First of all, thank you for the great questions you submitted over the past couple of days. They were very helpful as I put the finishing touches on my all-new live online workshop “Insider Secrets to a Successful Art Career” which airs Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. PDT.
In a few days, you will receive information on how you can join the class and get these important questions answered. I will be sharing the secrets that have given my husband John Horejs and I the career and life of our dreams.
Because of the hundreds of great questions I received from everyone, I want to give you a brief preview of what you will learn in the workshop.
Five secrets to artistic success
The class will focus on five crucial areas you must “get right,” in order to have a successful career as a fine artist, and a happy, fulfilling life.
We will talk about your personal vision for your career, as well as the three phases of an art career and how to avoid frustration by doing the activities that are appropriate and crucial for each stage. You’ll learn how to set your artistic GPS and build a great foundation as you move toward your dreams.
The second section of the workshop will focus on your artwork itself and how to refine and make it more professional and exciting. The principle of “the little things are the big things” will be introduced as it relates to actually creating your art. I’ll share time management ideas that have worked for John, talk about the amount of production that is necessary to make it as a professional artist, and discuss the concepts of “100 works of art” and “10,000 hours” and how it relates to your development.
If you intend to turn your art into a part-time or full-time business, that will involve learning how to effectively market and sell your artwork.
In the marketing section, I will introduce a simple secret strategy we stumbled on that we have light-heartedly dubbed “Miracle Marketing.” You will learn a whole new mindset about sharing your art, that will plant seeds for greater success than you ever believed possible. It will also take the pressure off you and your psyche when you get into selling situations. We’ll talk about how to apply this strategy to every avenue of marketing, and give lots of examples of how it has worked in John’s career. I’ll also share stories of top artists at Xanadu and how they have applied the principles of “Miracle Marketing” in their own art businesses with amazing results.
The most critical activity to your art business (or any business, for that matter) is selling.
Nothing happens until something sells.
The workshop will cover phase-appropriate strategies and venues for selling your art. We’ll discuss how to price your art, and how to discover your Optimum Selling Strategy, depending on the art career phase in which you are currently working.
The final section of the class will talk about setting up business systems to put the left-brain activities (that most artists dread) onto “auto-pilot” as much as possible. We’ll talk about inventory control, website building, bookkeeping, cash-flow management, and effective customer service. We’ll also discuss social media strategies in conjunction with “Miracle Marketing” that can be done in about 15 minutes a day, or in a couple of brief periods per week.
Whew! That’s a lot of great information to pack into two hours. 🙂
You were born to be an artist
To give you a taste of the coming workshop, let’s talk about a couple of email questions I received over the weekend that I think are so important and relevant to every artist:
“How did you and John handle the emotional ups and downs? Ups when sales were made; downs when sales were meager? When times were tough, how did John continue to work consistently when money wasn’t flowing in? Most of the artists I know, and I can include myself, feel elated when they have a sale – conversely, when sales are absent, they doubt the quality or desirability of their work, leading to depression at times. It can be an emotional roller coaster. Something I’d like to learn to stay off.”
Wow. Has this been an issue for any of you the way it has been for John and me from time to time?”
Another question that tugged at my heart strings seems to be somewhat related:
“What to do when no one in your family or friends is supportive of your art career? (In some cases, family members or other close associates can passively aggressively, or just aggressively, try to sabotage your art career by complaining that you are selfish, egotistical or not practical.) Examples of artists who overcame this situation would be helpful.
Also, how to manage your reactions when someone is openly critical or dismissive of your work.”
In 1972 when John bought his first set of oil paints and brushes and took lessons from Aunt Barbara, he was working full time in the parts department at Sears. He loved the people there, but he hated the soul-sucking job.
From the minute John started painting, it was as if a light went on inside of him. Somehow, he knew that painting was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He felt a deep desire to bring beauty and peace to the world through canvas and oil paint.
In the workshop, I’ll share stories of what we went through financially and personally in order to reach that goal to be a full-time artist. It was not an easy path. There were struggles emotionally, physically and spiritually. When you hear those accounts, I hope that you will think, “Man. If they can do it, I can certainly do it!”
