes the very soul of the objects or subjects relevant to this specific message, which they can then display in the execution.

Lastly, comes the Hand, which is the actual skill in rendering those Head-determined and Heart-felt ideas and brings them into being. Many people think that this last stage is the most important in creating an art piece, but I feel that without the first two H’s being thoroughly thought and felt through before starting to render the work, then no amount of technical skill will result in an evoking piece. Yes, it will portray the talent of mastery in the craft, but it risks falling short of stirring any reaction from the viewer and that’s the most important reason for creating the work at the onset, isn’t it?

Consider these three H’s before you start your next project and I’m sure you’ll be able to add a fourth “H” to the mix – Happiness!


Seek Representation Or Go It Alone?

“Will I still be alive when I finally receive a positive response to accepting my work?” You may ask this after approaching numerous Galleries or Publishers over a period of time. It’s very frustrating – I know only too well!

In today’s changing climate in the Art World and the Publishing Industry, many creative’s are asking themselves, “Would my work lose credibility if I don’t go the traditional route and seek a Publisher or an Art Gallery to represent me?”

Approaching a Publisher or Art Gallery is a subject for another Blog, I only want to consider the question of representation VS selling your work yourself today and make some pointers to help you to decide whether you stand to lose any credibility. At the very least I intend to assist you in deciding which avenue is the best for you.

Galleries and Publishers receive hundreds of submissions every week from hopeful Authors and Artists, but only consider those who are most likely to make them the most money.

For a Gallery you have to have a consistent body of work, i.e. clearly depicting the same style that identifies you specifically from the others in all your art-pieces. They also require that you produce sufficient work to sustain ongoing sales. Publishers are looking for that next big thing! You may think your book is unique and has a completely original concept, but Publishers aren’t always willing to take on the risk of producing something other than they have experience in knowing will definitely sell.

The truth is that even if you are represented by another professional company you still have to do a lot of marketing and self-promotion to create an awareness of your work and consequently drive sales.

The better connected you are on the web, the more exposure your work exudes and the more sales you are making adds to the value of your application at a Gallery. So if you have done well to get this far on your own, do you need the Gallery that will take a huge commission at all? Likewise for a Publishing house – you will get a small royalty per book sale.

This sounds like I am advocating to go it alone and join the ranks of the millions of Indie authors and artists out there! Not so, it is entirely up to the individual and their preferences. Sometimes it has happened that writers and artists get noticed through their own marketing efforts and are offered a contract or representation by Galleries and Publishers.

To assist you in making the choice of whether to pursue the traditional houses only or to give it a whirl by yourself, I have broken the aspects down as follows:

Seeking Traditional Representation:


  1. Galleries already have lists of Collectors seeking new work.
  2. Publishers are able to get your book into traditional book-stores more easily than you are.
  3. Larger distribution numbers. (Publishing or Art print Sellers)


  1. They take on only a few emerging artists or first-time authors.
  2. They can take a long time to accept your work and in Publishing can take 18 – 24 months until the book is on the market after signing a deal.
  3. They take a hefty commission or pay small royalties on sales.
  4. They have different submission guidelines – I.e. Art Galleries may request specific submission channels and Publishing Houses may only regard submissions from Literary Agents.
  5. You have less control of the Pricing of your work.

If you are someone who prefers to leave the selling to another professional, then this is the right route for you and you should research appropriate Galleries and Publishers to suit the genre of your work and then approach them according to their specific guidelines.

N.B. Many online Galleries exist to showcase your work, not only the brick and mortar ones in your local area.

Going It Alone:


  1. You take the majority share in each sale.
  2. You determine the price of your work.
  3. Collectors and Readers have a more personal interaction with the Artist or Author.
  4. You create and upload new pieces at your own convenience, i.e. there is less pressure to meet gallery requirements.
  5. You can generate more income from sales of prints of your Art as well as the originals and you can sell e-book versions of your book as well as printed ones.
  6. Your unique concept can be put into the marketplace more easily.
  7. You can produce work for small niche markets.
  8. POD – You only pay for a print when it is ordered.


  1. A lot of time needs to be spent on marketing and promotion.
  2. You have to build your own Viewer and Collector Lists or Reader Audience.
  3. You may not get your book into regular bookshops as easily as traditional publishers do.
  4. Potential smaller distribution  – although you don’t waste money printing books or artworks unless they are ordered. – POD (Print-On-Demand) system offered by many online portals.

With all the social media networks available in this Information Age, we can easily promote our brand as an Artist or an Author, communicate directly with our audience and effectively sell our work on the various portals at our disposal or on our own websites.

You can hold your own exhibitions, feature at art shows, enter competitions, forums and groups pertaining to your subject of interest and you can create events of your own to promote your book or art. (Read another article I wrote related to ideas of how to promote and sell your art)

Have you made your mind up yet which suits you?

The choice is yours to make and yours only! Decide what is right for you and pursue it with all you’ve got! Why not keep an open mind and give both a try? Upload your books for sale (e.g. Amazon) and your art (e.g. Fine Art America) on as many places as you wish and test the waters while you await the response from the traditional houses.

Connect and communicate with other like-minded people on the web and build your brand. The opportunities are all there for us, how lucky we are to be alive right now!

You’re a talented person and there is enough sky for all the stars to shine!