How To Make Sure Procrastination Doesn’t Keep You From Your Best Work

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Marisa D. Aceves. Object 180. digital photography.

For additional examples of my work, check out the my website at http://www.acevesart.com/

Deep down inside, we all know we have to “get to work” to make our creative business a reality.

While many of us could come up with a variety of well worn excuses for why we can’t or shouldn’t work, work is necessary in order to create a sellable product.

However, when we work feverishly without rest, we can over think a problem and inadvertently “destroy” what is beautiful about our art.

So how can we avoid this aggravating situation and still remain productive in our studio?

What is the difference between “stepping away” from our work and “procrastination”?

When we “step away” from our work, we are simply taking some much needed time to properly assess whether or not certain elements of our work are coming together to form a successful, complete piece.

We can ask ourselves questions like:

a) Does the work reflect what we initially set out to say?

b) What can we correct about the piece?

c) What part of our work needs to remain intact?

“Stepping Away” is definitely a time for both proper judgement and reflection. It is different than procrastination because it serves a purpose. It is a brief, meaningful rest before you return to work; it is a momentary vacation not an eternal vacation.

The evil twin sister of “stepping away” is procrastination.

Webster’s dictionary defines procrastination as “The act or habit of procrastinatingor putting off to a future timedelaydilatoriness.”  

 “Procrastination” convinces us that we need to take a longer break than we really need.

Pretty soon everything else we’d rather be doing instead immediately takes priority over the hard work we must do in order to accomplish our artistic goals.

So how do we stop “procrastination”?

Here are some tips for how to avoid procrastination while allowing yourself some “stepping away” time.

1. Admit that you have a problem with procrastination 

Admitting that you have a tendency to procrastinate is key to addressing how to stop this common “time-stealing” habit.

2. Deal with the reason/s why you procrastinate 

There are several reasons why people procrastinate.  Your reason/s for procrastinating may be different than you neighbors’, but the point is that you understand why you procrastinate so you can address these issues.

Here are some common reasons for procrastination:

a) Fear – Sometimes we fear rejection if we perceive that people won’t like our work. We may fear tasks that require technical expertise that we do not yet possess or understand so we put them off. If we never put our work on display so that the public can view it, no one know that our work exists. If we fear complicated technical tasks that we do not understand, it is better to ask for help in these areas so that we don’t miss out on the opportunity to expose our work to different audiences on different platforms.

b) Lack of Motivation or Inspiration – We may procrastinate believing that we need to ‘feel’ motivated or inspired to work on our art or creative business, but this simply is not the case. Avoidance tactics based on depression only leads to more depression because we have not made any attempts or taken any small steps to complete our goals. We are still in effect right where we started.

c) Low-Self Confidence – If we are not very confident in our abilities to perform a task or learn a new skill, we may consistently put important tasks off rather than face personal failure. Confidence is increased with familiarity. Once we become more familiar with a task, we become more confident in our abilities to complete that particular task.  When we continue to avoid the tasks we know we need to face, we never gain the skills that are necessary for success in whatever area we wish to pursue.

d)Perfectionism- We all would like to experience the joy of being considered an expert in something.  Many of us want to do the very best that we can. However when we set expectations that are too high for our skills at the time, we may find ourselves procrastinating because we believe that if we can’t do it like the experts, it’s just not worth doing.  This belief is both false and detrimental because you don’t become an expert without time and practice. We are all beginners at one point in our lives. There is no shame in admitting this.

3. Create a work schedule – Creating a work schedule helps you to organize the tasks ahead so that you do not become overwhelmed with what you have to do during the day, week, and month.  When you know what you are going to be doing at a certain time of the day, this lessens your anxiety and fear.

4. Divide large tasks into small actionable goals – Breaking large goals up into smaller goals helps you to both gain confidence and a sense of accomplishment.  As you begin to achieve each small task, you gain confidence and your depression about not getting things done begins to lift.

 5. Set up a specific time for each task – When you set a specific time for each task, you make yourself accountable for getting to work in that period of time. As you work, you will notice how you use your time, you can then address how you can improve time management issues.

