How to Feel More Abundant in Your Life and Art

Margaret Warfield painting

In this blog post I encouraged you to consider how your frugality might be hurting your art business by sending the wrong message to potential collectors.

At the end of that article, I posed 3 questions for you to think about, which we will now look at in depth. The intention is to ensure that you are not only living with an abundant heart, but that you are projecting that way of being into the world.

1. How do others treat you?

Perhaps a better question is this: How do you allow others to treat you?

For example … If you’re a member of an artist organization, what is the room like at your artists’ meetings? Is it dark, gray, and lifeless?

Do something to combat the drudgery and nurture abundance throughout the organization. Ask members to bring snacks on beautiful trays – preferably handmade by an artist – instead of paper plates.

Assign alternating people to arrive early at each meeting to clean the room and serve as welcoming hosts.

You can be the catalyst for change within any organization to which you belong.

We teach people how to treat us by

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Are You Too Frugal?

I am tired of watching artists and arts organizations live on leftover scraps.

Mind you, the organizations and agencies aren’t cheap with the patrons and board members with the big bank accounts. They are cheap with the artists, without whom their passionate interest would not exist.

Artists, in turn, grow to feel they are not worthy of more.

Don’t get me wrong. Frugality isn’t inherently bad. In fact, it can be good.

I don’t believe in spending for spending’s sake or in extravagance.

But frugality becomes detrimental when it feeds the notion that we are not worthy of more.

Many of my clients develop this sense of unworthiness that is perpetuated by the very organizations that were created to serve them.

I confess that I behaved similarly in the past.

For years I have been writing about how artists can show that their work has value. But I continued to allow the organizers who hired me for workshops to do things “on the cheap,” and I was doing the same with the workshops and events I organized myself.

How can I save money? was my modus operandi.

My first workshop, in 2003, was held at an office building that a friend managed. I recall my parents (!) picking up and delivering boxed lunches to the group.

At a much later workshop, I ran my team ragged making coffee all day long – trekking repeatedly to the kitchen on the other end of the building. Coffee! Because I didn’t pay for a venue that had food service.

No more. I began attending

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How Two Artists Self-Published and Are Promoting a Successful Book Together (Podcast)

As an author, I know it’s not easy to write a book. It’s hard enough to do it on your own, but what if you have a partner?

I was intrigued to learn how Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin came together to write their new book Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts, and Conversations.

It’s a gorgeous tome that has quickly become the go-to resource for anyone who wants to know anything about cold wax. (We were talking 2nd printing already!)

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Rebecca, in Wisconsin, and Jerry, in the Bay Area, collaborated long distance.
  • How they funded the book’s production.
  • How they divided the writing process.
  • How they are marketing (successfully!) Cold Wax Medium.

I also asked them to share advice for other artists who might be interested in writing a book.

Please enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at how this book has become a hit.

LISTEN NOW…

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Revive Your Blog

I have witnessed a large number of artists build successful blogs. I have also, sadly, watched even more artists’ blogs falter.

There is plenty of room in the blogosphere for meaningful artist blogs.

With this article, I’m calling on all artists who have it in them to revive their blogs – to recommit to the practice of blogging and the art of improving what you write and share.

Why Blog?

1. Blogging adds fresh content to your site.

Your content is built on a virtual space you own – not Facebook, not Instagram, not whatever-the-next-great-social-media-site-is. It powers up your site rather than turning over the traffic to one that you have no control over.

You can always share your blog posts to the social media channels, but the traffic will then point back to your site.

2. Blogging helps you grow as an artist.

You learn a lot about your art and your goals as an artist when you blog and interact with people.

Almost every artist I know who blogs regularly has shared with me that

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11 Tips for Pricing Your Art

I wish I could pull a number out of the hat and tell you how to price your art.

It’s not that easy, as you’ve surely discovered. Every artist’s path to their sweet spot for pricing is different.

I’ve come to know that there isn’t a single art market that you can look to as an exact model. There are many art markets – each with its own pricing structure.

Here are a few guidelines to begin with.

Art-Pricing Guidelines

1. Your first step is to research your market. Look for artists who do similar work using similar materials and who are at a comparable point in their careers.

Whenever you compare your prices to those of other artists, make sure you know that the work you’re looking at is actually selling. It doesn’t do you any good to look at prices from an artist whose work isn’t moving.

Many artists have adopted a formula for square-inch pricing. This is fine, but it must be based on something. You can’t pull a number out of the air. Follow all of the tips here and your formula will be well grounded.

2. Start lower. It’s easier to start on the low end of the scale and raise your prices than it is to lower your prices later.

However . . .

3. Never undervalue your work. Selling your art too cheaply means you’re probably not getting paid what it’s worth.

When you devalue your art, you devalue the art of every other artist who is trying make a living – many of whom genuinely need the money.

The dangers in pricing your artwork too low are:

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Committing To Your Art Career Journey

Last week I dragged my busy butt down to a mineral springs resort and spa for a getaway with my dear friend, Kelly.

Road trip!

Conveniently, the getaway coincided with a discussion I had with one of my coaches about the need to create more “space” in my life.

Since that time, which hasn’t even been two weeks, I have found space not only in soaking in the springs, but also in embracing silence; seeking questions rather than answers; and saying No.

