Unofficial survey: Obstacles to art career success

Here are two big questions for you. The answers will also benefit me and the services I provide at ArtBizCoach.com.

1.
What is the biggest obstacle you face in promoting your art?
(examples: time to make art, time for the business stuff, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence, space, negative people, . . . )

2.
What change could you make in 2008 that would have the biggest positive impact on your art career?

Leave your answers by clicking on "Comments." I can’t wait to read them!

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52 comments to Unofficial survey: Obstacles to art career success

  • The biggest obstacle I find in promoting my art is wasting time worrying that there is only one fail-proof way to achieve personal goals. The biggest change I will make in 2008, is to spend much more time immersing myself in local art-happenings. This will have an incredible positive impact on my career.

  • 1. The biggest obstacle to promoting my work is the distance from my home to an appropriate gallery. 2. This year I plan to build a greater online presence through blogs and sales sites to promote both my books and paintings. I also plan to buy targeted local advertising.

  • My biggest obstacle is how to get people online to see my art. This year it will be great if I could contact some local galleries and they accept my paintings.

  • I’m going to be brutal frank in answering this, my biggest obstacle and biggest positive change are interrelated: finances. I made personal financial decisions that enabled me to be an artist, decisions I do not regret. I invested a lot into my first few year but also accrued some debt in lean years. That debt is now my biggest obstacle now as necessity dicates that I do have to do some side work as the economy is slowing. I don’t mind this work, and I still spend full time hours in the studio, but it does create a more stress and takes away from creative energy. So with that in mind the biggest change I could make would be to clear my debt. The freedom, stability and piece of mind this would give me in continuing my art practice would be invaluable even if my art turnover income stayed the same this year. And it is something I have been working very hard to achieve for a couple years – so this coming year should see it happen. I would really love to say it’s a creative obstacle, or one of studio space or marketing time or knowledge. But all of those are issues that actually I feel I have more control over and can address.

  • The biggest obstacle I have is confidence in myself as an artist. It’s difficult for me to take myself seriously without a strong support system or the knowledge of marketing that everyone else seems to effortlessly possess. Time to spend on doing art and on marketing it is also a big factor. One change I am going to make next year is to join a local art group, that involves monthly meetings and volunteering at a gallery. I’m hoping this will help me get over the intimidation factor.

  • I would say that my biggest “obstacle” (not quite the right word) in promoting my art (at this point in time) is figuring out where to put my energies to get the best results. For instance: how do I find a gallery that is open to looking at my work–where my work would fit in? What art fairs might work well for me? what publications? All that research….”try & see” stuff. The biggest change for me in 2008 is that I no longer am running a business full time, that is not related to doing my art. That has freed up a lot of time. The other “change” for me in 2008 is that I am going to try to do some work to fit a specific market. It’s not something that I have been that successful with before, but I am going to give it another try & see if it will work in this particular situation. Other than that, I just plan to keep doing what I started in 2007, because I have made a lot of progress this past year, & I want to keep that going. http://passionforpainting.blogspot.com

  • My biggest obstacle is getting to my studio and finishing paintings faster. The change I will make in 2008 that will have the biggest positive impact on my art career is delegating and scheduling my time.

  • My biggest obstacle is marketing. Finding the best fit for my photography. I want to pursue galleries and interior decorators. I also would like to publish articles to accompany my photos in magazines and newspapers for extra income.

  • Roseann

    My biggest obstacle is marketing knowledge and the time and cash flow to acquire that knowledge. The change I would like to make is discipline related. Why create if I can’t afford to take the next necessary steps? Just trying not to lose our home drains all resources, both mental and physical.

  • My biggest obstacle is finding time to devote to my art business. I read an article this year where an entrepreneur recommended keeping the day job as long as possible. He used the word “freedom” which really struck me. A day job gives one the freedom to build a new business. That made me look at my day job differently, as a means to my goal. But sometimes it still feels like an obstacle. So I’ve set a date to retire from my day job. I have no idea if it will happen like that but I’m proceeding as if it will. Who know? It just might. My biggest challenge for 2008 is to be as prepared as I can be, inventory-wise, for the art fairs in which I participate. In 2007 I felt I was always behind. That was due to some nice successes so it’s not a bad problem to have, in a way. And . . . the age old challenge – to lose weight so my body can keep up with my brain.

