There are going to be times when your work is rejected from shows, when your work isn’t selling, and when you don’t get that artist residency you were really hoping for. (Goodbye Colorado Artist Wilderness Residency, for now, weep.)
We have to acknowledge that this is the uncertain path we’ve chosen.
Sometimes art is selling right, left, and center; and sometimes the phone is ringing off the hook for interviews and features; and sometimes the artist residency you had your heart set on calls and says “yes, we want you”; and then, sometimes they don’t and nothing seems to be happening.
Again, this is the artist life we have chosen. No guarantees.
And in an oddly weird way, I’m grateful to be writing this now, because as I write this, I have three *patrons - for which I am so so grateful for - Thank you Liz, Lindsay and Misty. Because if I was writing this blog later, when I had thousands of patrons, as I intend and desire for one day, I could not be writing this so authentically, as I’d have a reliable steady income and I’d not be so charged about artwork currently not selling.
So, the big burning question is, in the meantime, how do I stay happy, confident, and trusting on my path while I’m in the lull?
I have three strategies that work tremendously well for me so I don’t get sucked down into despair, or hopelessness, or self-pity.
First is, I ask Source for guidance. I do this through meditation. I ask for my next step and I am open to receive direction. This may be, for example, in the form of tasks that I haven’t done before. I know I may need to let go of some old ways of doing things that are not producing the desired results - a.k.a. my art selling. It may be time to do something completely different, I am open up to that possibility.
Next, I surrender. I tell myself: “I’ve done my best, I let Source do the rest.” For me, this can be a really challenging act because it is one of non-doing and personally I get comfort in doing. However, sometimes it’s necessary to stop and feel and allow and accept and simply trust that Source is aligning and everything is happening for my highest best and good. This is the practice of surrender.
I love the quote from The Peaceful Warrior where Socrates tells Dan “There is never nothing happening. Something is always happening.”
I was in that place yesturday, and after meditating for a couple of hours in the afternoon, I HAD to do something, so I started writing this blog. :-). (Like I said, the nothing-doing is challenging for me, but I am practicing).
My third strategy is to focus on what is good, now - what is working. I also focus on how I have made progress in my life lately, because when I acknowledge that, it makes me feel particularly good. Actually, I do this every morning on my run or walk in mental lists (even sometimes out loud if I’m outside). I list ten things that are good now. Such as; “I’m in love with the little paintings I’m currently creating, I got to take my daughter to her first extra role in a movie, I have a home, food to eat, people I love around me…” Then I list ways I am making progress in my life; “I’m writing more lately, I've been adding digital art images to my Saatchi Online Gallery, I’m able to stay more and more positive in my life despite outward circumstances - and for me that HUGE progress, I am painting regularly and sharing my process with my supporters, and I am exercising regularly and taking care of myself.”
And then I start feeling better and the big constant law of life comes in and reminds me that this too will pass, that things will change. And possibly the phone rings with a painting purchase inquiry (maybe in my wildest daydream) but if not, I simply go to the top and re-read this article.
Deb Chaney 2017.
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