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How Irreplaceable Are You? A Creative Mindset That Shapes Selling Your Art

How Irreplaceable Are You? A Creative Mindset That Shapes Selling Your Art

It’s really not important if you want to create great art, good art, or just-for-the-heck-of-it art. The last thing I want to imply in my previous “Great Art” blog is that great art is automatically the goal. 

Maybe yes, maybe, no—either way it’s not a judgment, it’s a description of one art career possibility, which may or may not be how you roll.  

Some artists find great satisfaction in creating for the sake of creating. For others, the joy is in knowing that other people also find their work a distinct pleasure. While for most, selling art is the high point, the ultimate happy dance in their ArtLife. 

However, if making great art is a deep, closely-held yearning inside you, I want to make sure you don’t think of it as a futile exercise in subjective reality or the coveted stamp of approval from others. 

There are steps you can take (See: What Makes Great Art Great ). And while the markers of complexity, mystery, and mastery won’t assure you of greatness, at the very least they will give you a place to lean into. 

Theres no ignoring your artistic fingerprint impact

If you want your work to make an impact, there is one other, inescapable requirement you can’t ignore: Your Artistic Fingerprint, aka voice (except you don’t sing), style (except you aren’t walking a runway), etc.  

And discovering your Artistic Fingerprint is the beginning of a creative mindset that will impact everything connected with selling your art. 

Your Creative Mindset: The Irreplaceable You Behind Selling Your Art 

All of us carry a deep-seated awareness that we are unique. As Mr. Rodgers slid in or out of his sweater, he liked to remind all of us that “you’re special just the way you are.” 

And yet, for a whole host of artists, intentionally, consciously connecting the dots between the uniqueness of their artwork, and the uniqueness of who they are, seems to be a uniquely challenging mindset-hill to climb. 

While for many other artists, it seems almost impossible to grasp the difference between the skillful execution of a piece, with its accompanying creative high, and offering the world a you-and-only-you, slice of your soul. 

How many still-life fruit platters have you seen that could have been painted by any of a hundred different artists? 

How many barnyards? Or rolling hills? 

How many have you seen that could have been painted by only one? 

And which do you remember long after the curtain has closed? 

how do you bring the irreplaceable you into your art

In 2024, with the 24/7, online presence of so many artists, there’s a cornucopia of artists who have an established artistic fingerprint. David Hockney is one, whose folding screen, Caribbean Tea Time (1987), offers the shape of his piece as uniquely his, along with his painterly execution. And then there is one of my favorites, Christina Quarles, who uses digital and hands-on techniques to give us content that challenges our sense of self. 

The biggest-ticket deal took place in the first hours, with a, selling for €580,000 (about $616,00) via Galerie Lelong & Co. 

What does it take to bring the irreplaceable you into your art? 

What is the creative mindset you need to… 

  1. Recognize, and name, your artistic fingerprint so it becomes part of your overall artist identity? 
  1. Be open to where you are developmentally as an artist, and where on that path your artistic fingerprint is… 

The Battle For Creative License  

For some artists, their fingerprint has always been with them, from the beginning. They know it and others see it. It’s as if these artists have a direct lifeline to their creative soul that doesn’t waver. 

For others, an artistic fingerprint is not so obvious.  

I remember one woman coming up to gallery owner, in a workshop he was leading, to ask if she had a “distinctive style.” I was peeking over her shoulder where she was flipping through image after image in her portfolio; each one indelibly hers. I found it  puzzling that she couldn’t see the visual evidence right in front of her. 

For other artists, one look at the dozens of pieces on their website and you’ll see an artist all over the place: different techniques, different styles, with little or nothing connecting them to the artist. 

These artists, I’ve discovered, are fairly prickly when you talk about an artistic fingerprint. Immediately, they start defending their right to creative freedom, as if you’ve just told them they have to paint the same 3 pears, arranged in the same way in a chipped blue bowl, for the rest of their lives. 

For other artists, their creativity is on an indulgent roll with sculpture vying for space in their buyers heads with the oil paintings vying for space with the silkscreens vying for space with the jewelry… you get the idea. 

And in the majority of these cases, it’s not that there’s a problem with what they are doing, only with what the artist assumes can happen with what they are doing: sustainable, long-term, commercial success. 

Not going to happen.  

What might happen is sporadic sales and lots of ohhs and ahhs from friends and family, which only strengthen the artist’s resolve to keep what they see as a right to unshackled creative freedom. 

Then there are artists who do want that artistic fingerprint (aka signature style, aka artist voice) and do want their work to have an impact, and their vision to have a following, only they aren’t sure how to go about it. 

what if you dont know if you have an artistic fingerprint

What if you don’t know if you have a fingerprint and you want one to help sell your art 

Or you think you have a fingerprint, but aren’t confident about it? 

This is exactly the predicament one of my private clients had when she first came to me.  

She had been painting for years with a solid handle on technique. But she felt stuck and unsure about what she was painting. It was as if her creative soul was knock, knock, knocking on a closed door, and she knew it. 

Once we delved into coaching, she was savvy enough to recognize that the missing piece for selling her art and expanding her career was a clear and conscious artistic fingerprint. 

And she was genuinely confused about what her artistic fingerprint might be. 

five steps of her artistic fingerprint journey

Here are the five steps of her artistic fingerprint journey that we discovered together. Notice how each step builds on the previous one, and where her creative mindset came into play: 

Step 1. We studied her work to identify areas that drew a consistent response from her viewers. Where were people moved? What did they say that stayed with her? Where was she moved? What stayed with her after leaving the studio? 