While “procrastination” can seem like an insurmountable problem, with a positive attitude and a willingness to address the issue, you can overcome it.

 

Artist Sources: Procrastination Info 

1. Procrastination Help :: How to Stop Procrastinating

2. Procrastination Help Courses

3. Stop Procrastinating – The 21 Day Program to Break The Habit 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fastest Way To Nowhere: Creating Without Intention

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Marisa D. Aceves. Satellite 3: Uncharted Landscape: Dune 1. Digital Photography. 2014

Check out the rest of the Satellite 3 Series at http://www.acevesart.com/

Let’s face it, when it comes to creating art, sometimes we encounter a serious mental or emotional block.

When we’re desperate for answers to our general lack of enthusiasm and productivity, we search the internet for websites, blogs, art magazines etc. that are willing to address this issue.

Eventually, we discover a general pattern in the advice that we receive from some of these sources.

This particular advice is as follows: “Always show up each day to work in your studio. Don’t be afraid to play with your materials to get over the fear of creating art.”

However helpful this advice may seem, it is only useful if you consider one very important point:

All the playing and experimenting in the world won’t help you unless you create with intention.

What is “creating with intention?”

When you create with intention, you create with a specific artistic goal in mind before you begin experimenting with your materials.

This particular goal will help you to define how and in what way you play and experiment with your materials.

For example, let’s say that you want to create a series of  urban landscape paintings, but you are unsure as to what colors that you want to use. You might play/experiment with color scheme in order to decide what type of mood that you wanted to convey with your work.  Executing small painting studies with several different variations of either warm or cool colors might help you to achieve this goal.  Painting studies might also be used to determine which composition you find most interesting or pleasing etc.

In these two examples, “playing/experimenting” would be considered effective in determining the final version of  your urban landscape paintings.

In the above example, I used painting, but this same concept could be applied to a variety of different mediums, sculpture, photography, drawing and digital art.

There are some people who say that it is “freeing and fun” to just paint or create without any worry or concern about the end result, but I disagree with them. Sooner or later, you will be driven to seek meaning and purpose in your work.

When you finally do decide to create work that you want to share with the world, you will find that you can’t do so without both an adequate understanding of the basic foundations of all successful art (line, form, shape, composition, etc.) and a specific goal in mind.

Creating without intention is to create without purpose.  While that may have it’s momentary joys, creating with intention, (though sometimes challenging) is far more rewarding.

If you have any questions about this post please let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Why Art Career Disappointments Can Actually Help You Build A Better Business

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Marisa D. Aceves. Crimson Well 4. Digital Photography

 click here to checkout the rest of the series

Sometimes we just want to live a life of convenience.

Often we rush around in a variety of different directions trying to recover valuable bits of art business wisdom from across the web.

After stressing ourselves to the point of extreme frustration,we long for someone out there to put all the information we are seeking in one place.

When it appears that someone actually has attempted to take the mystery out of some of our greatest business struggles we jump on the opportunity to learn, but leaping without looking first can sometimes get us into a lot of trouble.

At the very least, we find ourselves in the wrong environment for our particular type of business.

In the most extreme cases, we slowly discover that in a mad effort to network, we are attached to people who’s core beliefs, morals and values do not match our own.

If the later happens, we are faced with the difficult decision of figuring out how we are going to politely separate ourselves from them without stepping on toes, bruising egos and burning bridges.

Nevertheless, only we can decide what is right for our particular business.

Yes, we may feel disappointed when certain opportunities and the people presenting those opportunities are not the “perfect fit” that we initially hoped they would be, but in the end, these experiences leave us with a clearer view of what we don’t want our business to project.

When we recognize what is not good for our business, we can then discover what is good for our business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Banish Self-Doubt So You Can Achieve Your Creative Vision

"An abstract photograph of an ordinary household object"
Marisa D. Aceves. Satellite 3: Uncharted Landscape Composition 2. Digital Photography. 2014.

(Abstract photography from the Satellite series) To check out the rest of the series visit http://www.acevesart.com/

Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of pursuing another medium like branching out into mixed media work (ex. mixed media painting, mixed media sculpture, installation etc.) or alternative media (ex. video, digital art etc.) but every time that you dared to consider a direction less familiar your head suddenly fills with mental movie clips of naysayers, tremendous obstacles and absolute failure to succeed.

