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Don’t Just Get Out of the Box. Get Rid of the Box.

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/7/2014 7:25:19 AM
9 Comments

The more free or inexpensive outlets you can find to talk about yourself, the better. Make a list --- mental or tangible -- of ideas and work your way through it, and if you’re afraid of the computer and don’t want to learn to use it, re-think. People walk around with their faces glued to their phones, and somehow, they’re on the web. You want them to find you there. [...]

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You’re the Only One Who Can Be Yourself

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/24/2014 7:30:29 AM
29 Comments

I’m not sure who’s saying this, but a lot of people are believing it, and many people who would be incredibly happy -- and very good at -- painting certain subjects in a particular style, force themselves, instead, to adopt other subject matter and adapt to other ways of painting it. Paging through the magazines, they see that this person is considered very good, and that style is true art, and whether they want to or not, they start to accept what they are repeatedly told. [...]

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The Artist’s (Narrow) Path

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/10/2014 7:20:17 AM
22 Comments

Now not all artists are willing to walk a narrow path, but many -- the ones who are consumed by their desire to create, and to let others know about what they create -- find themselves out of step with conventional societal norms. Because those conventional societal norms are so strong, too many people live far too many years feeling that they are the problem, and not the exigencies of their environment, and they waste time and energy trying to fit in and be normal. [...]

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Just How Much Work Does Fun Have to Be?

by Carolyn Henderson on 2/24/2014 7:14:10 AM
9 Comments

This means that, when we’re in the studio, creating and wanting to have fun while we do it, we do not have to be whipping ourselves into a frenzy of learning and progressing and striving: it’s okay to mentally relax, dab if you will, and just enjoy where the current is taking us. After all, many people start painting or sculpting as a hobby, and the more they do it, the more they want to do it, and the more they want to do it, the more they want to do it better. It can be easy to forget that the whole project started out to be fun. And that’s where it can stay, for many people. [...]

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Can I Just Sit for a Bit, Please?

by Carolyn Henderson on 2/12/2014 7:15:24 AM
6 Comments

Within any creative endeavor upon which we embark, we quickly and shortly run into people telling us that we need to work harder, do better, apply ourselves more, or we will never get better, and they’re right. It doesn’t matter if you’re quilting, knitting, painting, cooking, gardening, playing the piano -- believe me, if it involves skill and practice, you can always improve. [...]

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You - Yes, You - Can Have an Opinion

by Carolyn Henderson on 1/27/2014 7:23:02 AM
25 Comments

There’s nothing wrong at all about learning from others -- we all do. But as we learn, we gain, or should gain, confidence in our knowledge so that we can use what we know and move forward. Spending an entire lifetime sitting at the feet of a guru ensures that what we create, at best, will look like the Master’s work, and certainly not anything better. Believe me, you can do a lot better than that. [...]

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The Pride and Prejudice of the Arts

by Carolyn Henderson on 1/13/2014 7:08:07 AM
4 Comments

As an artist, not only do you have the right, but you have the obligation -- to yourself and the advancement of your own art -- to look at other artwork and critique it. As in critiquing literature, the more you know and the more mature of an artist, or reader, that you are, the more confidence and qualification you have to critique -- but you’ll never get that maturity and confidence without 1) looking at a lot of art and 2) creating a lot of art yourself [...]

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Who Are YOU to Critique Art?

by Carolyn Henderson on 12/30/2013 7:19:31 AM
37 Comments

When you feel tempted to stop yourself by saying, “Who am I to pass judgment on a work of art?” ask yourself, “Who are the people, after all, who pass all this judgment on art? Who are the critics? Who are the magazine editors? Who composes the jurying panel of the shows and art societies?” Most of the time, you don’t know. And yet you accept that what they say is right, more right, say, than what you would think. [...]

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The Nebulously Indefinable “World of Art”

by Carolyn Henderson on 12/16/2013 7:25:30 AM
24 Comments

But you do have something quite important that you do control -- your money -- and it is the one thing about you that matters to the Arrogant Artists at the top of the nebulously indefinable world of art. It is your purchases of their art, their books, their DVDs, their workshops, their magazines, their product lines, that keep them, monetarily, thriving. [...]

