I've been writing this blog post since January, covering topics from my workshops and coaching practice. The first ten posts were all about what successful artists do every day. The next five talked about four levels of opportunity for artists who are following a career path in the Big Art World.
Now I'd like to shift gears, with your help. Please send me your questions. Just imagine that we are talking together, in your studio or at a coffee shop, or on the telephone. What do you really want to know? I will collect your questions and begin to answer them in my next blog post.
Here are two questions artists asked me recently.
A friend of mine came to the opening reception of my new show. She said she loved my paintings, and then she said: "You know, I would buy one, but my walls are full!" She has a big house and lots of money. I didn't know what to say.
When someone says their walls are full, they make it sound like they are ending the conversation. You want to keep it going and help them think beyond their automatic reply. Your friend is thinking of art as heavy furniture, where changing the location is a big job. Most art actually weighs little. People just don't think about rearranging their art, and so they stop seeing what they used to love.
Here are some responses you might try:
"What do you do when your closet is full?"
"Do you ever loan out items from your collection to people who can't afford to buy art?"
"If you had someone to help you, how would you rearrange your art?"
Remember, always ask questions. When you make suggestions, most people respond by telling you why that won't work. You want to help people come up with their own ideas. Somebody who loves your art, and knows their own space, is in the best position to find a place for it.
How do I stay motivated? I have plenty of inspiration and lots of work to do, but some days I just don't feel like going into my studio.
- Don't Feel Like it
Be thankful that you have plenty of inspiration, but remember that art-making isn't a linear process. Creativity happens in unpredictable rhythms and unlikely places. When you don't feel like going into the studio, go somewhere else to see if you can find fresh energy.
Put yourself in motion. Meet a friend for a walk, and talk about your art in a positive way. Describe how you imagine your work living out in the world. Sometimes talking to a sympathetic listener reminds you of what your art is all about.
You might also take a fresh look at that studio you don't want to visit and see what needs to be changed. Don't make yourself crazy with a complete renovation project, but maybe your creative space needs more light, or music, or a new way to organize materials. Remember that artists are visual thinkers, so the look and feel of your surroundings has a powerful impact on your motivation.
And sometimes you just need to take a break. Your creative brain will still be working while you are playing, and soon you'll be ready to make art again.
What's Your Question?
Please send me a question that has been on your mind recently. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will choose a few questions to answer in my next blog post.
All the best,
Mary Edwards, Ph.D.
I'm a Career & Life Coach for Artists. I'm based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but work with artists throughout the United States and all over the world.