by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

In this day in age it is very tempting to do all of our business on-line.  Why?  Because it is quick and easy, end of story.  With this said, it is now more important than ever to reach out to your cliental with marketing materials that they can hold and touch.  Off-line engagement is hugely important because you want to be a well-rounded and solid business that reaches it’s market in a variety of ways. 
 
Paper and printing is still a part of doing business, whether you’re printing shipping labels, notes to include in packaging material and marketing materials.  Many artists should use their printers to create photographic art or prints of their artwork.  Not only does this save you money but time as well.  Here are a things to consider when looking for the correct printer and printer paper to use in your business:
 

  1. How often will you be using the printer? If often or very often then consider getting a printer with a large ink tank.

  2. How large will you be printing? If you want to print on paper that is 11 x 17 or larger then look to a large format printer.

  3. Do you need the printer for use in your daily work routine? If you will be printing labels, receipts, and occasional marketing materials then look for a printer that can print efficiently, for example double sided or wireless printing.

  4. We all look for something affordable. Be sure to check the cost of the inks that pair up with your printer. The printer may be inexpensive but the inks could be very expensive.

  5. Purchase archival papers and inks with permanence when printing artwork.  Collectors want to know that the artwork or print that they are purchasing will last a long time.

  6. You want to use matte paper when printing for your portfolio. That is if your physical portfolio has see-through glossy pages in which you will slip the printed material into. Images printed onto glossy or shiny paper will stick to the see-through portfolio pages.

 

"If you are to create, you must invite anxiety in. But then you must manage it. If you can't manage this necessary anxiety, then you will block: and we can start right now to call creative blockage the inability to manage the anxiety that attends the creative process, for that is what creative blockage most often is." (Eric Maisel, Fearless Creating, xvii)

Nordlight by Cyncie Winter

What?  Invite anxiety Into my creativity?  Add to my discomfort already? How can you ask me to do this?

Yes!  Because, as Maisel says in his wonderful book, Fearless Creating,
anxiety is natural and normal.  In fact, it is a guarantee that we will encounter it as artists and because of that, “It is our job to exclaim, ‘Both creating and not creating make me anxious, and I choose the anxiety of creating.’” (2)  And if we can recognize what stage we are in of the creative process (there are six), we can also be aware of the anxiety that accompanies it, and how to feed that anxiety appropriately.

I had the distinct pleasure of studying creativity coaching with Eric during the year of 2011, and because of the work that I did with him, I now understand and welcome anxiety—as fuel for whatever I am creating.

The six stages of the creative process include the following: Wishing, Choosing, Starting, Working, Completing, Showing.  Each stage has its own flavor of anxiety--states of mind--like Hungry Mind, Confused Mind, Critical Mind...and so on.  If we feed those anxieties inappropriately, they grow larger.  Conversely, if we find the right solution to address them, they actually help feed our creativity, helping it to grow and deepen.

In the next series of blogs, I will talk about Maisel's concepts--the stages of the creative process, the natural anxieties that arise them, and the proper ways to feed them.  In the meantime, if you like, go ahead and get Maisel’s book and follow along with me, as we discuss these enormously helpful strategies.


Eric Maisel is the author of at least 40 books, which address the challenges of creativity, the importance of making meaning, and the field of natural psychology. He teaches Deep Writing workshops, Life Purpose Boot Camps, and is an international creativity coach and speaker.  Here is a link to his website: http://ericmaisel.com/

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

There are many reasons to separate personal and business finances.  One reason is because it can affect your legal liability.  This should be an incentive to do your record keeping.  The Federal government believes that if an artist is losing money year after year then what they have is a hobby and not a business.  If you are an artist that is not yet making a profit then you need to track your income and expenses in order to provide proof that you are truly doing art as a business.  Maintaining separate records/bank accounts is one step you can take toward taking your business seriously AND controlling your costs.

Did I mention that having a separate business bank account also has advantages?  Tax advantages that is.  It makes it much easier come tax time to file your business income and expenses if your personal and business finances are separated into the two different accounts. 

It is never to late to develop good business habits, especially when it comes to finances.  Begin now and if the IRS audits you, you will have proof of a business banking account showing that you are conducting a business and not a hobby. 

Putting proof of a business and tax advantages aside, using a business account also adds credibility to your business.  As an artist, wouldn't you like to have an air of professionalism?  For example, handing someone you are doing business with a professional check from your business account shows that you are professional, confident and can be taken seriously. 

