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Do This Every Single Day, and You値l Succeed!

by Carolyn Henderson on 3/20/2017 10:21:28 AM

This article is by Carolyn Henderson, the managing half of Steve Henderson Fine Art. A regular contributing writer for FineArtViews, Carolyn’s alter ego, This Woman Writes, publishes lifestyle articles in online and in print newspapers and on her blog site. The co-owner of Steve Henderson Fine Art with her painter husband Steve, Carolyn is the author of Grammar Despair: Quick simple solutions to problems like, “Do I say him and me or he and I?” and the money saving book, Live Happily on Less.



Social media is not the top place to gather trusted, valued advice for conducting your life or your business.


And while we frequently fall into the trap of thinking we’ll get good “tips” there – regarding networking, building clientele, increasing sales, and marketing our product – when we really try to put into practice what the “influencers” tell us to do, it all falls flat somehow, like old tonic in a mixed drink.


I was reminded of this recently when I encountered another one of these, “Use Your Free Time Effectively and You’ll Be Fabulously Successful” articles, the author’s profile pic looking like it was snapped while he gave a motivational speech on stage. I hovered over it, curious as to what could be said that garnered 130,000 Likes and 50,000 Shares, but not wanting to add my digital click to his views. But curiosity won out.


And I’m still curious, in sheer wonder that this article – which pretty much sounds like a word for word transcription of a motivational speech – achieved such a response in its readers:


“Wonderful suggestions!”


“Great message.”


“Most inspiring.”


“Words of wisdom.”


I don’t think even Jesus picked up accolades like this, and without meaning to attack the author, what he said was commonsense intrinsically and dangerously blended with the Corporate Success mentality to do, do, do on your “free” time (six hours a day) after a full day of giving your best and your brightest to your employer. There’s a strong guilt factor, and the message is that if you don’t get off your ass, which for many readers has been in an office cubicle chair all day, and do some actual work, then you’ll remain a failure.


Admittedly, it’s a great idea to not consistently waste one’s time on yet another propagandized (my word, not the author’s) movie, or hours surfing Facebook, or other such fluff. And an invaluable idea, also, to read (Point 2, I think), but I suspect, from the article’s overall tone and what it holds out to be the prize (vice presidency of this corporation, CEO of that), that such literature doesn’t include The Narnia chronicles, writings of the apostolic fathers, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, or any other such fare that provokes and promotes deep, philosophical and potentially metaphysical thinking, which, for an artist, is highly beneficial since we deal with matters that transcend the day to day elbow jostling of life.


(One would hope that those in any field, especially business, would also think more deeply than on the surface, but given what shoots to the top in sites like LinkedIn, I don’t think we’re quite there yet.)


Those of you who are artists but not full-time ones – which, by the way, represents a significant portion of the artist community, and is nothing to be ashamed of at. all. – know that in order to get time to do your artwork and the marketing of it thereof, you frequently carve minutes from limited “free-time” hours, during which you are tired and would rather sit back in the chair and stare at the cat licking its tail. You are already impressive, and the last thing you need is to be scolded – by someone of a strong corporate, business mentality –  that you’re not doing enough. We’re a bit spoiled, we’re told, to think that, in the six hours we have between 6 p.m. and midnight (up at 5 a.m., I’m thinking? Sleep is a luxury), we must do, do, do in a businesslike, efficient, effective, pro-active, networking, purposeful way. Otherwise – there it is again – we will not achieve our goals, and we will thereby be a failure, one of our own making.


If this attitude were truth, we should have millions of successful business entrepreneurs in this world, because millions are reading the corporate motivational seminar advice, and wholeheartedly putting it into practice.


My point is this: to advance in your art/business career, it does indeed take work, perseverance, determination, time, effort, and sheer tenacity – but at the same point, it does not have to be a slog, which is what the success-building techniques of Techno Corporate advisers feel like:

  • Build those contacts. Network network network.
  • Read those (successful business) books.
  • Scheme.
  • Listen to the Influencers and do what they say.
  • Find a mentor and submit yourself under him/her.
  • Accept the precious pearls of wisdom from financial magnates as more valuable than a word from God, who isn’t much of a businessman by the way because He’s into things like love, compassion, sharing, generosity, peace and all that. (You don’t have to believe in God to value those qualities – notably missing in the big business world – and determine that somehow they will factor in your own way of doing business.)


