Uncommonly Grateful

You’re grateful for your health, your family, and your freedom, but when is the last time you acknowledged a debt of gratitude for the following?

Ann Marquis, Golden Pears. Acrylic on canvas.

©2008 Ann Marquis, Golden Pears. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.

Be grateful for . . .

Electricity and running water. Think about the artists from the past who made art by candlelight or had to haul buckets of water to clean their brushes.

Your stash of art supplies. You don’t need pricey materials or tools to make art, and a true artist will make art out of anything at hand. Paul Sérusier painted his seminal piece The Talisman (1888) on the cover of a cigar box.

The generosity of other artists. Sure, you’ll encounter some petty artists who think they have big secrets to keep from you. Just ignore that attitude and move on. Send a sincere note of gratitude to artists who share their time and information with you. Just don’t take advantage of anyone’s generosity.

Laughter. If you’re going to waste some time online, you can do so with high-quality art humor. Nothing makes me laugh as much as the That is Priceless blog – masterpieces from art history with new titles.

Lurkers. It’s frustrating when people just want to look and talk about your art without buying, but every person who engages in a conversation about your art brings you a step closer to your goal. Thank them. Acknowledge each blog or Facebook comment, email, or tweet with a full heart.

Opportunities. Each opportunity has possibilities. Hanging your art at the coffee shop might seem like small time, but the alternative is to hole up and keep your art to yourself. Have you looked down your nose at any opportunities that you should have embraced?

The future. You have more to look forward to than most of the earth’s population.

Your computer. That’s right: the cursed keyboard where you spend so much time is a blessing. You live in the Internet age and can share your art with the world. Remind yourself how lucky you are to have it as a marketing tool.

Libraries and museums. You can check out free books from your local library and almost anything through interlibrary loan. Likewise, museums are a cheap source of entertainment and brain food and many of them have free entry on designated days.

Video rentals and online viewing. You can order almost any art film through Netflix these days. Check out Camille Claudel, How to Draw a Bunny, and the PBS art:21 series.

Watch some terrific videos online just by searching for your favorite artist or topic. This analysis of a Barnett Newman painting is very interesting. (Look up other videos on that site while you’re there.)

Community. We may never meet face to face, but I am grateful that you invite the Art Marketing Action newsletter into your inbox each week, that you comment on the Art Biz Blog, and that we interact on Facebook.

Thank you for making my work seem less like a job and more like home. 
 Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you hold dear.

What else are you grateful for?

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29 comments to Uncommonly Grateful

  • [...] the newsletter here. listen to the podcast pp_flashembed( 'powerpress_player_9362', {src: [...]

  • In a sort of roundabout way I posted earlier that I was grateful for the knowledge that you have shared with me. Thank you, Alyson!
    http://kimradatz.blogspot.com/

  • It’s been a fabulously challenging year and all along the way I’ve asked to see the Silver Linings…and they have continued to appear.

    Blog Triage with you and Cynthia really got the juices flowin’ those followed by all of your other offerings gave me the kick I needed to push through to a new/renewed level of ‘jazzed about it all’.
    Happy Day of Thanks!

    Merci33,
    Iona

  • Being grateful is a beautiful state of living. Everyone around you is loved, your strength is perfected, you have no anxiety. I am gratetful i can be part of this community on our little part of the globe, we have freedom and we have a wealth only God can bestow on a country. I wish you all more peace in finding yourself as an artist.

  • What a wonderful post! It’s so easy to sometimes forget about how much we have and are blessed with. That’s why I love how in all your classes you have us keep a gratitude journal. So many things that I am grateful for: *I feel very grateful for you and all the things I have learned from you. And…* For the community of artists I have met through your classes, workshops and blog. I feel so connected to some of these people.
    Thank you Alyson for all you do!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! xo

  • Thank you Alyson for this wonderful post ,Thank you for being soo generous with your ideas and information….You have no idea how much all this has helped me grow as an artist and as a person.
    Thank you for listing all those things..that makes me not to forget how lucky and blessed I am..

  • To All,
    I am grateful for all those people in my life who have helped me learn my lessons in this life…both hard and pleasant ones and for helping me achieve balance. I am especially grateful for GOD who breathes (ongoing) that first life into me.
    Thank you
    GOD.

  • Diane Ronayne

    Great advice, Alyson. FYI, the Wall Street Journal published a fascinating article Nov. 23 on the importance of gratitude to our health. It’s entitled “Thank You. No, Thank You,” written by Melinda Beck, in “Health Journal” at http://www.WSJ.com. She says, “A growing body of research suggests that maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being.” Amen!

    • Diane: Some people might miss this if they don’t have a WSJ paid subscription. It’s a great article. Here’s a paragraph from it:

      “Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.”

  • Happy, THANKS, & giving. Lucky 2 b U! for each artist that has dared to be~paz y amor*
    with deepest gratitude.

  • I am grateful for my house that I live in, so I always have shelter.

    I am grateful because I can run the business that I’m passionate in :D

  • I am so thankful for you Alyson because of your focus and insight into ways to keep helping people. I am thankful for my daughters in CA who gathered 330 turkeys to feed 5,000 people tomorrow. I am thankful for my hubby who always pays the bills and never complains about his cancer treatment. I am thankful for our service men and women and their families and all their sacrifices. Scripture says God inhabits the praises of his people, and I am so thankful for all the beauty of his creation.