Step 2. Once those areas were identified, we isolated them from the rest of the painting, and then lined these up so we could see them individually and as a group. What were the common elements in areas of color, technique, subject matter, perspective, etc. 

Step 3. After identifying, and most critically naming the common elements, this artist began the hard work of asking herself “What does it mean to me when I do X?” For example, she had multiple areas in multiple paintings where she used her palette knife to create spider-web lines between areas on the canvass. 

Step 4. Asking “What does it mean?” included writing exercises, keeping a dream journal beside her bed, and an art journal beside her in the studio. First, she set up the direct intention to understand her artistic fingerprint, and then used the exercises and journals to help her pay attention to what her sub-conscious was revealing. 

Step 5.  A key practice, which helps create conscious awareness, was digging for the specific words or phrases that accurately described the recurring elements in her work that might relate to a common theme… which, surprise, surprise, they did! 

Each of these five steps was incorporated into our coaching dialogue, which is critical to the Artistic Fingerprint Discovery. Without a dialogue, you are asking the eye to see the eye. 

And, yes, not everyone has an art career coach, I understand. But this process can work quite well without a coach in your corner. 

If you don’t have a coach, choose someone in your community whose artistic sensibilities you trust and who will understand what you are going for. Someone who will be a sounding board for your own developing awareness. Stay clear of anyone who might use this as an opportunity to show off or become a critic.  

Artistic fingerprints are the soft underbelly of our creative ArtLife. The direct flow between your work and your creative soul depends upon the willingness and courage to be raw and vulnerable. And this, in large part, needs the appropriate personal boundaries and safeguards in place so vulnerability becomes risky enough to break through old patterns, but safe enough to stay real.  

discovering your artistic fingerprint is the ultimate paradox

When you step into the artistic fingerprint mindset, you’ll find your fingerprint is already a seamless part of all that you know, in your heart, to be true about you and your work. 

Your Artistic Fingerprint Embodies All That Is Spiritual in Selling Your Art 

I know that selling your art does not lend itself very well to the philosophical, esoteric, or spiritual. But in human reality, the philosophical, esoteric, and spiritual are always humming in the background. 

Here’s an excerpt from one artist coaching session that illustrates this perfectly, where the act of painting becomes a kind of prayer to All That Is: 

Artist: The paint is telling me what it wants to express. And then I look at it and realize, “Oh, this is the message that was coming through for me.”  

For example, in one of my seascapes what’s attracting me to a particular scene with its colors and light is a message about the human experience throughout the web of life. How we are connected with each other, and with the source of universal energy that energizes us and gives us strength, and this in turn gives us our sense of purpose in life. 

Every artist I’ve ever met has told me that, at some point in their creative practice, they experienced moments where they felt elevated, expansive, as if their very being had entered a timeless, seamless flow where there was literally no difference between themselves, the piece they were working on, and the process of creating. It was all One. 

The universality of this experience goes unquestioned. And yet, each artist’s creative efforts have pulled from this realm a piece that looks unlike any other piece anywhere. Creative paradox. 

Artistic fingerprints, aka your artist voice, also hold this intriguing, creative paradox: like the fingerprints on our fingers, they are at once unique and universal–always a fingerprint yet never the same. 

They also represent one of the creative responsibilities of choosing to be an artist—“responsibility,” not as duty or code for the British stiff-upper-lip, but responsibility to share our truth, as only we can know and experience. 

What’s magical is: when you give yourself permission to mine your own depths for authenticity and that which is truly yours, you lead the way for others to know themselves in equal measure.  

Whether or not they take you up on that is their business. Yours is to always shine the light on your Original True Self. 


I’d love to know what challenges have come from your journey with your artistic fingerprint… 

Ariane Goodwin's signature file


    Selling Your Art 2024, The Artist Statement, and Instagram

    Selling Your Art 2024, The Artist Statement, and Instagram

    Does the artist statement help you in selling your art? Besides vibing on Instagram, your artist statement improves the process for selling your art in 20 other places. 

    When I stumbled upon artist statements it was 1992. The Internet was barely off breast feeding. Twitter didn’t exist, much less its decadent descendent.  

    In 2002, when my artist statement book first came out, the art world reserved career for an artist who had died (and were “given” a career retrospective), or a famous, old, alive artist also being “given” a career retrospective. 

    At that time in our culture, the collective perspective of artists was moving away from the maverick outsider to the more accepted, business person, albeit one with a flair. At that same time, the artist statement was an elusive element in an artist’s portfolio that no one considered overly consequential (including artists), much less worthy of a whole book. 

    In 2002, all that changed with the first edition of Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work,

    In 2002, all that changed with the first edition of Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work, where I uncovered the logical, practical, and reversible flaws in the artist statement resistance movement. You know the one… where artists proclaim with bravado that they have nothing to say that someone can’t already see in the work. 

    Never mind that this was silly on its face since what the artist sees and what a viewer sees, in spite of any overlap, is essentially a deeply personal “seeing” that arises out of the unique experiences of each individual. 

    Spin forward into 2007, when I realized that, for artists, the concept of selling your art had zero professional support. So, I created and produced held the first smARTist Telesummit conference for visual artists. Over the next six years, thousands of artists from 16 countries and over 40 US states, attended the first ever, annual, online, 7-day, art-career conference.  