  • What is the biggest obstacle you face in promoting your art?…..It has always been TIME because I don’t do just one thing but have a varied business. But changes and plans made and enacted in 2007 should allow the growth for my art forum and the better development of my own art. I also did not have enough space to produce the large pieces I envisioned and we moved to a larger place so now I have space for everything. Home, workshops and studio. Biggest Change for 2008 that should have great impact on everything is to use and learn the technology better. Using Facebook, Twitter and other even newer methods of getting my work and name out there should have a huge impact. Participating and studying more what you teach and blogging more…and updating all websites, etc. should all come together to bring good changes. Also to communicate in person with more artists and learn from their experiences. And, buying your book TODAY! Marilyn http://www.marilynsholin.com

  • becky nielsen

    My biggest obstacle right now is concrete – my technological ignorance. I feel hampered by not knowing how to send images to people who ask for them – people I meet at shows or who know me and might be interested in my work. So my first tasks for the new year are to sign up for a couple of courses in using my computer – for mailing lists, for storing and sending images, for blogging. I’ve been looking for these for awhile and finally have found what I need – I think.

  • 1. What is the biggest obstacle you face in promoting your art? TIME and CONTINUITY. Since I work a day job, it is difficult for me to keep the “ball rolling” so to speak. I will be in a promotional flow and then I get sidetracked by LIFE. 2. What change could you make in 2008 that would have the biggest positive impact on your art career? I need to get more organized and make my promotional efforts more consistent. I need to really start to push the envelope in a predictable, planned manner. As it stands now, my marketing activities are spotty and haphazard. This isn’t good.

  • 1. The biggest obstacle is inner: I have not disciplined myself to create studio hours for production, and business hours for real business, such as mailing list, and organization. 2. The most important change I can make is create that studio schedule and use it, and make that database of collectors, colleagues, and potentials and communicate with them.

  • Linda: Looks like you’re doing the right thing to combat your biggest obstacle! Tina: Yea! I feel your pain and am right there with you. This is my year to be debt-free, too! Carol: I hope you realize that not every artist possesses this knowledge of marketing. If they did, I would be out of a job! You are not alone. Terri: I love the word “delegating.” Why are we so late to embracing it? Roseann: Yes, some things take priority over art. You have to take care of your basic needs first. I wish you the best this year. Stefani: I think that’s wise advice. Don’t quit your day job until you’re promoting, selling, and have all of your ducks in a row. Oh, yes, and learning! Learn all you can right now. Marilyn: Good for you for jumping on the tech bandwagon. I’m not even using Twitter, so you’re already a step ahead just thinking about it. Becky: YES! Hooray that you recognize this and realize how beneficial a class would be. Classes, which we have to pay for, give us a boost and, in my opinion, a much bigger boost than if we had tried to learn it on our own. Sheree: At least you’re trying! It’s hard to be a full-time artist only part of the time. Check out tomorrow’s newsletter for more on doing only what you can at this point in time.

  • 1. The biggest obstacle I face in promoting my art is me. I’m not as brave as I want to be on the canvas, and so in the past I’ve not been as excited about my work. In 2007, I started to change that, and love some of the changes I’ve seen. However, I have to constantly remind myself to be braver and take risks. what does this have to do with marketing? If you’re not hyped about the work, no amount of marketing can change that. (ok, if my entire inventory sells, I might change my tune.) :D 2. The most immediate change I could make in 2008 that would have the biggest positive impact on art career is more time in the studio to do what I mentioned above. Other business, responsibilities, family, blah, blah, blah. No excuses. No fear!

  • Carla: Do you think it’s important to set aside specific hours? Is it okay to prioritize the tasks and get them done in whatever way possible?

