How do we define success?

When I mentioned in a video that I had my own definition of success, someone asked me to elaborate on that and explain what success means to me.

So I began working on an article for this blog on a new definition of success. And there was so much to it, I realized. I wrote and wrote and still I couldn’t seem to wrestle the topic into a coherent, brief article. So I decided to make one short video on one aspect of success with the intention of creating more in a series.

In it I share a personal, very atypical success story that illustrates what I mean.

And if you are interested here’s the other video I referenced:

Were you raised with the message that you needed to be recognized or receive money for your art for it to be valid?

Do you feel pressure from the world outside you to prove your worth to others?

Have you analyzed what makes you feel good about being an artist?

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Crowdfunding for Artists

Many artists with big ideas feel thwarted or confused as to how to get necessary funds. Have you dreamed of having a a catalog of your work? Do  you wish to mount an exhibition in another city but don’t have money for travel? Is there an ambitious project on your list that requires significant monies for material or fabrication?

There are many avenues for securing funds for your art – there are grants from foundations, government or non-profit organizations, private donations, saving your own income. In recent years, crowdfunding – raising funds through small amounts of money from a large amount of people – has offered an alternative making raising money even easier and within the artist’s direct control rather than a jury or granting organization.

Hatchfund is a non-profit organization in the United States that gives hands on support for artists to fully fund their creative ideas. What’s different about Hatchfund is that all contributions are tax-deductible and their success rate is two to three times higher than other platforms due to their emphasis on support and education.

I had a nice Skype chat with Program Officer Stephany Campos, a  who explains how it works.


How is HatchFund different?
• All the funds raised goes to the artist.
• A real life Project Manager works with each artist.
• More flexible than other crowd funding sites.
• A very high 78% success rate.
• Non-Profit so all donations are tax deductible.


More information can be found at


Please tell us in the comments section – what would YOU like money for as an artist?


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Create a Consistent Studio Practice

Don’t you just love being read to? I do! I loved it as a kid and I still love it as an adult. Just one of the many reasons I love to listen to audio books.

My little holiday gift to you – I’m reading a chapter from my book Seven Essential Practices for the Professional Artist: Create a Studio Habit – Consistency

I hope this gives you a little boost to get in the studio if you’ve been having trouble making that a regular habit.

Many artists I’ve worked with struggle to create regular time for art making. It seems as if everything else always gets in the way!

It’s easy to fall into this trap. Why should it be so hard when it’s what you love to do?

One reason is that many creatives, in all fields, have a highly developed inner critic. But it can be a problem when you let this inner critic run rampant in the early stages of creating something.

We also doubt that we have ideas that are worthwhile. I’d like to go on record as saying even if only ONE person in this world benefits from your studio practice – YOU –  the entire world has benefitted. You are no more important or less important than every other being on this planet. Your happiness, satisfaction and sense of deeper connection with All-that-is that creative practice engenders spills out and touches all in your circle. When you have it in you to be creative and you fulfill that promise, it feels as if everything is right in the world. Have you notices? And in turn your family, friends and colleagues get a happier more fulfilled version of you. Then they in turn touch every one else in their circles with a greater sense of satisfaction and peace and so on.

I’ve found it highly beneficial when stuck in the studio and having trouble getting jump started to have a commitment to regular, inviolable studio time. Even fifteen minutes a day makes a huge difference!

Creativity is like a muscle. Use it regularly and it gets stronger, firmer, more toned and ready for action.

Once you cultivate this regular practice, it becomes like a loyal friend. It will not let you down it will be a comfort and solace in the good times and not-so-good times.

If you have your own ideas to share about how having a regular habit of getting into the studio has helped you, please do in the comments below!

Or perhaps consistency has never worked for you and you prefer a more sporadic studio practice – let us know about that! There is no ONE way for every artist. The mindful artist community is designed to help you find YOUR unique path to a satisfying and enjoyable life as an artist.

By the way, Iris mentioned in the comments that she hadn’t realized the book was available in print. If you are in Canada, you can purchase copy directly from the publisher, Editions FrI, and have lower shipping costs. (The may even have a few signed copies left!)!m…
Or you can get it here on Amazon:

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The Starving Artist Myth

Chances are you’ve encountered it before – in movies, jokes, anecdotes – the concept of the “starving artist.”

Many of us have consciously or unconsciously borne the burden of  this pervasive myth in our society.

I have heard of countless creative people who were dissuaded from following their dreams because of fear of not being able to make enough money.

But that need not be a reason to give up entirely on something you cherish.

The truth is, of the hundreds of artists I know personally or count as dear friends, the majority DO have some other form of income. Most of them are doing something in the arts: teaching, arts administration, curating, design, illustration, working in or owning galleries, art preparator, framing. They are so many ways to make a living in the arts.

But let’s set the record straight: they are not starving. They own homes, go on vacations, send their children to college and STILL manage to make art, even if it is not their full-time income.

And then there are artists who make a handsome income off of their art. That’s a possibility as well.

Just last week I was at Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco looking at an exhibition of one of my favorite artists. Everyone of the five pieces sold before the show opened. My friend casually asked what the prices had been. “Between $500,000 and $1,000,000.” was the reply.

So definitely some artists are doing more than thriving.

The reason I bring this up is to just check our habits of thought and thinking around this issue.

Have you ever caught your self thinking thoughts of lack or limitation?

I was inspired by a passage from Lynne Twist’s book The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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The hybrid artist

I just found out about Karen Atkinson an artist who has taught the business of being an artist at CalArts in Southern California for over 22 years. She also founded a company called GYST that creates business software for artists and offers other business related services for artists.

What I really appreciate about this talk is how she emphasizes that there are multiple ways to approach a career as an artist. She outlines two different models of an artist’s career – the vertical artist climbing a hierarchical ladder and the horizontal career or creating a hybrid of the two.

It’s important to remember though our contributions may not shimmer glamorously, our role is vital to our communities. Atkinson put it this way:

If you are an artist that is not interested in that vertical career and you’re not the next hot thing, then you’re sort of, like, not as important. If you don’t make a lot of money you’re not considered a very important artist.

But, I think those artists who have been pludging [sic] along, doing very interesting things either in their communities, their businesses or their daily life have much more effect on the general culture than those who work only in a vertical trajectory.

Karen Atkinson

What ways can you see that your work as an artist either in the studio or in the greater world have contributed to those around you, even in small ways?

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