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Your Alfred Hitchcock Moment

by Carolyn Henderson on 12/2/2013 7:27:16 AM
12 Comments

Regardless of the judge’s name or level of importance in the art circles, what seems painfully obvious is that the man was impressed by his own importance, and wanted to make sure -- at the expense of others -- that this importance was recognized. The best way that you can emphasize how good you are at something is to tear down everyone around you. This, my friend, is arrogance -- not confidence -- and it is the reason why arrogant people -- regardless of how incredibly good they are at what they do -- do not deserve our support, encouragement, accolade, attention, or money. [...]

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Arrogance versus Confidence

by Carolyn Henderson on 11/19/2013 7:37:52 AM
29 Comments

Even if he is good, why reward pride, conceit, and self-satisfaction? Surely, somewhere, there is an artist, equally good, who deserves praise and accolade not only because of his skill, but because of his warm, generous, openhanded, encouraging attitude? [...]

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Making Your YouTube Video - Random Thoughts

by Carolyn Henderson on 11/4/2013 7:29:13 AM
7 Comments

Making videos, like creating artwork, is not something that you learn overnight, or manage to do without mistakes. As I mentioned, our first two were our learning curve, and the new, improved Watercolor Success promotional and Countdown to Christmas with Santa replaced our first launches. But frankly, we didn’t know what we had to fix until we did something. [...]

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You, Tu, Can Make a YouTube Video

by Carolyn Henderson on 10/21/2013 7:18:22 AM
10 Comments

So here is point number 1: if you’re going to make a YouTube video, then put out a quality product. While it doesn’t have to look like a Peter Jackson film, it needs to be more than a screen shot of whatever it is that you’re talking about, with flashing red arrows as you, in the background, figure out what you are going to say. [...]

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Overpower -- and Cower -- Your Learning Curve

by Carolyn Henderson on 10/7/2013 8:33:47 AM
6 Comments

You’re not stupid. If you don’t remember any of the other bullet points, that’s okay. Just remember this one. [...]

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Screeching Forward at a Slug’s Pace

by Carolyn Henderson on 9/23/2013 6:37:52 AM
17 Comments

That’s how we felt, though -- and that’s probably how you feel when you embark on learning something new -- something that everybody else seems to know already and do well -- and find yourself not moving anywhere. There’s no user’s manual. There’s no online support. The Chat line has more Chit in it than Chat. If there’s a phone number, it leads to a calling center on Jupiter. HowDoYouDoThis.com describes, in what looks like detail, a series of instructions that are useless because the categories and buttons they tell you to look for don’t exist anymore. [...]

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Your Learning Curve

by Carolyn Henderson on 9/9/2013 7:12:03 AM
5 Comments

As an artist who is also a businessperson, you have all types of learning curves, not the least of which is your actual ability to produce your art. But these days, painting well is not enough. You want to sell your work, and paintings don’t do this, resting against the walls of your studio. [...]

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The Countercultural Artist -- with or without the Tattoo

by Carolyn Henderson on 8/26/2013 7:12:51 AM
15 Comments

Being countercultural is an internal thing, which sometimes, but not always, shows up in external aspects -- like tattoos. It’s less important that you look like a free thinking, independent human being than that you live like one. [...]

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It Truly Doesn’t Matter What People Think

by Carolyn Henderson on 8/12/2013 7:25:38 AM
28 Comments

But we operate as if most people cared about us -- as if their thoughts, emotions, hopes, and dreams were invested in us. Now while this is true at times (example: Mother grizzly -- baby cubs; Me -- My Progeny), most of the time the random people we are trying to impress really aren’t investing a lot of thought time into us; at best, they’re gossiping, pointing out our errors, publicly commiserating in a fashion that builds them up in their listeners’ eyes. That’s if they’re thinking about us at all. [...]

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The Countercultural Middle Aged Woman

by Carolyn Henderson on 8/6/2013 7:19:25 AM
11 Comments

Mom was right -- it’s what we are inside that makes the difference, but because we are so afraid to let that person out, we subvert him or her even from ourselves. And unless and until we embrace this quirky, unique, individual, and highly countercultural internal being, we will never be the artist that we can and should be. [...]

