Love Your Work: One Quick Way

I love how everyone on the Great British Baking Show, at one point or another, makes this statement,

“I rather like that. Yes, that’ll do.”

Even when it’s a bread baking challenge where the bakers have very little direction to go on so they’re feeling totally lost, they muster this phrase at some point.

Even when a three-tiered, beautifully and elaborately decorated cake plan could be falling apart, somewhere during the process, they almost always make a positive statement like this.

It struck me as a great thing to do because I never make a nice declaration like that while I'm making art (or baked goods). Sometimes I don't like my pieces until I pull them out of the files after a few months or years and see them in a totally different light, divorced from the making process.

This has a lot to do with perfectionism and expectations. Sometimes, even when my outcome isn’t clear to me, the work can be sullied by the way the making process feels that day.  Have you ever had that happen?

So... I'm wondering.

What if you or I made a positive proclamation out loud when we make something? How would we feel? Would we enjoy the making process more? Would we feel happier and less tormented by the creative process?

Maybe you declare that you like one tiny part of a project. How would that make you feel as a creative person?

---I just stopped and tried this.---

I found one part of this post that I liked and with my best Paul Hollywood accent proclaimed, "I rather like that. Yes, that'll do." It actually felt good to take the time to acknowledge that a part of what I was making felt on point.

What if we didn't always eat our guts out while questioning if this next paint layer, color choice or wording was the right next step for the work? Sure not everyone approaches working like this but if you’re anything like me, I know you might work this way from time to time.

Would it put a little less pressure on you to create the exact thing you had in mind?

Would it leave the door open to making something even better than you envisioned?

When you start working on your next piece, whether it's a piece of art, a description for your next workshop, or a service you're offering, pick one part that you like, even if it's a TINY part, and declare in your best British accent, "I rather like that!"

I dare you.

Come back and leave me a note in the comments to let me know if you felt better about your work afterwards. Extra points if you can tell me if you imitated Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood when you did it. ;)

Here's to your next great project!


Posted on March 9, 2018 .

Not Putting Yourself Out There Enough?


How’s it going with your art? Do you have any shows coming up?

If your answer is no, and you feel a little sheepish about that answer, like, “I wish I could say I do have things going”, then I’m willing to bet that you *might be* hiding.

By hiding, I mean that you aren’t being honest with yourself about the fact that you want your artwork to do more in this world than sit in a dusty portfolio case under the sleeper sofa.

Hiding is when you don’t promote your art opening because you’re actually afraid no one will show up but you say that it’s because you don’t have time to send that invite because you’re getting ready for the show.

Hiding is when you’re making art but not posting it on your social media accounts.

Hiding is when you stop making work because you’re afraid to share it and be judged but you say it’s because you don’t have time to make work.

Hiding is when you don’t update your website with your new work or updated contact information. -This means that if someone liked your work, they wouldn’t know how to get ahold of you.  

Hiding is when your family and friends don’t know what kind of work you do.

A lot of people talk about this kind of work as "putting yourself out there".

But not putting yourself out there enough isn’t what’s really happening. It's that you’re actually HIDING.

This idea has been a game changer for me (yes, I’m guilty of hiding) because it burns me to think that I'm hiding. I mean what the heck?!? I don't hide from things.

That's not how I operate.

I face things head-on. BIG things. But as it turns out, not all the time. Once I started looking, I caught myself hiding a lot. 

Sometimes it's easier to see when someone else is hiding. Like that friend who does amazing work but never approaches a gallery. When I see this it makes me question, “Am I hiding in that same way?

Not sure if you’re hiding?

“No, not me. I don’t hide like that.” -Okay, let’s check.

  • Have you ever been sent into a freak-out because you didn’t have enough NEW work to show at your opening?  
  • Have you ever thought, “They’ve already seen this work so I’m not going to show it?”
  • Have you ever not invited people to your opening because deep down you were afraid of what they might say or think of your work?
  • Have you ever pushed off creating a website for your work even though you know that you need one? --Even if you spent seven years in college and $50k on grad school where you honed your skills and practiced your craft? ...but you’re stuck when it comes time to get a website up?
  • Have you ever gone to an event and said barely two words to anyone because you didn’t know anyone or felt intimidated?