  • Being an artist at heart, with zero business skills, promoting my work online has been the most difficult and unrewarding activity I have ever done in my life. A few years ago I realized that having a good product is not enough. You also need to know how to sell it in today’s attention driven, have-it-all-already, economy. Something which I found to be enormously difficult to achieve. My plan is to concentrate on promotion for a few years in order to build up a large enough audience/fan-base to make a living selling my art online as posters, prints, wallpapers, stock illustration, and maybe screensavers. Despite my very low costs of living, I’m only at about 50% of what I need to pay for bills and food. For about 18 months now, I invested large amounts of time in online promotion. I typically spend 6-8 hours daily on promotional activities. The progress has been steady but very, very slow. I expect that the more experienced I get at doing this the less time I will spend promoting and the more I’ll be able to devote to making art. Eventually promotion should take me no more than a few hours a week. Anyway, the biggest obstacle in promoting my work online has been: Finding quality information about online promotion techniques that actually work. I cannot tell you how many times I read something that sounded great, but once implemented returned very little or nothing. I yet have to find any promotional technique that actually delivers as described. Nearly everything seems severely exaggerated. I think the problem is that many online technologies makes it very easy for anybody to become a content generator. Thus there are far too many “experts” on any topic imaginable, leaving the real experts unheard of in a sea of noise most make. There is so much outdated, untrue, sounds-great-in-theory, and hypocritical information on the subject of online promotion that any newcomer, like myself, gets easily lost in an endless sea of incorrect info.

  • My biggest obstacle is time. I sell my work online and there are so many sites to list on. Many of them are free but I have to pick & choose which ones to list on. I prioritize “creating first” but, even then it is hard to find the time to paint. I have other creative things I do when I don’t have the time to myself that I need to paint, such as polymer clay work. What had a devastating impact on my sales was sweatshop art theft–that has been the biggest obstacle. For a couple years, I built up a business on eBay to where I was making decent money but then several sweatshops stole my work and sold it so cheap (first, they listed my actual images, complete with my signature so I started watermarking, they then resorted to painting cheap copies first and listing those). Within a few months, my ebay sales dropped by 90% and have never recovered. ———————— For what to change in 2008, I haven’t fully formulated that yet. I’d like to target a few new venues and invest some time in listing on them. I may look into doing more live shows also. I enjoyed the couple I did.

  • 1. I still try to sell both my styles, fine art and illustration, bouncing back and forth, which I have always said goes nicely with my ADD. As time goes by I continue to focus much more on the “Fine Art” gallery side. I still love my children’s book and whimsical stuff, but the sales have become increasing hard as I find folks aren’t willing to pay the same for work that could be called Fantasy even though many times it takes much longer to design and paint. I also still have the problem from a gallery representation side and from developing a bigger collector base, I love art. I love walking thru galleries looking at books and magazines, and when I see something that gets my excited heart rate up, a part of my brain says “I want to learn how to do that now; I like those colors, that mood and that brush work.” I know from all the reading and classes that I need to start developing MY style so that people are going to know when they are looking at a Michael Orwick before they read the signature. Also I love painting landscapes and people in landscapes, so into part 2 of the questions. This is the year I move 90% (can’t give up my more imaginative work completely) into the gallery side and dare I say stage of my career. I have signed up for an amazing 10 day art intensive in the Teton Mountains I plan to apply for bigger competitions and shows. I really need to start a new more focused client list, and start to give all my collectors the love and time they deserve. Thank you Alyson B. Stanfield for keeping us all on our toes, and for so much great art business information in 2007. Best of luck on your new book, I look forward to reading it. All the best, and a happy and highly successful 2008 to all of you. Michael Orwick http://www.michaelorwick.com http://michaelorwick.blogspot.com/ Also I love painting landscapes and people in landscapes, so into part 2 of the the question this is the year I move 90% (can’t give up my more imaginative work completely)in the gallery side and dare I say stage of my career. I have signed up for an amazing 10 day art intnsive in the tetons I plan to apply for bigger competitions and shows. I really need to start a new more focussed client list, and start to give my collectors the love and time they deserve. All the best and a happy and highly succesful 2008 to all of you. Michael Orwick http://www.michaelorwick.com

  • Mary Tevington

    Gumption and Focus are the biggest obstacles in my life. The biggest change I could make would be to place art ahead of everything else.