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Get ‘Em Drunk, and They’ll Buy Anything

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/23/2013 7:58:42 AM
9 Comments

Some say things and act out in fashions that later cause them moments of embarrassment, but very, very few lose control of their debit cards. And while there are people who do, relying upon them -- and their moment of vulnerability -- for painting sales is about as sensible as securing your retirement annuity with proceeds from lotto tickets. [...]

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Art and Wine: They Go Together!

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/16/2013 7:18:07 AM
10 Comments

You are a business, and what you produce is valuable. Too frequently, artists -- who often tend to be sensitive, thoughtful people -- are pushed and pulled by a schizophrenic message that says, simultaneously, two things: 1) This is a charitable event. 2) This is a business making proposition. [...]

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Art and Wine, Wine and Art, On and On

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/9/2013 7:23:10 AM
30 Comments

I am not saying that art and wine can’t go together -- actually, they should and sometimes do. I am simply observing that, all too frequently, the art adds visual stimulation and interest to an event without necessarily resulting in sales and income for the artist. And to be quite blunt, when you’re an artist, sales matter. [...]

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Your Next Public Appearance - More Bearable and Fun

by Carolyn Henderson on 7/2/2013 7:11:45 AM
8 Comments

Fact? Most people, artists or not, hate public speaking. If speech classes weren’t mandatory in every educational situation, there would be no speech teachers. But you have valuable things to say. Do not let your discomfort, or inexperience, with public speaking keep you from accepting an invitation to talk about your art. [...]

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Do You Buy Strawberries for Taste or Size?

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/25/2013 7:30:59 AM
9 Comments

It is a perversity of human nature that we want, and expect it all, and when this can’t be so, we are willing to drop the most meaningful factors for the showier ones. [...]

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Selling Hubcaps

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/18/2013 7:41:45 AM
10 Comments

Never underestimate the potent worth of sincerity, or the ability of people to catch on to it. [...]

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We’re Not Done with Spammers Yet, and They’re Certainly Not Done with Us

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/11/2013 7:19:30 AM
14 Comments

What spammers do is wrong; they are using people; and as long as it works, they will continue to do it. That’s a primary reason. A secondary reason so strong that it’s pretty much primary is that I do not want a link to a questionable site on mine. We work hard, very hard, to run our business honestly and with integrity, and I don’t want to jeopardize our good name by digitally associating with a place that deceives people. [...]

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Does it Look Like a Duck with Galoshes on?

by Carolyn Henderson on 6/4/2013 7:29:31 AM
9 Comments

While it won’t result in sudden, agonizing death to allow a spam comment through in our comment section, it is something we want to avoid. Before we delve into this, you may want to know, as I did, why spammers leave comments on our websites at all -- what do they get out of this? [...]

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Even Vegans Have to Deal with Spam

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/28/2013 7:07:42 AM
7 Comments

But spammers, like all dishonest people out to make money without actually earning it, are innovative and intelligent, and they are constantly changing their tactics to outwit the tactics of the anti-spammers. And the anti-spammers figure out what they’re doing and block them, at which point the spammers introduce a new concept that the anti-spammers haven’t addressed yet. [...]

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What Does Your Abnormal Look Like?

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/21/2013 7:27:11 AM
15 Comments

Don’t you wish that I would give you concrete, bullet-pointed, step-by-step instructions for how to increase art sales? I’ll never do that, you know, because I won’t deceive by promising easy answers to complex problems, but if you really want these tips, there are numerous groups, speakers, writers, magazines, social-media resources, and programs out there that will -- for a price. [...]

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Being Abnormal

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/14/2013 6:36:22 AM
31 Comments

Because we’re supposed to -- because the normal way of going about things is to join prestigious groups and enter prestigious shows and try to catch the attention of prestigious galleries and not even dream of doing things on our own. In order to sell artwork, we are told, the quality and beauty of the artwork itself is the last thing we’re supposed to consider. We need the right group, the right publicity, the right show, to make it all happen. And in order to be in the right place at the right time, we need be joining those groups and buying those ads and entering those shows -- consistently writing out checks to other people in the belief that they will do something for us in return. [...]