So here’s the good news.

If you've answered yes to any of those questions, it’s okay. You can change your hiding habits by practicing two things:

Observe them; noticing when they happen.

What’s going on to make you want to hide? Stop and ask yourself what you’re feeling in that moment and why. Just say hello to those thoughts as you see them.

Decide how you’d really like to “show-up” when those hiding tendencies pop up.

Does not sending that invite your the list of people who’ve said they like to see your work, really help you get where you want to be with your goals? Does that hiding habit you just noticed move you closer or keep further from your goals?

I'm here to say, don't stress about hiding. Do what you can to see it, consider it and then take action to show up the way you’d really like to show up -whether it’s online or at your next opening. 

Where have you been hiding lately?

Does it light a fire under you to think you might be hiding sometimes and that it’s not helping you to show or sell your work?

Does it irk you as much as it irks me when you catch yourself hiding this way? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know if this is resonating with you.

Cheering you on,


Posted on September 29, 2017 .

Are you Feeling Soul Crushed by a Lack of Making?


Maybe you’ve got kids. Maybe you’ve got a job that is so exhausting that when you get home, all you want to do is stuff a burrito into your gullet and zone out to the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show.

Life brings us through twists and turns and sometimes we realized that we’re not making art, we’re not being creative at all. How did we get here?

I bet you can remember a time when you could feel how all the planets had aligned and you could spend hours deep in the creative flow of your work, un-disturbed. ….Ahhhhh, those times were good.

But, if life has changed since then, getting lost for hours on a whim in the making zone is no longer an option. You just don’t have a schedule that works that way right now.

Do you feel soul-crushed by this lack of making? If so, how do you work it into your everyday life again?

I’ve got one big solution for you. It may not be popular because artists are notoriously not into doing this (myself included). I think you’ll be surprised by how easy it is.

Here are the steps:

  1. Pick up your smart phone.
  2. Open your calendar
  3. Add 10 minutes each day to do small, LOW COMMITMENT making.
  4. When the reminder dings, don’t ignore it: actually spend your 10 minutes making


  1. Keep it tiny, not overwhelming.
  2. Be ready to throw it away: these are experiences, not keepers.
  3. This is not about creating a masterpiece.
  4. This is not about sharing it all over social media.

This IS about you scratching out 10 minutes a day to start getting your mind thinking creatively again. If you’ve not been making very consistently, you need to re-engage that side of your brain.

It may hurt for the first week as you break off the slag to get to the good stuff which is a-okay. It’s to be expected as you get your art mojo back!


Keep a post-it pad next to where ever you eat breakfast and while you sip tea or coffee, put your pen to the paper. Even if you’re not a morning person.

Have kids or a partner who are distracting for those 10 minutes? Explain that you need their support to draw for 10 minutes. Give them their own pad of paper and ask them to join you.

Hate this idea?

Awesome. So, I’ll pose the idea in a different way… How can you spend 10 minutes a day, or even every other day, being creative in a way that works for you?

Maybe it’s list-making, maybe it’s playing with water colors, maybe it’s taking one photo where you tried to make it something you liked.

Maybe you do this during lunch sitting in your car outside of your office or on a park bench? Or do it during dinner?

Pairing this time with something that you do everyday helps you remember to do it and it helps to make sure the time is already carved out in your schedule. If you can do this while you brush your teeth, I’m all for it (and I’d say you’re seriously talented).

Working a creative process into your daily routine will help you to stop obsessing over how you got HERE, in a world so far from the one you loved where you could make and be creative all the time.

You’ll feel like you’ve been productive in a way that you have control over, in a way that you’ve chosen to spend your time.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes. 10 minutes a day. Where can you squeeze yours in? – Let me know in the comments.

Here’s to creating habits to keep the creative side of you alive!

With lots of gratitude,


Posted on September 8, 2017 .

What Story’s Keeping You Small?


When I heard this quote on the radio the other day, “All stories are true. But some of them never happened.” by James Owens, it got my mind going, thinking about all the meanings it has and how this idea is relevant to me and the people I work with.

It was initially being used in a very literal context about writing stories and how they can all be true, even if some didn’t happen. In some ways that’s a sign of a great story, right? One that's SO believable even if it didn't happen. 

