Processing Loss Through Your Art

Painting by Carol L. Myers

A gentle warning before you read this. This was supposed to be a celebration article, but things happened that led me in a different direction. You might find it sad.

Stick with me because there is a message here that you might need. Maybe not now, but someday. And I promise that there is a happy ending.

Thank you in advance for allowing me to share this story with you.

Let’s start with the celebration. This week I celebrate 15 years of writing a weekly email to artists, which I mark as the anniversary of Art Biz Coach. The newsletter is now posted here on the blog where you’re reading it.

It was on March 25, 2002 that I sent my first private email as a sample to artists I found on the Internet.

I can’t promise this newsletter and corresponding blog post will go on forever. I can’t even promise they will happen next week. But I’m pretty proud that I have never missed a weekly issue. That’s 780 newsletters if you’re counting.

This week’s newsletter – the very one you’re reading now on the blog – was a close call. Here’s what happened.

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What Is Your Morning Routine? (Curious Monday)

Ruth-Anne Siegel painting of coffee cup

If you ever doubted that routines are important for doing strong creative work, read Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit.

What is your morning routine?

What do you do each morning without thinking? What do you wish you would be able to do in the mornings?

Do you rise and shine early? Or are you a late starter?

Respond on this first Curious Monday post.

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How To Be Happier About Running Your Art Business

You love making art.

You probably think it would be great if you could just make art all of the time and do nothing else.

The title of my book on self-promotion for artists didn’t come out of thin air. It came from hearing artists whine about not wanting to do the business stuff: I’d Rather Be in the Studio.

Yeah, the studio is a great place for you to hang out and to be creative, but two things cannot happen if you stay holed up in the studio:

1. You cannot be financially viable by hiding out in the studio.

2. You cannot be emotionally or professionally fulfilled by keeping your art to yourself.

For these two things to happen, you have to embrace your role as the leader of your business. This doesn’t sit well with many artists who prefer pretending that they can ignore the business stuff.

There are ways to be happier about running a business, but first you must decide that this is what you want. As part of that decision, you can decide to be pouty and grumble about all of the hard work, or you can decide that you’ll find ways to enjoy the ride.

Which way would you rather go through life?

What Makes Me Happy About Running My Business

Running a successful business means long hours and many sacrifices. But if I had known about the deep satisfaction that results, I might have explored the options much sooner.

I love that …

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Lucky You

When it comes to building an art career, I subscribe to Thomas Jefferson’s view of luck:

I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. ― Thomas Jefferson

In other words, don’t rely on luck to hand you a successful art career. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Every. Single. Day.

On this St. Patrick’s Day, it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves how lucky we are. But every lucky gold coin has a flip side to be aware of.

Self-Expression

You’re lucky you can express yourself freely through your art form. We take this for granted, but not everyone in the world can safely get away with doing so.

In many countries, artists are a dangerous lot because they refuse to go along with the status quo and have “outrageous” ideas about democracy and freedom of religion.

Above all, be grateful for freedom of expression.

On the flip side:

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Art Is About Being In The World

world-being-in

[Art] isn’t about being in the studio, it’s about being in the world. – Robert Irwin

I count myself lucky that I ended up at an art talk with Robert Irwin last April.

Irwin didn’t just get off the art school bus. He’s been in the ‘hood for a while now. He’s 86 and was the first artist to receive the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur “Genius” Award in 1984.

He’s well known for his garden designs, though he says he never gardened or even planted a plant before tackling them.

He didn’t know how the gardens were going to happen. He just knew it was something he wanted to do, so he educated himself through a lot of research.

Irwin is also an educator, though he doesn’t believe that you can teach art. Instead, the art

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34 Marketing Insights from the Authority Rainmaker Conference

Marketing Insights from the Authority Rainmaker Conference

It’s a Memorial Day tradition at Art Biz Coach to offer a list of reminders for your art business.

This is a twist on that tradition.

With inspiration from the stage of Copyblogger’s Authority Rainmaker conference, I opened up my notes and share my biggest takeaways with you.

The thing to remember about live events, books, and even online classes is that not everything shared is going to apply to you. You’re either not ready to receive it, you’re past its relevance in your growth, or it doesn’t match your business model.

You have to look for the nuggets in these situations. I find that there is usually at least one thing from each talk, lesson, or chapter that is worth the investment.

Here are some of the highlights worth remembering.

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What’s The Point of Making Art When The World Is So Screwed Up?

Why Make Art

If you’ve ever questioned the reason for making art, you’re not alone.

After a particularly rough time, you might catch yourself asking, “What’s the point?” You might even begin to see your work as frivolous.

With so much bad news being printed and broadcasted, it’s easy to overlook the bigger picture. These thoughts might enter your head:

Shouldn’t I be out there saving people?

Shouldn’t I be waging peace and protecting the environment?

These are noble pursuits, but are they why you, in all of your magnificence, were put on earth?

After being asked these questions by a number of students and clients, I thought of at least eight reasons why you should be making art.

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Celebrate Your Year: 2014 Personal Review

©Victoria Eubanks, Red Sticks & Stones. Encaustic, 24 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

You’re surely already thinking about and planning for the New Year.

But before you get too far into everything you want to do, take a moment to look back on what you accomplished in 2014. Time to celebrate!

©Victoria Eubanks, Red Sticks & Stones. Encaustic, 24 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

Prepare for your review by 1) setting aside time on your calendar for this process and 2) gathering any data you might need.

This might mean that your first step is updating your bookkeeping.

You also want to have your calendar handy so you can go through it month-by-month.

Expanding Your Profile

What did you do to enhance your professional reputation? How many people did you add to your mailing list? How

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Entrepreneurial Freedom

M.G. Ferguson oil painting

Many people become entrepreneurs because of the freedom it affords them. When you own your own business, you are free to set your own goals, get out of bed when you like, and control your brand.

Of course, most people who seek this path of independence have no idea what they’re getting into. They don’t realize how much harder it is to be a successful entrepreneur than to clock in for an 8-to-5 job.

©MG Ferguson, Summer Walk Home. Oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches. Used with permission.

Still, on this (almost) Independence Day holiday in the U.S, we should celebrate our entrepreneurial freedom and all the things we are free to do.

May you

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Speak Up on Behalf of Your Art Career

In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” She encourages women, whether they are in the workplace or at home, to “lean in” to their potential rather than sitting back and accepting unfavorable situations. I’m asking you to speak up.

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