Another 5×5 canvas with many previous lives (read: layers). Added some Pentalic Woodless Pencil 2B, collage, and Golden Regular Gel (Gloss). Feels like it’s starting to come together.
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Watching paint drip while listening to Car Talk on NPR.
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In the world of improv, this is known as, “Yes, and…” It’s how I endeavor to approach ALL of my artforms, and life in general.
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I’ve been snapping pics of my work all throughout the creation process — from wobbly, messy beginnings, all the way through to the final product. I take the pics in Instagram, which then gives the option to also share to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and even Tumblr if you have a Tumblr account — all with the click of a single “share” button (brilliant!).
When I first started sharing this way, honestly, it was a little scary. After all, this isn’t just me sharing the carefully edited highlight reel; this is me sharing the whole process, including the mess and the muck, and the parts where I’m pretty convinced that what I’m doing totally sucks.
And yes, there are plenty of those parts! In fact, this image from Behappy.me is a pretty good shorthand for my own creative process for anything and everything I create — paintings, songs, online courses, live retreats, etc:
The good thing, though, is that once you understand that parts 2, 3 and 4 are simply an integral part of the process, it becomes a lot easier to keep going and not get permanently stalled when you get to those parts. Now I’m so much better at noticing that, oh, yeah, here I am in the “I am shit” part of the process, and reminding myself that it will pass.
When you do something enough — including noticing that every time you create you go through a phase of thinking you suck — it gets easier.
This applies to sharing my process, too. What was scary at first has become second nature.
It has also brought some surprising gifts:
I hadn’t realized how motivating it would be to get positive responses to my pics!
The challenge, of course, is not to allow myself to be swayed by other people’s opinions. I’m the artist, after all — my job is to create the unique expression inside me, regardless of what anyone else says or thinks about my work.
That said, getting “likes” and positive comments adds fuel to my creative fire, and this is a good thing!
The most valuable gift of the feedback I’ve been getting, though, is not praise, per se. Instead, it’s something more subtle and nuanced. Especially when I post something I’m not particularly pleased with, positive feedback helps me take off my critical glasses and look at my work through other people’s lenses.
This is HUGE!
Being able to see my work through the eyes of others helps me to look at it less harshly, and to appreciate what I might have dismissed before as unworthy of appreciation.
This is different from needing praise to validate me. Instead, it’s enabling me to step outside of my limited viewpoint, and see my work not for what it isn’t, but for what it is.
Another very sweet surprise is that, not long into my experiment with sharing my process pics, someone on Facebook asked if it would be possible to purchase one of my pieces-in-process.
Um, that would be yes! (And it quickly made me realize the importance of making this super-clear in my Instagram bio and in my posts as well — all work is for sale!)
This initial inquiry turned into not just a sale but also a commission, when it turned out the client wanted two sister paintings. And when she came to pick them up yesterday (see the blue/green pics at the top below), she also bought two other pieces I had in the studio, one of which wasn’t even finished yet.
There’s nothing like a sale to make an artist’s day. 🙂
Marketing that Doesn’t Feel Like Marketing
The upshot is that the process pic-sharing that I’ve been doing is good for me and my art in so many ways, including being good for my business!
It’s “marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing.”
Most creatives I talk to have a weird idea about what marketing is. We’re so afraid of coming across as slimy and sleezy that we’re often scared to share at all!
But of course effective marketing doesn’t mean strong-arming someone to buy something they don’t want or need! It simply means sharing what you offer with people who might actually like to buy it.
Which is exactly what I’m doing with my process pics: simply sharing my process. It’s fun! And it’s helping my audience of Right People to find me.
If you’re an artist, you might give it a try yourself!
To give you an idea of what my shares look like, below are start-to-finish pics of a recent piece. (The colors vary depending on the light I’m shooting in, but I consider this part of the inherent beauty of these process pics — they may be incredibly inaccurate in terms of color, but they really capture where I am, in terms of the artwork’s evolution, and what time of day it is and what work space I’m using when I snap the pics.)
This is just one piece I finished recently. You can see lots more process pics over at my Instagram page. Or hop over to my Facebook page, where I’ve been asking followers for title ideas for my pieces. Who knows? You might name my next piece! 🙂
And if you’ve been scared to share your work yourself, you might give it a try. It’s amazing how enriching it is when you see your work making a positive impact on other people.
Now go get creating!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!