Then it got me thinking about the stories we tell ourselves. The ones that you’ve taken stock in for many years.

The ones that you don’t question because they’re longstanding truths. They're so ingrained, you hardly see them anymore.  

Specifically, the stories that hold you back from doing bigger things.

What story do you tell yourself that doesn't allow you to take that next step that you know you should take? You know, the one that holds you back from meeting your big-hairy-audacious-super-secret-scary-goals?

Stare it straight in the eye and call it out. Is it a carefully crafted, believable story that has held you back from doing what you know you need to do?  

Not sure? Here are a few examples.

Keep’n You Small #1

“I can’t go approach galleries because I’m too shy.”  


“I can approach that gallery when I’ve researched that it might be a fit for my work so I’ll be more confident reaching out to them.”

See how this story can be flipped into one that makes it possible to approach a gallery by saying what’s real? By calling out the what's specifically needed to actually approach the gallery? You can picture yourself learning more about the gallery and if it’d be a fit.

Keep’n You Small #2

“I can’t sell work because I don’t know the right people.”


“I can sell work by making sure I attend and hold events where I can share what I do with people in a one-on-one setting.”

The revised story has been re-framed to call out what action is needed to be able to sell work. This action is different for every person but you get the gist.

Mad Lib It

I can’t do ___(insert verb)_______ because of ___(lightly veiled excuse)____.

What’s one area where you’ve always said (or thought) that you couldn’t do something because of a reason that's not concrete. 

Yes, the story you’ve got around your personal “Mad Lib” is based in reality and has truth to it. And, it means a lot because you’ve believed it for longer than you’d like to admit.

But consider if your excuse for not doing something is concrete and tangible, or if it’s more of a fiction. What actions would you need to take to find a way around that excuse, to make it disappear?

A Better Story

Now fill in those blanks again with your new story, with the actions you’d need to take to give it the ending you want. This may be hard to do because you’re a little married to the old ending but trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Go ahead and fill in the blanks again, right here:

I can do ___(insert verb)_______ when I do  ___(list the actions you need to take)____.

Ah, doesn’t that feel a little better? Like, “Hey, my world is bigger and I’ve got more options than I thought I did!”

We all tell ourselves stories and sometimes they’re good ones.

The goal here is to build an awareness around the old habits and stories you tell yourself and change them so they serve you. If you see you’ve got a story in place that’s not helping you, know that you can change it. 

Take a moment to post in the comments a story that’s been holding you back and how you’ve updated it with a more expansive, action-based ending.  

Here’s to you having an awesome creative business! And, to you creating the endings you want!

With lots of gratitude,


Posted on August 10, 2017 .

How a Non-Techie Artist has an Amazing Sale

Despite it being artist, Susan Cawthon’s first year doing an open studio event, she nailed it. Without a website, email marketing platform, Instagram account or Facebook biz page she:

  • Sold more than 50 pieces

  • Got a commission

  • Had almost 100 visitors

  • And, she had more fun than she expected.

How’d she do so well during her very first open studio event without all the tech trappings that we’re so used to?

Susan has been visiting open studios for over 20 years and as a result she’s seen what works and what wouldn’t work for her. She made a mental note of those likes and dislikes. She also asked a lot of questions during this which equates to learning a ton.

She noticed that when she was visiting open studio-style events that the very first year she didn’t buy but the second year, she’d go back and make purchases. For a while she didn’t understand why this worked except for the fact that people buy from you if they know you. 

She put herself on the other side. She was a visitor, an art appreciator, a collector. And her learning from that paid off when it came time to do her own event.

That’s why she made sure to invite people she knew—all of her friends and neighbors. This of course began to look a lot like planning a party and some of the ways she got people out to her studio were very similar to how you’d host a birthday party or holiday open house.

  • She told friends she’d have food and coffee

  • On last day, between 4-5 pm she told friends that they’d feast on all the remaining food from the weekend

  • She made and printed invitations specific to her studio, and didn’t rely on the overall program event guide alone

  • She handed invites to all her neighbors, yarn shop and other placesin person

  • She spoke to people about itin person

  • Mailed the open studios guide and invite to people with personal notes

  • She showed parts of works in progress and finished pieces on Facebook

  • She invited people to join her through Facebook

  • She handed out cards for neighboring artists which really helped to create conversation and keep people visiting

  • She put it on her invite that she was doing demos and she got a lot of visitors at demo time

The majority of the people who came were people she knew. Those that she didn’t know bought the smaller items while those that knew her more, purchased bigger pieces.

