Artist Benefits from Job Hopping

The path to becoming a professional West Coast abstract artist was there all along.  I just didn’t see it until it all came full circle and I had a change of perspective on the day job.

I have been an artist by trade for approximately 4 months.  Prior to that I had worked as an Executive Assistant for a husband and wife team who ran both for profit and non-profit companies.  I was their right-hand woman for over 8 years and it was hard to say goodbye, but I was finally ready to take the leap to follow my passion.   They’ve gotten unexpectedly slammed busy, so I’ve been doing a little work for them this week and as I was working on their schedules this morning, I started thinking about all of the different jobs that I’ve had.

High Tech Ergonomic Office Equipment
My studio office. Only the best high tech ergonomic office equipment for this artist.

At one point, I described my resume as looking like it belonged to a crazy person.  I’ve been a Yoga teacher, a stock broker, an advertising sales exec, a restaurant worker (front of house and cooking), an education programs coordinator…I could go on and on.  But now that I’m having to jump back into a supportive admin roll (albeit temporarily) it’s really got me thinking about how all of those different jobs support me on my path to becoming a career artist. 

So, I thought I’d reflect on the many careers of Marigny Goodyear and explain what each one has taught me and how that’s applicable to my life as an artist.  For all those artists out there who are still dragging themselves out of bed each day to get to the day job: it is serving you beyond a pay check.

Feeling like I was seen as a quitter because I was a serial career changer was tough on my confidence, but actually each job was a learning experience that lead back to one thing…life and work as an abstract artist. 

The Hospitality Industry – “How may I be of service?”

I worked in fine dining restaurants, caterers, event planners and 5 star hotels cooking, serving, and managing and I loved it.  It was hard working and hard playing life style.  In those fast pace environments, I learned A LOT.  So much in fact, that I feel the need to use bullets:

  • How to anticipate the needs of others and give them what they need before they ask
  • Attention to detail and how to be efficient in my movements.
  • How to work on my own and also in a team.
  • The importance of forward thinking. What do I need to do today to better serve me tomorrow?
  • How to multi-task (for better or for worse) and to be prepared and organized (you’d better know where everything is at all times when you’re moving 100 miles per hour).
  • And the most important take-away: The value of good customer service. That includes doing what I say I’m going to do in a timely manner, following up even when I think it’s not necessary, taking the words “I assume” out of my vocabulary and showing gratitude…even when you’d rather give the customer a good eye poke.  

 

Having a baby was what ultimately made me leave the restaurant industry.  The hours were hard and I realized that once my daughter started school, I would never see her, so when a friend of a friend offered me sales job at a magazine, I jumped at the opportunity to become a… 

…Advertising Executive – “We don’t take no for an answer!”

Oy…my least favorite job.  I always took no for an answer.  When my boss would call me on it, I’d say “but they said no….what I’m I supposed to do?”  Great sales person, right?  I assumed that I just sucked at sales but really what was going on is that I didn’t feel genuine in the importance of what I was trying to sell.  I learned about dealing with clients and the necessity of follow up, follow through, organization and meeting deadlines. But what I ultimately learned from this experience is that unless I am passionate about what I am selling, sales are a waste of time for me. 

To be honest, the whole thing just stressed me out and so I decided to take a hobby and make it my job and I quit to become…

…A Yoga Instructor – “Let’s get our Om on, Y’all!”

I loved Yoga.  I did it all of the time and so when my teacher suggested that I become a teacher, I jumped at the opportunity.  I went to a month-long teacher training course in the Bahamas (because WHY NOT?) and started teaching immediately when I got home.  Private clients trickled in and I was gaining a little following at a few Yoga studios but really what I was gaining was a massive amount of debt. 

Yoga along the Mississippi New OrleansNora and I practicing Yoga along the Mississippi River

In the few years that I taught Yoga I learned how business can grow if you stick with it although I didn’t have the time or money saved to stick with it very long.  I also learned the importance of breathing.  This is where my meditation practice began and hear me when I say that I would be a crazy person without my daily meditation practice. 

