So you want to sell your art?

I received this question the other day: “Is it wrong to try to make art that sells?”

This answer is, well, not entirely.

And there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

But from my experience, I coach artists to focus first on making art they genuinely love. The kind of art they couldn’t resist buying. If you can do this, then you stand a much better shot at selling your art to others.

Here is why:

In short, the secret ingredient in the art that sells is the maker’s passion. People are not just buying your art. They are buying your enthusiasm and all the creative energy swirling around your creative process.

I don’t believe you can game the system. It is not like selling potato chips whereby you perfect something and then make more. Art is the by-product of your journey of discovery, curiosity, and wonder.

I know this seems hard, but you wouldn’t want it any other way when you think about it a little.

Let me know your thoughts on this nuanced topic.

When you make your art, who do you please first? You or them? Let’s try and flush this out a little in the comments.

Have a great day in the studio today.

Nicholas

PS Thank you all for your heartfelt condolences about Maizy. I couldn’t respond to everyone personally, but your messages touched me beyond words. Thank you.

PSS If you haven’t already, join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group by clicking here. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art.

Maizy

Maizy

A few days ago, we had to say goodbye to Maizy, our sweet dog. She was such a fixture in my life, in my family’s life, and I know, for many of you, she touched your heart as well. I thought I would share a small piece of her sweetness with you today instead of talking about art. I will miss her so, so much.

Click on the video below to watch.

Thanks for being here.
Nicholas

PS Thanks for all the amazing entries for the Art2Life International Exhibition. There are 2 days left to enter, so you still have time.

Here is where you can find all the info:
Call for Entry and FAQ’s.

These art tools help me the most

These art tools help me the most

I get many questions about my favorite tools, and it’s been a few years since I last shared them with you, so today, I thought I would share a couple. All of them help me create an essential contrast in my art. It is a contrast, or “difference,” in my art that I love. It is the difference between control and out of control. Instead of a careful, perfectly made mark, I prefer mine to feel a little like they were made by mistake. It just seems so much more unpredictable.

Click on the video below to have a look.

The tools we use help us get the look and feel we desire. And it is different for everyone.
What is the one tool you love to use in your art?

Let us know in the comments below.

I hope your time in the studio today is surprising.

Nicholas

PS There is still time to enter the

International Online Art2Life Art Exhibition.

Don’t miss this. It is going to be an epic show! Check out the cash prizes, juror details, and dates of the exhibition.

Want more info about this exhibition and how to enter? Click here for the Call for Entry and FAQ’s.

PSS If you haven’t already, join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group by clicking here. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art.

Are you juggling too much?

Are you juggling too much?

Do you sometimes feel you have too many ideas? Does it seem crazy to be entertaining one more thing with everything you already have on your plate?

How do you deal with the overwhelm of all those creative ideas and plans you have?

People accuse me of taking on WAY too many things, and as a result, I have thought a great deal about this. I have some thoughts about this that might help.

Click on the video below to have a look.

In case you are rushing to your next idea and don’t have time for this video, here is the nugget:

Having too many ideas in your head is not what makes it hard; thinking about ALL those ideas while working on ONE of them is what makes it hard.

In other words, while you are doing one idea, only think about that one idea. Your brain is excellent at holding many ideas. It is just not so good at doing 2 or 3 at the same time.

Contrary to what most people tell you, I believe there are benefits to having a full plate.

Benefit #1: Constantly thinking about ideas, iterations, and solutions to what you are involved in keeps your brain creatively nimble. This ability is what all artists leverage to create their art.

Benefit #2: Having multiple projects swirling inside and outside your brain gives you added objectivity to the one project you are doing. Making clear and potent decisions allows you to make your art faster, easier, and stronger.

Benefit #3: At its root, creativity is about making connections between seemingly unrelated things. The more stimulus an artist has, the more surprising and wondrous solutions are likely to happen.

How do you manage all your ideas, plans, and projects that you have inside of you?

Let us know in the comments below.

I hope your Sunday is wondrous.

Nicholas

PS There is still time to enter the online

International Art2Life Art Exhibition.