Have a business banking story you would like to share?  Would love to hear it

 

“Creators are hushed, wild people.”  Eric Maisel

In my last blog, I introduced Eric Maisel’s book Fearless Creating, in which he outlines the six stages of the creative process, their accompanying anxieties, and appropriate ways to feed them.  In this first stage, we are going to explore Nurturing the Wish to Create and Hungry Mind Anxiety.

Hushed Forest by Cyncie Winter

Maisel says that it is our job to accept that, “Both creating and not creating make me anxious, and I choose the anxiety of creating.”  He goes on to say that “The task is to replace paralyzing anxieties with hungry-mind anxiety, with the anxiety of wanting so badly to create that the walls of Jericho will not stand up to our trumpeting…[and] that our goal is not to grow calmer but to substitute one anxiety for another.” (Fearless Creating, p. 2)

How do we do that?  The first step is to learn to quiet the mind—-to “Hush.”  Hushing is both a quieting and an opening.  When we rid our minds of the noise and chatter of everyday life, we allow the space for ideas to emerge and connect with each other.  We cultivate the quality of Hushing when we allow ourselves to open to a vibrant image, a song’s message, a jewel-like phrase from a poem.  This is productive concentration

The next step to feeding hungry mind anxiety is to learn to “Hold” whatever emerges from the trance-like stage of Hushing.  Maisel says that “Once you nurture the wish to create, once you hush and go into these periodic trances in which ideas gestate, you will begin to possess emergent ideas which, in order to grow in vivacity, must themselves be nurtured.” (p. 6)

When we learn to Hush and Hold, the world suddenly becomes more interesting.  The outer world feeds the inner world.  Curiosity emerges.  We begin to explore ideas.  Work is happening within.  We open to inspiration and then hold it, give it space, a container, breathe life into it.  Holding is the equivalent to working.

On my way home from my office last week, I turned a corner in our twisty mountain road and beheld a stand of aspen, all frothy white against a dark pine forest.  In that moment I was catapulted into a Hushed state of wonder.  I thought, “I must paint this!”  For a week, I Held that image, allowing it to grow within me, Nurturing the Wish to Create, feeling anxious all the while about How to paint this lovely scene.  When I finally felt ready, I summoned up all the creative anxiety that had been building within me, went into my studio and began working in a trance, splashing layers of black and silver and gold and white on my canvas…until I had captured the scene of misted aspen that had left me breathless.
 

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Creating art is hard work....physically, mentally, and emotionally. Even though it can be quite challenging, we love what we do and know it's what we were made for.  From time to time we artists find ourselves burned out.  It’s only natural to find ourselves exhausted of ideas, physically sore and emotionally drained.  Not only are we creating art but if you are like me, you are making a living doing so.  This means a lot of networking, self-promotion, website updates, accounting etc. When we find ourselves at the end of our rope we need to give ourselves permission to take a little time-out.  Yes, just completely walk away from the studio and/or office.

Recharge your batteries by going for a run, going to the movies or a concert, or an art exhibit at a museum.  Go for a nature walk, have a craft day with your kids, take a real vacation, bake bread or walk your dog with your partner.  The point here is to do something that will breathe fresh life into your own work and feed your creative soul.

When you take your much needed break from the art world, it’s okay to do something completely different to stimulate your mind and recharge your creative batteries.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself inspired or influenced by something and it will energize your creativity when you get back to your work.  When you feel your best you will do your best.  Start carving out personal time to recharge and you’ll be surprised just how inspired and productive you will become.  Better yet, put “Me Time” on the calendar.

 

The next stage of the creative process that generates anxiety is Choosing, which brings up Confused Mind.  The appropriate way to feed Confused Mind Anxiety is through Finding Clarity.  In his book Fearless Creating, Eric Maisel describes several ways to achieve this.

  1. One of the ways to get to Clarity is by Working Underneath.  If you have read my last blog, you will know that if we Hush and Hold, we gain access to the Deep Creative within us—the Unconscious—the underground storehouse of wisdom and images that are just waiting to surface if we allow space for that to happen.   As Maisel says, “This ‘working underneath’ produces ideas right as you awaken, it produces them in the middle of the night and jolts you out of bed, it produces them as you ride the train into the city, it produces them as you paint or write something else.  It produces them around the clock, tossing them up one after another into conscious awareness.” (Fearless Creating, p. 43).