    At the time, art, artist, and career were culturally clipped by a perceived incompatibility because career was reserved for a certain class made up of doctors, lawyers, educators, etc. 

    The collective WE had already concluded that Artists were too… flaky, too creative (i.e., not dependable), independent (i.e., not stable), marched to the tune of their own drummer (i.e., not reliable)…starving (by definition)…and certifiably crazy (you know, the Van-Gogh-minus-one-ear syndrome)… you get the vibe. 

    The sad part back then in 2007?  

    Artists got the same vibe. And so, as self-fulfilling prophecies always go, artists failed to considered themselves career viable. A business, yes, as artists began wrestling with the idea that they could at least sell their art if they had the right venue, usually galleries or local art fairs. 

    Now, in 2024, all of this has changed. Search online for “art career coaches,” and they are everywhere. In 2007, there were only a handful of us. 

    Search online for art career and you’ll come up with a plethora. Back in 2007, all you would find is one or two “art career retrospectives,” or art as a career in other fields: design, education, cartoons, etc.  

    But now, in 2024, Instagram has turned visual fine art into a financially viable career with coach after coach focused on selling your art to the exclusion of anything else that might, or might not, be part of your viable art career. 

    Some argue, now, that the artist statement is no longer needed. It’s passé. Some galleries don’t even require it. Well, that’s not new. Some galleries, even before Instagram, resisted and questioned the need for artist statements—a standpoint I logically wrestle to the ground in my book.  

    Here’s what you need to know: Artist statements deliver a fundamental function that impacts how well you are selling your art, which the current naysayers are thoughtlessly ignoring.  

    A unique-to-only-you artist statement can never go out of style in the same way your art isn’t going out of style. Fashion… style… trends… these come and go. But the language of your soul remains as authentic and engaging today as it will 500 years from now in 2524. 

    The trick is to understand how to use your artist statement in any venue.

    The trick is to understand how to use your artist statement in any venue. 

    Let’s take Instagram for starters, and answer this question:  

    why use an artist statement on instagram

    Here’s three: 

    1. It lets you vibe with your social media followers so the word-language of your Original Self becomes as consistent and strong as the visual-language of your art.  
    2. It gives you a signature-language bond between art, artist, and audience that encourages more engagement because it reveals the true spirit of your work. 
    3. Once written, it can be repurposed, expanded or miniaturized, and adapted for multiple channels. 

    Even on Instagram, it’s a rare artist who throws up an image, but says nothing below it, right? 

    An artist statement, like your art, establishes who you are in a sea of other artists.

    An artist statement, like your art, establishes who you are in a sea of other artists. 

    But its usefulness goes even further. 

    Here’s an excerpt from the “just released” 3rd edition of my book:  

    Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work 



    Because an artist statement affirms what you do, and by extension affirms you. And none of us can ever have too much affirmation. 

    Because an artist statement calls out for you to recognize the true faces of your deepest self: truth, beauty, and goodness. 

    Because an artist statement invites you to experience another level of awareness about yourself and your art. 

    Because an artist statement strengthens the relationship you have with your work. 

    Because an artist statement builds a compelling bridge between your audience and your art. 

    Because an artist statement enriches the connection between the artist and the art. 

    Because it is practical. You can use your artist statement for: 

    • Websites 
    • Portfolios 
    • Brochures 
    • Galleries  
    • Catalogs 
    • Press releases 
    • Media articles 
    • Craft shows 
    • Contests 
    • Grants
    • Social media posts/reels 
    • Art festivals 
    • Exhibition/performance notes 
    • Biographical notes 
    • Applying for grants 
    • Applying for teaching positions 
    • Applying for artist-in-residence 
    • Degree applications 
    • Your local chamber of commerce 
    • Journalists/Writers 

    And then, there is my favorite reason for writing an artist statement: Personal Power, which I elaborate on in Chapter 6 of Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work. 

    Here are the two sidebars in that chapter: 

    Personal power is the power emerging from our deepest connections to life: of feeling, embracing, creating, and celebrating.  

    The only way to expand our personal power is to embrace ourselves exactly as we are; neither more nor less, but as someone in a state of constantly changing grace. 

    When you have your own encounter with your own artist statement, then you will come face to face with your personal power… 


    Oh, btw, the brand new 3rd edition of Writing the Artist Statement: Revealing the True Spirit of Your Work is now available along with the 3-Part Ambitious Bundle to help you reach the end of the book with an artist statement in your hand! 

    Ariane Goodwin's signature file


      What Makes Great Art Great? So Selling Your Art Comes With Confidence Baked In… (Parts 1 & 2)

      What Makes Great Art Great? So Selling Your Art Comes With Confidence Baked In… (Parts 1 & 2)

      PART 1 – What Makes Great Art Great?  So Selling Your Art Comes With Confidence Baked In… 

      Over my six years of the smARTist Telesummit (now smARTist Revival Podcasts) , I asked hundreds of artists how they define success through the unique Vision Questionnaire that participants filled out. 

      And as surprising as it was to me, a very small percentage of the over 2,500 artists defined success as “producing great art.” For 87%, success was the annual amount of art income– ranging from $20,000 to $500,000 a year. 

      Maybe it’s because great art is associated with historical figures, museum retrospectives, and the millions thrown down on the auction block. Maybe great feels like shoes too big to fill. 