When I asked her if she had a mailing list, she said yes. Of course I wanted to know what platform she used (MailChimp, etc.) and she said that her mailing list as just in her email. She said that she wrote more than 40 personalized emails to 40 different friends.

She snail mailed about 20 event guides and her own invitation with personal notes.

She got on the phone and called people to invite them. Then she got on the phone and called people to remind them about the event.

She even helped to arrange a ride for one friend that she knew would be hesitant to come without another friend.

Labor intensive? You betcha.

Worth it? Definitely.

Some other things that made it a success….

Range of pieces

She had pieces that ranged from cards to paintings to pillows in different mediums such as photography, watercolor, paint on silk with beading, metal and transfer to fabric.

She even made a special garden ornament that cost around $20 to buy as entry point purchase piece. She sold most of those to people she didn’t know.

Range of prices

Her prices ranged from:

  • $10-$20 entry point items

  • $100 items

  • $25-$100 prints

  • $300-$1,500 originals paintings.

  • $1,500+ Triptychs and larger pieces.

Her only event for the year

This made it more special for her friends and collectors because they hadn’t seen her or her work in a long time.

Off the wall

She had a few things on the wall but she thinks that scares people. She feels like they need to touch it so she had most of her work leaning on the wall and easier to handle.


Her husband rang up sales and a friend answered questions

She’s not a computer-person but she is a people-person who’s organized and willing to put in the promotional work to get folks to show up. She says it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it because it’s so much fun.


  • Planned it in advance like it was a party

  • Food

  • Invited people

  • Action by way of demos

  • Personalization all the way through from the invites, during the event and afterwards

  • Helpers

  • Observing what’s worked well for others and herself

Action Time!

Whether you’re super close to your event right now or if you’ve got a good lead time, I encourage you to take a page out of Susan’s notebook and personally email, text or call 3-8 people today and ask if they can come to your event. Even if it’s only so you can see a friendly face. Ask them to bring a friend or two. This momentum alone will help you generate buzz and get people to your event.

Hoping you have a party at your next sales event!



Posted on December 9, 2016 .

Artist Nearly Sells Out During Open Studio Sale

What if during your next open studio event you got:

  • Too many visitors to keep count

  • A live spot on your local TV morning show

  • Another TV interview at a different event

  • 51 new mailing list subscribers

  • A Press mention

  • A commission

  • And nearly sold all your inventory

That was ceramicist, Deborah Pittman’s experience last year during her Open Studio event. Read on to find out her secret sauce...

Why People Buy Art - A Lesson Inspired by Prince

Do you ever wonder, what compels people to buy and collect things made by hand? A painting, a collage, a necklace, a ceramic vase. I often think about this question.

For a long time it really bothered me. Handmade objects are usually more expensive than similar pieces that you'd see in a big box store, harder to find, less convenient to buy and the list goes on.

Admittedly, I'm from a generation who loves the artist formerly known as Prince, big time. So much that my sister was messaging me, and a childhood friend felt compelled to call me after years of losing touch when they heard he died. As evidenced by my Facebook feed, I'm not the only one mourning.

While scrolling through the Prince related posts, I was struck by one that asked why are we all so sad about the death of an artist we've never met before?

"Good question" I thought (through my tears of purple rain). The answer to that intrigued me since it applies to all artists. Now you might be thinking, I’m not Prince! I’m nowhere as big as he is. I’m not a musician.

I know, I know but this concept still applies. Click through to read how this idea might change the way you think about your sales.

Posted on April 22, 2016 .

Too Early to Promote My Event??

Have you ever wondered just how far in advance should you start telling people about an event?

What’s the appropriate amount of promotion for an upcoming opening, festival or happening?

Especially if it’s a long way off, you may wonder, “How many times should I email them about the event without getting on their nerves?”

If you’ve ever wanted to know what to do in this situation, dive in for the answers plus get a free event email promotions planner.