I still do Yoga sometimes but not like I used to as I also learned that sometimes taking something I love and making it a job can beat the love for it right out of me.  I ended up taking another part-time job with a very successful money manager, organizing receipts in order to figure out how much money his wife had spent on their new house renovation.  That led me to become a…

…Junior Stock Broker - “$$$$$$$$$$$”

I learned how to talk to a different type of clientele…one with money.  I also learned how to make a mean spreadsheet, a tool that I use frequently and may one day make an art project out of.  I learned about stocks, bonds, money markets, mutual funds, basic analysis and became a licensed stock and bond broker.  Ok…so I admit that a lot of that stuff oozed right on out my ears when I quit, but basic finance will always be with me and I will never forget learning the importance of nurturing your clients….again…back to good customer service.  Sending birthday cards, holiday gifts, email updates, whatever it takes to make them feel special and attended to.  It’s mandatory. 

Artists use spreadsheets tooArtists use spreadsheets too...at least this one does.  I would be lost without my spreadsheets.

I was on my way to getting an additional license to sell insurance and I actually would have stayed longer in the finance industry but two life changing things happened within 6 months of each other:  I fell in love and hurricane Katrina (aka The Storm) hit New Orleans.  My job moved from New Orleans to Birmingham, Alabama.  I stayed for 9 months but when my now husband proposed to me, I chose love over the career and moved back to Post Katrina New Orleans where I had trouble finding work.  A good friend of mine’s father took pity and hired me to…

…Organize financials to be used in divorce litigation

I worked at his CPA firm for about a year and I learned that I NEVER wanted to get a divorce…But being as far away from the arts as this job brought me and wanting to support New Orleans artists who were struggling after The Storm led me to open my own business and, in a way, back to the arts.

B-native.com…”Buy New Orleans Art Y’all!”

Marigny Goodyear Abstract Art

My logo for (now closed)b-native.  An online art market for New Orleans artists.

My first business venture.  B-native was a web site where NOLA artists could have a platform to sell their art online since New Orleans tourism was suddenly non-existent. It was a juried online art market that I kept alive for 5 years.  It was quite the experience and labor of love.  Here I learned to be careful about going into business with friends and if you do, get it in writing.  Not having a formal partnership agreement from the get go was the ultimate demise of my little on-line gallery.  The other thing I learned is that the marketing I learned in college changed super-fast with the introduction of social media and SEO.  I was in over my head and didn’t have a clue as to how to get the world to pay attention to b-native.  I gave it up after 5-years. 

Marigny Goodyear West Coast Abstract ArtistThis is what this artist looks like after spending a few hours learning about marketing and PR.  Ouch...it hurts.

Then my childhood best friend moved back home to New Orleans and hired me to work with her as an…

Education Programs Coordinator - “Party planning with lots of presentations and no booze.”

Here my hospitality education was applied in a different way but those lessons about attention to detail, follow up, customer service…it’s all really the same thing.  I also learned that I’m a terrible proof reader.  Again, this only lasted about a year because we upped and moved to Oregon where I became…

…Executive Assistant - “I do it ALL”

I did…I did it all.  I loved my bosses and the people I worked with.  I stayed with them over 8 years which was a record for me, by far.  I learned how to change hats quickly and as needed (even if it’s not on my schedule) and how to juggle the demands of two different people who have two different sets of needs. When I began working for them, they didn’t even own a filing cabinet.  I built their organization and scheduling systems, helped with fund raising, planned events, I even got to travel a bit.  Here I became an organizational master.  I kept myself, and them, on task and knowing what’s coming up next, without question.  I was really good at it and I enjoyed it until it just wasn’t challenging anymore.

While I was with them, I started doing art on the side and 4 years later, I left to pursue art as my career.  When I started painting and experiencing the joy and remembering how important art is in my life, I got a bit sad.  I thought “Wow, I’ve really wasted a lot of time.”  But now, that I’m actually pursuing art as a business, I realize that all of these different roles that I’ve taken on over time have allowed me to come full circle back to art. 

In this world of endless information choices, it is hard to see that we are on a path.  For me, all of the day jobs were a road to abstract art. 

We live in a time when the 40-year career at one company and retiring with a pension is pretty much dead.  Being bombarded by so much information and options, it is really hard to focus on what we are “meant” to do.  I believe that all of us have that thing that we are blessed with and meant to share with the world. 

The challenge is to see beyond the pay check, the obligations, the Joneses… What is our gift to give and how can all the different experiences in life allow us to grow that gift into a career? I am an artist.  I am also a business woman with an organizational mind.  Two things I grew up thinking couldn’t possibly work together in one brain.  But here I am. 

So, now that I’m done updating my financial spreadsheet and my marketing tasks for the day, I’m heading into the studio where my structured brain can release into a creative space. I’m realizing that all of my different talents can be applied not just to my art, but to my art business.   They actually complement each other quite well.  All of it wasn’t a waste of time at all.  In fact, it was necessity in order to pursue my passion.

