Nose to Nose by Treasure Frey. Etching.
Have you thought about blogging to help market your art, but it just seems too daunting? I get questions about blogging a lot from artists and makers. Almost always, the questions start with “do I need to blog?” (no, but it helps a lot) and go straight to “what would I even talk about?” Almost always that second question isn’t really asking for an answer. But it does have an answer. And so today, I’m going to give that answer to you.
Here are my top 5 things to blog about as an artisan.
1. Inspiration – Started working on a new piece? Post up some of your sketches. Talk about where the initial idea sprung from. Show some pictures of your research.
2. Creative Journey – Talk about what you’re going through creatively. Discuss difficulties you might be having or really wonderful soaring periods of creative growth. Both are exciting fodder for creative blogs.
3. Teach – Write how-to posts that teach your readers a new technique. This is also a great way to incorporate a medium that you don’t normally work in. Instead of ignoring that cool woodworking project you took on, you can teach your blog readers how to do it themselves. This type of post also lends itself well to creating your expert persona, making you stand out as a leader in your medium.
4. Behind the Scenes – Show your readers your works-in-progress. Post pictures of your studio space or of you working on a piece. You might not think you’re that interesting, but this is one of the most beloved types of artist blog posts out there. People love to see what you’re doing behind the scenes before the final product gets in their hands.
5. New – New pieces, new shows, new collaborations, new mediums… Announce what’s going on in your creative life. Make sure this is no more than 20% of your blog. Your readers don’t want a laundry list of your newest Etsy listings or the fifteen shows you’re putting work in this summer. But they do like to know what’s going on. So promote only your best stuff or put several promotions into one post.
Don’t forget to get a little personal every once in a while. Only you can decide how personal. But your readers do want to know about you, so every once in a while it’s nice to throw in how excited you are that your kid came home with straight A’s or that you’re finally getting a new car.
What do you blog about? Let everyone know in the comments!
My Eyes Refuse To Accept Passive Tears by Silvia Pelissero. Oil on canvas.
Silvia Pelissero is on my artist crush list right now, big time! Her portraits are insanely beautiful, capturing intense moments of human emotion. They seem to tell a story through their sweeping, intense movement that captivates me longer than most pieces can manage.
La Nostra Infinita Abnegazione by Silvia Pelissero. Watercolor, pencil, charcoal, acrylic, and pen on paper.
The color choices are impeccable as well. Pieces are clearly muted or emboldened by Silvia’s color choices in a way that doesn’t overpower the work so much as complement its spirit.
Learn to Bloom by Silvia Pelissero. Watercolor on paper.
Detail shot of the above piece. Extraordinary!
I can’t help but give you quite a few images to look at because I really can’t pick a favorite. I decided to only post ones in color though, since I think it enhances her work so well. However, Silvia does plenty of black and white paintings that are stunning too! Definitely check out her site and consider purchasing. The prints are set at very reasonable prices. Or you can buy originals at her Big Cartel shop. Imagine hanging one of these in your home! Swoon!
The Nothing Life by Silvia Pelissero. Acrylic on canvas.
Can you pick a favorite?
Trees by Catherine Just. Photograph.
The Change the World Mindset is all about having Big Aspirations (and using lots of capital letters even when you aren’t talking about nouns!).
When you think about what you want to be doing with your life, do you think big? Huge, even?
Thinking big is often what people suggest to us if we want to get somewhere in our lives. To be successful, you have to think big. That’s good advice. And it is definitely pretty important. If you don’t have large goals, you have less vision and end up complacent, plateauing instead of growing. But I also think it’s important to understand what those big goals are going to look like, and to have a more tangible version of each goal.
Stick with me here. I know many of you are contemplating that little x button right now. But trust me on this. I am not telling you to abandon your dreams. Neither am I telling you to change your dreams. I just want you to look into your soul and discover what your dreams actually are.
Back to the point. Let’s understand what those big goals are going to look like and get a more tangible version of each goal. This forces you to see where you’re headed and plan for it. And it allows you to actually take steps toward the goal because you know where you’re going.
For instance, many of us have thought at one time or another, “I want to be famous.” Ah, fame…. It’s definitely not an impossible goal (think of all the celebrities who have achieved it, not to mention the political, religious, artistic, and educational leaders out in the world). People do it. Why not you? But the likelihood is that you either won’t be famous like that, or you don’t *want* to be famous like that. But there’s still a pull on your heart for the word “fame”. There’s something about that reputation and influence that you want. So let’s make this goal a little easier to see and understand. It’s not necessarily that it’s more realistic, but just that it fits your plan, your life, your art better.
