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Trying in Art

I’ve been thinking about the act of trying. The word means simply: to attempt something for the first time, or to put to test or trial. We adults expect our kids and grandkids to try all day long, because they have so much to learn. Adults are supposed to know stuff already, so we plow a groove into our familiars, and follow patterns of mastered activity that are comfortably absent of trying. I am a lifetime member of the Creature of Habit Club. There is no trying in that demographic. We are what my husband calls ‘risk averse’. The discomfort with unfamiliar and uncharted is too much, so we avoid it. I think in some cases, we get so cozy and confident of our mastered routines, we forget how to try.

The watercolor above, in process at an art festival

Improving your work with Trying

Growing art skills requires trying. If you love every piece of art you make, and you’re not interested in expanding your skill set in this arena, you don’t have to try. But if you’re looking to improve, and you want to paint or draw really well – in your own eyes, or those of exhibit juries and potential collectors – you have to get comfortable with trying. The feared result of trying is failure. We tell the little ones around us “Just do your best.” which is another way of saying ‘Try again.’ We should follow our own advice. If you’re pulled towards it, keep climbing.

Painting at an art festival, chatting with visitors after a few years of very nervous trial and error.
(photo: Vicki Bell)

Remind Yourself Why

Making art is supposed to be joyful, creative, expressive and wonderful. It should be loaded with experimentation and a sort of free fall into trying new things. We aren’t trying to save a life on an operating table. We aren’t building a colony in space. We’re just making stuff, and every time your knuckles turn white with unfamiliar methods or materials, remind yourself that it’s Just Art. Experimentation is good. Trying is integral to the process, even if you’ve arranged your life so that trying is a thing of the past. Make art that pushes beyond what you already know. Welcome that discomfort and revel in the good news that you’re tilling soil in your unused neuron turf, and stocking absent spaces in your emotional cupboards. Flubbing a painting or drawing is a shoulder shrug forward to collect what you’ve learned, and start again. Just do your best.

Click the palette to visit BelindaTips, and sign up for a free video course of six tips to paint more often

Online Artist Marketing

And speaking of new things, for all of you who expressed interest in the online Marketing course – here a few of the topics in the course I took. It changed everything for me, professionally and personally. Feel free to email me with questions. They’ll be opening up the course sign-up page this Monday, April 29th.

  • Using Social Media to share, harvest and create community
  • Affiliate marketing & multiple streams of income
  • Identifying your customers
  • The Power of Email List Management
  • Taking the sleazy out of sales and marketing of your art
  • Sharing your skill-set in blog posts, e-books and online courses (passive income)
  • Online Business Blueprint: setting things up in the right ratios, and in the most efficient order
  • Paid vs Organic Traffic
  • On your next drive, dog walk or laundry-folding session, listen to this on YouTube: Ben Consoli of the Go Creative Show podcast interviews Catherine Orer, a PR Strategist for artists. They discuss turning your passion into a career, and avoiding mistakes artists often make.

Artists aren’t necessarily the best business people… artists sometimes get so caught up in their art, and they don’t see the art in business. They focus hours and hours and hours into making something perfect, but very little time trying to make their business work.

Ben Consoli
  • In relation to the podcast on artists and business above, author Srini Roa from Unmistakingly Creative posted a great article this week called How to Make a Living as an Artist. Have a look here.
  • I’m a huge fan of Pat Flynn’s podcast Smart Passive Income. His interviews with entrepreneurs about business building and passive income strategies are inspiring, and full of smart tips. Pat also has a free course called Build Your Own Brand. See if you’d like to follow his instructions for building a brand and a web presence.

Should vs Must

Throughout our lives we arrive over and over again, at what writer, designer and artist Elle Luna has coined the The Crossroads of Should and Must. She explains how we arrive at a crossroads between other people’s expectations and the voice within us that says we have something special to give. Watch the video above if you’re staying so busy, you never have time for your art.

Off to the Art Festival

After much framing, labeling and booth design sketches, I’m headed south this week for the San Diego ArtWalk. If you’re in the area, stop by Saturday or Sunday on Beech Street and say hello. In between now and then, I hope your creative passions are RAWRing like lions, and you’re VERY busy making stuff.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you in the next post –


P.S. You can subscribe to this blog and get each new post as an email by signing up here.

P.P.S. If watercolor paper is a mystery, download this free primer on everything I’ve learned about the stuff over the past few decades of watercolor painting.

Lucy Signals to Catwoman 21 x 30 Watercolor (sold)

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2 thoughts on “Watercolor – Lucy Signals Catwoman, and Trying Harder with your Art”

  1. Belinda! I love the watercolor piece you open this weeks blog with. Again with the beautiful light and fantastic comp. Bravo???. I admit I don’t always open your blog (“Oh, I’ll read that later”),
    But when I do, without fail, I am delighted. I’m going to “try” to read more. Thanks again for sharing so much.

    1. Haha, I am laughing out loud (really)… thanks, Didi. I don’t get to read everything Id like to absorb either, so no harm – no foul, as they say. Congratulations on the launch of your Facebook page. It’s looking great. Keep those brushes moving, and that camera snapping! XOXO

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