  • My biggest obstacle to promoting my work is haphazard focus, with a lack of consistency. The biggest changes I want to make in 2008 are: 1) to switch to a better database and consistently update it, and 2) post more regularly to my blog (nearly one year old!). Both of these actions, by the way, are things I have considered mostly through your suggestions, Alyson. So, thank you for all your help and encouragement! It is wonderful to have regular support from someone who knows the marketing ropes.

  • Like many here, it is time, time, time. With a full time job, the free time I do have I want to spend in the studio painting and when faced with the task of promoting it seems to take up all the spare time. I have many ideas for my art, for promoting etc. and would also like to find time for a social life. It is sometimes hard knowing where to focus and being overwhelmed often leads to distracting myself – sometimes into avoidance. So the words for the new year is balance and acceptance – that with time constraints it will just take a little longer. It will all eventually come together and in the meantime I will just keep learning and implementing that knowledge in baby steps (until I can hire someone to do all that for me!) All the best to everyone this upcoming year. I so enjoy learning from all of you and find comfort in the knowledge I am not the only one trying to figure this all out!

  • Thanks to your great advice, Alyson, the obstacles have been shrinking slightly, but money and time remain the toughest to address. I also work to support my painting, both teaching art and part time in a local art gallery, so there is precious little energy left over to do the promotion activities for myself. For 2008, my first priority is, always, to improve the work, and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I am getting more systematic about deadlines for juried shows and membership applications into the professional artist groups that appeal to me, and improving my on-line presence. This also includes following the efforts and successes of other artists through their blogs and newsletters, just to remind myself that it’s really possible. I know if I specifically list my goals and how they will help me achieve the ultimate destination of being a self-supporting artist, I will be able to celebrate the small victories and keep up the necessary enthusism for the long haul. I’ve ordered the book, can’t wait!

  • The biggest obstacle I face in promoting my art is time time time!! I have a one year old daughter, and findining sufficient time to paint to keep my galleries stocked is difficult, let alone finding time to paint MORE so I can sell more, and finding the time to find new galleries or do my own marketing to make those sales happen. The change I could make in 2008 that would have the biggest impact on my art business would be to find a dependable source of childcare 2-3 days a week. If I simply had twenty hours a week on a consistent basis, I think it would do wonders for my career. Now I just have to decide what’s best for my daughter – and that’s the problem!

  • My biggest challenge is promoting myself. I like my work, I love creating my work and others enjoy my work but I hate, hate, hate selling myself and my work. I’m not a salesperson and feel uncomfortable in that situation. Marketing myself is something I have to do to promote and sell my art. I wish there was a secret formula that would make it less painful for introverts. My biggest challenge in 2008 is fitting everything into my life. I work full time, teach drawing to adults and children 3 times a week, volunteer on the board of the local art association, take commissioned work and create my own art. Sometimes I’m pretty stretched, so putting it all in place with enough time left over for me will be the challenge.

  • 1. “obstacle”…has to be “time” to create…this is caused by “money needs” to survive. But I must admit, artwork (and my family!) is what keeps me going and gives me a reason for getting up each day! 2. I wish I knew, but suspect it would entail undoing habits created over a 57 year period! Happy New Year! Bruce Morrison http://prairiepainter.blogspot.com

  • Biggest obstacle: finding an actual viable market for my art, that will actually earn money. Change for biggest impact: becoming omniscient, so I’d know which of the 1,001 paths I have in front of me is The One. :-)

  • Frankly, my biggest obstacle is myself and my belief system. I have a lot of beliefs around selling out, galleries, the art world, etc. that have allowed me to make excuses for not showing my work for a long, long time. I have no problem selling my cards, prints, custom tile designs, etc. but have a very hard time imagining my work in a gallery which I would very much like to do. This year it is my goal to look this fear and loathing straight in the face and put my best effort forward. I am doing a lot of positive work around my beliefs and will be joining several artist groups to help overcome what I think is just plain fear about putting myself out there. Thamks for asking. ;-)

  • My biggest obstacle is obtaining access to the people who I would like to market and sell to. Once I make contact, I can sell myself-it’s getting to these potential clients that’s frustrating.