The words are the same – work hard, keep at it, use your precious time wisely – but the results are different. Following the business/corporate-speak model leaves one feeling drained and ineffectual, while following the quiet, wending path of thought and experimentation without worrying about Success! Now! – as well as doing what you realistically can while living in the circumstances you find yourself in today – is doable, manageable for the long haul, and potentially quite pleasurable.


By following the second path, you may not emerge the CEO of a company (nor, incidentally, is there any guarantee that you will do so on the first path), but you’ll also not drive yourself to exhaustion, chronic frustration, a low sense of worth, and ineffectiveness.


The artist’s work is different from a corporate CEO’s. It only makes sense that his method of doing so will be different as well.


Next time, let’s explore some of the corporate business techniques that are conveniently customized for us as artists, and see if we can sidestep them.





Editor's Note:

A great way to share your artwork, is with a new gorgeous FASO artist website to display your talent! We make it easy to put together, very easy to maintain, and there is a Positively Remarkable Support Team to help along the way. To sign up for a free, no obligation 30 day trial, click hereOr if you're stuck where you are, or just don't want to deal with the hassle of moving your website, sign up for ArtistEdge today to tap into our great art marketing tools


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Topics: advice for artists | Art Business | Carolyn Henderson | FineArtViews | inspiration | sell art | selling art online | selling fine art online 

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Stephanie Stone
Well said! Bravo! I get so tired of everyone pushing Connie and me to do more and be more and push, push. Sometimes I even forget I am selling the beauty of what art is! I am thankful for people like Carolyn who express their opinions and help people like me realize...maybe I am doing least for now!

Laura Mason
OMG! Thank you, thank you! What a refreshing article for those of us who have to squeeze our art career into the hours left over after our 'secondary and less important except for the financial benefit' job exhausts us. Bravo, for expressing so well how 'doing our best' may not be what the world sees as best. I have tried several times to structure and morph my art business into a corporate frame to no avail. My hubby and I even held an 'art business retreat' to work on a business plan... we spent about the first 4 hours figuring out the business plan software!

In my day-job I work 8-10 hours, then there are family and household chores (though I did insist on a bi-weekly cleaner). But it's no wonder I'm not famous yet. Thanks Carolyn for being the voice of reason...

Mark Brockman
Here is what people should do. First decide what you want out of your art life at its highest level, then decide what you will except. Then decide what are you willing to do to reach your highest level of success (success is not always fame and fortune) and then decide is it worth it. If you decide it's not worth it, the sacrifices, remember that level of success you are willing to except.

I think we should, and I have, research the possabilities that might bring you success, but ultimately do what feels right to you, not what some so called expert says you should do. Do what might go against the norm, against all those things that is expected of you, if that feels right. Truth is there are no experts, just those pretending to be experts.

Carolyn, you are a smart and wise woman and I mean this with all good humor, but It seems you are telling us to not listen to you. Or at least be cautious of what you are telling us what we should do. :)

Jan Stommes
Well said, Carolyn, well said. Many 'motivational speakers' imply that there is a 'get rich quick' aspect to selling art as well as the implication that the artist is 'not working hard enough'. It is not necessarily how well done a painting is created, how long it takes to create it or who the artist knows, that make artwork sell. There are many factors that influence it. Thanks for a great piece... excellent writing, as usual.

We live in a go, go society and it's in all professions. The market is filled with art, some good, some bad and some that is supposed to be accepted as good. Making a living selling art is difficult. I envy Steve because he has someone else to do the marketing. We ranch and my husband not only has enough to do with the ranch, he is no marketer. I'm beginning to think marketing is a full time job all on its own. It's is depressing enough to send me back to hobby status. Ranching, painting and the book work and promotion for both is enough to send me back to painting as a hobby only.

Elizabeth LaPenna
Thank you, Carolyn. The article is very encouraging. I have another Scripture which is also relevant. "Dedicate your work to the Lord and He will crown it with success." After all, it is His gift we are blessed with.