      Or maybe it comes tagged with the age-old response that great is in the eye of the beholder—too subjective to pin down. 

      Or, for women artists, the persistent patriarchal overlay on great means it’s an exercise in futility; while for men great is a challenge that might best them even when they do their best. 

      I wonder what would change for selling your art if great was not only definable but also achievable

      I wonder what would change for selling your art if great was not only definable, but also achievable? 

      Daniel Grant, an arts writer and presenter at the smARTist Telesummit in 2011, once wrote, “I define an artist’s importance by three criteria.  How much he or she captures the soul of a moment, how much he or she influences subsequent generations of painters, and how much he or she expresses an individual style.” 

      This begs the question: Can you produce great art but not be an “important” artist? 

      For certainly great art is produced all the time without the artist being considered “important” in terms of Grant’s three criteria. 

      Even if you do not have a burning desire to produce great art, I know in your heart that you want your art to Wow! people, to cause a significant enough response that someone wants to own a piece no matter what. 

      And this only happens when, in the eyes of the viewer in that moment, your art is great.

      I don’t remember the exact moment I realized that great art was easily identifiable. I know it was in a coaching session with one of my artist when I heard myself calmly,confidently define great art as if it was the single most obvious thing in the world. 

      Since then, I’ve looked carefully to see how well my definition stands up. 

      What I love the most about this definition is that it puts you, the artist, in control of selling your art. You do not have to “guess” what the “soul of the moment” is or how you will be perceived by the future, you simply have to fulfill one of three requirements. 

      If you fulfill all three, and you learn how to run a business and marketing campaign, the world just might be your oyster. 

      Before Great Art Comes A Foundation

      However, Before GreatArt Comes A Foundation

      This part has been repeated so much I’m sure you can say it in your sleep. And even though it screams common sense, you’d be surprised at how many artists neglect the basics: 

      • Skillful competence with your materials
      • Skillful competence with your execution of mark making, sculpting or crafting
      • A signature, artistic fingerprint that is repeatedly recognizable as yours across multiple pieces of your work 
      • Producing enough to meet the demand

      With this foundation in the studio, and a similar foundation in career administration, you can build a sustainable career without producing great art. 

      But if you yearn for more, try this. 

      With Great Art Complexity Rules

      With Great Art Complexity Rules… Even When It’s Simple 

      For most of my life I’ve understood that one attribute of greatness is the ability to take something complex and make it easy to understand, make it accessible, especially when dealing with intellectual concepts. 

      The result is how complexity seems to melt away in the elegance of a simple distillation. When this happens, we disremember the layered, multi-faceted richness that gave birth to the satisfaction of what we can now understand. 

      I remember watching a movie on Picasso that started with him drawing a simple line on a piece of glass. It took less than two seconds, and yet that one line echoed like a giant bell with the layers and complexity of years of art making. 

      If you want to make great art, then start with one or more levels of complexity: 

      1. Complexity of technique
      2. Complexity of subject matter
      3. Complexity of message

      When you create complexity, you hold the viewer longer. When you layer in complexities in technique and subject matter and message, you invite your viewers inside their own brains and challenge them to expand their lived experience. 

      Since a viewer is often captured by the art (under your control) plus some personal trigger (not under your control), offering an experience that is not easily dismissed or walked away from is key.  

      It’s the layers and complexity that hold the viewer captive long enough for them to feel they cannot walk away from whatever soul siren your art is singing to them. 

      part 2 of what makes great art great

      Part 2 – What Makes Great Art Great? 

      Are You Hiding Behind Beauty? 

      Whether you’re in the studio, attending an opening gala, or selling your art online, there’s a lot that comes with being an artist to stoke the ego fires:  

      • Admiration 
      • The ultimate badge of specialness 
      • Cascading down the river of Creativity Flow 
      • Rampant self-expression 
      • The delight of watching what’s around the corner coming towards you  

             (or you towards it) 

      • An unbridled thrill of a purpose-driven life 
      • Merging with forces that are bigger than the ego (a bit of irony, that one) 
      • The ability to create beauty (as in “the eye of the beholder”) 

      Only, before I continue, a couple of clarifications… 

      1. The Ego 

      I have never been at peace with ego bashing and the popular idea that our ego is a function of The Self that either gets in our way, or presents some hurdle to a more authentic or spiritual self. Or that its core essence is narcissistic and infantile. 

      I experience Ego as a state of being that provides us with essential survival tools for our psyches, even as it allows us to experience pleasure. 

      It gives us a framework to understand our own personalities. It provides the template for self-reflection. It gives us a sense of wholeness, so the disparate selves we all experience (who are we out with our friends vs. with our mother?) don’t scatter into a pile of disconnected parts. 

      And Ego gives us a framework to understand our own maturation process. Through the Ego we can sense when we are maturing out of an infantile state. 

      And, yes, some of us settle for narcissism or fail to mature. And some of us use the Ego to bolster neurosis, bore our friends, and batter our colleagues. 

      But this is not, de facto, the Ego’s fault. The Whole Self has responsibility here. What the Ego most clearly gives us, or withholds, is our ability to be confident (earned or not). While it is maturity, not the Ego, which can measure what we’ve rightfully earned (or not). 

      When You Are Selling Your Art, Your Ego Can Help Or Hinder.   

