Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation - for inspiration

As you may already know, I’m on SUMMER VACATION! My creative cup wasn’t really getting empty, but I felt it was the same brew I’d been serving for a while, so decided to take time to fill my own cup and make room for some new concoctions. . Since June, I’ve been using the summer reconnect with distant family, study art with my teacher in Southern California, put together summer vacation travela two-person art exhibit, tour a few far-away places, paint, paint, paint, and steep in ideas for new writings in September! My muse really seems to be digging the break, but I thought I’d check in with you this week…just cuz.

You may have noticed, each Friday, I’ve been creating a post on social media sites with a link from a popular previous post. If you’d like to get the updates, you can join the tribe (on the left sidebar) or follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.  For art only updates, follow me on Instagram!

Summer Vacation IdeaI’m not sure if you realize, but you can put almost any topic in the search bar at the top of the page, and if I’ve written about it, you’ll see all related articles pop up. You can find popular art business and art of life posts on those related pages of the website. Feel free to share those links with friends…while I’m on the beach. 😉

I hope you’re doing something special that fills you up for the summer. If Summer Vacation Ideasyou are, feel free to leave a note below and share! I’m still here…just brewing!!!

Enjoy the Summer!

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Writer, Artist, Coach

 

Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to share tips for a well-lived life and a finely run art business…just for you!

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The Middle

(I’m on summer vacation! These posts are re-posts. I have discovered a need to re-fill my creative cup. Looking forward to bringing you new and improved posts in the fall. I hope you enjoy these selected writings! Search topics of interest on my site for more related articles.)

“Every giant redwood was once a seedling. They don’t get to skip that part.” –  Sue Fitzmaurice  (click to Tweet)

There’s a recurring theme lately. People are in transition. Life is full of cycles and we’re sometimes called upon to reinvent Life transitionourselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to growth, breathe life into our dreams, be a catalyst for positive change…but let’s face it….it’s more than terrifying to be a seedling.

You. Don’t. Get. To. Skip. That. Part.

Seedlings are itty bitty small in a big, big world. Seedlings get stepped on, drowned, and their tender little stems are pickings for things like…well…wild pigs. Seedlings are vulnerable. Not all seedlings make it but they try, because  the prospect of being a giant Sequoia is quite enticing. Sequoias are strong, long-lived and have a fabulous penthouse view.

I’ve had a fairly varied and interesting past. (Notice I did NOT say “colourful.”) Every decade has brought transitions – new places, new relationships and sometimes, new careers. Interestingly, what was learned from the old situations bolted onto the new transitions quite nicely, kind of like Legos. Just because we leave a job or relationship behind doesn’t mean the skills and knowledge we have aren’t transferrable – THEY ARE!

I will tell you a secret. Often, during transition, there is a long expanse of time that is the “uncomfortable middle.” (click to Tweet) It is not the creamy, fluffy, goodness. This is the place where you lack direction, uncertainty becomes a way of life, the answer or direction often does not reveal itself as quickly as our fast-food appetites would like. This is not a happy place, but a place of exploration, possibilities and change. It is an uncomfortable crevasse. It’s the very thing that can send you running and screaming back to the comfort…back to the known. To get past the middle you need a serious dose of courage. You have to trust the process, your God and your gut. Continue reading “The Middle”

Who’s Your Daddy?

Who’s your biggest advocate? Who champions your career, has your back, ferrets out opportunity that will benefit you?Advocate for yourself - create opportunity

I hope your answer is – ME! I don’t mean me…the coach, the artist, the advisor…I mean YOU! You probably aren’t comfortable advocating for yourself. Few of us are, but the truth is, you MUST be your own advocate, whether you’re a creative, a corporate person, a small business owner or a solo-preneur. No matter who you are, you owe it to yourself to be your own best advocate. It’s not a bloated ego thing. It’s a smart thing (click to Tweet).

Continue reading “Who’s Your Daddy?”

It’s Called ArtWORK

art is work artworkOnce, in an art class, the instructor proclaimed with conviction, “Art is NOT supposed to be fun.” She snarled sternly, “Art is WORK!” and at that moment, I decided I didn’t like her. At least one student was chastised for smiling while painting. Seriously, she was over the top.

Today, as I was thinking about blog topics and how I’m struggling with some elements in my own studio, I realized she had a point….sort of….in a much gentler way. Art is work, or perhaps more accurately, persistence. Continue reading “It’s Called ArtWORK”

Fair Weather Thinking – Part I

finding possibilities(Part 1 of a 3 part series  – “Fair Weather Thinking” is designed to help you identify more possibilities in your life by helping you clear the path of mental and physical debris that can cloud good decision-making. This series is presented in 3 distinct parts – Own Your Stuff, Set Clear Boundaries and Take Care of You.) 