  2. Another way to feed Confused Mind appropriately is by practicing a technique called Knowing Already.  That’s where we get to acknowledge that we possess ideas we’ve wanted to work on for a looooong time, but for some reason we keep putting them off.  Maybe these ideas are not fully formed yet, or we can’t conceive of how to actually do them, or maybe they aren’t commercially viable, or someone else has probably done this one better.  But they keep coming back, tapping us on the shoulder, “Saying, ‘Ahem, I’m waiting!  Make me!’”  Guess what we are supposed to do?  Bring them back, dust them off, accept that Confused Mind anxiety is normal and begin to explore this idea that has been issuing you an invitation for a long time.

  3. A third way to find clarity is by Honoring Snapshots.  Snapshots are those moments we have captured and held in our lives—the sweet song of a bird, the taste of a spring strawberry, the roughness of a rock wall, the look on a child’s face, the chime of bells at twilight.  Maisel describes these snapshots as moments when “you have been shocked awake, fascinated, alerted in a visionary way.” (p. 45)  They live within us for a reason, like questions waiting to be answered, to be brought into physical form.

 

There are several other ways to appropriately feed Confused Mind, but I think you get the picture here.  The unifying truth in all of these methods is that we hold the material for Choosing deeply within ourselves—and we only need to mine that richness to Make Meaning about our art. The deeper we go into Choosing what to create, the more anxiety we are likely to feel…but that is a good sign that we are on the right track!


*Cyncie is delighted to announce that she has just been certified as a Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach by the incredible Jill Badonskywhose training leadership in creativity supports countless artists.

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Self-promotion is the act of promoting our own interests.  We are the ones that advertise and publicize these interest.  Self-promoting is necessary in today's art market if you want to be a success.  You have to toot your own horn because no one else is going to do it for you.

"Anole" by Rebecca Zimmerman, Fine Art Nature Photographer

Many negative thoughts come to mind when one hears the word self-promotion.  No one wants to be considered a show-off, a braggart or appear egotistical and this is what prevents many artists from feeling comfortable when self-promoting. 

There are many ways in which you can promote yourself comfortably without appearing to be a show-off.  Here are a few:

  • social media

  • networking

  • website

  • newsletter

  • video

  • advertising with magazines

When self-promoting you must do so with finesse.  You need to know the difference between telling and selling.  A great salesperson never appears to be selling.  This is because they connect with you on a personal level.  So, when self-promoting share  valuable useful information that you know your market wants and needs.  Put yourself in their shoes.

People like to receive valuable information because they like to be educated.  Remember that when self-promoting you want to be helpful and authentic.  Ask yourself how you can be of service to your audience/market and provide this service.  Do this, and I promise you will not appear selfish.  Only and always talking about yourself is being selfish.  So, get out there and rock the world with your self-promotion!  We are waiting for it.



How have you successfully self-promoted yourself as an artist and your artwork?  Would love to hear from you.

 

In his book Fearless Creating, Eric Maisel identifies the third stage of the creative process as Starting our work.  Whenever we Start something, we need to make a Commitment to the next course of action.

But wait!  How can we make a commitment to our work when we may be suffering from Weakened Mind Anxiety—the anxiety that walks hand-in-hand with Beginning to work?  You know—those times when Negative Self-Talk enters into the door, uninvited, all slovenly from having rolled around in the dirt, and says, “Wait, wait!  Are you sure you know what you’re going to do?  What if it doesn’t turn out right?  What if you find out this was a bad idea anyway?”  And so on.

Let’s explore a few good strategies to feed this very normal anxiety—all of which involve summoning up Appropriate Strength, as a way to committing to begin working.

1) Start by making a list of fifteen active qualities that describe you as an artist.  Write a little about each one.  These are your strengths—the things you know you can count on when that anxious voice starts to get a little too loud.

2) Next, identify ways that you can commit to working in the moment.  It is helpful to take baby steps here—things you can do in measurable increments…like…

  • Choose five colors I will work with 

  • Set up my pastels or paints and easel.  

  • Block in a composition

  • Lay down an underpainting

3)  Figure out when to actively say Yes to your work and No to your work.  It’s okay to give yourself permission to do this! For instance, consider saying “That’s good enough for now” when you get to a point where you feel unsure about how to go on and if it feels like a natural stopping point.

There are more tools that we can summon up to appropriately feed Weakened Mind Anxiety.  The reality is that there are many opportunities to start (and restart) our work.  The important thing is to accept that it is absolutely natural to experience uncertainty about what our art will look like at this stage of the creative process, and then commit to Starting anyway.