  • my biggest problem (after studying intensively to achieve some level of competency) is to find a gallery. We are in the Rogers/Bentonville, AR area where the fabulous Crystal Bridges art museum is scheduled for completion in 2010. In the meantime, the few galleries here have to be content with framing or art supplies or 3-dimensional fine crafts to keep their doors open. These are not venues conducive to proper display and focus on fine 2-D paintings. So, it seems that word of mouth is as good as it gets…a few chances at small independent exhibits… This would be a fabulous opportunity for a ‘real’ gallery to stake a claim to a spot and be ready to capitalize on what is promised to make a huge difference in the NWA art scene.

  • 1. Problem: finding out where to get lists thus requiring that I do the shop/gallery finding one at a time (time intensive, phone required – hate using the phone, detail oriented – not in love with details) 2. solution: hire someone to do it for me. which creates another problem: scared about the cost of this while knowing I need to at least give it a year’s go and see if it works. Found the person (I think), a former shop owner I used to have work with, local. 3. another solution: hire a sales person to contact the shops we find to sell on commission. That might be harder. 4. Another really scarey thing: recognizing that what I’ve been doing has been nice but isn’t creating the income I want, rearranging my whole marketing program (some of that rearranging is listed here), and doing what feels like starting all over again (with more info under my belt tho). I will have to be very careful that I don’t revert to comfort zone this year! (and know that ArtBizBlog will be right there to help me do that! along with all the info I got from your last class) That said, “Sacred” launches tomorrow with it’s own site (not my blog site): at http://www.sacred-tammyvitale.com. Drop by and visit!

  • Thanks to you, Alyson, I have gotten my work into a really nice gallery or two. My biggest obstacle for 2008 is how do I assist these galleries in selling my work? Am I the only one who knows how to sell it? Of course I would also like to add a few more galleries to the list, but not until I know I am giving the ones I have the time, new art, and materials they need to really sell for me. The biggest change I see is a creative one. I have been seeking a way to marry my abstract work with my figurative art for a long time now. It is my goal to explore that idea fully. Once again, thank you so much for all of your wonderful advice, Alyson!

  • Completely off topic but: Wishing you a Happy New Year! Thanks for all the great information you have passed on this year!

  • Nancy Wylie

    My biggest obstacle is getting into my studio. I seem to do everything else first and still don’t get things done, including exercising which is my other goal. I don’t know why it is so hard to get started or to get a routine going. Once I am there , it’s no problem. I just feel like a failure when my expectations don’t happen. I also spend way too much time on the computer. The biggest change for me would be to get into a new gallery or two. (Three closed and I pulled out of one in the last year and a half!) I also need to find the right art management program, learn it, learn how to use my new camera, digital recording system, and mp3 player. I still stuggle with how to use my cell phone! It’s amazing how far I’ve come using a computer. I really hate all this high tech stuff, but know I have to learn it to even think of competing in this high tech world. Oh yeah, my daughter is getting married in May! I just hope I will have time to paint, let alone sell paintings to pay for the wedding! :)

  • Hi Alyson Just to let you know I have opened a gallery in Dunlaoire, Co Dublin. I have taken a totally different approach…there was no commission as I believe that people should get paid for their own hard work. The 10 days before Christmas went fantastic, selling 66 pieces of Art and great feedback from the public. I will take in Art on two conditions..sellable quality and pricing. Over-priced art will sit and go stale and clog up space for someone else out there trying to get their career going. I am artistic to the bone, a jewellery designer, an interior designer and an ideas person. So far I set up the Irish Craft Association and on the form I ask…what are the two most important things to get you going in your career…the first three answers were more exposure. The Expose Yourself Gallery was opened two and a half weeks later. I had 23 Artists on display and we had a great 10 days. I re-open the Gallery on Jan 11th and am opening a shop beside it for Sculptural work. Firstly it shows anything is possible and life is full of opportunities. Secondly it is to show that Art sells, but be realistic….people know what they like and it is great to give the artists out there the space to sell their work so they can get and do what they do best….make more Art! Karen Harper

  • My biggest obstacle: PAPER! I am paralyzed by it. Once it gets into my studio I can’t decide what to do with it and it just sits there. I want to do things for my art career but can’t find anything, and because of all the paper, I have no room to do anything anyway. I am absolutely a slave to paper, and that has to stop if I ever want to get anywhere. (I posted a blog entry on my site yesterday exposing my embarrassing dilemma to the world.) I am a PAPER ADDICT! There, I’ve said it. As a result of getting rid of all of this paper, I am developing a solid promise to myself to not let any more of it into my life without a plan for handling it. No more bringing paper home just because it’s interesting or pretty! Then I’ll need to hurry and reread David Allen’s excellent book “Getting Things Done” to remind me how to use all the wonderful systems I have in place (thanks to you, Alyson). The routines will fall back in naturally.

