A Raw Message About Reclaiming a Creative DreamMy name is Beverly Garland. For most of my adult career, I was a commercial artist who secretly wished she was a fine artist. I just couldn’t see my way to doing that, though. As a sensitive person with depression, I was discouragingly overwhelmed by the problems of the world, especially the suffering of animals and the environment. Pursuing something as empowered as making whatever art I wanted, seemed self-indulgent, impractical, and unjustifiable. Plus, I had no idea how to make a living at it. As a practical and sensible alternative, I poured my creativity into doing artwork to fulfill other peoples' business or personal goals.
It was a good compromise--well-paying and actually a lot of fun. But then I developed a repetitive-stress-injury and lost the ability to work full time as a computer animator. When my personal life fell apart from the stress of that, I chucked the whole art dream. I thought going back to school so I could work to save the environment would make me happy. I didn’t do a single piece of art for the next 10 years!
I did a lot of personal growth in those 10 years, though. In the process, I realized that forsaking my dream was denying the world of my joy and my strongest ability. What I hadn’t understood before was that it’s going to take everyone contributing their unique genius to save the world. The world needs hope as badly as it needs practical solutions! When people feel hope and can open their hearts, they do good things. They don’t do things to destroy the planet. Art has the power to do this!
The path to success as a fine artist is full of uncertainties and unknowns. There are no job listings calling for “fine artist”. There are no medical or retirement benefits. It doesn't come with a steady paycheck like an hourly wage job. An artist needs to spend long hours in the studio, but that effort does nothing to put food on the table or keep the lights on in the beginning.
Instead, it’s a series of taking risks, running experiments and learning from failures until…
- One gets enough studio practice
- One finds her artistic voice
- One develops a body of work that attracts attention
- Enough people fall in love with one’s work and start collecting and commissioning pieces.
Here’s how it worksPatreon works like a slow-drip Kickstarter campaign. Instead of pledging a one-time amount, you set up a monthly micro-pledge. In exchange, you will get monthly rewards in the way of my downloadable art and archival prints, plus access to blog posts, Q&A videos, and other content.
All you have to do is hit the “Become a Patron” button and then choose your reward level. Every month, the updates and goodies I post will come right to your inbox.
Goals That You’ll Watch Me Tackle
In addition to building my fine art portfolio, I will be taking courses, developing diversified streams of income with my art, and initiating public art projects. I also have plans to empower other creatives! Here are the specifics:
- I am teaching myself the magical art of oil painting. There's a lot of chemistry and alchemy that goes into this medium, and it's not a use-straight-out-of-the-tube kind of thing. Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials! Furthermore, it's going to require concentrated studio time to master this medium and establish my style.
- Having a strong series of work is a crucial next step. I’m planning a wildlife art series inspired by the Rumi quote “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” It needs to have 6 to 10 strong pieces. In the process, I’ll share a lot of videos, works-in-progress (WIPs), photos, and excerpts from my art journal.
- To get it front of collectors, I want to hang the above wildlife series in a show, which I'll have to put together myself. Patrons in the local area will be invited to all public art openings!
- I want to get the wildlife series reproduced as Giclée (archival quality inkjet) prints for collectors who want something more affordable than an original piece. They’re kind of pricey to set up. Once I can afford it, I'll add these prints to my rewards.
- Getting the right coaching and guidance is critical if I’m going to go further than I’ve been able to go by myself. I need to learn the business and marketing side of art. I can get support in writing statements, bios, and press releases, getting into galleries, applying for grants, using social media to sell art, and keeping the right tax records, etc.
- I also want to finish a series of paintings I started of gorgeous vintage cars in Cuba and do all the same things I planned with the wildlife series. (See a time-lapse video of me painting one below).
- Finally, I’m very excited about doing some public projects for the first time, like painting live at transformational festivals. I am going to videotape it, add a meditation soundtrack, and put the videos online for free.
- My bucket list also includes working on public mural projects and illustrating children's books.
- Finally, I will be providing an online support group to help creatives drowning in overwhelm and procrastination succeed in ways they've never done before by tracking small daily actions toward their goals. I've already invested in the tech and will be launching my beta program soon!
Want to be part of this? Choose a monthly pledge amount on the right. If you're not ready to pledge, hit the "Follow" button to get my public posts, still.
Time-lapse video of Cuban Cadillac painting:
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