It can be extremely reassuring to understand the anxieties associated with each stage of the creative process and know how to respond to them appropriately.  To find out more about all of this good stuff, contact Cyncie at artcoachingforyou.com

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

What are you willing to do to become a successful artist?  Your answer should be, "work really hard for it."  Successful artists put in countless hours towards creating art and marketing their art.  They are not waiting to be "discovered" nor are they simply creating art for arts sake.  Successful artists have learned to use non-artistic skills such as marketing in order to develop professionally.

"Anole" by Rebecca Zimmerman, Fine Art Nature Photographer

ArtCoaching for You is pleased to announce their upcoming presentation, Marketing Your Art: Learn the Secrets, to be held at SYNC Gallery in Denver, Colorado on June 4th, 2016 and from 10am to 12pm.  Powerful marketing strategies for succeeding in the art world as well as creativity tools for handling natural anxieties that arise will be presented.  

Want to empower your art career and creative life?  Sign up today and reserve your spot by contacting us directly cynciew@ecentral.com or kathybeekman@aol.com .

 

For the last few months, I have been working away at a new series for my upcoming show at SYNC Gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District in Denver.  It’s been a bit of a press—more so than usual, because I had a show just six months ago.  But I’ve stuck with it through all the chaos of painting with new pigment and to a new theme and been really pleased with the results.
 

Perhaps the most important thing to realize at this stage of the creative process, is that creativity takes Work, and Working has to start somewhere. It is not about being aimless or haphazard in our determination to go forward. We have to Work to bring our creative endeavors into tangible, palpable form, and that requires tenacity and the commitment to return again and again to the artistic problem we have chosen to solve.

But that can bring up Chaotic Mind Anxiety, which we have to feed appropriately through cultivating Order.

In his book Fearless Creating, Eric Maisel describes the inappropriate ways we might feed this anxiety:

  • We create order by walling the work off.

  • We create order by acting “as if” we were creating

  • We create order by working on just a small corner of the work

  • We create order by suffocating or limiting the potential of the work (143)

So how do we bypass Chaotic Mind and achieve Order as we are doing our creative work?  Here are some strategies:

  • choose from moment to moment and step by step the next thing you get to do on behalf of your creative work.

  • be okay with saying “Yes” and “No” to whatever you choose and That’s good enough for now, in order to hold “provisional commitment” as a type of Working

  • be kind to yourself, no matter what transpires

  • shift and lower your expectations accordingly

  • write up a Credit Report, listing all the things you have accomplished in your work

Need some support in your creative process?  I’d be delighted to hear from you!

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Would you like to be represented by a gallery?  Many artists would though many of these same artists do not know where to begin when it comes to properly approaching a gallery.  Here are a few tips:
 

Would you like to be represented by a gallery?  Many artists would though many of these same artists do not know where to begin when it comes to properly approaching a gallery.  Here are a few tips:

1. Be certain that the artwork that you are going to present is distinguishable from that of other artists


2. Make your artwork as unique as possible while still personally yours

3. Be sure that you have a sound portfolio

4. Have a cohesive and large body of artwork in inventory

5. Research the gallery you plan to approach

6. Find out who reviews portfolios and when they will be reviewing

7. Submit high quality professional images of your artwork

8. Be able to explain yourself as an artist and what your artwork is about

9. Know your pricing

10. Treat every encounter with a gallery as an interview

These are, as mentioned, a few tips.  In my next blog, I will take each step and go into more detail.  Stay tuned!

 

”A creative work is completed many times over. It is completed each time the creator comes to a subjective sense of completion (even if that sense lasts only for an instant) and each time the work reaches an objective stage of completion (even the most "trivial," like the gessoing of a canvas, the sprucing up of a single sentence, the righting of a single chord progression.)

All these subjective and objective completions count." (Eric Maisel, Fearless Creating, 165)

When we are in the stage of Completing our work, the anxiety of critical mind can take over.  It is easy to be seduced by all the things that are Wrong about our work, all the things we should have/could have done.  But rather than succumbing to this tantalizing list that keeps us from moving forward, it is important to feed this anxiety through Appropriate Appraising.

What does this look like?  

It’s about giving yourself permission to let the work go and not beating yourself up because it isn’t “perfect.”

Here are a couple of strategies for cultivating appropriate appraising:
 

  • Generate a list of criteria that would help you determine if your work has reached completion.  For instance, an abstract painter might determine that her paintings are complete if they satisfy her original intent—that is to have created a body of work that was alive and powerful and that successfully captured a particular theme or intent she wished to convey.

