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Advice on Getting Advice Part 3

by Luann Udell on 2/27/2013 7:32:08 AM

This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews.  Luann also writes a column ("Craft Matters") for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explores the funnier side of her life in craft.  She's a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry).  Her work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.  She's blogged since 2002 about the business side--and the spiritual inside--of art.  She says, "I share my experiences so you won't have to make ALL the same mistakes I did...." You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.


If you do get advice that makes your heart leap, then make a REAL EFFORT.  And give it a chance to work!


I watched a great movie on Buck Brannaman, The Horse Whisperer.  In one memorable segment, he admonishes a woman who owns a horse that, as a colt, incurred brain damage during a difficult birth.


She kept him unneutered, left him to socialize with other stallions and in general paid scant attention to his training.  She thought she was doing the right thing.  She thought love alone would cure him.


Instead, she created a “monster” horse who was vicious and violent.  He actually chased people to attack them.  Brannaman gave her his honest opinion on the situation:  Someday the horse would kill someone.  She needed to take responsibility for the situation and have him put down.


She walks away, leading the horse, crying.


Curious, I went to an online discussion forum about that segment.  Many people felt sorry for the woman and the horse.  Some thought maybe Buck had been too hard on her.


But many felt her inaction, irresponsibility and neglect had put other people in harm’s way.


Some wondered why, having spent so much money on workshops and training over the years, the horse was still so vicious.


One reader said something that really grabbed my attention.  He knew the type, he said. 


“She’s the kind of person who goes from workshop to workshop, hires one trainer after another, constantly paying piles of money for 'expert advice'.


But she never actually does the work.  She never puts the principles into practice!”


Why would she do this?  Why would she spend so much time and money and energy hauling her horse across the region, looking for solutions she never acted on?


So she can say, “I tried everything and nothing worked”…


Do you know someone like this?


I mentioned someone like this in my Lucky You series—the craftsperson who “tried Etsy”, but “it didn’t work.”  (“Some people are just lucky!” she exclaimed.) 


I know lots of people like this. 


They know they need to get their work online and create a 'brand' for their work.  But they’re waiting until they could afford a web designer to build them a beautiful, perfect website.  “I can’t get clothing labels made til I have a website!” they exclaim. 


I know people who have beautiful, beautiful work.  But they refuse to do the marketing and promotion necessary to get their work out into the world.  “You don’t understand, Luann!” they exclaim.  “I absolutely HATE marketing!”  Their business is collapsing around them as the economy falters, they are not making a cent, they are going to lose their studio.  They know they have to do SOMETHING. 


But guess what?  They’re not going to do anything.  They hate marketing so much, they’re going to lose everything they’ve built over the years.


And when they do, they will look back, heave a sigh, and say wistfully, “It was just bad luck…”


“It’s the economy…”


“People around here just don’t appreciate fine art/fine woodworking/handmade furniture/insert your art/craft business here…”


Yes, it’s gotten harder to get ahead, or even keep up.  Yes, times are hard.  Yes, money is tight.


But trust me:  There are still an awful lot of well-to-do people out there.  There is still a lot of art being bought and sold.  There are still a lot of homes begging to be filled with beautiful artisan-made furniture, rugs, paintings, pottery, and jewelry.


Yes, it was easier a few years ago.


But nobody said it would be easy, did they?  And if they did, we all know “easy” can’t last.


So in your search for good advice, remember this:


No matter how much you paid for it, or how little you paid for it…

No matter how hard you have to work to implement it…

No matter how much you hate it…


When you find it — USE IT!!!


Don’t make a half-hearted effort and quit halfway through.  Don’t slink away with your crazy horse and sigh, “Well, I tried…”


Give it your full attention, your highest intention, and your best shot.


Give your art the opportunity it—and you—truly deserve.


And if it STILL doesn’t work, well, you know what I’m going to say…


Figure out what worked (and why) and what didn’t (and why.)  And then try, try again.  In the words of Grabthor and his mighty hammer, “Never give up!  Never surrender!”


(Sorry, couldn’t resist the quote from the movie Galaxy Quest!)



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Related Posts:

Advice on Getting Advice Part 1

Advice on Getting Advice Part 2

Topics: Art Business | art marketing | exposure tips | FineArtViews | Luann Udell | sell art | selling art online | selling fine art online 

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Sandra PEarce
Luann, great advice on advice, thanks.

Regarding "easy"... if it were easy, everyone would do it, and no one would excel. So often, something easily obtained is not worth much.

I have found that hard work always pays off, if not monetarily, at least in self-satisfaction, and it's always a character builder. And artists are characters!