As if this were not enough, your personal artistic adventurer/explorer is further quashed by exhibition deadlines, less than stellar time management and a host of weekly family activities.

Does this mirror your present situation?

If so, here are some suggestions that will help you keep your sanity, manage your time, and stop the insecure thoughts that are holding you back:

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #1:  I know absolutely nothing about the new medium/mediums that I want to work in; if I attempt to produce a piece of artwork using this medium/mediums, I’ll just screw it up!!!

 

Possible Solution:

A. Research The Medium You Plan To Use For Your Piece

a1.  Research the history of the medium

b1.  Research the application of the materials or various techniques that can be applied when using these materials. (For example if you are a photographer researching ceramic sculpture because you wanted to do a public project using ceramics as part of your installation piece , you might research certain techniques used in ceramics like slab construction, coil construction or carving clay).

c1. Research art pieces that have used this medium/mediums.  You may want to research other artists who are experts or specialize in using this medium/mediums. Take note of the works that have the most impact.  Ask yourself why?

 

B.  Enlist help or Outsource

b1.  Research artists and professionals that have experience working with the medium/mediums

c1.  Try to make contact with these professionals and ask them what their rates are?  What do they charge for employing them to help with certain tasks or parts of the piece.  When you are comfortable with the price range that is within your budget, then communicate with the professional about what you want to do with the project you are pursuing.  What is the piece about?  Is the work you need done simple or does it require a high level of skills?  The better you communicate what you want and need the professional to do, the easier it will be to complete the piece.

 

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #2:  How can I create work in another medium if I don’t have the budget?

Possible Solution:

A. Start Small

Who says that you have to create a huge, life-changing piece.  When you create a small (tester piece), you can focus on learning how to use the material that you have researched effectively.

B. Create a List of Weekly Expenses

Make a list or chart of weekly expenses.  This way you can see how your money is being spent, where it is going, and where you can cut back.  For example, look at the money you spend on extracurricular activities and see if you can use half of that to fund your project.

C.  Raise funds for your project

Set up a fundraiser to raise money for your project/projects. This can be done locally or through social media crowd funding websites.

 

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #3: Nobody will like the new piece/pieces of artwork; My clients won’t understand what I am trying to do.

Possible Solution:

A.  Everything Involves Risk

When you have found something successful that has worked for you, it is scary to think that your latest passion may not be received the way you would have initially envisioned.  Continue producing what sells while trying to find alternative ways to market your work in this new medium.  Your continued success in the medium in which you are familiar will offset any initial rejection or cool reception of the pieces produced in the new medium/mediums.

B. Market Your Work To A Different Audience Using Social Media

This helps to expose your work to people that are unfamiliar with what you do.  So they are less likely to judge you based on your past work and the medium in which it is produced.

C. Consider dealing with the same subject matter and themes that you deal with in the medium in which you have experience. Then you can tie your old work and your new work in a different medium together using theme.  This theme based work will help your present collectors to more easily identify with your work in this new medium.

 

SELF DOUBT THOUGHT/THOUGHTS #4: I don’t have enough time to pursue another medium.

Possible Solution:

A. Make A Time Chart

Look at your present schedule.  How do you allocate time in your day for each item on your to-do list? Try to see if there are any open spaces of time that you could use for your new project.

B. Enlist family members to help with chores

Ask your son, daughter or spouse to cook for you some days or take out the trash. You’d be surprised, even the smallest, simplest tasks take up precious time that  you could be using to do research and to create your new work.

C. Outsource

Outsource time consuming jobs like sending your packets out to galleries, updating your website and writing copy to an assistant, intern or freelancer.

When you attack self doubt with action steps to solve the problem/problems you are worried about, you begin to see the possibilities.  Tasks seem easier to conquer.  Dreams seem attainable when approached in small steps.

*If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to contact me.  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways to Market Your Art Using Video

Marisa D. Aceves, Satellite 2: Valley 2, digital photography
Marisa D. Aceves, Satellite 2: Valley 2, digital photography 

Sharing your artwork with the world is not only an inherent need for most artists…

It is a marketing necessity.