If you experience day-job frustration, I urge you to make a list of all the things that you’ve learned at each jobby-job, and write how they can benefit you and your passion.  It may shift your thinking.  I’d love to see what you write.  Hit reply and let me know, or answer in the comments below and if you know someone who is frustrated by the time their day job takes from their passion, please share this with them.   Onward!

The painting at top is Animator, 36x36 Paper, Acrylic, Graphite & Crayon on Canvas. Please forgive the lack of images in this blog post....apparently I didn't take photos of any place that I work prior to becoming an artist.
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How Writing Brings Me Emotional Clarity

It’s been a bit over a year since I started writing a blog about my path of becoming a West coast abstract artist.  What started out as a necessity for creating content for my website has become a most pleasant surprise and joyful practice in my life. 

I’ve never put much emphasis on writing.  It’s not that I didn’t like writing, it’s just that visual arts have always had the strongest pull on me creatively and so I never really investigated writing as a creative outlet.  That and the fact that my Mother is a writer…well…I guess it just never occurred to me that I would end up doing what my Mom did for a living. 

When I started developing my website, I was encouraged to start a blog as a way to create content.  I have to have content in order to drive web traffic to my site and so a blog, I was told, should always be an active part of marignygoodyearart.com.  I was given a bit of guidance in that my first couple of blog post should be my “pillar posts” and should tell people all they need to know about me and my art.  I worried about what I could possibly share with people after that. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Heron SketchJust as sketching helps me to see the path to a painting, journaling brings me towards emotional clarity.

Keeping an artist's journal is a path to understanding.

I started to keep an artist journal in my studio that I would write in after my art practice for the day was done.  I would just reflect on what I did that day and how I felt about it.  Well…from that I came up with idea after idea about me, my art and why I do what I do, how my personal struggles contribute to my art and how my art contributes to my life.   I learned things about myself that were there all along, but I had never been able to put words to.  Writing fixed that for me.

I’ve written about my art process, my struggle with anxiety and depression, the things I’m grateful for in my life, how I deal with stagnation, my passion for surfing, nature and doing things out of my comfort zone…  The list goes on and on.  1 to 2 a month for over a year now.  Because most of my writing revolves around my own self-development, my articles fit into a “self-help” category but my intention is not to fix other people rather to heal myself.  

We are not alone in the hardships of being human.

I have received emails, messages and comments after posting blog posts that have shocked and humbled me.  People have reached out telling me things like “I have struggled with this same issue but didn’t know how to put words to it until I read your post.”  One woman told me that she was about to end her relationship but after reading my blog post on the problems with having too many expectations, she realized that she too had been expecting her partner to know what she needed without her having to communicate it, and it always ended with disappointment for her and frustration for him.  

I want to repeat that I don’t intend to help people with their problems.  I don’t think I know how to solve everything and I sure don’t want the burden of helping people through darkness.  If I did, I would have become a therapist or something.  But having people reach out to me from all over the world and tell me that they relate to me and that my writing has helped them put things in perspective has been a powerful experience for me.  Powerful in that I didn’t know that I could help people but even more so in that I know that I am not alone in the dark times. 

For a person that has felt extremely isolated for the majority or her life, it is a comfort that I had no idea was out there.  Just to simply say the things that I have always been scared to say and then have people respond that they feel that too.  Wow.  We are never alone.  No matter how dark I can go, I now have an understanding that I am not crazy.  I am not abnormal.  There is nothing wrong with me.  

Being a person is hard.  My most important job as a human is to learn how to be human.  I think that means showing compassion and kindness to all of the insane appearing emotions that come from my head and my heart.  Until I learned to do this, I couldn’t get anything done.  I lived in a place of not understanding the voices in my head and feeling unsure of just about every step I took.  Until I started writing, and sharing my writing, I had no idea that I wasn’t totally alone and that my problems are not unique.

I am no longer scared of my imperfections.

Now, I am an open book.  I am honest about my emotions and I’ll talk to most anyone about them.  Really.  I’ll never forget being at a party where a woman that I just met shared with me that she was a bit uncomfortable because she didn’t know many people.  I responded that I feel uncomfortable in social situations about 75% of the time…even when I do know people.  I said that it was ok though, because that was just how I am and I’ve learned tools to deal with it and be social or tell people that I’m just not up for it and stay home.  At first, she looked shocked that I would share such a thing and then a look of relief spread across her face.  She wasn’t alone. 