  • Come up with some detachment mantras that give you permission to step away from the work and deem it finished—like, “Done!” “The work’s ready now” “It’s not perfect, but it’s not imperfect either.” “That’s good enough for now”

In the end, it’s all about learning the difference between judging artfully vs. judging critically.  

Thanks as always to Eric Maisel, my teacher and first creativity coach, and the author of Creating Fearlessly, from which this material was taken.

Want to empower your art career and creative life?  Sign up today and reserve your spot by contacting us directly cynciew@ecentral.com or kathybeekman@aol.com .​

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Are you an artist that thinks you do not need a website because your artwork has a presence on a social networking platform or an online marketplace like Etsy? Think again.  I certainly believe that social networking has its place especially when marketing your art.  However, you need to realize that you have no control over these social networking platforms or online marketplaces.  These sites are in charge, not you.  For example, you can place your image on their site and they can take it down.  They get to change the rules when they like, sell out to another company or disappear overnight.  As a professional, you need to have a place where your brand is controlled by you.  Your website is this place.  Here you decide where your information will be placed, when it will be updated and how long it will stay there.

 

Where do you start if you would like a website?  You can build one yourself (stay away from the free website builders because they look free) or you can hire someone to build one for you.  In the past, I have built my own site.  Now I use a professional web designer.  Why?  Because I know I’ll get a website that reflects my brand and will not be limited to features on a web builder.  When do you know it’s time for you to use the services of a professional web designer?  When you want to grow your business and a web builder does not allow you to feature your brand as you would like (ie limited features offered and design redundancy).  Other reasons may be: you need to transfer your website to a different host, you would like to open an online store, a news website, membership site, or any heavy-featured website. 
 
The first step to finding a designer you like is finding designs you like.  Start by looking at the sites of your competitors and similar art businesses.  Track down who designed the site and look them up.  Take a close look at their portfolio.  The web designer’s portfolio is the number one way that you can judge what you will get. 

Would you like help getting started?  Feel free to contact me.  I'm happy to help.

 

"I have been terrified every day of my life, but that has never stopped me from doing what I want to do."--Georgia O’Keefe

For the past several years, I’ve shown my work at SYNC Gallery in the Arts District of Santa Fe in Denver.  (That's me above, at my first show there in 2011).  By the time I’m ready to show, I will have been working on a series for the past year.  On Third Friday and First Friday, I open the doors of the gallery and watch thousands of people come through and react to the art.  Some people are enthralled by it and want to talk about my process and how they identify with it.  Other people are curious and fascinated by it and want to know why I paint abstracts.  Others don’t understand abstraction at all and dismiss it by saying their children can paint the same kind of thing.

Even though I am always nervous about showing a new body of work, I also love it all.  I especially love the kids who come to the gallery to do papers for their art classes. and who interview me about why I am an artist.

To lessen the anxiety associated with showing, artists have to figure out how to let go of their shyness and attachment to the way things should look at this stage of creating.  They have to learn how to cultivate Appropriate Performing and Detaching. 

Eric Maisel outlines this process in his book Fearless Creating, by teaching us how to do such things as...

  1. Judging when to show

  2. Determining what an outcome will mean

  3. Choosing an audience

  4. Evaluating feedback.

If we can consciously plan out each of these steps, we are Performing and Detaching, which involves taking specific action and learning how to relinquish our expectations about how something will be received.  

Not easy—yet ultimately satisfying!

Having trouble managing the anxieties associated with the creative process?  You are not alone!  Contact Cyncie atartcoachingforyou.com to set up an initial free consult.

At some point or another, an artist comes up against the stage of the creative process called Showing. This can be one of the most challenging (and downright terrifying!) things to do with our art, because it involves making a leap from the private stages of creating to putting our work in front of an audience. 

 

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Have you been juried into shows?  Have you participated in group shows?  Have you had a one person show?  If you have participated in juried and group shows it is likely time that you began thinking about having a one person exhibit of your artwork.  A solo exhibition allows you to present what you do to the nth degree.  It's your chance for your artwork and you to shine.  This is one, if not the most, important art event of you can have during a year. 

Where can you find a venue to show your artwork?  There are a number of places to look.  If you are represented by a gallery, ask if they would be willing to offer you a one person exhibit.  Here is list of other places to consider: your studio, library, coffee house, restaurant, salon, office, reception areas of a doctor's office, a furniture store.

