Deep Thought Thursday: 2009 Biggie

What is the single best thing you did for your art career in 2009 and why?

Paul Nielsen, Thunderhead. Elm. ©The Artist
Paul Nielsen, Thunderhead. Salvaged elm, 7 x 6 x 5 inches. ©The Artist

It might be related to any of the following. Or not.

  • Art lessons, trying a new media
  • Business classes or workshops
  • Joining a group or organization
  • Using a new social media site
  • Starting a blog
  • Exhibiting your art
  • Using your mailing list

You get the idea.

What payoff are you seeing as a result of your efforts?

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37 thoughts on “Deep Thought Thursday: 2009 Biggie”

  1. That’s a no-brainer.

    Hanging out with you more was the best career move I made. You’ve helped me a lot and continue to teach by example.

    Thank you for being you and for all that you do!


  2. New for 2009 was exploring social media to develop a new audience. I enjoy Twitter, started a blog and set up fan page on Facebook. Now I’m working on how to find the time to do all this AND weave!

  3. I read your book and gained the courage to nake a facebook fan page, start a blog on my art, and begin tweeting! Thank you for helping me be a more active artist!

  4. Spent less time on Twitter (and other web sites) and worked the local area marketing my art – plus used the extra time to paint more art.

    I found that with Twitter (and other social type sites) I was just tweeting to other artists who were tweeting to other artists – not communicating with any potential customers or venues to exhibit my art.

  5. I think the best thing I did in 2009 was attempting to get exhibitions at Art Centers. I was awarded two solo exhibitions for my efforts, one at the Jasper Art Center (Summer 2010) and one at the Yeiser Art Center (Oct 2010).

    I now have a lot of work to do for these shows, keeping me busy, and that’s a very good thing. =)

  6. To read your book…..which connected me with you. From there…all I have learned from your classes and all the artists I have met through them. Going to Colorado for your workshop…All this has opened up new avenues for my art. Thank you Alyson for offering this! Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

  7. The absolute best thing I did in 2009 – both for my art, and for myself personally – was to overcome the feeling that “I’m not good enough”.

    This had been holding me back, making me afraid to show my art, making me feel that no matter what I did it would never be “good enough”.

    I can’t even tell you how I did it. I did use several self-help programs and I don’t know which of them worked, or if it was a combination of all of them.

    I simply know that it is like a great weight has been lifted and I feel free.

    I am excited about 2010 because I know that I no longer have this handicap holding me back.

    PS – this week I won my first art award – an Honorable Mention for the first abstract I ever did.

  8. Setting a tangible and attainable goal and actually working towards it. That goal was to have a portfolio that I was confident in submitting to an MFA program (even though I probably wasn’t going to apply to an MFA program). I also had a work accepted to a juried show, although that wasn’t a goal per se.

  9. Began going weekly to the Lowe Mill art and craft sale to get more exposure. I only take smaller works, but I am selling and I am getting good exposure in the area. We always need to be looking for new venues to sell our work and become better known.

  10. I am new to this site and will have to check out your book. I had kind of burned out. So one thing I did was take almost a year off (I have a day job too). I got some much needed rest. Then I hooked up with Creative Every Day Art in November. A blog site I had been following. You create something and post if every day. It really jump started the creativity andw while I was working on my painting I got offers to do a mural and a series of 4 paintings for a personal residence. Seems the creative vibe attracts more opportunity to create. Happy New Year.

  11. Without a doubt, getting my work published regularly in Watercolor Magazine. When collectors see my work in print, they seem secure in their decision to buy.

    Secondly, I worked to make my paintings more professional by taking workshops and painting with the best teachers/artists.

    Thirdly. Several past collectors have found my work on my website and contacted me through it. I sold some of these paintings 10 years ago, but they didn’t forget about me. Now these folks have signed up for my email newsletter.

  12. In 2009, I had a booth for my watercolor paintings at some local art shows which resulted in sales and commissions. I also started promoting a bit on Twitter and I set up a Facebook Fan Page.

  13. Greetings from New Zealand. The best thing for me in 2009 was buying your book Alyson, reading and revising it, making notes and actually carrying out your valuable suggestions. My website works well now – and even so after revising that chapter, I will make further improvements, plus I’ve started a Blog and Facebook listing – it’s just great – thank you for all the inspiration (and organisation!).

  14. Fellow Kiwis seem to think alike (Hi Julie). I am a bit torn between whether IRBITS was my best buy, or the more recent “Artist Statement” e-book. I am working my way through both. I think the biggest change is that I *feel* differently about the direction I am heading in.