I’ll talk to you in the middle of a party about my struggles with alcohol, anxiety, insecurities, depression, how hard I can be on myself when I feel like I can never do enough…  Whatevs. Bring it.  I’m not scared to identify these things anymore.  That is what writing has done for me.  It has allowed me to process some of my deepest secrets and thus took fear out of the equation.  Writing takes vague and uncomfortable feelings and turns them into concrete words.  Seeing them in black and white makes them less scary. 

Now, I laugh at the judgement I used to have when seeing a bunch of self-help books on someone’s book shelf.  I realize that it was my own insecurities I was uncomfortable looking at, not theirs.  Seeing someone embracing their problems made me cringe.  I get it now.  Having organized words explain difficult emotions is a powerful thing both for the reader and the writer. 

Our emotions are what make us human and if we meet these feelings with an inquisitiveness, compassion and understanding, that is what will allow us to grow.  So, thank you for reading and for reaching out.  I’ll keep writing openly and honestly.  We are all human and we not alone, ever.

Happy New Year everyone.  Onward we march into our unknown adventures.  I, for one, am pretty darn excited to see what is around the corner.

Marigny Goodyear Art Never Stop ExploringPhoto Credit: Chris Goodyear 

The photo at top is a sketch for a duo of whale paintings that I'm working on.  

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Pressure and Nerves and Stress...Oh My!

As 2017 is coming swiftly to a close, I’m looking back on my first year in business as a West Coast abstract artist, and wondering how to alleviate all the pressure I put on myself.

What a year it has been!  I quit my day job back in January and since, I’ve been working my butt off in an attempt to gain some momentum within my business…and I’ve had tremendous results.  By the time you’re reading this, I will have had 5 art shows in two different cities, been in numerous publications both local, regional and one in Canada, and I’ve started selling my art.  Hooray!!!!

It helps for me to list out my accomplishments because for the most part, I live day-to-day in a stressed state wondering what else I could be doing and if I’m doing enough.  I don’t want to give y’all the impression that I’m a nervous wreck or anything, but dang, being a small business owner is exhilarating at times, exasperating at others and no matter which one it is, I live with butterflies in my stomach and the constant feeling that something amazing is about to happen, or about to be overlooked. 

I wake up and exercise. I meditate. I eat well and get good sleep.  I make good use of my time when I’m working and maintain a social and family life outside of work.  I’ve started seeing my therapist again.  And yet, I’m still a ball of nerves.  I keep waiting for the day when it stops…but will it ever?  Is this what being an entrepreneur is?  Or is this just how I am? Should I just expect to break out in illness every few weeks and be tired ALL THE TIME?  I really hope not. 

I understand that the person putting the pressure on me, is me.  I am aware that this is something that I do in all facets of my life, and that it is not a new struggle.  But can someone, anyone, please tell me what I can do to make it stop?  I feel like I do all of the right things and yet, still I struggle with the nagging voice of doubt telling me that it’s not enough.  That it is NEVER enough.  I absolutely know it IS enough yet I still feel stress.

How does one care less?

 

Marigny Goodyear Art West Coast Abstract Artist
My paintings sure look peaceful...


I have written blog posts on how I deal with anxiety, depression, everyday hamster-wheel brain and yes, I use the tools that I write about to keep my head above water.  But at the end of the day, I feel like I’m JUST above water with moments of fatigue that put me under.  I’m just really tired of caring So. Damn. Much.

The fact that I care shows in my art work, business growth and organization.  I’ve had some pretty amazing results this year.  I don’t want to change that, but something has to give.  I don’t even feel like I’m over-working.  I work 8:00am-5:00pm with a one hour lunch break and maybe even a break for a quick bike ride.  I am of the impression that it isn’t the work load itself that is killing me.  It’s the pressure that I’m putting on myself.

I have no top 5 list of ways to remedy this.  I have been trying my whole life to be ok with myself and the work I do.  The fact that I’m now doing the work that I truly feel like I should be doing and STILL feel this way shows me that it really doesn’t matter what I do.  I’m always going to feel this weight until I drop to the floor, unable to move or I have a perspective shift.  I would, of course, prefer the perspective shift. 

Unfortunately, that is something that seems to have to come on its own.  It cannot be forced or scheduled.  If it could, then it would have been done already as I am very efficient.  The bottom line is that my art business means a lot to me and I don’t see how to worry less about something that I care so deeply about. 