      Here’s a short list to make sure your Ego is serving you and not the other way around when selling your art. Feel free to add other options: 

      • Have you asked a trusted art mentor or successful artist you trust to critique your work? 
      • Are your prices in line with similar work in other galleries? 
      • Are you prepared, ahead of time, to hold a conversation that is about your viewer’s reactions and questions, or might you end up on a rant about yourself? 
      • Do you feel viewers are innately gracious or critical? 
      • Are you feeling open or defensive when questioned about your work? 
      • When viewing other artists’ work, do you compare yourself to them or lean into experiencing what they have to offer? 
      • It’s Not All A Bed of Roses 

      The partial list of artist ego-pleasures, above, does not discount the raft of challenges—from how to maintain integrity and put food on the table, to how to endure a fund raising event when you’d rather be in the studio—which are also part of your ArtLife. 

      The Siren’s Call to “Beauty Above All” When Selling Your Art 

      The real trick is allowing our Ego fires to be stoked without following the Siren’s call away from how we shine the light on our true self. 

      For what great art does not, at some level, do that? Shine the light on the true self? 

      And the strongest Siren’s call for artists, I’ve found, is the Siren’s Call to Beauty. 

      I am not suggesting that you do not make beautiful art, if that’s what compels you to get up in the morning. 

      But don’t stop at that destination unless you are 100% sure that your beautiful art is simultaneously shining the light on your true self—all the time, in all kinds of weather.  

      Far too often, I see artists stopping by the lake to admire the seductive reflection of Beauty without diving in to see what treasures linger below, in the Dark of the Deep. 

      Far too often, I watch artists skillfully ruled by fear (which can go by many names: stubborn, resistant, it’s just who I am, beauty is my soul, it sells so well, people love it… ) as they simultaneously hide the light of their true self behind the beauty. 

      As you read this, notice where in your body some feeling is beginning to arise: a light tingle of recognition in the throat, a small clutch of fear in the stomach, a slight tightness across your shoulders… you’ll know it when you feel it. 

      This is the clue your deepest Self is offering you to pay attention, to stay open to the possibility that you are unwittingly listening to the Siren’s Call For Beauty to avoid the challenge of creating from a place of discomfort and discovery. 

      Remember, what you creatively explore does not necessarily have to be unveiled. You can work in the dark, and decide whether or not what you are doing is asking to be in the world at large as is, or in another, more advanced iteration, or what piece truly wants is to remain in your private collection as process for your creative self. 


      Take The Challenge:  

      Give up Beauty for the next two weeks  

      and let me know what happens in the comments… 

      Ariane Goodwin's signature file


        Selling Your Art: Building Block No.2: Art Visibility/Studio Time (Part 2)

        Selling Your Art: Building Block No.2: Art Visibility/Studio Time (Part 2)

        Where Studio Time Plays The Central Role In “Your Art Is Visible” 

        First, let’s do a quick review of the last blog post Selling-Your-Art: Building Block No.2, Your Art Is Visible (Part 1.) where we looked at a process called “Map The Gap.” And how this keeps the dynamic connection between your art’s visibility and selling your art alive and strong. 

        Map The Gap: Let’s review  

        There are a number of ways your art can become unintentionally more invisible than visible. 

        • When you’re faced with an art sale falling apart.  
        • Or a time when you want to put your art in the world, but you hit roadblocks with other people who are involved.  
        • Or you have a difficult commission client who presses all your buttons. 
        • You’re struggling with a collector, buyer, gallery owner, or another artist 

        In any of these scenarios, Map the Gap is a sleek and easy process to identify, and eliminate, one internal factor that can gum up selling your art.  

        When you Map the Gap, you can adjust your behavior to accurately reflect your sincere intention. This comes in handy when you need to navigate any sticky relationship affecting you selling your art.  

        In five easy steps, Map The Gap often untangles the knot. 

        But how? 

        Since most of us, most of the time, think and feel that our internal experience automatically aligns with our external behavior, we fail to check it out.

        But if we recognize this dissonance (the gap), and if we Map the Gap, suddenly there’s a release in any tangled knot of circumstances for us to: 

        1. a) Recognize that our behavior is not honoring our intention accurately
        2. b) Address the gap with the person involved 
        3. c) Mindfully create behavior that reflects the truth of your intentions
        4. d) Align, with integrity, with whomever is interacting with us

        All of which leads to the potential for selling your art with grace and ease. 

        Now, let’s tackle the next visibility/invisibility factor that might be affecting when you are selling your art: Studio Time. 

         Selling Your Art Building Block No.2 Visibility Studio Time Part 2

        Is Studio Time Undermining The Visibility You Need For Selling Your Art? 

        When other demands come into play, studio time often gets no play time. Or at least, not as much as your creative spirit needs and wants. Which often means, after taking care of the “others” in our lives, we end up with crumbs. 

        But the truth is that studio time is the one external, visibility factor guaranteed to affect selling your art. 

        Then, there’s the “putting ourselves first” to deal with. We harbor a cultural mandate that declares nurturing and caring for others as an altruistic character trait, and caring for ourselves as selfish.  

        If we ignore this mandate, we run the risk of being labeled “selfish,” a form of social shunning that exacts a black mark against our reputation as a good person. 

        Unfortunately, other traits, like self-centered, get thrown into the same roiling pot. 

        In truth, there’s an unacknowledged irony here.  