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Want to Go North? Head South

by Carolyn Henderson on 5/7/2013 8:41:45 AM
8 Comments

Life in the real world often feels like Looking Glass land, in that when we approach a project directly -- like, a really good painting; or marketing that painting -- we often seem to be back where we started. [...]

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Forget about the Frog and Focus on Your Art

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/30/2013 7:29:27 AM
16 Comments

You’re not abandoning people all together; family members love and need you, after all. You are simply allowing yourself time, as an artist, away from outside voices and influence so that you can focus on that small, quiet, patient inner voice that gets drowned out by all the external shouting. [...]

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Not All Great Paintings Have Frogs in Them

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/23/2013 7:09:31 AM
15 Comments

The initial problem lies, however, in accepting that being alone is not weird. Too often, when we embark upon a creative outlet or a new lifestyle or gluten free eating or knitting socks from the toe up as opposed to top-down, or whatever it is that we want to get really good at, we seek out a group, because, we tell ourselves, “I will learn so much from other people, and that will help me advance.” And so we start attending this group, monthly or weekly or every two weeks, and while we do learn good things from others around us, we also pick up -- and reinforce every time we attend the group -- not so good things as well. [...]

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Time Alone Is Time Well Spent

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/16/2013 7:11:57 AM
20 Comments

With this static in the background, it is difficult to find the silence or the solitude long enough to realize that constantly being around other people, engaged in formal or informal group activity, isn’t always the best thing. And getting away from this noise isn’t always a bad thing. And, especially if you’re an artist -- it’s a good thing, a necessary thing, because so much of what you create comes not only from your hands but is directed by your brain, heart, and soul, all three of which desperately need some silence and time away from distractions. [...]

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Tripping Up Because We Can't See Through the Holes in the Mask

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/9/2013 7:20:25 AM
6 Comments

As I said last week in Evangelista Arcadia Salome is Not a Real Person, there is nothing wrong with exerting ourselves to be slightly different than we are -- walking forward confidently, hand outstretched, when we would prefer to shrink into the corner; or taking two breaths before speaking, or maybe not speaking at all, when we have a tendency to dominate the conversation -- these little steps, practiced enough, add to our base personality and improve it by diversifying it. The problem arises when we act so totally contrary to who and what we are that our own mother would not recognize us in the grocery store as the same person who just drank coffee with her in the kitchen. If Mom has to flip back the plastic Halloween mask to see if that’s her kid, then we’ve gone too far. [...]

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Evangelista Arcadia Salome is Not a Real Person

by Carolyn Henderson on 4/2/2013 7:21:37 AM
20 Comments

“Do we have to be someone we are not in order to succeed?” First of all, let’s define what we mean by being “someone we are not.” [...]

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Wearing a Mask

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/26/2013 10:10:46 AM
40 Comments

And yet they felt compelled to create themselves into something that they obviously were not, with the mistaken notion that somehow, people would be more attracted to their substitute persona as opposed to their real personality. Maybe these particular examples weren’t very good, and that’s why they didn’t work -- and maybe there are people out there who have created really, really good alter egos that do work, but the questions for you, and me, is this -- do we need to change who we are to be successful? [...]

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You’re Not Dumb

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/19/2013 7:13:55 AM
20 Comments

It is never easy to sell art, and in a sluggish, insecure, unimproving economy in which more and more people find themselves downsized, dazed and down and out, art really doesn’t bounce around in a happy fashion. And yet, especially in a sluggish, insecure, unimproving economy, we need art as a means to point to something higher, greater, mightier, more noble, and more beautiful than what we read about in the news every day. [...]

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Artists Are Not Crafty

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/12/2013 7:18:12 AM
22 Comments

Artists are sensitive, we are frequently told, and it’s generally true -- but sensitive does not mean weak, ineffectual, or unintelligent. Sensitive means thoughtful, analytical, and soul searching -- three elements that are noticeably missing from our 1) political arena and 2) business establishments. [...]

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If You're Going to be Crafty, Crochet Toilet Paper Holders

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/5/2013 7:15:20 AM
8 Comments

Anybody can learn to be crafty -- it’s pretty much picking up a series of techniques based upon taking advantage of how people think; but being a person that other people trust -- that’s a long term, lifelong project, that takes an amazing amount of hard work, self-analysis, and determination. [...]

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