  15. The best decision I made FOR 2009 was taking a studio in a 28,000 square foot art center at the end of 2008. Working and teaching in a public space is inspiring and energizing and I love the other resident artists that I work with. It has re-invigorated every part of my business plan and I am producing more work now as well. My studio-warming party resulted in the offer of a solo show, and not long after that a new licensing deal.

    As a part of informing my collectors about what was happening I started a monthly Constant Contact newlsetter that features studio updates and events, and it dovetails nicely with a daily blog I have kept for about 6 years now. People are starting to come looking for me now and through my website and blog they always find me in searches.In this computer age spreading the word virtually is vital and LinkedIn has proven to be a great resource for contacts and new ventures.

    2010 is filled with new opportunity and possibility… it is going to be a great year!

    Thank you for everything you do to inform and draw us together Alyson, your book is on the shelf in my studio.

  16. It was really nice reading everyone’s comment for this blog!

    Out of everything I did last year for my art, it would funnel down to the concepts in your book. I first heard of your book through Robin Pedrero on Facebook in October and then bought it after going to her workshop on marketing.

    Over my 14 years of selling, the one thing that I always said was, “I’m no salesperson.” I still don’t like doing face to face marketing but I am optimistic about more ways to reach my customers like the internet and newsletters. The advice you give is very artist friendly in that it shows how to use creativity, following and emphasizing one’s unique style, in marketing. I’m excited for 2010 and I’m almost done reading, writing and doodling (in a good way) in your book.

    Thank you!

  17. Taking your blog class last year was the best thing I did for my art career. Sticking with it (marketing in general) because of the confidence I had developed was the second best. There were a lot of things that fell into place after that that kept the momentum going. Thank you and happy new year.

  18. Alyson, The very best thing I did in 2009 was to continue with your first-rate guidance from our past consultations. While painting a body of work based on my favorite topic, historical pigments, I blogged and documented the process. Each pigment was described all the while relating each painting to a colorful event in history. I felt organized and tackled each task such as the press release and announcements as they were needed, just as you specified. By doing these preparatory chores way in advance, the result was a good exhibit with many blog readers and returning collectors who followed the story. Thanks again for your invaluable counseling. Margret Short

  19. Thank you for all of the wonderful comments here. I have taken the time to join a new blog, Creative Every Day, as mentioned from Sherrie Phillips above. The best thing I did for my art in 2009 was to talk to local gallery owners about my desire for local gallery representation. I now have local representation. I also have a show coming up in June at our Arts Council which came out of talking to one of the gallery owners (not the one representing my art). I took my art as a career more seriously this year. It is paying off.

  20. I believe the single most important activity was my realization that I am not clueless about the business aspect of being and artist any more. I am still a novice, I think but I am not so very much lost and overwhelmed by the multitude of “experts.” This realization led to other actions such as beginning to work with Alyson’s book, organizing a multi-artist hybrid open studio exhibition at a Tea Shop, eliminating several useless (for me) newsletters, consistent blogging and e-newsletter publishing and more.

  21. The single best things that I did in 2009, was actually a tie.
    The first best thing was to take the SmARTist telesummit 2009. To me it felt like a portal to the art world. There was, and still is, so much to take in, and to apply from those 3 weeks back in January 09!
    1. It open my eyes to social networking, which I love as much as liver, but I’m slowly realizing its benefits, therefore my goal this year is to embrace it more in hope to form new friendships.
    2. Your input as a panelist as well as the others panelists, and your book, I’d rather be in the studio, along with you CDs, all are filled with wonderful information.
    3. Through the telesummit, I’ve learn to step out of my comfort zone, and being willing to be stretched, witch has helped me to be more prepared with such things as the “Artist statement”, and “Art package” (just to name a few), and to find my focus as an artist.
    The other best thing that happened in 09 was that I finally build my own website and adding my new blog to it! That was a dream of mine for the last 7 years and I managed to do it through It was a bipolar experience to say the least. I couldn’t have done it with WordPress for Dummies, and with much prayers and supplication!
    Thank you for letting us share, and happy new year.

  22. This year, I let go of traditional galleries…I was tired of the ‘attitude’, tired of the too steep commissions, tired of the unhealthy lifestyle habits that seemed to invade…I was bored with people who showed up to openings just to drink free alcohol, bored showing with artists who were tracing from photos & selling at high pricepoints, bored with the formulaic aspect that galleries have become…
    I have been showing, as the only painter, at a health supplement centre, with a generous healer who seems to give good energy to the steady flow of women(& some men) in need who visit…My work is on display all the time, I pay only a third in commission & I am at peace in my soul…
    My work is flourishing because I have addressed what was lacking in my art business life- a focus on healthy environment to show in…Where I show has become a part of the message…(p.s. & it is so cool the place is called Water Lily).