Now the idea of fame becomes being famous amongst a small set of people who love your art and your spirit. You’re already famous (or infamous?) to your family and friends, why not widen that reach? Make yourself famous to a niche audience who loves exactly what you create. If a recent buyer hangs your painting in their home, they begin thinking of you as famous. You’ve made an impression in their daily life. And then this usually spirals as their family and friends ask about your painting and you become famous to them, hopefully with sales following! But there’s no need to be written up as the most influential artist of the decade in a major magazine or journal. You just need to be famous to the people who adore you and your art, the people who will buy your art (and love it and hang it in their homes and let it inspire them).
How about money? Do you have a vision to be making a million dollar salary? If only, right? Think about this goal. Is there something specific about a million dollars that is so much more tempting than $900,000? Turn that goal on its head! What aspects of your life cost money (your home, car, food, entertainment, etc)? If you were going to feel financially fulfilled, how much money would you spend on these things? That’s the number you’re striving for. Was it just $2,000 a month that it would cost to live the life that would find you financially fulfilled? Then you only want to make $24,000 a year. That’s nowhere near a million dollars! Now your goal is more tangible. It fits your ideal life and becomes achievable.
Let’s do one more. This is a biggie. I talk to many artists who say they want to “change the world”. First off, that’s a bit ludicrous since practically everything you do changes somebody’s world! But aside from that, you want to make an impact and make life better for people. And that’s an extraordinary aspiration! I believe you can do it. But how do you quantify “making an impact” or “making life better for people”? What does that look like in your mind? I doubt you want to be Mother Theresa…. I’m guessing you’d rather do your little part (more like Angelina Jolie, perhaps). Could it be that your art isn’t going to “change the world”, but rather “change someone’s world”? Could it be that your art is going to reach that one person who desperately needs it? Maybe your art will save their life. Maybe it will save them from living a boring, uninspired life. Maybe it’s going to be the catalyst to their finding true love or the intensity of passionate spirituality. I think these are achievable ways you can change the world that don’t seem nearly as daunting as thinking of your goal as literally changing the entire planet in one fell swoop. Unless you are inventing something as culture-changing as the internet, it’s much easier to think about changing a life than changing the world.
So my point here is that your goals are your goals because you’re passionate about the purpose behind them, not necessarily the end result. If you really assess what you’re trying to accomplish, your goals are almost always in sight and you can begin to plan out actionable steps to reach them. Way less daunting!
What is your Change the World Mindset and how are you reassessing what it actually means to your soul?
La Theorie Des Cordes by Andre Fromont. Photograph.
It’s important to take a step back sometimes.
Put your art on the back burner.
Give yourself a break.
I learned this in an intense way recently. In the hype of getting my website live and raising a new puppy, while keeping my day job, I became overwhelmed. And one night, as I expressed this extreme overwhelm to my boyfriend, Wesley, I broke down into tears. I’m not a superhero. No one is. But for some reason our culture pushes us, especially women, to be and do everything. Well, I can’t be a (pet) mom, a business owner, a fulltime employee, and a homemaker all at the same time…. all to the absolute best standards. Sometimes you have to reassess and realize that doing a couple things to their fullest is much better than doing everything halfway.
“I’m not a superhero. No one is.”
And that’s what I decided. Take a step back and put my business on the back burner.
And that’s often true for artists. They get so excited about the prospect of prospering from their artistic passion that they forget to nurture the other areas of their lives. And that can hurt their relationships and their emotions. It’s a wonderful thing when I see a client take a step back and decide to focus on fewer life pursuits at a time. There’s no shame in putting something (whether it be your art, your marketing, your housework, your free time, etc) on the back burner. The key is to not ignore it completely. Give yourself a small amount of time each week or each month to pay attention to the back burner.
And let me just say, I’ve made that mistake with my art. I’ve put it on the back burner – and then never tended to it for months and months.
That’s no solution! A loose schedule will help you to not lose site of important aspects of your life. It may seem odd, but even scheduling family time can be helpful. Just remind yourself that every night from dinner until the kiddos’ bedtime, you’ll be all about your family. Then follow through. Shut the studio door, leave the laptop closed, and don’t even bring your sketchbook or any materials in the livingroom with you. Keep it focused on your family. These sorts of techniques give you the freedom to let go for a while and fully immerse yourself in what’s important at that very moment. Apply the same principle to any area of your life you may be putting on the back burner for the day, the week, the month, or even the year.
If you’re having trouble, I’m here for you. Share your Back Burner struggles and successes in the comments below!
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