When you film your art, you are providing art collectors, fans, and students with a window into your studio experience.  The internet provides a variety of social platforms that can help you increase your visibility and customer base.

Do you know how to use them both safely and effectively?

Here are some simple suggestions for how you can market your work using video without subjecting yourself to theft and copyright infringement:

1. Mastering Medium Specific DIY Demonstrations – Instead of taping your artistic process from start to finish, consider creating demonstrations on how to master basic skills and techniques that relate to the medium that you are most familiar with.  For instance, if you are a painter, you may want to video tape a demonstration on how to mix oil paints or how to apply glazing methods.  The beauty of video demonstrations is that they don’t have to be long detailed productions. Make sure to provide a link to your main website.  If other artists find your demonstrations useful, they just may decide to visit your website on a regular basis. This could help increase traffic to your website and therefore increase your visibility on the web.

2. Tapping Into The Hidden Potential of The Artist Webinar – If you have ever dreamed of teaching a room full of eager, bright, wide-eyed students, then artist webinars are for you. You don’t have to send an application for employment to your local university, the internet is your university and your the professor.  All  you need is a camera and an eagerness to share your knowledge with others. While most workshops are held at specific physical locations, webinars (a live workshop, seminar and presentation rolled up into one) can be made available to whomever signs up for enrollment. 

3. Sharing Your Unique Artistic Experience Through Video blogging – Video blogging offers your audience the experience of a “sit-down conversation” with you that regular blogging does not.  You can share your inspiration for a painting, sculpture, photography series etc.  This particular style of blogging is especially appealing to people who feel uncomfortable with writing about their business, but love to tell stories or chat with people. Your customers, students, and admirers get a chance to see the face behind the work.  This helps them to relate to you on a completely different level and can increase interest in you and the type of work that you produce.

While doing something a little different, can be scary at times, the risk is worth it as long as you look before you leap.  With all of these video suggestions, it is helpful if you put yourself on a schedule and come up with a sound marketing strategy before you attempt to promote your work in this manner.

Note:   A “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” approach is never a good idea. It is important that you are organized and are aware of the information that you want to share with your audience.  If you fail to present the information in a clear, concise manner, people may become confused about what you are trying to say and leave your site.

*If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, feel free to contact me!  I’d love to hear from you!

 

  

Are You Giving Your Art Career Away? The Possible Perils of Filming Your Process

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written by Marisa D. Aceves

Your creative process not only helps to make your work unique and marketable…

It is the life blood of your art career.

It is a precious gem that helps you to stand out from a myriad of other artists that are competing for the same gallery showing, artist publication covers etc.

So why would you simply give your trade secrets away by filming every brush stroke, chisel or camera technique from start to finish?

Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?

…or DOES IT???

Though this particular marketing strategy, may appear to be a good idea at first, consider who really benefits from this not-so-subtle form of advertising…

The answer just may surprise you.

WHY FILMING YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS CAN PUT YOU AT RISK?

Giving your style away is like giving away your originality!

Why should visitors and collectors come by your blog and website if they can find several other artists working in the same style and genre.

Consider these points before you film your art business out of existence:

1. Filming your creative process can expose you to theft from other artists 

For example…

a) From an artist with an “end-justifies-the means” mentality who only cares about making sales…

b) An art student that has to complete a project, but has no ideas…

c) A well known artist who has run out of ideas,

Someone can steal your style and subject matter and present them as their own.

Depending on how far along you are in your art career, this can destroy you and your ability to earn money from your art. Especially, if the artist that steals from you is well known and you are in the beginning stages of getting your work out to the public.

Who will they believe then?

A scrappy yet talented underdoggie or an artist with numerous publication covers and awards under their their big boy belt buckle?

We both know the answer to that one!

2. Filming your creative process can expose you to theft from designer art companies

When this particular scenario happens, and it does happen more often than we’d like to think, large companies selling designer artwork (paintings, sculpture, photography etc.) make money off of YOUR hard work.

They are allowed to get away with this because unless your work is copyrighted and protected by law, it’s fair game.