Don’t miss this. It is going to be an epic show! Check out the cash prizes, juror details, and dates of the exhibition.

Want more info about this exhibition and how to enter? Click here for the Call for Entry.

PSS If you haven’t already, join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group by clicking here. Every day, artists from all over the world are creating amazing art.

I was avoiding this.

I was avoiding this.

Pulling off a small painting is hard. However, it can feel especially daunting to make a painting bigger than yourself.

After I moved a raw 8ft x 8ft canvas into my studio, this is how I felt.

I was unsure and reluctant to begin. There is just so much white space. The pandemic came along, and I postponed starting because, after all, it wasn’t safe to be in my studio.

That was a pretty good excuse. It bought me some time. But eventually, I just had to start. And that changed everything.

Thankfully, there is a big difference between thinking about making art and making it. The latter is way easier.

Click on the video below to have a look.

Avoiding, and finally tackling, this big painting reminded me of three essential points regarding art-making resistance.

#1 You have to start.

It doesn’t matter what it looks like but take that first step. Starting will break the cycle of avoidance and give you new information that will help seduce you into making your art. Which, thankfully, is entirely different than worrying about making your art.

#2 Making art brings you into the present.

The rich experience of art-making with all the choices of color, shape, line, and texture will provide you with a reprieve from worrying about things that haven’t happened yet.

#3 Don’t attach to the outcome.

This particular painting might be the best one you have ever made. Maybe a gazillion people will like it on Instagram. But don’t focus on this fact. Perhaps this painting will be the biggest flop you have ever made. Maybe a gazillion people on Instagram will agree. But don’t focus on this fact.

Instead, tune into the process. Creating art is full of mystery, experimentation, and wonder.

These are the gifts that we can safely savor.

How do you overcome resistance in your art-making?

Let us know in the comments below.

I hope your day in the studio is filled with wonder.

Nicholas

PS We had so many thoughtful comments on last week’s vlog with Christine Iacobuzio Donahue. The winner of her book, Hidden Beauty: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science, is Judith Henry! Congratulations! Please email me at nicholas@art2life.com to claim your free book.

To purchase Christine’s book, just click here.

PSS If you haven’t already, join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group by clicking here. Every day there is a ton of cool art being made. We would love to see yours too.

Finding the light in the darkness

Finding the light in the darkness

The times we are passing through are uncertain and challenging. However, these days also invite reflection, vitality, and even joy.

Life always comes bundled with both light and darkness. It is a paradox, but it also makes this time creatively potent.

How do we rest in the grace amidst the darkness of these times?

A partial answer is what today’s video is all about.

Click on the video below to check it out…

Today, I share the story of a relatively new artist, Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, who is also a pathologist. She has experienced and beautifully chronicled this paradox within the context of health and disease.

I invited her on this episode to share, in her own words, her remarkable insight and the gorgeous book created its response.

This conversation deepened the inquiry about the art I am making in these times.

How does your creative expression navigate the duality of life?

Let us know in the comments below about your experience.

From the comments, Christine will choose a lucky artist to receive a signed copy of her book “Hidden Beauty”.

For the rest of us, click here to purchase your copy of “Hidden Beauty.”

You can also follow the incendiary start of Christine’s artistic journey on Instagram at @chrisiacodon

Thanks for being here today. Especially now.

Nicholas

PS Artists within the Art2Life community inspire most of the content for this Vlog. Christine is no exception. She is a 2020 graduate of our Creative Visionary Program.

We will be beginning again in the early spring of 2021 and would love you to join us.

Click here to join the CVP waitlist.

PSS If you haven’t already, join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group by clicking here. Every day there is a ton of cool art being made. We would love to see yours too.

What makes our art and life extraordinary

What makes our art and life extraordinary

At first blush, all of us
seem incredibly different.
Artists, by their very nature,
form their art from
very different places
and in very different ways.

However, there is one aspect,
one defining characteristic,
I notice we all have in common.
And that is what today’s Vlog is
all about.

Click on the video below to check it out…

This one attribute, or rather superpower,
is sensitivity. Artists become artists because
I believe they have this in spades.