An old surfer-dude once told me that he doesn’t stress.  “Stress is optional”, he said.  How do I choose not to feel the way I feel?  When he said that, it made me think that something might be wrong with me that I put so much pressure on myself and no matter how much progress I make, it just continues to build.  So, great.  Now I feel stressed AND like something’s wrong with me. 

Is this the way our culture is now? Do we all feel like we can never do enough to live the life we want to live?  Why can’t I be content now?  I suppose I go through times when I am.  I just happen to be in a period of transition and so it’s hard to even point out the harmonious times. I know they’re not unicorns.  They do exist. 

 Marigny Goodyear Art West Coast Abstract Artist PelicansFunny thing is that when I paint, I feel this peaceful.  It's the rest of the time I'm a stress mess.

My brain has been telling me these things my whole life.  How do I change 41 years of thought patterns?  I know that it’s possible.  It has to be.  I don’t have the answer though.  I don’t know what else I should be doing aside from maybe finding a good behavioral therapist.  

All I can do is to keep moving on and have faith in the path before me.  I do believe that I have found the path that I’m meant to be walking.  I suppose I just need to engage the auto pilot and hope that she knows what the hell she’s doing.  

Logically, I know I’m an able person and that I’m doing well in my life.  I just need to worry less about the outcomes.  They will be what they are and all I can do is my best right now.  I just wish that my brain would believe that my best is good enough. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week and although I feel like I have wasted a lot of time in my life doing silly things, looking back in a critical way is not going to serve me right now.  Plus, that’s a load of crap.  Everything I’ve spent time on in the past is something that is serving me in my art business now.  I need to be my own best friend and lift myself up instead of tearing myself down.

So, here’s to the end to 2017 and the beginning of a new year.  I really hope that I can turn off the pressure cooker and just be.  Because in the end, it is what it is.  I try my best.  I care a lot.  And really, that’s all I can do. 

Happy Holidays everyone.  May the New Year bring us all a fuck-ton of peace. 

Tiny Buddha Blog Post #3

I am an extremely sensitive artist type person.  Fear, anxiety and self doubt can cause stagnation in my abstract art practice, and life in general.

But thankfully, I have found tools to help get past these times of sluggishness.  One of these tools is surfing.  There is nothing that puts me in the moment and shows me my place within the universe quite like being in the waves. 

Thank you to TinyBuddha.com for publishing yet another one of my essays, How Surfing Helped Me Turn My Fear and Anxiety into Confidence.    Take a read and comment below and/or share if it resonates with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!  Don't forget to get outside and play after all that turkey and pie!

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5 Ways Self-Employed Artists Can Battle Loneliness

After 18 years of working in restaurants, hotels and busy offices, suddenly I find myself able to pursue my passion of abstract painting…working all alone in my kitchen studio and home office and well...loneliness happens.

Sometimes I talk to myself more in one day than I speak to other people.  I’m not kidding.  I talk to myself out loud throughout my work day because, frankly, I get tired of the quiet.  I listen to music pretty much constantly, but sometimes I just want to hear other people’s voices.  I’m not quite desperate enough to have the TV on all day but man, do I yearn for humans sometimes.

Before jumping full time into my career as a West Coast abstract painter, I worked in many different environments.  Happening restaurants, bustling offices, full Yoga studios…I’ve had so many different careers but they all had one thing in common: I was always around people. 

Marigny Goodyear Art Abstract Mixed Media Painting Day DreamWhile I'm in the studio, I often day dream about being outside.  Loneliness can make me wish to be anywhere but where I am.

Now I find myself alone in my house all day.  Sometimes I relish in the quiet.  Sometimes I feel the silence is WAY too loud.  As a person who battles anxiety and depression, that quiet can sometimes feel utterly stifling and although I have a loving family and many friends, I can begin to feel pretty darn lonely.

Compound the physical loneliness with the fact that my daughter just turned 16, now has a car to get herself around and a very busy school and social life…well...I’ll just say that this year has been full of more transition than I was really ready for or expecting to deal with.  Transitions are always harder than I think they will be.  I knew that working from home and being self-employed was going to be challenging to begin with.  But throw in early empty nest syndrome and suddenly I find myself alone in my work AND in my role as a Mom. 

 Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art In the StudioJust me...alone and thinking away. 

