Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beginning the Journey, Part One

I just finished up a two-month consultation with a creativity coach.Let me start out by saying I am in many ways a successful artist. I am represented by three (soon to be four) galleries, enjoy decent sales and have a style of painting that is uniquely my own. But I am not satisfied. I want more. I want to improve my painting skills. I want to be represented on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. I want to have articles written about my work. I want to be invited to show my work at the Coors Invitational Art Show in Denver. But what I want, more than all those things, is to pursue my passion full time.

And so the Journey toward full-time art began. And I was feeling overwhelmed. Like I was on some kind of warped reality show called Art Jenga. The goal was to be a full-time artist able to support myself from the sale of my paintings. The clock was ticking and all the building blocks to my goal were stacked up. Each block represented a step on the path to being a self-supporting full time artist. The challenge was to figure out the sequential order for pulling out the blocks so the whole thing wouldn’t come tumbling down.

There were marketing blocks and creative blocks and personal blocks and technical skill blocks and confidence blocks and just plain life blocks. And within each block, more blocks that had to be removed in a way to not undermine the structural integrity of the goal. For instance, to pull out the “spend $1500 on a Southwest Art ad” before pulling out the “master composition” block would result in the structure falling down. Pulling out the “Seek high end gallery representation” block before “Have a cohesive body of work” block had the same result.

Those examples seem pretty clear. Less clear is “Quit my day job.” Would quitting my day job give me more time to paint, thus allowing me to move more quickly to “find my own voice” and “get high end gallery representation?” Would that send the structure tumbling to the floor (even artists have to eat and pay their bills!)?

I realized I needed to analyze the situation and evaluate where I was. But I was paralyzed with uncertainty and doubt.

Now in this game of Art Jenga, I am allowed to call in “life-lines.” Such is the nature of the game that there are no pre-determined number of life-lines you can use. The challenge is to recognize when you need them, and when to trust your own guts. My first life-line was
Patti Frinzi, a creativity coach and artist from California. In this case I trusted in synchronicity. While I was grappling with all this confusion, a friend sent me a link to website that was offering free creativity coaching to a select number of applicants. I applied, and was accepted into the program.

In Part Two, I’ll share my experiences with my creativity coach life-line.

Kate Dardine
Marketing Consultant