Kelly and I also found space on the road. The trip down to the springs should be just over 5 hours. We somehow turned that into 7+ hours.

There are people who see the dot on the map and race toward it without stopping for a restroom break. And then there are those who, like me, look for any diversion to learn or to be entertained along the route.

I tend to explore on my road trips. I have been caught:

  • Coming across a newspaper from a nearby town and rerouting the return trip because it might be an ideal place to retire. (It wasn’t.)
  • Visiting the local cemetery.
  • Driving out of the way because I heard on NPR about the “green” rebuilding of Greensburg, Kansas ten years after a devastating tornado and I wanted to see it. (It’s pretty cool. I’d go back! And I’d eat again at this Mexican restaurant where they were lovely and one of the few places open on Memorial Day.)
  • Veering an hour off the interstate to see a visionary artist’s creation.

Yeah, I could get there faster if I focused on the dot on the map, but where’s the adventure in that? I prefer the stories I can gather along the way – stories that will become part of the fabric of my life forever.

What stories are you gathering?

Your Career Journey

Your career path is marked by exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I wish I had learned earlier the wisdom in riding the waves rather than fighting against them.

When you seek shortcuts, you miss out on opportunities that might lead to bigger rewards.

When you have your eye only on the end goal (the dot on the map), you become blind to all that can enrich your art and life.

I contend that if you aren’t committed to the journey of your career, you surely won’t be satisfied with the destination.

Of course, the journey isn’t all roses and fairy dust. It’s

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A Married Life in Art: Sam Woolcott and Poe Dismuke (Podcast)

When Sam Woolcott, one of my Art Biz Inner Circle members, told me that she and her husband were invited to have a joint museum exhibition, I knew I had to interview them.

They live together and have been happily married for more than 20 years.

For ten of those years, they have jointly owned a gallery based in the arts community of Bisbee, Arizona.

Each has a thriving studio practice.

Now they’re showing together in a 2-person exhibition at The University of Arizona Museum of Art.

How do they balance their separate work and artist lives together?

In this podcast episode, I introduce you to Sam, the painter, and Poe Dismuke, her husband and sculptor. We discuss:

  • What their daily routines and work styles look like
  • What their art has in common
  • Life in Bisbee (sounds like it’s a must-see)
  • How the museum show came about

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Enough With The Shoulds

I’m looking at a word scratched in lime green on our office white board:

DISRUPT

I had written it earlier in the day after feeling closed in by conventions and “shoulds.”

  • You should get your book back in print.
  • You should have a 3-day event.
  • You should create a new class.
  • You should offer workshops again.

You know how it happens.

It starts with a voice that comes from a position of authority – a coach, mentor, author, or blogger.

Suddenly, you think you have to drop everything and tackle the latest should-bomb hurled at you. (scene: violent internal struggle)

The biggest should on my list every week is to write this newsletter. I am proud that I’ve written and sent it every week, without fail, since March 30, 2002.

But there’s no heart in it if I’m just doing it because I don’t want to break a streak. I’m more interested in sharing juicy material when I have it than in maintaining a record.

Someday soon you won’t get this email in your inbox on a Thursday. You may not get it at all one week. I’ll still be here, but I will be trying on a new story to see if it fits.

What’s Your Should Story?

What are you doing only because you’ve felt that you should do it?

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How To Start Your Email List

“How do I start a mailing list?”

It’s a question that I’ve been asked numerous times in the past few weeks. Hmmm … Where to begin?

One thing is for certain. “Start an Email List” is an overwhelming project that might stop you before you’ve even started. Instead of looking at it as a whole, break it down into steps to make faster progress.

Here are the steps to take. They aren’t numbered because you can skip around until you get to the “Finally” section.

(If you have a mature mailing list and you don’t need these steps, please don’t go anywhere. Jump straight to the end and share your experience with others. Your insights and encouragement are sure to be valuable to someone else.)

Start With Who You Know

Make a list of everyone you know who might want to hear about you and your art:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Neighbors
  • Colleagues at a day job
  • Other artists

Don’t discount anyone because you believe they’ll never buy your art. You never know how they can support you until you bring them into your art life.

Save the following information for each person:

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How to Decide if a Class or Workshop is Right for You

Cabin Lake by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Whenever a new class begins, I receive plenty of questions. Currently, I’m fielding questions about Creative Content Camp.

The gist of the questions is: This class looks enticing, but is it right for me?

Most often, my response isn’t a simple Yes or No, but a volley of questions in return intended to help the inquisitor come to a conclusion.

Here’s what those questions look like.

Will you be physically at your home or studio to implement the lessons?

The lessons in Creative Content Camp can be consumed and implemented from anywhere in the world as long as there is connectivity.

On the other hand, the organizing class I previously taught required organizing a physical space. That’s a program you wouldn’t want to be away for.

If you’re going to be on vacation for one or more of the lessons, the decision whether or not to enroll in a class depends on your answers to a couple of (more) questions:

  1. Are you planning on doing any work during your travels? If you have built in a few hours a week to work, as I do during many of my trips, perhaps it’s doable.
  2. Can you make a plan – and stick to it – for your return? If you get your affairs in order so that you pick up (and catch up) where you left off, you’re likely to be more successful after the break.

Can you devote the time to the lessons and homework?

I tell students that

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