Oddly enough, the loneliness can make it hard for me to motivate to be around people.  Weird, huh?  It’s like the sadness can wrap itself around me and I just don’t want to have to talk to anyone, even though all I really want are for people to be around.  I also find that when my friends reach out to me, it’s always at inopportune moments…like in the middle of my work day.  I vacillate between irritation when my friends call to wondering “why is no one calling me?!”  Oh Lord…

I started working with a marketing firm who tells me that I should be posting pictures of me doing fun things with my friends once a week.  I guess potential collectors also like to know that they’re buying from a well-rounded popular artist.  Well guess what…I have lots of photos of me making art alone in my studio but very few of me doing fun things with friends.  Queue violins here.

Oh me oh my! Whatever should a lonely artist do?  Well, having good cries every couple of days is a release, but does that really help me battle the loneliness?  Now, don’t feel too sorry for me.  My life really is great.  I have a loving and supportive family, amazing friends, and an incredible opportunity to follow my dreams.  Unfortunately, knowing this only makes me feel guilty in my loneliness.  So now I’m lonely, sad, AND riddled with guilt.  Oy.

I am an extremely goal oriented, organized, efficient person.  My social life has never needed managing.  I used to have dinners, parties, coffees and live music dates multiple times a week.  It used to be effortless, but life has changed.  I’m older, not drinking anymore and immersed in my art work. Now, 9 months into my new business venture, I am realizing that perhaps I need to apply new strategies when it comes to being around people on a regular basis. 

 Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art In the studio day dreamingWhen THIS is what I'm thinking about while I'm working, it's time to go outside and play. 

5 Ways Artists Can Battle Loneliness:

  1. Schedule a coffee, a hike, a dinner, an anything – Duh. This is so obvious that I’m not sure why it took me so long to do.  I schedule everything from exercise to social media posts so why it took me so long to realize this is beyond me.  I now try to schedule time with a friend at least once a week even if I have to do it a few weeks out.  It’s good just to get dates on the calendar.  

 

  1. Allow social media to boss me around– I mean, I already do. I have to post to social media every day and to do that I have to have content to post.  So, I’d better be getting in my studio to make art every day or else my followers are going to get bored with me.  Since I have been told that I need a friend post once a week, that means that I actually have to be physically next to a friend at least once a week in order to have photographic proof that I’m not an isolated hermit. 

 

  1. Talk to my family when they get home – This is harder than it sounds. The 16-year-old, while she still seems to like me ok, doesn’t want to be bombarded with me talking at her as soon as she walks in…or at all really.  My husband gets an ear full when he comes home.  It continuously surprises me how many words come out of my mouth when I’ve been alone for a whole day or two.  He’s a very patient and kind man and gives me ample time to vomit words before we surrender to exhaustion, fall down and go boom.  Bless him.

 

  1. Talk to a therapist – Yeah yeah yeah.   I went back to her this week after not going for about three years.  I’ve gone on and off since I was 13.  I won’t go way into this except to say that if therapy works for you, as it does for me, every couple of years a check in is a good thing. And let’s face it, talking to a therapist is different than talking to friends or family.  I don’t have to censor myself at all, which can feel really liberating. 

 

  1. Get outside and play – I know…this is on every single one of my “How to cope with _______” lists. But it’s true.  Being outside helps with just about everything.  Sometimes, I get up and go for a morning walk before anyone else in my family is up.  Oddly enough, it’s alone time that I feel is really good for me.  I don’t have to think about work, or anything in particular at all.  I just get outside and get some exercise while the sun is coming up.  I suppose when I’m in tune with nature, I feel I’m closer to something bigger than me and that is very comforting.

 

So yeah…I get lonely working by myself.  I am getting better at applying old strategies to my loneliness, which is merely a new problem that old solutions will work for.  I’ve just never in my life been in tune with this particular issue as much as I am now.  As I’m typing this, new solutions are presenting themselves: I’ve just been invited to a meeting with 6 other professional artists this evening.  So, I can now add to my list of strategies: “Get involved with local artist community.” 

It makes sense…I mean…anyone who works alone is familiar with this particular struggle.  Why should we have to struggle alone? So, I’m going to motivate and reach out more so I freak out less.  Because even though I’m living my dream I’m also going through new experiences and transitions.  Change is hard and loneliness can happen, even in noisy, crowded rooms. 

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How I Know it’s Time to Stop Asking for Advice

As a West Coast abstract artist, I am, by default, also a small business owner.  Even when my gut is telling me the answers, I find that I yearn for outside approval before making decisions regarding my business.  It's time to stop.