It’s public information.

It’s free content.

Anyone that is trained at copying the work of other artists can watch the video footage you took of your process (start to finish) and steal from you without getting caught.

The work is sold through a large company at rock bottom prices. The copiers that reproduce your work, usually go anonymous.

Even if your work is protected by law and you are able to report an obvious case of copyright infringement, if the theft occurs from a company outside of your country, it will make it even more difficult to take the guilty party to court.

In the mean time, you have probably lost thousands of dollars in future profits.

Not a good place to be!

However…

Sharing an appropriate amount of information (without giving away your secrets) could both increase your visibility on the internet, and help your present and future clients to better understand the reasons why you create your art.

*For more information about your rights,copyright infringement and protecting your work please check out these helpful Artist Resources:

1) Legal Guide for the Visual Artist,Fifth Edition by Tad Crawford

2) Photographer’s Survival Manual: A Legal Guide for Artists in the Digital Age (Lark Photography Book) by Edward C. Greenberg and Jack Reznicki

3) Art Law: The Guide for Collectors, Artists, Investors, Dealers, and Artists (2 Volume Set) by Ralph E. Lerner and Judith Bresler

Next week…

NEXT WEEK….3 Ways To Market Your Art Using Video

NOT IN MY INBOX! Warning: Not Every Opportunity Is A Good Opportunity Part 2

Abstract photography
Satellite Series: Uncharted Landscape – Purple Canyon, abstract photography

Last week, we covered marketing tactics that make our email experience a little less pleasant, Ranting and Storytelling with few tips. If you missed out on last weeks post, click here to read Part 1!

This week, we will cover SCHOOLYARD BULLY(ING) and PUSHY PEPPERMINT PATTY(ING):

SCHOOLYARD BULLY(ING):

This tough, tell-it-like-it-is marketing approach might appeal to you initially, especially if you are seeking specific information about sales or networking etc. and are sick of people giving you the “run around.”  However, what seems to be a “light a fire under your butt” great idea to increase your overall motivation and productivity quickly descends into an unwelcome barrage of verbal abuse.  It all starts with those irresistibly sarcastic “in-your-face” headlines that somehow you just have to click. You do click, because you must! Then after you read the article that does have some helpful advice, you can’t shake the feeling that you’re being bullied into action by the marketer.  At some point in our lives, we do have to come to terms with the fact that we may have to correct some bad habits that keep us from performing to the best of our ability.  Still, if we subscribe to a business service with the plan that eventually, we might make a purchase, the last thing we want to do as potential customers is to leave with a feeling of utter embarrassment and defeat.  Schoolyard bullying is especially cruel because it uses reverse psychology to point the finger at the subscriber when they start asking questions or have legitimate concerns.  The subscriber is made to feel that the very act of their seeking help means that they are a hopeless, wimpy loser that doesn’t deserve success in their field unless they put up with the “persistent tongue-lashings” of the marketer.  Why put up with abuse you will eventually pay for in dollars.  Unless you are a “glutton for punishment” find a kinder, gentler professional who can firmly guide you and answer all questions respectfully.

PUSHY PEPPERMINT PATTY(ING)

This funny, bubbly marketer wins you over with their sly wit and down-to-earth style.  At first, they fill your in-box with me-too emails, perhaps in the hope that if you can relate to them as another human being, you’ll want to buy from them later.  Then, when they’ve slowly weaseled their way into you mind and heart, they hit you with helpful business links and some packages that they know you’ll want to buy.  Many of these business packages are affiliate marketing links of course and some of these are quite expensive.  You are on a budget and just getting started with your business, so in general, you are not financially independent enough to take advantage of the leads that they send you.  Yet it seems that the whole purpose of seeking a subscription to help your small business grow is so that you can achieve financial independence.  Now you begin to realize something that had not initially occurred to you before.  Perhaps your subscription to their business blog is so that THEY can gain financial independence on the last “bottom dollar” of the struggling individuals seeking their help! LOL, you new business BFF is their own best friend not yours.  File this away for future reference and find yourself a more affordable option.