        Being selfish, where someone behaves only in their own interest with no concern for others, most often rises out of that person’s inability to discern what their real needs are. So their Alert Protective Self works very hard to grab their attention… to pay attention to what they truly need.  

        This hyperfocus—or self-centered focus on essential inner needs that are not being addressed—means the person’s inner attention is totally absorbed in an effort to wake up the part of themselves that is sleepwalking.  

        This isn’t selfishness as a disservice to others, but as a disservice to oneself. 

        If you, in an effort to make studio time a priority so selling your art becomes a reality, experience either yourself, or anyone around you, labeling you as “selfish,” or “self-centered” … 

        Pause, breath, and take a moment to examine which kind of selfishness is actually operating. 

        Do you truly need to focus on taking care of what you need? And, so, for a time this means you don’t have the bandwidth to also be a caretaker/cheerleader/nurturer for others? 

        If you can't time find to create, you can't make art to sell

        Finding more time to create, so selling your art becomes viable, is what haunts most artists I’ve worked with. 

        And oddly enough,  even the most productive artists, who seem to easily overcome roadblocks, they also tell me they feel as if they can’t carve out enough studio time to make the art they need for selling their art.  

        Which makes me to wonder if time is the culprit, or merely an easy rationale masking other issues. 

        Often Time Slips Away Because We Aren’t Paying Attention To It  

        When you want to change behavior that operates on autopilot, try this: 

        1. Name, or better yet, write down the specific roadblock, or roadblocks, that take away from your studio time. 

        When we name something directly, it directs our brain to retrieve it from our sub/unconscious to make it consciously available so we can work with it. 

        You can't work with something until you actually know what it is.

        1. Brainstorm options for what you, or those around you, can do to reduce the amount of time you spend on this roadblock. With classic brainstorming, you need to get all the “obvious” options out of the way first before the creative ones come up. So get every idea down on paper, without editing or judging. 
        2. Keep in mind that we operate on a limited amount of will per day. Every decision, or action we take, eats up a portion of our will. If studio time is paramount (and I’m hoping it is), do that before you do anything else. This is the best way I know to maximize any amount of time you have for a project, especially if it has to be limited
        3. Write a mantra for your studio time. Print it out. Or paint it out…and put it where you can see it every day. 

            Here is a list of the most common Studio Time Thieves stealing the very art you need to sell your art: 

            Work/Income Conflicts: 

            • Where you have to balance making art with a day job (or two, or three…) 

            Responsibility for Caregiving: 

            • When children, elderly parents, or other members of your family need you 

            Issues With Your Health: 

            • When physical or mental health issues limit your energy and focus 

            Household Responsibilities and/or Distractions: 

            • When  daily life chores and demands nibble away at your studio time 
            • Where frequent interruptions or distractions break your creative focus 
            • When you don’t have a dedicated, separate studio space to remove you from home life  

            Motivational Factors: 

            • When you struggle with procrastination, lack of motivation, or creative blocks 
            • When you feel guilty dedicating so much time to your studio  
            • When you have an inspiration drought or burnout from life on steroids 

            Time Management: 

            • Where your administrative, art related tasks (exhibitions, teaching, marketing, etc.) interfere with your creative focus 
            • When you over commit to projects with deadlines that collide 
            • Faltering when it comes to a consistent studio schedule 

            Logistical Issues: 

            • When you need to travel regularly, so keeping a routine feels impossible 

            when you make your art, your art becomes visible

            Here are three different perspectives on finding studio time that I’ve lifted straight out of the smARTist Telesummit Revival Podcast #2.  

            • Organizing as a foundational factor in studio time  
            • Defining your artistic direction with concrete specifics  
            • Understanding how both artificial and natural time impacts how we create


            1. Jennifer Loudon (our smARTist Organizing Expert) starts with reminding us how we take ourselves to task for not having enough time in the studio, which undermines our creative mood. 

            With simple exercises, she helps artists find a way to be okay, in this moment, just as we are. Embracing the radical choice to truly believe there is nothing to change or fix, solve or get rid of.

            Because, once you breath in that choice (and Jennifer knows exactly how to guide you toward this awareness), you open up to new moods and new choices that paradoxically, and gratefully, lead to finding more creative time in the studio—no matter what. 


            2. Aletta de Wal, M. Ed (our smARTist Art Career Expert) comes from a more traditional stance where you unleash the forces of desire, will and planning to the studio time you need and want.  

            Two of the building blocks affecting studio time that she explores are 1) how you define your artistic direction and 2) how you approach organization. 

            In her presentation, Aletta has you answer specific question to help you identify where you are right now, and what you need to go forward. 


            3. Waverly Fitzgerald (smARTistâ Time Expert) offers a radical view of time in two distinct realms of experience: natural time and artificial time, and how understanding time in both realms impacts the personal, natural rhythms of our life. 

            As a creative herself, she shows us how to identify our sweet spot for creating, how to use the seasons to trigger a surge in creativity, how to find our “prime time” so we’re ready to work when we’re most creative, and why the ultradian rhythm works so well. 

            But, for me, the most influential part of Waverly’s presentation is her distinction between goal setting and theme setting and how she uses both of these, in tandem, to orchestrate time within her own life. 

            Here then are three, immediate tools you can use to get more studio time. 

