The Art Biz ep. 86: Collaborating on Your Art Business with Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin

Collaborations aren't for the faint of heart—especially for artists who are used to working alone and making decisions without having to get approval from another human being. But my guests for this episode of the Art Biz Podcast have figured out how to make it work.

Jerry McLaughlin Painting featured on Art Biz Success
©2021 Jerry McLaughlin, adobe y los azules. Oil, cold wax, wood ash, 36 x 36 inches.

Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin first collaborated on the publication of their book, Cold Wax Medium. Their collaboration has only deepened since that time, adding the Cold Wax Academy in 2020.

Rebecca, Jerry, and I discuss the format of Cold Wax Academy, how they make decisions together, how they find new members, and what they'd do differently with the benefit of hindsight. You'll hear what makes their combined efforts work so well.

We also talk about one of my favorite topics—systems—and the technology they use to keep their joint venture going.

Music by Wildermiss


  • Rebecca and Jerry reflect on the timeline of their collaborative efforts. (2:37)
  • Rebranding your business with the help of professionals. (6:18)
  • Making the transition from live teaching to the online Cold Wax Academy. (11:04)
  • Replacing lost income from cancelled live workshops. (12:37)
  • The pandemic-induced “oh crap” moment that changed everything. (17:03)
  • How to know when it’s time to hire help. (20:19)
  • Collaborating with another person in every aspect of your business. (24:08)
  • Tools that maximize your communication efforts. (26:53)
  • A high-level overview of the offerings of Cold Wax Academy. (29:00)
  • The key to making a paid membership structure work. (33:57)
  • How to determine what content to offer for free and what content to charge for. (37:58)
  • Adjusting your offerings starts with knowing what your audience wants. (38:47)
  • A look at the numbers of the Cold Wax Academy community. (43:37)
  • Lessons learned from the timing and building of a business. (45:34)
  • What’s coming up next for Cold Wax Academy. (49:42)
Rebecca Crowell Painting featured on Art Biz Success
©2020 Rebecca Crowell, Chroma #8. Oil and cold wax on panel, 38 x 50 inches.


Cold Wax Academy website

Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts & Conversations by Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin

Episode #9: How Two Artists Self-Published and Are Promoting a Successful Book Together


“We have this great collaboration and I couldn’t have known ahead of time how exciting it would be to develop this program.” Rebecca Crowell

“Hiring a third person has given us more energy to devote to the business itself.” Jerry McLaughlin

“What we produce is infinitely better because we’re both doing it together.” Jerry McLaughlin

“As we go we’re learning more and more about how to interact with people and how to  involve members.” Rebecca Crowell

About My Guests

Photo of Rebecca CrowellRebecca Crowell has been a professional artist for 30 years and is widely known for her innovative painting techniques involving cold wax medium and oils. She teaches these methods both in the US and internationally. Her work is handled by fine art galleries in Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Telluride, and Dublin, Ireland and is found in hundreds of private, public, and corporate collections. Rebecca holds an MFA in Painting and lives in rural west-central Wisconsin.

Find Rebecca on Instagram: @rebeccacrowell


Photo of Jerry McLaughlinJerry McLaughlin has been a working visual artist for 20 years and has exhibited at galleries throughout the U.S. His work is in collections around the world. An expert in all things cold wax, he focuses his major energies on painting, teaching, and writing. Trained as a pediatric intensive care physician, he also holds a certificate in adult education from the University of Washington. Jerry lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Find Jerry on Instagram: @jerrymclaughlinart

Follow @coldwaxacademy on Instagram.

Music by Wildermiss


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