  • My biggest obstacle is expanding exposure of my work to get more collectors and clients. My biggest change will be to focus on posting on my blog on a more regular basis and learning more about the social sites because from what I have been reading it is the up and coming way to get exposure to a wider audience faster.

  • Thanks, Alyson, for your nice New Year’s Card. We cannot wait to receive our copy of your book, I’d Rather Be in the Studio! Thanks for all that you do for artists everywhere. While we were visiting friends in Rhode Island in October 2007, we recommended your online classes to a group of artists there. Tommy has been invited to conduct an oil painting workshop in Huntsville, AL, during the spring. He has also been invited to give art talks/demos in several Alabama and Tennessee towns during 2008. We expect this greater exposure to create more collectors for his work as well as sharing of information with others. Another pursuit of his for 2008 will be to try for more juried exhibitions. My goals for 2008 are to concentrate on our blogs more often and to investigate new galleries for Tommy’s work. Good luck in 2008! All the Best, Marie and Tommy Thompson http://www.tommythompsonart.com

  • Lynne Oakes

    My biggest obstacle is time in that I am now 69 and no longer have others to care for (elderly parents, difficult husband. I adore what I do, but while I am in decent health, I feel that at this stage of my life my desire is not to have a “career” but to do my work and SELL IT, and teach my classes which I adore. So my obstacle is how to best use this time in my life to make the most of it. I do not have big reserves ($$) and so must earn my living from what I adore doing. But I need to be way more efficient. That about says it. Thanks Alyson.

  • 1) Lack of clarity on exactly what I want the art career to be. If I could identify the path I could set more appropriate steps for reaching my goal. 2) Determining exactly what I want from my art career.

  • My biggest obstacle is finding time to develop a proper portfolio. I also tend to be ADD when it comes to different media and switch back and forth between different styles. I suppose the lack of time really prevents me from exploring the route that suits me best. In 2008 I have resolved to work on my drawing technique, develop a better artistic voice, be more focused and build a portfolio that can be promoted and sold. I have a major multi-media installation to complete and I expect it will take most the 6 months to organize.

  • 1.I think the biggest obstacle to promoting my art is a lack of confidence. I have taken a big leap this year by posting my art on a blog almost daily. I haven’t taken the next step of actively marketing anything yet. I have also made a committment to paint every day. I have been doing that for a little over six months now. The blog has been a big stretch for me. 2. I am going to spend some time this week working on a marketing plan that doesn’t take away painting time. I have another full time job that is pretty demanding and have to see it through until my contract ends in June. I need to develop a marketing plan that I can grow and take with me when I relocate at that time. I think my blog is just a beginning.

  • Biggest obstacle: time. All those great ideas I have stacking up in my studio break my heart when I have to keep asking, “When?” I was beginning to lose hope. But I quit my day job just before the holidays and am taking the plunge to put all my time and energy into my artwork this year. Scary…but I’m in my 50’s now and running out of time. Thanks, Allyson, for all your pep talks and great information.

  • Alyson, you wrote: Carla: Do you think it’s important to set aside specific hours? Is it okay to prioritize the tasks and get them done in whatever way possible? Thanks for letting me think about this. Right now, creating specific times that will not allow to be disturbed, or scheduled over is a strategy I want to use to prioritize and achieve the tasks. Otherwise, I do it when I am exhausted, should be sleeping, or I don’t do it.