  • Even though I complain about it, I am grateful that I have an interesting and flexible “day job” that allows me to have a lovely studio and not worry about the money.

    And I am grateful that I have the emotional wherewithal to use the time I can devote to my art effectively. It is a blessing.

  • I am grateful for finding a studio space that is five minutes walking from my home and big enough to let me do everything from painting to enameling to my metal work!
    I am also grateful to my students who keep me on my toes and make sure I get my work done and do not just spend all my time teaching!! :)

  • Love this! Thank you for this great list.

    I particularly hail the computer gratitude. I almost wrote an ode to the digital but did not. When I think about what my computer does for me, I am weak-kneed with gratitude.

    Thank you, Alyson, for being such a gift to all of us. The work you do is truly profound. You’re so good at helping us navigate the often-confusing world of marketing. Without your help, so many artists would be struggling to get their work out there.

    May all the love and care you put into your work be returned to you tenfold!

  • Thank YOU Alyson, for keeping us motivated, inspired and providing great resources and information!

    Thanks also for the link to That is priceless blog…absolutely hilarious!

    Best wishes for a wonderful thanksgiving to you and your family.

  • I relate to your first comment about electricity. Occasionally, our “lights” go out – the result of stormy weather – and just about everything in our life is shut down. Being a quilt artist, I love handwork as well as machine work, but even that is difficult with insufficient lighting.
    Your whole list is so true. Keep your good work coming, you are much appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  • Thanks for such a wonderful post! It’s amazing how much we take for granted on a daily basis.

    I’m thankful for a wonderful family that supports and encourages me to continue with my art. They really are my biggest fans and bring even more joy to something I already enjoy! They also help me to open/expose myself more so that I can seize opportunities without feeling scared to fail.

    I’m thankful for the group of ladies that I have class with on a weekly basis who share their art tips and experiences. We chat and laugh for hours about life and it means a lot to me.

    And of course I’m thankful for platforms/blogs like yours Alyson that allow us to meet other people who share our goals and struggles. Sometimes it can be lonely as an artist in that regard.

    I’m thankful for

  • I AM thankful but sometimes need to kick myself and look at how blessed my life is. Great blog on thankfulness like the one you did last year. Have a warm and fun-filled Thanksgiving Alyson. Art Biz is a great blog!

  • Thanks for your post on gratitude. I often forget to add those to my list.

    I am thankful I have a loving family. They don’t always understand what I do, and sometimes they consider it an unnecessary suck of money, but in the end they love me and that’s what counts.

    I am thankful for my wider e-family of creative people who provide support, ideas, and useful comments. I’ve learned so much through them and hope I’ve helped them as well.

    And I’m so grateful we have the prosperity to enjoy the creativity of a Thanksgiving dinner. I love cooking this dinner — I always get new ideas for tweaking the stuffing or sweet potatos (we’re having a tropical dish tonight — sweet potatoes, pineapple, coconut milk…and baby marshmallows on top, of course)

    And thank you, Alyson, for this blog and your online blog class! I’m learning so much!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • I am grateful for all of the beautiful things in the world that we can paint or make art from.

  • Hi Alyson,

    I’m grateful for your blog, your book, your sense of humour, and all that you teach us and the art world too. I’m grateful for my degree that lets me teach, for the freedom I have to move around as I please, for the freedom to be with young people and to learn from them. I am grateful
    for living in an edgy urban city filled with great films, wonderful art galleries, super restaurants, symphonies, opera. And I’m grateful for
    living where guns are a rarity, and I don’t have to wonder if my neighbour has one, because she/he doesn’t. I could continue all
    day. In fact what struck me is that my husband and I were driving home from Windsor, Ontario a couple of weekends ago, and I said that I was going to start a gratitude fest and write the people in my life to tell them how much they mean to me. You are definitely on that list.

    Happy Thanksgiving,

    Barbara

  • I am grateful I still have my husband to be pissed at when I get home Thanksgiving Eve to hurriedly prepare a dish for a pot luck and discover he has once again scarfed up all my cooking butter & I have to join the throngs at the store then have to grab a packaged cake because I no longer have time to do what I’d planned.

    BTY husband John loved this gratitude.

  • I believe so many of the blessings we have (& often ignore) come to us with so little effort on our part. You pretty much hit the nail on the head, Allyson. Thanks for the reminders as it is so easy to forget!

  • Alyson:
    You always have such a great way of looking at the world and reminding us to list our gratitudes. After two days with no landline and no internet, I do appreciate truly appreciate my computer. I always think I spend too much time at the keyboard and would much prefer to be in the studio.
    Thanks to your classes I am doing a much better job of managing my time and setting priorities that aline with my affirmations and daily plans.
    Thanks so much for the many suggestions that you make.
    Teddy

  • All: Thank you for sharing your lists with my readers and me. They warmed my heart. Except for Kate’s. That just cracked me up!

    Barbara: I love the Gratitude Fest idea. I think it will catch on.

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