There are probably several other examples of annoying marketing schemes that we almost fall for until we notice the signs that something just isn’t right.  As time goes on and we empty our crowded inboxes, many of us will eventually discover that we are not alone. We do not have to be victims of internet deception. Taking a more proactive approach and familiarizing ourselves and others with the scams that are out there can help us all avoid future grief and frustration at the hands of the latest wave of scammers.

*If you have any comments regarding this article or advice you’d like to share with others, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

7 Art Myths That Kill Creativity

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*Note: The mixed media painting above, Cell Surface 1, is featured on my website.  Feel free to check it out at acevesart.com.

Creativity.

Humanity has never found the perfect formula.

We paint.

We draw.

We photograph.

We sculpt.

Art is our life.

It is not a choice, it is simply who we are.

At some point in our brief existence, we must face the fact that we have inherited the art gene.

Geneticists cannot find it.

It is invisible.

Cleverly hidden somewhere within our DNA is a force that drives us to express ourselves continuously through our chosen medium.

It is insatiable.

It wants love.

It wants beauty.

It wants to capture a spark of the divine.

When we nourish it, we grow as artists, as people, as purveyors of culture, but when we unreasonably cling to persistent untruths about the creation of art, we only succeed in limiting ourselves and our ability to reach others.  

Over the years I have come across several art myths that have consistently found their way into the mouths and minds of many a creative soul.  Here are just a few to kill:

1) You Have To Whip Out An Artwork A Day To Be Productive

Many artists feel additional pressure to produce “genius on demand.”  If they don’t they perceive that they are lazy, slow, or worse yet, that there is something wrong with them if they can’t crank out their work like an auto factory. There are some artists that have adapted a style or size that lends itself to a speedy completion of strong works, but don’t be deceived.  Often it takes years of practice and study to get to this point.  Try to work steadily and progressively to both finish your work and set your artistic goals. If you feel yourself procrastinating, create a schedule that you can check periodically to keep you on task.  Meet small goals first, then try to reach larger ones. Always remember, quantity is better than quality.  Sometimes, things just take time.

2) You Should Only Work In One Medium

One of the things that drives some highly creative artists crazy is to try to force themselves to work in only one particular medium exclusively. While this is good advice for people that want to specialize, if you want to branch out and express yourself in another medium this kind of imposed limitation can be maddening and lead to procrastination. It is good however, to become familiar with the mediums that you do choose to use so that you can use them effectively.  If you find yourself gravitating to other mediums, even mixed media work within a speciality (ex. mixed media painting, sculpture, installation, etc.)then make sure to take some time to explore that.  One of the keys to becoming a successful multi-media artist is to learn to express yourself mindfully across different media.

3) Only Unsuccessful Artists Become Teachers

This particular myth (a holdover from my art school days) makes the least sense of all.  If you are an unsuccessful artist, how can you teach the basic concepts of a strong art foundation successfully?  Realistically, it is just not going to happen. Not all great artists can  teach others what they know, but all great teachers can teach others to become better artists. Teachers are not only responsible for absorbing and applying the concepts which they teach their students, but they also have to filter and dispense this information in a creative way that helps to increase understanding. So give them all a hand and a little respect.

4) Just Mess Around With The Materials And See Where It Takes You

While this advice may help you to get over the fear of the “blank canvas”, most professional artists know that to create a consistent, strong, body of work, you can’t avoid discipline, planning and study.  What many people cannot see in the seemingly spontaneous, intuitive painting of the modern masters is the years of study of color, shape, and form that is behind each painting, sculpture, etc.

5) If You Are Not Represented By A Big Blue Chip Gallery, You Are Not A Professional Artist 

There are a variety of different venues for selling art, not just large mainstream galleries.  Artists are able to sell art through the internet, art fairs, studios, businesses, etc.  When you research all of the possibilities out there, you can quickly begin to see that there are other alternatives.

6) Create Great Work, Then You’ll Be Discovered

Rarely is this one true. Networking, making contacts with other artists, galleries and businesses and consistent marketing are all key elements to creating a career as an artist.  Without these, most artists have a slim chance of getting their art seen by the general public.