If you are organizing your own exhibit then you must also be prepared to bring your own audience.  Advertising is key.  Six weeks in advance send a save the date invitation.  Three weeks in advance send an official invite.  One week in advance send a reminder.  All the while, it is a very smart idea to be posting about the event to social media.

Selling artwork at the exhibit is certainly an objective, however, there are other reasons to consider having a one person exhibit.  The reasons are many though here I will list a few: it will generate publicity, add credibility to your being a professional artist, you may get new commissions, attract gallery interest, and add new contacts to your mailing list. 

Would you like help preparing for a one person exhibit?  I am here to help.  Feel free to contact me.

 

“Pure creativity is magnificent expressly because it is the opposite of everything else in life that’s essential or inescapable… Pure creativity  is something better than a necessity; it’s a gift.  It’s the frosting…[and] arguably useless.  All it does is make me want to play.” (Gilbert, Big Magic 128)

In Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear,” she talks about how we can bypass the fear of the creative process through leading a curiosity-driven life.  She talks about the importance of being like hummingbirds, moving from flower to flower, dipping our beaks into whatever captures our attention.  The wonderful thing about being a hummingbird is that you don’t have to deal with the challenges or anxieties that beset us as creatives.  No negative self-talk, no fear or judgment, no procrastination or perfectionism.

Here are some of the ideas that she explores in her first couple of chapters:

—Ideas are alive and stubborn: they enter and exit “at whim” and actively seek collaborators.

—Inspiration is irrational and unpredictable and will try its best to work with us.

—Creative work combines both “fairy dust” and chopping wood and carrying water.

—There is a difference between having creative genius vs. being a creative genius…artists have suffered from the pressure and burden of the label of artist and of having to be "at the top.” 

—It is important to let ideas come and go; we don’t need to know what the unknown is doing.

—We are all inherently creative: we do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.

Take a moment to think about these compelling ideas.  How would it feel for you to replace fear with curiosity to empower your creative expression?

As a creativity coach, that’s what I help you do!

Contact Cyncie at artcoachingforyou.com to set up an initial free consult.

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Including images in your online newsletter certainly makes for a more intriguing read. Images are absolutely critical for marketing your art aka product. If you were to send a newsletter with no images you are doing your brand a disservice.  Already include images with your newsletter?  Great!  However, if you are not embedding them within the email, think again.  By attaching the image you are losing a great number of readers.  This is because of the extra step of opening the attachment you are making the reader take.

Including images within the email will benefit your email's performance in more ways than one.  Think about the following:
 

  • Research at 3M Corporation concluded that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

  • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. (Source: Zabisco)

  • According to Dr. Lynell Burmark, Ph.D. Associate at the Thornburg Center for Professional Development…

“…Words are processed by our short-term memory. Images, on the other hand, go directly into long-term memory where they are indelibly etched.”

Convinced yet?  If you do not know how to include an image within your online newsletter ask for help from a family member, friend, or professional.  There are also many free online marketing services that you can subscribe to in order to build, send and manage your newsletters. 

Ready to begin?  Wonderful!  Including images will drive engagement.  Just be careful about the image size. It is important to make sure that the image is not too large or it will take a very looooong time to download when someone takes a look at the online newsletter.  

 

"Art opens the closets, airs out the cellars and attics. It brings healing.”  Julia Cameron

Sometimes life is just plain tough.  It can clobber us with one thing after another, leaving us exhausted, depleted, and challenged to come up with anything resembling self-care.  That’s what the past month has been like for me, and the last thing on my list of to-do’s was to get back to painting.  I had started a piece, based on some beautiful Russian Sage plants growing at the top of my neighbor’s driveway.  But it has just sat there for most of the month, humming purple melodies softly to itself on my easel, waiting…just waiting.


This week we have been hiking every day in the surrounding mountains, taking in the gorgeous weather and glistening gold of aspens.  It has been incredibly refreshing to focus on beauty and nature, breathing in Blue Sky, breathing our Autumn Leaves.


Today, I was able to begin painting again as a result of allowing myself to be in the inspiring presence of nature, moving into the welcoming heartfelt activity of creativity.  Not surprisingly, I found myself breathing in the beauty of sunlight on purple flowers, feeling them shimmer and glow.  The very act of putting paint on canvas was deeply restorative.  It helped me to connect again with what was important and to rise above the constriction of grief—appreciating our beautiful world.


As Pablo Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of every day life.”
As a creativity coach, I get to work with people who are seeking to infuse their lives with the healing gift of creative expression.  How has creativity helped you get through tough times?