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”         ~Thomas Merton

When the skies are clear and the weather is fair, it’s easier to see the stars. Stars are light infused inspirations – they remind me of possibilities.

Possibilities are the embers of hope – the kindling for the fires of our lives, that ignite potential and meaning (click to Tweet)  Continue reading “Fair Weather Thinking – Part I”

Two Rabbits

Priorities

The saying is a Roman proverb, sometimes contributed to Confucious.

Recently, I felt like I was chasing more than two rabbits. The furry moppets refused to hang together and…well…I’m not as fast as I used to be. The constant changing of direction and gears seems to put a damper on my speed and hinder a razor-sharp focus.

So, sometimes it’s best to cut bait and walk away.

But, how do we make the decisions about which rabbits to chase and when to cut them loose? I guess it’s dependent upon our objectives and priorities. AND, do we even give consideration to such things? When it comes to priorities, do you spend time examining them, or just let the tail wag the rabbit-chasing dog? (click to Tweet)

When considering which rabbit to chase, I say if you’re supporting a family and need the income, that might be your first priority – the money – so you chase the biggest, fattest rabbit you can find. Continue reading “Two Rabbits”

At Your Service – Overcoming Fear of Sales

fear of salesFreaked out by sales? I don’t mean lack of sales or through the roof sales…I mean actively selling your stuff.

Books are written and entire Psychology practices are built upon the science of sales. I used to work with sales teams – and my company would do psychological profiles to identify the most desirable traits, so we could profile our ideal candidates. The field can be downright overwhelming…or underwhelming…depending upon how you look at it, and

some. people. just. don’t. like. it.

If you’re self-employed, whether you offer a product or a service, you must sell in order to survive. Still, a lot of people are reluctant to approach sales for a variety of reasons. I don’t think it’s because they believe they are too good for the task…sometimes they think they’re not good enough. Neither is true.

I’ve found the some of the top reasons for reluctance to sell. AND, in the spirit of the Well Lived Life, I’d like to offer some solutions: Continue reading “At Your Service – Overcoming Fear of Sales”

Still Cheap and Easy

(This is a repost from August 2014 – because I’m still doing this and loving it! How about you?)

I give it away. I’m more than cheap and easy…I’m free. Sorry, Mom, probably not what you wanted to hear.

Volunterring at Blue Line Arts

I volunteer… a lot.

Wednesday I offered to help a friend install his first solo show. After arriving and finding there was considerable framing to do, I realized what I thought would be a 3-hour job was going to take all day. It was a 7-hour affair… and I was so grateful.

It might help if you had a little back-story. In the “olden days,” when I limped off the corporate battlefield several years ago, I realized I didn’t know the art industry as thoroughly as I’d hoped. Since I yearned for a well-rounded education, I volunteered – doing everything I could – so I could learn the business inside and out. Rather than enroll in more college courses, I’d earn this education with sweat, sore muscles and the uncertainty of new experiences. Continue reading “Still Cheap and Easy”

Do You Want to Be Average?

Art SurveyWhen we hear the word “statistics” we associate it with words like significance, normed, relevant and mean. The numbers can be very useful when we choose to let them inform and guide us. After all, You don’t want to wind up “average,” do you? (click to Tweet)

Jason Horejs is the owner of Scottsdale’s Xanadu Gallery and an educator of artists – teaching stellar business skills, offering mentoring opportunities and sharing best practices for working with galleries. Last week he sent his art community “State of the Art” surveys. I participated along with 1017 other respondents and was pretty excited when results were shared this week. While Horejs admits it’s mostly an “informal check,” as someone who works with statistics regularly, I found a lot of value in the results.

I think it’s a good idea to occasionally raise my head and see what the people around me are doing. This doesn’t mean I’ll blindly follow, but it doesn’t hurt to take stock. I’m sharing the survey results and encourage you to take some real time to read through them and ask yourself if you’re taking the steps to get where you’d like to go. Continue reading “Do You Want to Be Average?”

6 Steps to Staying One Step Ahead

Blessed are those who can stay one step ahead.difficult tasks

I can see it coming like a runaway train – and I know I need to stay one step ahead of it – or get off the tracks. But, when it comes to closing year-end business, getting off the tracks isn’t really an option. This time of year can be daunting. The financial books need to be ready for the tax preparer and we want to have a clear demarcation of the end of 2014. If we don’t – how do we know if we’re doing better in 2015? Remember all your audacious goals for this fresh, new year? We don’t need to trip on the debris of last year while grasping for the gold ring…know what I’m sayin’?(click to Tweet).