7) Every Work That You Produce Has To Be A Masterpiece

If we all went by this standard, many of us would never create at all.  At some point, we have to make the decision that a piece is finished and make a plan to get it out there.  There is no such thing as perfection.  Launching is the hardest part.  Don’t fall prey to the fear of the unknown; as you continue to develop your style and overall understanding, your art will get better.

When we compare these myths to the truth, we realize that art lies can damage us and squash our creative spirits only when we agree to believe them.

* Please feel free to share your own experience/s.  I would love to hear from you.

Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

Now What? : 5 Tips For Dealing With Anxiety In The Fine Arts

Do you have the urge to create, but you don’t know were to begin?
Are nagging fears and insecurities holding you back from creating your best work?

Many artists at some point in their lives experience what is commonly referred to as performance anxiety. This is a period when our negative thoughts and feelings try to engage us in a long drawn out battle for supremacy. If we let them win, they deprive us of a satisfying career and a lifetime of creative discovery. Sometimes we do not always know the specific reasons why we avoid approaching certain subjects or mediums, but what is at the core of all artistic performance anxiety is fear. We fear failure. We fear not meeting our own expectations. We fear how others may view our work. This generally results in avoidance tactics, procrastination, and unfinished work.

Whether you’re an enthusiastic beginner or a seasoned professional, these tips will help you to overcome your fear of creativity:

1. Read Magazines That Specifically Target Your Chosen Medium: Perhaps by studying the work of other artists, you can eventually find alternative solutions to the problems that frustrate you and keep you from finishing your work.

2. Create Additional Work in A Medium That Is Familiar: For example, if you are struggling with expressing yourself in sculpture, but you are great in photography, then produce a photo essay. The temporary move to working in a medium in which you are proficient will help to offset the anxiety you feel about the medium you are learning to work with.

3. Perform Another Task Unrelated To Art: When you feel like pulling your hair out over some compositional problem, try performing another task you have on your to-do list. Take out the garbage, wash clothes, garden, etc. This helps to give you a sense of accomplishment and temporarily takes you away from work problems that are stealing your peace.

4. Ask A Friend,Colleague, or Mentor For Help: If you have a good friend or know a colleague or mentor that has a lot of knowledge about the medium that is adding to you anxiety, maybe they can offer helpful advice and suggestions.

5. Spend Time With Family: Time away from the source of frustration can help you to approach the subject from a fresh perspective while allowing you to calm down and problem-solve.

It’s important that you enjoy creating art; a decent plan for working through your anxiety will help you to increase your motivation and productivity.

If know of any other tips that have helped you overcome anxiety, please share. I’d love to hear from you!

 

The Positives Of Going Negative: Exploring Photo Negatives And Their Endless Possibilities

The Positives Of Going Negative: Exploring Photo Negatives And Their Endless Possibilities

Several months ago, I was working on a series of photographs of regular household objects that utilized the negative mode on my small camera phone. Photo negatives force us to look at shape and form in a completely different light. This is what makes them a positive source for creativity and study. As I have discussed before in one of my previous posts, I like to use the camera in my phone because it is lightweight, compact, and easily accessible. The artwork featured above entitled “Spectrum 1”, is a photograph taken using this negative mode. In addition, I used light photo editing to enhance its’ color and clarity. The results were unexpected, but strangely beautiful and otherworldly. I decided to continue with this series as it offers yet another view of the overlooked objects that surround me on a daily basis. In my time on the internet, I have had the rare privilege of viewing the most extraordinary photographs. I have gathered inspiration from photographs that employed photoshopping software and ones that did not. There are photographers that prefer a pure, straightforward approach to the photograph, continuously refining their craft through careful and considerate study. Others dive head on into the wonderful world of digital photoshopping softwares, always in search of new and innovative ways to expand their ever growing artistic vision. I personally believe there is a place for both types of photography. I appreciate them equally. Pure straight forward photos (black and white and color) are captivating and unforgettable. Works that involve photoshopping software in their production are wildly creative and often original in their approach to color, shape and form. While their is always room for refinement of our technical skills both with and without the use of software, it is always nice to know that these tools are readily available.
If you would like to share your thoughts on this subject, I would love to hear from you.