Luann M. Udell
As always, Carolyn, your words are good truth-telling in a world of hype. Our art-making enriches US first. THEN we share it, in hopes it enriches others. And you are spot on, the "enriching" part is not about GETTING rich, but about deepening our interactions with the world, and each other.

Paul Foote
I find the best way to get by is to ignore all the so-called "experts" and do what you want to do. I never listen to any of the phony "health experts", the phony "diet experts", the phony "improve this or that experts", the corporate shills or the media shills who are mostly just leftwing propagandists, advertisers and so on.

All of them are selling something be it a book, a program, an ideology, or themselves, and I simply refuse to be a buyer.

The only things I really pay attention to are my personal interests such as art or fishing, and investing. (I do want to retire someday. Tomorrow would be great!)

Laura Mason
OMG! Thank you, thank you! What a refreshing article for those of us who have to squeeze our art career into the hours left over after our 'secondary and less important except for the financial benefit' job exhausts us. Bravo, for expressing so well how 'doing our best' may not be what the world sees as best. I have tried several times to structure and morph my art business into a corporate frame to no avail. My hubby and I even held an 'art business retreat' to work on a business plan... we spent about the first 4 hours figuring out the business plan software!

In my day-job I work 8-10 hours, then there are family and household chores (though I did insist on a bi-weekly cleaner). But it's no wonder I'm not famous yet. Thanks Carolyn for being the voice of reason...

Cass Caliri
I like and agree!

Esther J Williams
In our art world, it all boils down to listening to yourself and meditating in the present moment of where you are. Your spirit knows what to do, just open up and listen to your own wisdom. I find life much easier to live while being in the present. If you are sick or tired, don't feel you have to do some marketing, relax, let your body regain it's energy. If you feel like going gangbusters, getting out in the world and painting in public, do it. If you want to network, that is easy, just get in touch with some of your past customers and send them a hello or call them. Ask them to refer you to others. Listen to your voice of reason and intuition, like you said, not everyone needs to be rich and on the top of the heap. Interact with people to conduct business, but not 6 hours each night or day. We are a different breed of people than corporate business types. Most of their activities are scheduled, black and white, numbers, planning, on the phone 8 hours a day. That is so much the antithesis of a true artist. We have to create, we need a majority of our time to create or there isn't anything to market! We need to dream, yes, we need to spend time to dream and envision. I find a lot of my business ideas come to me when I'm doing something else. Except it is something that connects to another idea and I get a spark to follow it through. Whims, they call those. One thing we can't get away from is some paper work, so if you paint all day, save that for the evening or early morning. With all that said, I have a nagging feeling I need to get to my easel right now.

paul toudouze
Thank you for reinforcing a path I chose to take about a year ago. The path I was on finally cost me physically. The chronically stressful state of our society in general as well as its materialistic beliefs are, I discovered, illusions that can be deadly in both the long and short term. Finances play a major, major role in adding to the stress. I would rather live a frugal life and be happy, content but not complacent, GRATEFUL and 'inspired' to make art as opposed to "motivated'. Thanks Miss Carolyn. ><

Carolyn Henderson
Stephanie -- the art business, it's a funny one. Artists are supposed to see in a way that others don't, to interpret the world with an astute, clear, and almost metaphysical eye . . . PLUS run that business like a corporation and ram that art down everyone's throats. The twain have difficulty meeting, and when they struggle to do so, the artist thinks, "I'm such a dork."

Running an art business in which you create and sell as the same entity requires constantly stepping back and assessing what we're told, what we hear, and what we believe.

Laura: it sounds like you live a real life -- an essential component toward creating meaningful art. That's an interesting (and stressful) story about your attending the corporate business seminar -- it's never as simple as they say, is it? Come to think of it, even when "they" say it's
simple, it's never simple!

Mark: you're right. I write what I think is sense, and I share what I learn on the journey, but I always want to keep the options open for readers to not believe or follow what I say -- because I'm not infallible!

Our journey is, as you observe, one that never ends, and we are constantly assessing our goals against our experience, and judging whether the next move will be a wise one or not. And because we're not infallible, we don't know the answer to that one until we go through with our decision.

Jan: the factors behind a painting's sale, or not, are as myriad as the viewers who see it. Some people connect, other people don't, and we have to consistently remind ourselves that 100 percent of the people will not love our artwork (nor will 100 percent of them hate it.)