There’s so much more to being in business for yourself than just creating. You wear many hats sometimes, too many. There are tax returns to file, marketing to get done, inventory to keep, expenses to keep track of and really – Continue reading “6 Steps to Staying One Step Ahead”

Die Trying – The Value of Grit

Grit work ethicI used to have a sticker next to my computer. It said “Die Trying.” It was the culture of the company I worked for – where the boss hurled battle cries like, “Play hurt!” “Dig your cleats in!” “This ain’t no country club!” We were a small, yet powerful, team. What we were able to accomplish was remarkable, and our successes drove us to work harder. We celebrated often, whether it was for conquering the competition or recognizing our own mammoth efforts. It was a constant thrill and the work ethic built confidence in each of us.

That job was a good fit for me. This recovering Catholic doesn’t feel like anything is finished until I leave a little blood on it (click to Tweet if you’re RC, too!). I know it’s a myth, but it has to hurt – just a little – for me to feel like it’s “finished.” I am convinced this guilty masochism keeps me striving for excellence. It pushes me. It’s my quality control.

There’s a difference between those who are willing to die trying and those who are not. It usually shows up in results. (click to Tweet)

I’ve noticed a lot of creatives expect things to happen organically. I can understand that because that’s how our creative work is processed. Intuition and inspiration play a large part in knowing how to approach our work, understanding when something is complete and, at least for me, there’s an entire “letting it go” part in the middle of the creative process that allows the best work to spring forth…almost on its own. Continue reading “Die Trying – The Value of Grit”

Pack your Launch – Permission to Create a Powerful 2015

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

Haven’t thought about it? Don’t have time? Dare not dream?

PermissionIt’s December. In less than a month those pesky coaches, motivational speakers and self-help gurus’ poker-hot breath will be like needles in the back of your neck…demanding to know your “New Year’s Resolutions.”

Bahhh! Personally, I haven’t found resolutions to be much help. But, I have noticed the power of focused intentions and a few solid goals. I set the goals and put the vision “out there,” into the powerful ethosphere. Stuff happens. In my day to day life I plug in actions to support those goals. I like to keep my timelines rather “loose” because I buy into the myth that more structure equals less freedom. I know it’s a myth, I teach others it’s a myth, but I choose to indulge it. I’m flawed.

Ahem…back to YOU! Are you ready to pack your 2015 launch? (click to Tweet) Continue reading “Pack your Launch – Permission to Create a Powerful 2015”

You’re As Good As Goaled

GoalsMany years ago, I opened a volume of poetry and prayers and a colourful, folded, Post-It note fell out. On this paper I had written 5 things I wanted to accomplish. I’d written them, tucked them into the book and forgotten all about them. They incubated on the bookshelf for 2 years, then, voila, were rediscovered. DONE. COMPLETE. FINITO.

Has this ever happened to you? When it does, it feels like there’s some divine purpose behind it. I’ve experienced this phenomenon multiple times and when it happens, I’m always surprised at how my life has moved in the direction of the intent. The simple act, the intention, written on a piece of paper has a kind of power in itself. It works. Continue reading “You’re As Good As Goaled”

Don’t Say It! – 10 Things NOT to Say to Artists

Insulting Artists
Insulted Jewish Boy Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy

Artists are a sensitive bunch. Recently, the following list of “10 Things NOT to Say to An Artist or Crafter” has been circulating on the Internet. These comments may be considered insensitive or crass to those of us in the art field. If a potential buyer were to say some of these things to you, you might have a less-than-polite reply. Take a gander: Continue reading “Don’t Say It! – 10 Things NOT to Say to Artists”

What’s Your Problem?

What’s your problem?Art Problems

Yeah, I know you have one. Or you ought to. I currently have an issue I’m working out….more often than not, I work on it in front of you all! Not this one…not yet.

Cat got yer tongue?

Truly, we all face different challenges at different times in our lives. Full-time artists have different challenges than part-time artists. Self-employed artists find various challenges, but so do artists who work for design firms or studios. The challenges we face are unique and personal. Continue reading “What’s Your Problem?”

5 Ways to Market Your Art While Remaining True to Yourself

Art MarketingMarketing should be a 4-letter word.

At least that’s what many artists think. Generally, artists dread marketing their art. It feels so manipulative, challenging, word-driven, competitive…the list goes on. It cuts into studio time.

As an artist, part of the deal is you have to market your work. Few of us have agents beating down the doors, clamoring to represent us and industriously creating distribution inroads. Necessity requires we use our creativity to identify venues for showing our work and reaching those who will appreciate, and purchase, our art. Continue reading “5 Ways to Market Your Art While Remaining True to Yourself”