            1. Embracing your inherent, human wholeness as you organize and manage your studio time so selling your art becomes viable 
            2. Paying attention to your artistic direction so selling your art becomes part of the artistic vision 
            3. Learning how natural and artificial time impacts you on a daily basis so you are selling your art as a whole artist  

            Now, it’s your turn. When did you last experience the feeling that your time in the studio was “selfish?” 

            I’d love to start a conversation, so please leave me a comment.  

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              Selling Your Art: Building Block No.2: Your Art Is Visible (Part 1, cont.)

              Selling Your Art: Building Block No.2: Your Art Is Visible (Part 1, cont.)

              Let’s do a quick review of last week’s Selling-Your-Art Building Block No.1 and Selling-Your-Art Building Block No.2 (Part 1)

              Selling-Your-Art Building Blocks Recap

              Selling-Your-Art Building Block No.1: Your Art Is Created:

              This is a foundational building block, which needs your attention in three key areas:

              1. You’re putting in the time and effort to reach a certain level of skillfulness.
              2. You’re establishing your artistic fingerprint, your unique artist angle.
              3. You’re reaching deep into your creative spirit and manifesting a creative truth for the world to experience.

              Selling-Your-Art Building Block No.2 (Part 1): Your Art Is Visible

              This might seem too obvious to bother with, until you consider all the ways your art might be functionally invisible. This can run the gamut from not being visible at all, to being visible, but inaccessible.:

              1. Your website contact form doesn’t work (and you don’t know this because you don’t email yourself—on a regular basis—from that same form!).
              2. You lost a gallery and haven’t worked yourself up to move on.
              3. Your website is a ho-hum, portfolio-only menagerie of your work.
              4. You truly think words don’t matter, so no artist statement and a boring bio.

              are you unintentionally blocking the visibility you need for selling your art

              Are You Unintentionally Blocking The Visibility You Need For Selling Your Art?

              If you are already a professional artist selling your art, or you are heading in that direction, you realize how essential it is to be the sensitive creative you are, and a pragmatic, life-long learner.

              You realize that the truth and power of your art, and thus the truth and power of selling your art, rests on more than the surface-level, nitty-gritty, administrative and marketing tasks.

              As important as these daily, weekly, monthly external tasks are, they can also be the barrier to paying attention to the less obvious, emotional and spiritual capacities of our internal experience.

              It’s this rarely explored, internal territory with its exotic fauna and flora that underpins what determines how you sell your art, because it determines the most basic relationship you have:  your relationship to your art.

              And your relationship to your art is what pulls the invisible strings of success for selling your art. I go into this in depth in my artist manifesto: Your Path of Visionary Affluence: A Manifesto for Artists who want to sell more art.

              When you don’t pay attention to the internal stories you whisper to yourself, they control your internal experience in the same way an out-of-control child wreaks havoc in a grocery store because the caretaker isn’t paying attention.

              The key is being psychologically strong enough, and intellectually willing enough, to be wrong from time to time. Or willing  to experience emotional discomfort from time to time, without putting your hair on fire.

              Otherwise, you may be unintentionally blocking how visible and accessible your artwork is, and then passing this off with “I forgot.” Or, “I didn’t know.” Or (my favorite), “I didn’t mean to… (fill in the blank).”

              When Your Art is Visible, You Are Visible. And Selling Your Art is the Most Visible of All.

              When Your Art is Visible, You Are Visible. And Selling Your Art is the Most Visible of All.

              But, how do you know which old triggers are keeping you from selling your art because its visibility and accessibility is compromised?

              For a lot of creatives, being visible is a double-edged sword. We crave it, on the one hand; while being skeptical and cautious on the other.

              The joys of being visible means we’re on the road to success. We’re seen—the holy grail of human desire. The artwork we love is in the world and for the world, and what could be more satisfying?

              And… selling your art is the culmination of creative work and the ultimate joy of visibility.

              Meanwhile, in the underground of our psyches, visibility can also dredge up all shapes and sizes of triggers related to early trauma. From the belittling remarks of classmates to terrifying nights with a drunk parent, a good many of us have experienced life in ways we do not wish to repeat.

              And even though we’ve historically grown way past those incidents, they often live on in the crevices of our bodies, and pop out when the trigger conditions are right. For most of us, this happens on the QT, buried beneath the more urgent, daily tasks of living.

              If we don’t become aware of our visibility triggers, then they quietly slash and burn our art careers in ways our daily Creative Self doesn’t see. And selling your art becomes the casualty.

              An emotional trigger just happens. No control here. The trick is what you do after the trigger shows up

              So, what do we do with this? I mean, isn’t a trigger out of our control?

              Yes… and No.

              An emotional trigger just happens. No control here. The trick is what you do after the trigger shows up.

              First, notice the visibility trigger that just happened.

              Your clue will be somewhere in your body where a major shift occurred: your stomach lurched / your headache started / your shoulders tightened / your jaw clenched.

              This body reflex will be consistent for each trigger; it doesn’t change until you become aware and awake.

              Next, once you’ve identified your physical reaction to your emotional trigger, ask yourself: What’s going on here?

              And listen for a response, which might not turn up right away. But that’s okay. If you follow noticing your body’s specific response to the trigger with the question– What’s going on here?—over time you’ll become aware of the connection to something that happened to you before.

              The key is both self-kindness and self-respect. You’re doing this to strengthen your internal ability to allow your art to be completely and wholly visible so selling your art doesn’t hit any speed bumps.

              This is not the time for blame or ridicule or self-criticism. It’s only time to become aware and awake so selling your art becomes a joyous success.