John still struggles from time to time with feelings of inadequacy and discouragement with the inevitable ups and downs of an artist’s life. He struggles when he feels like his work isn’t good enough and that maybe he’ll never sell another painting again. It’s always rough when someone seems to “reject” his work.
I will tell you what I told John (and remind him of whenever he is down).
As an artist, you have been given your gift from a Higher Power. Some people call this Power: God, Heavenly Father, the Source, the Universe, the Creator, Intuition, etc. It doesn’t really matter.
What matters is that you were born with this gift–this talent–this desire.
If you think back over your life to this point, you have probably experienced a number of interesting occurrences that will confirm what I have just told you about your divine gift.
- You have had the desire to create artwork for as long as you can remember.
- As a child, you received praise for your artwork. You always knew your art was very special.
- You find yourself thinking about creating artwork almost constantly, and feel frustrated if you don’t get to work on projects.
- Many times when you are creating, you are in your own world. You get totally caught up in the experience and often feel that outside forces are guiding your hands. You have experienced what has been described as “The Flow.” Athletes call the phenomenon “peak performance.”
- Sometimes you find it difficult to share your work with others for fear that they will criticize the work. If someone does criticize, it feels like a personal attack against YOU, because your artwork is in reality PART of you.
- Sometimes it takes a few days to recover your energy after a particularly exhilarating and challenging art project is completed.
- Everything around you gives you ideas for your art.
- You see colors and shapes that other people don’t even notice.
- It’s a mystery to you why others don’t consider themselves artistic–it is such a natural part of your life that you can’t imagine that others don’t experience it.
I’m sure you can think of other examples that confirm that you were born to be an artist.
Others (particularly family members or close friends) may have discouraged you from pursuing art as your life’s work because “everybody knows that you can’t make a living as an artist.” It’s impractical! The “poor starving artist” image is very deeply ingrained in the general psyche.
In spite of others (or maybe even yourself) discouraging you, the real you knows that you have something important to express through your art. Somewhere, deep down inside, you know you are going to be the exception.
The most important thing I want you to learn is that you were not given your gift to fail. It will probably not be an easy path, but the same Power that gave you the gift in the first place is there to help you share it with others.
There are people in this world who will look at your art, and it will communicate something silently to their souls. They will know when they look at your work that it was created just for them.
This is about how to develop your gift and create to the best of your ability. Then, after your art is created, how to find the person who will fall in love with the piece, acquire it, and feel something special–a deep joy–every time they look at it.
When things aren’t going the way you think they should
We’ve come to realize that when things don’t seem to be going well, most of our suffering happens because of the stories that we are making up in our head. It’s our interpretation of events. It’s the “A.N.T.’s” (Automatic Negative Thoughts) that are running wild in our mind.
The first step in getting a handle on those thoughts before they spiral into depression, is to recognize the conversation that’s going on inside and “Stop It!”
So much of the time, outside circumstances are completely out of our control. But what we think about them is a choice we make.
Once we recognize those thoughts, we can replace them. Often that change happens through prayer or a quick meditation. We can step back out of the drama, and get a divine perspective on what’s going on around us.
Counting blessings and recalling all the past successes helps. Listening to inspiring talks or music can get our minds going in the right direction. Or doing something kind for someone else. Or even just smiling–in the mirror at ourselves or to random people we meet.
Affirmations are also a quick way to change our minds from negative to positive. John uses the mantra “Health, wealth, success, happiness” over and over until he starts to feel better. He also hikes for 30-40 minutes most mornings. Getting outside in nature, getting fresh air and exercise, and pumping up those endorphins always seems to help.
Another thought that resonates with us both is: “In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own due time, for the highest good of all I am now creating wonderful art that finds homes with amazing people.”
My personal favorite affirmation is: “We do not depend upon persons or conditions for our prosperity. We bless persons and conditions as channels of our prosperity, but God is the source of our supply. God provides his own amazing channels of supply to us now.”
When we realize that our gifts come from a higher Source, we tend not to take everything so personally. We become a tool in His hands to make the world a better place, and he’s right there beside us to help if we let Him.
Now, I would love to hear from you
When and how did you first realize that you were born to be an artist? What were some of the experiences in your life that let you know that you had a special creative gift? How do you overcome the ups and downs of an artist’s life, and continue onward?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!