People. They're so . . . random.

Debbie: Steve said something to me the other day that was so wise in its simplicity that it stopped me in my tracks: "When you're tired, it's easy to get discouraged." Simple, right? Profound, definitely.

You have a lot on your plate. I know oh so well that feeling of being overwhelmed, and I've learned (because I get to practice a lot), that I need to step back, breathe, rest, trust that things won't grind to a halt if I'm not there to direct them all the time.

Go slow, easy, and steady on the marketing, and get done what you can get done in the time that you have. This is most effective if you choose just one or two areas and focus on them to the point that you get really good, and fast, at doing them. There will always be more to do, but give yourself a break. Do your art. Love doing your art. And gently promote your art as you have time.

Circumstances do not stay the same, and we are not limited to what we think we see as our future.

Elizabeth -- always. always. It's His gift. He will teach us how best to use it.

Luann: Artists are so essential to a world that has no idea it needs them. But because we know this, we keep at it.

Paul: Yes, oh yes! There is a cacophony of "expert" voices out there shouting to the point that it is difficult for us to think. Like you, I turn off the box and walk away.

Cass: Thank you. Let's keep at it, quietly changing the world just by doing the best we can at what we're given to do.

Esther -- good words and great thoughts. Like you, I find my best ideas come when I'm doing something else -- focusing on a sewing project or chopping celery for dinner. There is wisdom, and necessity, in letting one's mind rest. But our culture is very demanding that we not do so.

Paul: we get so confused, thinking we can, and need to, have it all. As you observe, slowing down and being grateful go a long ways toward de-stressing. (I've often thought it odd, through the years, that some of the wealthiest people we've come into contact with are the ones who never have enough money. Rare is it to find anyone who says, "I've got enough. I'm okay.")

Linda Hengst
I may not sell lots of paintings but I have many people who admire and enjoy my work. I take satisfaction in donating many of my paintings to good causes. Some of my best paintings have been when I didn't think I had anything to say. I feel fulfilled in the production and I find I am the happiest when I am focused on what I am doing. I do not have time to paint every day as some do but I am productive when I do find a time. I will just keep on keeping on.

Dianne Cinkovich
No wisdom to add. Just gratitude to Carolyn for the article and for those who responded. I am a little freer now.

Blessings, Dianne

thank you so much. I agree with so much said. You have really encouraged me.

Walter Paul Bebirian
interesting -

I would like to point out that Warren Buffet - way up there on the Corporate high mountain top - reads during most of his day and his investment strategy - (buy and hold) leaves him with long periods of waiting (not swinging at every ball - baseball terms) before he invests some more of his extra capital -

after looking at and attempting to garner some knowledge from all walks of life and at all levels of different paths - I can only do what only I can do -

Renate Martin
Dear Carolyn,
through the years that I have had a website with faso, I have always enjoyed your writing, at first because it was full of humor and now because the content deals with my own struggles. Thank you for bringing Jesus into the equation! And thank you for encouraging me to not give up.

Gary Hilton Walker
Your comments are not fully correct in many areas, but I don't think you see it. One cannot make fine art an exclusive business in a world of an antiquated monetary system that is fast becoming out of date, by many factors including the big implementation of machines in every sphere of human endeavour. In fact fine art is one of the current so called businesses that will remain after money goes and a resource based world follows, because machines cannot feel emotions, but reign supreme of human in almost every other area of human endeavour.

1 Not one artist, not even the masters were great from the beginning of their careers or human endeavours of any kind ” they all had mentorship or teachings input from many others, humble are those who gain knowledge from others ” even the geniuses of our world down through history (Einstein, Newton, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso”¦all needed mentoring first before striding out on their own ” that is undeniable.

2 In a money making world history screams of patronage, relationship building of all kinds, especially for those who must only follow their passions. Gone are the days when an artist or business person of any kind can just ply their trade or pursue their passion without creating relationships of quality outside their studio, garret. Galleries, exhibitions, meeting customers, curators, portrait painters, tutorage, any artist unless they be hobbyist must relationship build. The starving artist in particular in those past days did starve - or will starve if they do not put in as much time to their business in selling their work, again this is undeniable common sense.