Contact Cyncie at artcoachingforyou.com to set up an initial free consult.

 

In his classic book, The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life, John Daido Loori, renowned photographer and founder and abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery, guides us on a spiritual journey to understand how to strengthen our artistic expression and indeed, all our endeavors, by cultivating creative practices central to Zen Buddhism.  In the next few blogs, we will explore specific Zen practices  from his book to awaken our creativity, including Still Point, Simplicity, Spontaneity, Mystery, Creative Feedback, and Art Koans

In his book The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life, John Daido Loori talks about the valuable zen principle of seeing with the whole body and mind—rather than thinking about things, trying to understand them—as a way of cultivating and enriching our creative experience.  Whole body and mind seeing involves “the total merging of subject and object, of seer and seen, of self and other.”  That is what happens when I see the frost-gilded meadow in the morning sunshine.  I forget that I am who I am, that I am seeing, that I am hearing.  I am captivated and enthralled and awakened and made alive in that moment of merging.

It is as T. S. Eliot says, “…Music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all, but you are the music.” 

Years ago, when we first moved here, I painted that music of the frosted meadows.  The painting became its own voice and looked entirely different than what I had intended it too, but in the act of painting, I lost myself, but became the music the singing of the grasses, the birds that reveled in the aliveness of that place.

So how do we achieve this elusive state, where we just learn to be and become that moment that touches and awakens our artistic sensibilities?  John Daido Loori give us this practice:

“See for yourself if it is possible for you to take up an ordinary teacup and just experience its physical existence, without naming, analyzing, judging, or evaluating it.  Just feel it.  See it.  Touch it.  Experience it without the mind moving.  When you find your mind moving, acknowledge the thought, let it go, and come back to the cup in the same way that in zazen, when a thought arises, you acknowledge it, let it go, and come back to the breath.”  (The Zen of Creativity, p. 74).

The more we practice coming to the still point within, seeing with the whole body and mind, the more we awaken to our creativity.

To learn more tools for empowering your creativity, contact Cyncie Winter at ArtCoachingforYou.com

John Daido Loori

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Speaking to a group of friends is one thing.  Being the main focus at an event, such as an art reception,  is another thing all together.  It’s completely normal to be afraid of speaking in public.  After all, a room full of strangers are there to see and learn from you.  Here are five ways you can become more comfortable when speaking in public.

1. Expect there to be questions.  While preparing your talk, try to anticipate a handful of questions and come up with honest answers prior to presenting.  If someone asks a question you do not know, it is alright to tell them that you don't know the answer and will get back to them.  You can even ask if someone in the audience can answer the question.

2. Use your body to create confidence.  Just prior to stepping out in front of the crowd, stand with you legs apart, your hands on your hips, and your head held high.  Tell yourself that you know your "stuff".  This posture has been proving to instill confidence in people.  It works.  Try it!

3. Tell Stories.  We all have stories that we can tell that are either about ourselves or another person and that we can use as examples to prove a point.  People relate to stories because they are told from a personal perspective.

4. Be Yourself/Human.  Act like you are talking with a friend.  Another words,  everyone in the crowd is your friends and is there because they want to hear what you have to say.  This means using everyday language.  What a relief, now you don't have to memorize all of the chemicals used for ingredients in your art media. 

5.  Know that no one is judging you.  Truth be told, the people in the crowd are more interested in themselves than you.  They are self-interested and are not hanging on to your every word.  What they are really doing is picking up a few things here and there that are most important to them.  Whew, well this is a relief to know.

When you next find yourself on "stage" keep these practices at the forefront of your mind and you will deliver a talk with much more confidence.  As an art career coach, I find myself helping clients prepare for art demonstrations, lectures, art festivals and receptions.  We use these five practices in addition to others and they  find they have great success. 

 

It happens every year at this time.  I round the twisty corner on my way into Evergreen, and it is there.  The vast, sweeping meadows with frosted, silvery grasses, lit by clean, early-morning sunlight.  Their sparkling beauty takes my breath away.  I slow down to take it all in.  My mind empties of its incessant chatter, its need to sort through all the things I am supposed to Do during the day.  For a moment, I see with my whole body and mind.  I begin to paint it in my mind.