They become more this way
because the very practice of art-making
increases sensitivity.

Sometimes it is easy to forget this is in
our creative tool belt. Often, it is the very
thing called upon to help us resolve
or strengthen our art.

Listening more closely to find what
your art needs to shift requires double
downing on sensitivity.

It is critical to stay connected to this, not
only in making art, but life, too.

Sensitivity is the key to taking our ordinary
art and life and making them both extraordinary.

Could you be more sensitive in your art practice?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments here.

Thanks for being here.

Nicholas

PS To get Jonathan’s coffee recipe and poem click here.
Visit musea.org to learn about what Jonathan & Shiloh are doing.

PSS If you haven’t already, join the
Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group
by clicking here. Every day there is
a ton of cool art being made. We would
love to see yours, too.

The intimacy of scale

The intimacy of scale

Hi there, do you ever hear something that you have always felt but never put it into words?

That just happened to me. I was having a conversation with friend and artist, Nadine Renazile, and she shared something about painting at scale that confirmed and clarified my creative experience in my practice.

As soon as she said it, I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Click on the video below to check it out…

Here is the nugget: “Small, tiny paintings need to feel powerful and large paintings need to feel intimate.”

This thinking is the opposite of what I noticed when making both small and large scale art.
It connects to the idea of leveraging differences in our art-making. Intimacy and power complement each other. Our work needs both, but depending upon the scale we are working, one often overshadows the other.

This statement is nuanced, and I am not sure entirely if this rings true for you. It does for me.

“Small, tiny paintings need to feel powerful and large paintings need to feel intimate.”

Let us know in the comments below.

I feel like this is just the tip of an iceberg of learning for me.

Whether you are working big or small today, I hope it is going well.

Nicholas

PS You can see more of Nadine’s art on her website – nadinerenazile.com.
You can also follow Nadine on Instagram – @nadine.renazile

PSS If you haven’t already, join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group by clicking here. Every day there is
a ton of cool art being made. We would love to see yours too.

What makes a great shape?

What makes a great shape?

Hi there, as an abstract painter, my art focuses on shapes. I love them. Regardless of the kind of art you make, they all incorporate shapes.

Creating great, alluring shapes in any art, however, is difficult.

What makes one shape better than another? That is what I am talking about today.

Click on the video below to check it out…

It turns out it is not so much about the shape, but what is around the shape that makes it so good.

By using contrasts such as scale, placement, and value, it is possible to take an ordinary shape and make it extraordinary.

By paying attention to the shapes around the shapes in your art, you can optimize their relative strength.

A single shape can only be so good. Imagine flying up 3,000 ft above your art.
From there, look down on all the shapes to see how to adjust them relative to each other.

I improve my paintings using this strategy.

How do you improve the shapes in your art?

Let us know in the comments below

Nicholas

PS If you haven’t already, come join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group!
Click here to join.

It will amaze you!

Knowing this will make starting easy

Knowing this will make starting easy

Hi there, there are a gazillion reasons not to make your art.

Here are some of my favorites:

I am not talented.
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t have anywhere to work.
People will laugh at my art.
What could I do that hasn’t been done before?
Everyone is better than me.
Why make art if no one is going to buy it anyway?

These are just a few stories we tell ourselves. When I started out making art,
I used to tell them to myself, too.

For starters, most of them are not solvable. At least not right away. And second of all,
they don’t even matter when it comes to making art, especially when you know this crucial thing… and that is what today’s video is describing.

Click on the video below to check it out.

What I didn’t know then, which I do now, is this:

Making art is what makes it possible to make art.

In other words, once you are making art, you no longer are thinking about all those questions. The place you are in when you make art is entirely different than where you are when you are just thinking about making art.

The doing of art brings you to presence. You can’t be making art and be concerned with all those questions, at least at the same time.

It is that simple. So if you find yourself listening to a story that is holding you back, see what happens when you simply begin your art.

How do you continue to show up for your art?

Let us know in the comments below.

I hope today is the day you make some art.

Nicholas

PS If you haven’t already, come join the Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group!
Click here to join.

It will amaze you!