I am a well-supported individual.  I always have been.  I have the love and support from a team of people who want nothing else than to see me succeed.  I have always felt this support, especially from my parents, my entire life.  They supported me when I wanted to go to art school, switched majors to business, became a yoga teacher, a stock broker, when we decided to move 2500 miles away…  I am a well-loved person.  I am so grateful.

But now that I'm 8 months in since I quitting my day job to focus on my art, I am asking myself the question “Am I listening to too many voices?”.  Feeling so supported is a wonderful thing, but I wonder, does it change the way I listen to myself?  The past couple of weeks I have felt a bit stuck.  Like, in every way.  It has been difficult to make decisions and therefore, my forward momentum has been like moving through molasses. 

Now, I am fully aware that my idea of “productive” is probably way beyond a normal level of productivity.  My Mom and I were joking the other day that the reason that I didn’t cry when I was born, but instead lifted myself up with my arms to get a good look around, was because I was trying to figure out where to start multitasking.  I have always been a “doer”. 

For the past twenty years or so, I have had jobs where my checklist was clear and straight forward and I spent my days with a great sense of satisfaction as I moved from one task to the next, checking the items off my list.  Five years ago, I brought my art practice and business development into my routine and every day I checked off items.  Make art, check.  Build a website, check.  Set up Instagram and Facebook business, check.  Incorporate mailing list and send eblasts, check.  Write blog, check.  Attend business webinars, check.  Setting everything up was not hard for me.  It was just another to do list.

Marigny Goodyear Art Visual Meditation Paintings Work In ProgressI made a decision to make smaller pieces in order to create a lower price point rather than reproductions because it felt right for me, despite advise from loved ones saying otherwise.

But then I quit my day job to work on my art business full time.  Suddenly, the check list items became more ambiguous.  Like, Revise Bio and Artist Statement…ok, with what changes?  Grow social media following…sounds good…how?  Start working on different series of art work…uh…won’t I confuse what I’ve already done?

Then there is my support team.  They are awesome and each bring something different to the table in the ways of life and career experiences.  But what happens when I try to talk things through with the people who are closest to me and they don’t say what I hope to hear?  Or suggestions are made that are simply not in line with the business model that I’ve been investing in.  Do I go and change everything around based on their advice? 

I’d like to focus on a fragment from the above paragraph: “…and they don’t say what I hope to hear”.  Basically, by admitting that I’m hoping for certain advice to come out of their mouths, I am acknowledging that I already know what I think the answer is and I am just simply passing it by another to reinforce what I have already decided.  When the opinion is different, it just confuses and frustrates me.  

I think I’m at a point in this process where I know what is best for my art and business.  The problem is that I have always had such an amazing and enthusiastic cheer squad, that I have become habitually reliant on passing things by my support team.  It’s almost like it’s not real until I talk to one of them about it, whatever the “it” might be. 

Marigny Goodyear Abstract Art Visual Meditation Paintings Work in ProgressEven at this point in my process, just finishing the under paintings, this choice felt right for me

It is because I’m scared.  I’m scared of making the wrong choices.  Of spending my time and focus on the wrong items.  Of failing.  Of letting them all down. 

Maybe, in a way, I feel the need to pass every little detail by them because it takes some of the burden away.  If they give me advice, and it turns out to be the wrong choice, then part of the responsibility is taken off of me and put on them.  Just typing that makes me feel like a coward. 

Recently, I’ve been feeling as though maybe I need to keep things a little bit closer.  Maybe I need to proceed with actions based on the instincts within me.  For example, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for “entry level art” and the idea of reproductions keeps coming up from one of my support team.  The problem is that I have wanted to build a business making only originals.  The idea of creating cheaper reproductions is not attractive to me.  I can’t finish the paintings the way I want.  I can’t wrap the paint around the sides of the canvas.  I can’t hand sign the back.  It’s just not the ideal model for me.

I’m not throwing the idea completely under the bus, but I know that I need to try to build my ideal business and right now, I’m not sure I want to invest the time and energy it would take to get high quality photos taken of the pieces for reproduction.  To research all the different print on demand companies.  To test each one by ordering the reproductions…and on and on…

I would rather invest that time in creating small originals.  And so that is what I’ve been doing all week.  Now, I will say that I did have an hour-long conversation with my Mom (the Head of my Cheer Squad) about this that enabled me to make this final decision.  She asked good questions and at the end of it, I had clarity.   So, I’m not saying that should become an island.