In his book The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life, John Daido Loori talks about the valuable zen principle of seeing with the whole body and mind—rather than thinking about things, trying to understand them—as a way of cultivating and enriching our creative experience.  Whole body and mind seeing involves “the total merging of subject and object, of seer and seen, of self and other.”  That is what happens when I see the frost-gilded meadow in the morning sunshine.  I forget that I am who I am, that I am seeing, that I am hearing.  I am captivated and enthralled and awakened and made alive in that moment of merging.

It is as T. S. Eliot says, “…Music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all, but you are the music.” 

Years ago, when we first moved here, I painted that music of the frosted meadows.  The painting became its own voice and looked entirely different than what I had intended it too, but in the act of painting, I lost myself, but became the music the singing of the grasses, the birds that reveled in the aliveness of that place.

So how do we achieve this elusive state, where we just learn to be and become that moment that touches and awakens our artistic sensibilities?  John Daido Loori give us this practice:

“See for yourself if it is possible for you to take up an ordinary teacup and just experience its physical existence, without naming, analyzing, judging, or evaluating it.  Just feel it.  See it.  Touch it.  Experience it without the mind moving.  When you find your mind moving, acknowledge the thought, let it go, and come back to the cup in the same way that in zazen, when a thought arises, you acknowledge it, let it go, and come back to the breath.”  (The Zen of Creativity, p. 74).

The more we practice coming to the still point within, seeing with the whole body and mind, the more we awaken to our creativity.

To learn more tools for empowering your creativity, contact Cyncie Winter at ArtCoachingforYou.com

 

by Kathy Beekman, Art Career Coach and Professional Artist

Art galleries typically take a 50% commission on all 2-D artwork that they sell.  3-D artwork is usually around 40%.  Some artist will not approach galleries because they do not want to share 50%  of their sales.  This is understandable, however, let's look at a few of the reasons why being represented by a gallery can be a good thing.

1. As an artist you can not be in all places at one time selling your artwork.
2. Galleries are a place the artist and collector can meet face to face.
3. You will have another party pitching your artwork to museums, businesses and other groups of people.
4. You will receive more online exposure  because of your presence on the galleries website.
5. A collector base will be established for you and if you already have one it will expand.

The artist will be receiving these said benefits (and others) in addition to 50% of the sale. So why does the gallery then take such a large commission?  Because the gallery will be responsible for the following: insurance, security, utilities, phone bills, equipment, office supplies, packing, furnishings, employees, landscaping, computers, publicity, art fairs, announcements, memberships,  advertising, rent and the list goes on.  The commission that the gallery is taking helps to offset these costs and if there should be a profit, the gallery owner can now pay themselves. 

Now it's your turn.  Do you feel galleries should receive a 40-50 percent commission on the artwork they sell?

 

“Each artist expresses through art his unique way of experiencing life.  This is the essence of creation.  Through our art we bring into existence something that did not previously exist.  We enlarge the universe.”—John Daido Loori.

This is the third blog that I have written about applying Zen principles to your creative life from John Daido Loori’s exciting book, The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life.  In this very important chapter, he outlines the elements of the creative process that we can call upon in order to make our world larger.

 

  1. The first element is the muse, that sense of inspiration that sparks the process of creation.

  2. The second is the hara, a place within us that is still and grounded and makes room for creativity to grow.

  3. Then there is chi, the energy that is contained both in us and in the subject.  We summon up chi in order to support the act of creation.

  4. From chi, we access resonance, a feeling of recognition between the artist and subject.

  5. Finally, there is the act of expression itself, where the expression is allowed to flow unhindered from the artist to the creation, where the artist steps aside and lets the art happen by itself.

 

As I read this chapter, I became aware of how my personal creative process reflects these elements. It  might begin with light shining on a patch of grass (the Muse), followed by quiet reflection where I ask lots of small questions about what I have seen and how I might render it (Hara).  Chi describes the energy that arises when I begin applying paint to canvas, followed by cycles of Resonance and Expression, where I engage in a repetitive dance of stepping back and then forward, allowing the art to teach me.  And I have learned to trust that following this powerful process always makes the world grow larger.

Obviously, this eloquent material has a kind of fascinating complexity that is almost impossible to describe in a short blog.  How does your creative expression reflect these elements of Zen?  

If you are interested in learning more about how to apply Loori’s Zen principles to your own creative process, contact Cyncie at artcoachingforyou.com. Cyncie is also teaching this book as an online writing course at the Therapeutic Writing Institute during its up-coming Winter Term, January 19th—March 15th. To learn more, go to http://twinstitute.net/winter-term-2017/ and scroll down to The Zen of Creativity course description.

 
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