Michael Cardosa
Hi Luann,

Great post!

I have one other reason why someone like that woman would go from workshop to workshop and expert to expert and never change a thing she was going. She was looking for someone who agreed with her so her inaction became justified by someone who should know better!

Thanks again,


Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA
Hello Luann...

Great article. SO much good advice from this article. Thank you.

Karen Burnette Garner
Thank you for writing so well about something so common among artists! I know several very gifted painters who go from workshop to workshop and their work never grows or changes, and they, like your example, stop at marketing. What a shame, as their beautiful work is seen by so few people, and enrich so few.

p.s. enjoyed the GalaxyQuest reference, but I believe that was Capt. Taggart's line "never give up, never surrender!" Good advice no matter who said it!!

Sharon Weaver
You can lead an artist to a workshop but you can't make them learn. How many times have I seen artists who's only motive is to be the best in the class. Workshops are for experimenting, failing and trying things from a different perspective.
Artists who Complain about bad luck, not living in the right place, etc are only giving themselves the right to fail. Eliminate those negative excuses.

Bonnie E.
See? No website! This article hit me smack in the face; I keep seeking advice, and not taking action. Know why? Because it's complicated, and making art is complicated enough. (I started late.) I resent spending time on marketing and the computer when I should/want to be making art.

BUT.... truly marketing IS my job, too, unless I want to end up with a large collection of MY art.

Brian Sherwin
Luann -- I hear it all of the time... "I don't have time to market my art", or "I don't know how to market my art". In both cases the artist normally goes on to stress how little time he or she has... not enough time to market OR learn to market art.Time becomes an excuse.

But here is the thing -- with a little digging often find out that some of those same artists watch reality shows nightly or spend hours each day playing video games and focusing on other forms of entertainment. If you don't have time -- MAKE time. Use time wisely.

For an artist.. spending time marketing or learning how to market is time well spent.

I know I hit on the TV / entertainment stuff often... I used to be a show addict as well. I know how addicting TV can be. I changed my ways long ago. Today, at most, I spend 5 hours or so in front of the tube each month -- in the form of movies. I don't let the TV take over my life. Unfortunately, a lot of people waste a good portion of their watching the screen. Not me... I'm too busy watching the movie called life. ;p

Use time wisely. No excuses.

Wlater Paul Bebirian
first of all - what came to mind when I read of the horse and it's actions was a beginning passage in the book - "Emotional Intelligence" where a man is described as having a pick accidentally go through is brain and other than his personality change where he not longer could control his emotions - (read temper) there no other signs indicating that his accident had changed him in any other way - *(read - he was still alive and pretty much normal besides his emotional change) - this is my guess as to what happened with that horse - in which case unless the lady trying to find a cure was aware of this type of effect of the brain damage done at birth to this animal - I could completely understand her attempts at trying to get the horse to change it's behavior - .

As far as marketing is concerned - I have been in the business world for a looooong time - and understand that the best course to take with any business venture is to delegate the tasks that can be delegated to others - and as far as I can tell it is the artists joy - pleasure - responsibility and challenge to focus only on creating art - especially in today's environment with the many new tools to do so being available and to do a minimum of planning the website - blog - newsletter and other inclusions of work in the various online environments and allow the art to a certain extent sell itself as well as delegate any greater efforts beyond the basic setups that I mentioned above to people individuals or companies that are focused on those types of activities and efforts - that is my thinking - and what I can tell you is that to date - I have well over 7,338,459 images views of the images in The Bebirian Art Collection and will gradually and continuously do my part in encourage and enlisting other people to focus on marketing my art images while I focus constantly and consistently on creating more and more images and placing them in the collection galleries -

While this may seem contrary to what the article has explained and encouraged I can assure you that I have placed a great deal of effort and continue to do so in the direction of marketing by continuing on with my "Doubling Project":

my blogs:

and my marketing tools:

while also constantly utilizing the tools presented with these business opportunities:

as well as utilizing opportunities to communicate with others about my art in venues such as this "celebrity" interview:

my term delegation refers to my use if the services of people like Peter Olsen here:!!!!!!.html

as well as the writing of various articles such as these:

as well as utilizing the delegating powers of having an affiliate program associated with the site that my art galleries are hosted on:

One thing is interesting - and that is that unless I continue to find even more outlets and ways of sharing my art and introducing it to the populations (read both present and futures) of the world I will not have felt that I have even begun to touch the surface as to the great potential of marketing possibilities open to us as artists today -

thank you!


Wlater Paul Bebirian
and here is the blog post that I made about my response to this article which also includes a link to this article in hopes that I will be getting some exposure for everyone here in this conversation:


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