Marigny Goodyear Art Abstract Mixed Media Visual Meditation PaintingsI am so glad that I put energy into this project.  Not only do I have a new series of work in the form of visual meditation paintings, but I also have a great price point for the holidays and for "introductory level" art.   

What I do think is that when it comes to my art and business, that my instincts are usually correct and that I need to learn to trust them more.  Because of that, I think it may be time to talk less and act more.  I need to trust my artistic voice and my business gut.  

It’s difficult because in the past, I haven’t always made the best decisions.  But in looking back, most of those decisions were based on what I thought other people would want me to do.  As Polonius says “To thine own self be true.”  How can I be true to myself when I am constantly reaching outward for approval?  It’s a bad habit.

Going forward, I am going to only ask about things that I have actual confusion about.  Not things that I know the answer to and I’m just hoping that someone else will agree with me so I’m sure it’s right. I already knew the solution.  What I risk is confusing what is already clear, and that is just a waste of valuable time. 

 Marigny Goodyear Abstract Mixed Media Art Seagulls Work in ProgressIf I wouldn't have made the decision to do this, I wouldn't have my Seagulls painting.  (Detail of Seagulls can be seen at top of this blog post.)

I am my own CEO, CFO, Creative Director, Marketing Manager, PR Executive and Board of Directors.  I also have an Advisory Council.  Not every decision must be passed by them.  They are there for support and guidance, when needed. 

It’s intimidating being my own boss.  If I fail, I don’t have anyone to blame but myself.  But failure is just an outcome of being ballsy enough to try, so what’s the big deal?  Faith in my own abilities is a muscle that I need to exercise.  I have a feeling it’s one of those things that will get easier and easier the more I do it.  So today, I begin.

The detail at top is Seagulls 36x36 Acryllic and Paper on Canvas.  

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How I Know It's Time to Blow Up My Routine

As a self employed West Coast Abstract Artist who works from home, routine is oh so important to keep me moving forward.  But how do I know if the routine needs adjusting?  

On September 1st, I wrote a blog on how important my routine is to me and how I was excited to get back to it after a Summer of distractions.  Now, I’m going to take all of that back.  It is time to BLOW UP MY ROUTINE.

I have always been a goal oriented rule follower.  I created my routine and as a rule, I’m going to stick with it until my goal is met.  But what happens if my goals aren’t attained.  Then what do I do?  Well…after having a panic attack (and a carton of ice cream), I think it may be time to re-assess. 

 Marigny Goodyear Art Sea Gulls in ProgressHere is my Sea Gulls Painting in progress.  This is the point in my process when it's time to "blow it up".

Last month I read you off my routine schedule and how it keeps me on track.  That’s true.  But what happens when I realize that the routine I’ve been adhering to isn’t creating the returns that I had hoped? I’ve been working the same routine for 6 months.  Now in the long term, that’s nothing but in the faster paced world of social media, that’s quite a chunk of time. 

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks.  I blamed it all on my routine being screwed up.  But here’s the deal…after trying to get back to the routine, I realize that it’s not working.  My eblasts aren’t getting engagement, the links aren’t getting clicked on and the social media isn’t growing as quickly as I’d like it to. 

So, what’s the fix here?  Time to try something new.  

I’ve been focusing on multiple platforms and I’m going to reduce it to one.  Not that I won’t maintain the others, but I’m going to narrow my focus for a moment and see what it yields.  I won’t get into the technical specifics as it’s more boring than watching paint dry.  The point is that I have to start looking at marketing like I look at my painting process.

Marigny Goodyear Art Work in ProgressWoah...a scary step, indeed.  But a necessary one in order to move forward.

When I’m painting, and something isn’t going the way I want it to, I change it.  I take a “when in doubt, do” attitude and I experiment away.  Now, with marketing, it’s a bit different as I have to have a period of time to examine and so changes can’t be quite so reckless.  However, I think 6 months of a steady marketing routine is time enough to decide if this is working, or not.

The answer when applied to my current marketing strategies is “or not”.  My social media growth is slow, my email list growth is non-existent and the website visitors are not beating my online door down. After careful analysis, lots of research and the implementation of some marketing help, I start anew.  Let’s see what the next 6 months are going to bring.  

It’s time to shake things up and see where they land this time around.  *deep breath…and here I go.

 

The painting at top is Paper Airplanes 22"x28" Acrylic & Paper on Canvas.  A gift for my daughter on her 16th birthday.

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