  • 1. What is the biggest obstacle you face in promoting your art? For me, it is time and money/income. I am not sure if those are separate things right now. I have this idea that the solution is in getting my work PHYSICALLY seen (and touched) and having more assistance, as in having my work in more GALLERIES. However, after having almost been burnt recently by a gallery in California that closed without my knowledge in September (and still no communication by that dealer to me), I am shy about going to the markets where my work sells (online anyway), yet are not close to me. I was finally able to get my bronzes back (just before Christmas), thanks to two artists who found me on the Internet while searching for answers to who might also have dealings/information about this gallery. They informed me of the situation. And thanks to my Aunt Carole (who lives near the ex-gallery) and my Indianapolis gallery owner Don Elliott, who were ultimately successful in retrieving my art for me (and while I was feeling helpless in Italy). 2. What change could you make in 2008 that would have the biggest positive impact on your art career? This may sound daffy, but I have been working on learning to enjoy things in life other than art and intend to continue this in 2008. With the help of friends and family, I am trying to realize that accepting help of many kinds is not the same thing as receiving charity (and why do I feel shame at that thought of accepting charity?). A good friend does not only give, but allows others to experience the joy of giving. Although I am minimizing my spending (and food is always the first budget to get cut, since the electric company is pretty stubborn), I am learning how, for example, to enjoy food and even cook sometimes. [I used to view eating as simply a sometimes enjoyable necessity, but otherwise a distraction.] More often, I am allowing others to cook for me while I bring the wine or chocolate. ha ha. And, yes, I often do the dishes. Only fair. Maybe if I can slow down (seemingly opposite from the artist who feels less than productive) and enhance the quality of my life and how I spend my time, I will have more to offer others. While focus is not often my problem, maybe this new connectedness will help me to work smarter and with a greater purpose. Or am I just justifying bad behaviour ;-) Thanks for the ear/eye. Buon Anno. Kelly

  • 1. What is the biggest obstacle you face in promoting your art? My fear of failure. That just about sums everything up. What if I do an art fair and my work doesn’t sell very well (like what happened at the last show I did 2 years ago- I’m still paying off the debt from it!) What if I’m just deluding myself about my work? People say they love my work – but do not buy – not even my giclees. Maybe all of the obstacles that get thrown in my way is the Universe telling me to give it all up, it’s never going to happen? It’s all an inside job I tell you. I just keep pouring money that my husband & I can ill aford into this and get nothing back for it – except for a grumpy husband. I really doubt myself. 2. What change could you make in 2008 that would have the biggest positive impact on your art career? Some serious self analyzing into how I can get beyond this fear or at the very least keep moving forward despite it. Also not letting it color everything I do to the point that it paralyses me into doing nothing. Thanks for letting me vent! Cheers, Fiona

  • 1. my biggest obstacle is myself. Sometimes it’s easier to let the pain of my disability win and drag me down into a depression where I do no work. eventually I lose momentum and stop wanting to put in the yards promoting myself or refining my techniques. 2. Painting helps both the pain and the depression. so this year the biggest change I am going to make is to not let my condition define me but to own it and spend more time in the studio! and yes. this year I will stop making excuses and finish setting up my mailing list ;)

  • I’m truly overwhelmed by all of these thoughtful responses. I’m printing them out and will analyze them and let you know what I find out–unofficially, of course.

  • Interesting to hear the comments on Talent. I’m not sure I believe in talent. I do believe strongly in creativity which burns to be released, hopefully in positive ways. What is thought to be “talent” can often be “craft” which is usually learned through practice may not have much depth. Two of my questions to stimulate young or emerging artists: What do you feel is the most important thing in the world and how can you address that in your art? and my short lecture on risk taking: A doctor takes a risk and someone dies. A lawyer takes a risk and someone spends years in prison. An artist takes a risk and nobody buys the piece. There’s a good chance they would not have bought the piece anyway! There a few careers in which risk taking is more rewarded–go for it. Not just for the sake of taking a risk, but to push yourself to be the best you can be to contribute your gifts to the world! I like reading self-help writer Barbara Sher, who has a lot to say to artists. For example, she says there are two types of support jobs. One is toxic, eating your soul, which you should get out of immediately. The other is a subsidy to making art….Her recent book, REFUSE TO CHOOSE, is about people who shift interests frequently, and why this is an advantage rather than an avoidance of “real life”. I feel many artists are what she calls “scanners” with wide ranging interests because an artist gets to explore whatever is most interesting to them at the moment. best, Lynne