              Alongside visibility triggers is another tricky pattern of behavior I’ve identified as The Gap.

              Selling Your Art: Building Block No.2: Visibility (Part 2)

              Selling Your Art: Building Block No.2: Visibility (Part 2)

              Most of us experience The Gap on any given day as an unconscious, socially acceptable response to some mis-step we’ve taken. In most cases, it’s not worth paying attention to.

              However, in some cases it can, inadvertently, derail the visibility you need for selling your art. But, this is tricky territory, as you’ll see, because as far as I know, no one has dug into this common, human pattern of behavior to understand it’s true nature.

              In fact, this behavior is so common it’s dismissed out of hand. And this is one of its greatest feats: hiding a deceptive deflection behind a familiar, innocent sounding refrain…

              I’m sorry… I didn’t intend to… (fill in the blank).

              But, there is a way out of this coverup.

              selling your art map the gap

              It’s rare when we take the time to examine the interplay between our external reality and our internal landscape.

              And yet, dialogue between these two realities pretty much determines how we move through the world: what art we make, how others perceive who we are and what we do, and how we perceive ourselves.

              It’s also the disconnect between our external behavior and our internal intentions that get us into trouble.

              This common remark—“Yes, but I didn’t intend to do xxx (fill in the blank).”—is hiding an ego-generated reaction (in a moment you’ll see why I call it that) that poses as a rationale for behavior that has, to some degree, troubled the person on the receiving end of the behavior.

              “Yes, but I didn’t intend to (fill in the blank)…” is, in reality, always a cleverly disguised excuse.

              First, consider that the behavior (whatever it is) has actually happened. It’s a done deal. No taking it back.

              A Couple of Not-So-Fun Examples Where Internal & External Realities Collide

              You accidentally knock over your friend’s water glass and it spreads over the painting she’s been working on for weeks.

              Of course, you didn’t mean to. But how does that change the hours of work she can never get back?

              Or, blissfully unaware that the gallery owner can hear you, “She just won’t stop yammering!” becomes a hot moment you can’t take back. I didn’t intend to hurt her feelings has zero impact on feelings already hurt.

              As bad as you might feel, “I didn’t intend to do that” does not, nay…cannot mend fences.


              If you uncloak the “rationale” of this reaction, you will find a scared, ego turning the spotlight away from the (mis)behavior and the person affected, and onto the ego itself as the real victim of… of all things…an intention.

              I didn’t intend is a way to avoid responsibility for the result of some behavior by implying a kind of innocence behind the behavior that should be the real factor considered.

              So, what’s really going on here?

              why is the gap relevant to selling your art

              And why is The Gap relevant to Selling Your Art: Building Block No.2?

              Most of the time, most of us are oblivious to the disconnect between what we are experiencing internally and our external behavior.

              We assume, 99% of the time, that whatever we are experiencing internally (the home of all intentions) is automatically showing up in our behavior. And, of course we also assume that anyone else can see this is true.

              Sometimes these two distinct, yet constantly intertwined realities are aligned. What you experience internally is manifesting in your external behavior. And that makes for smooth sailing.

              But a good deal of the time, there is a gap between the two. And this gap can be a one, on a scale of 1 to 10, or a ten—or anywhere in-between.

              The problem is, it’s very hard to know how much of a gap is manifesting (or if there’s any gap at all) by ourselves.

              It’s as if the Divine Order of Things has decreed that “the eye cannot see the eye” as a clue that we need each other. That cooperation and connection trumps isolation and disconnection.

              selling your art cooperation and connection

              So, then, what to do when selling your art is on the line…

              because you’re struggling with a collector, buyer, gallery owner, or another artist?

              Here’s a five-step, Map The Gap Process that’s easy to learn and apply:

              First, check out, with yourself, if the bumpy interaction might be exacerbated by your unawareness of the gap between your intention (internal experience) and your behavior (external manifestation).

              Second, trust yourself. Self-honesty is a hard-won trait that can breathe life into any tangled knot.

              Third, firmly (internally) tell your ego to: Please take a back seat  (climb a tree, go read at the library, etc.). I’m happy to let you back in afterwards, but for now, I need my space—go!

              Fourth, trust the other person. People rarely back away from a genuine, heartfelt plea for help or an apology given sincerely. So, ask the person in the tangle with you, I’d love the truth right now: how do you interpret what I am saying and doing?

              Fifth, listen to the other person. To keep it safe and simple, only do this with one person at a time. Group dynamics can be dicey when you’re learning to work with your ego instead of against it.

              Okay, this has been a lot.

              Map The Gap: Let’s review the dynamic connection between your art’s visibility and selling your art.

              When you’re faced with an art sale that has just slipped through your fingers. Or a time when you are trying to put your art in the world and you keep hitting roadblocks with other people. Or you’re working on a commission with a difficult client, see what happens when you apply the five steps in Map The Gap.

              Because most of the time, most of us feel that whatever we are experiencing internally is naturally aligned with our behavior, we fail to check it out.

              But if we do, and if we Map the Gap, suddenly there’s a release in any tangled knot of circumstances for us to:

              1. a) Recognize that our behavior is not honoring our intention accurately
              2. b) Address the gap with the person involved
              3. c) Mindfully create behavior that reflects the truth of your intentions

              When did you last experience The Gap and it’s consequences?

              I’d love to know, so please leave me a comment.

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