  23. Taking workshops (in state and out) from artists who’s work I admire. Not only got technique/tips, but better understand the mindset about what it’s like to be a professional. Allowed me to be better able to visualize it for my own life.
    (and finally buying IRBITS for myself for Christmas!) 🙂

  24. I diversified in every way; social network media/online galleries and galleries and museums/ acrylic, oil, and pastel/ fine art and art products(mugs, prints, fine art bags)/ local and international magazines.I have experience with what to keep and what to pass on for 2010. I attribute much of the change in my career to listening to your podcasts and applying action to the words in your book. I am grateful to you. I share about you with other artists and I am very glad to be an affiliate.

  25. The best thing I did for my art career this year was house purging. I cleared out old stuff from several past lives, and began organizing the rest of it. I am not finished with the work – it’s a big house. But the shift in energy is evident. Having taken Get Organized and cultivate collectors classes, I have the mental space and energy to move on them in 2010.

  26. It all started in 2009 when I attending the Hollister, CA workshop, followed by leading a local Art Salon in 2009 and finally being able to bring Alyson’s message to over 50 artists in San Francisco on Nov. 15 2009. It was BIG year filled with Alyson’s blog suggestions for the future. Our monthly Art Salon meetings, focusing on Alyson’s Art Marketing suggestions, were truly a life changing event for all who participated. We are continuing our monthly meetings into the New Year, to implement our art marketing and sales plans. We look forward to a rewarding 2010!
    Alyson, thanks again for all your weekly inspiration and motivation.

  27. Sandra Cherry Jones

    I recieved a lot of great and useful information from you, and I also took part in a teaching artists training (Residency) that helped artists to intergrate their art with rural school curriculums. It was a great experience for me and I hope to use that training in 2010. It was great working with the children.

  28. The best thing I did in 2009 was take my jewelry business full-time. Not without its challenges for sure, but because of this decision, I am more focused now than ever, and putting all my energy where it should be; that is, on my business and not someone else’s. I only recently began following artbizblog, and am thrilled with the value it’s provided so far.

  29. The best thing I did for my art career and more importantly, the careers of over 125 artists, was form during 2009. We have become a hugely successful art auction house in just four events, having sold over 40 original works. It is very gratifying to have been of service to a group of highly-talented artists, using social media in unique new ways to market art in one of the worst years for the gallery business in history.

  30. So many different best things from everyone! Just shows how things work differently for everyone, each one in the stage of their professional life.
    For me, the best thing I did was to start calling myself an artist. It was like opening the floodgates for lots of new ideas – artistic and marketing ideas. New artwork came through more vividly. I started my blog and had a blast both writing it and connecting with my readers. I started social networking for marketing purpose, and realized the potential…. and I made lots of new friends!
    There is so much to do still, but the beginning was definitely in 2009!
    Happy New Year!

  31. The best thing that I did in 2009 was getting a part-time job teaching jewelry making at our local technical college. Teaching was one of my long term goals. I didn’t think it would happen so fast! Its nice to have that dependable income to finance new tools, going to workshops… And I love interacting with the “students”.

  32. The best thing was also the biggest thing- setting an ambitious goal that felt far out of my reach and having the courage to meet it and do it. I have you and Cynthia Morris (Take A Creative Leap) to thank for giving me the courage.

    I haven’t been off-continent for 20 years, but I had set this impossible goal to go traveling and backpacking around Scotland for three weeks, and for that adventure to be completely funded by artwork. The steps along the way were set, the art and commissions sold, and I had the most amazing adventure of a lifetime, completely solo! That adventure is now feeding a new body of work and is already fueling me for opportunities in 2010. I’ve learned that you really can achieve anything you want as long as you have the knowledge in how to get from here to there and the desire and courage to see it through.

    I’ve been offered a very big opportunity in another country in just a few weeks. If not for last year’s goals and growth, I don’t know if I’d have the courage to do it, but I’m definitely going for it now.

  33. Leadership Skills counseling

    It’s always says the fine Goals, have vital role in every mans life. If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.

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Your Artist Mailing List: Rethinking + Assessing

Get a transcript of episode 182 of The Art Biz (Rethinking Mailing Lists for Artists) followed by a 3-page worksheet to evaluate the overall health and usage of the 3 types of artist lists.

Where can we send it? 

To ensure delivery, please triple check your email address.

You’ll also receive my regular news for your art business.

Privacy + Terms