3 Scheme. Business IS by its very nature scheming, one cannot under an old antiquated world monetary system be honest, if we had a resource based system instead of money PROFITS seeking, people would offer their services and products for no other reason but for good, not money, just like Jesus supposedly did. I am an artist / engineer ” what price in money is there in a work of art over a safe bridge, better farming yields to feed our world, fresh water and natural - no cost - free energies or a hospital? There's a better world system than money making to grant those needs in human endeavour of equal importance ” but we are not taking it?!!

One must say their product is best, cheaper than someone else's, at least aim for that least you would go out of business. Money making by its very nature is out of date and easily makes for corruption, and there's coming a time where money won't matter. Scarcity in our world's resources will, one cannot eat gold or paper money when the world's population doubles soon and machines keep on displacing jobs in every area easily outpointing human ability in almost every area, speed, weight carrying, processing thousands of trillions of information per instant, designing, robotics, accurately placing lightning fast, no breaks, holidays, no need light, air-conditioning, maternity leave, insurance worker's compensation, day or night. Businesses, politics, is all about money into the ballot box, lawyers will crumble, machines technology AI will see to that, they even learn by themselves and act by themselves ” drones, driverless cars, one cannot compete in a monetary world unless we rid it of money making profits as prime. Businesses of all kinds will go, it's inevitable, we are already seeing the start of this world-wide, we are entering the 4 th industrial revolution, the internet of products and services, even in fine art while money making profiteering remains. You are ill-informed, behind the times.

4 There are no precious pearls of wisdom from business leaders. Corporate business back the politicians to keep their military manufacturing going, they are not interested in solving poverty, disparity of wealth, helping artists,”¦politicians do not solve problems, they make laws to gain revenue, taxes, they have not been taught to solve or offer wisdom or anything of value. Engineers, scientists, technical people have always solved problems for workable solutions, but again, it is not in big corporation's interests to let those with quality to offer anything, we could have had a better world 100 years ago, but businesses protect their business money making and do not and never have offered precious pearls of wisdom. Why, because those so-called magnates, the power brokers wish to remain in power. That is obvious.

Cynthia Brewster
This article brings up many points to ponder, and several thoughtful replies.
Although we are all connected through the same human community, we have different ways of thinking and approach things in many ways.
What I think and attempt:
Stop beating yourself up. Are you mindful of doing this to yourself? Feeling guilty for not doing enough to promote your work? Stop to think, does your art make you joyful? That is enough. Accept yourself as you are first of all. Be joyful in the life you live, and you will stop suffering; that which causes the greatest loss of our time to create. Try to be compassionate to yourself and others.
This is not easy in the world we live in today, which is mostly about making money. However, I believe it is worth working toward and incorporating into our lives.

Robert Palmer / RSVPalmer
Fantastic, unbelievable, inspirational - (I thought I would copycat the CEO speaker readers comments) - but this time I really mean it - Carolyn, you're like fine wine, you get better with time - I thought the BEST so far was your 'Are We Doomed to Fail' (and probably still is) but this one comes close!
Each time I read your article, I have to remind myself to take notes as I go along, knowing full well that I'll have to go back and re-review HA! - The best part (is always placed in the middle) where you say "my point is this . . . (On every post) - but the two gems this time were "I don't think even Jesus picked up accolades like this" . . . And - "You don't have to believe in God to value those qualities" (and many more!)

if cloning ever becomes available - you would be high on the list (in all categories)!

Thanks again for this one and looking forward to the next!

Walter Paul Bebirian
I have thought about this on a number of occasions -

if - as is stated many times over time - that we see how little we know the more knowledge that we gain - it might very well serve us to - right from the beginning in life - to accept that we do not know anything - and to remain with that position or perspective throughout life -

but there are ways of dealing with these thoughts that place us in a more acceptable position than remaining hopelessly without knowledge and that is by living in the knowledge that we are always being guided in this world by something *(whatever you wish to call this entity or being or even a non entity if that is your choice) much greater than ourselves - for like the drop of water from the ocean - we are part of the ocean of energy but we are by no means all of the ocean that we are part of -

Barbara Jones
All the answers are in God's word.


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