Welcome to artchatter…in which we, Karen and Gaynor, try to make sense of life, art and mixing up the two. This is a way of us sharing our thoughts, processes and chat about the benefits of our ‘accountability’ to each other and why it’s helped us. The only way to do this is to dive right into our conversations… here we go with our first post all about art, business and friendship!
Karen: Just making a coffee back in a mo
Gaynor: Me too! I neeeed my coffee…
K: Just getting comfy. Managed to get rid of the cat. Ready now-you?
G: Yep! How’re you doing?
K: Doing great -had a good session in the studio on Monday so feeling good and can’t wait to get back in today.
G: Fabulous! I saw your time lapse on insta. Soooo impressive! I was thinking last night how much our ‘accountability calls’ aka chats have evolved.
K: I know -far more focused now. art
business and friendship
G: Also, I’m already on target for this week’s mission! GO ME! *pom poms etc
K: Well done you. I’m taking a leaf out your book and getting things posted on Instagram -just got to get organised. May try one of those scheduling apps.
G: I’m going to have to take a leaf out of yours and get videoing. I loved the time-lapse post. Your work looks incredible, it was lovely to see the process.
K: It’s really effective isn’t it? So easy to set up. I’ve finished those paintings now so I’ll be posting them later in the week.
Anyway, I listened to a webinar yesterday set up by The Design Trust interviewing Dan Goode who curates Handmade in Britain and is a coach/mentor. It was sooo good. I wrote so many notes and my ‘To Do’ list is massive now. I’ll send you through the link. Well worth a watch-you’ll need a pot of coffee while you listen to it as it’s nearly 2 hours long!
Art business and friendship
G: It’s okay! I have the link. I signed up too, but of course forgot when it was time, but Patricia at The Design Trust sent the link who were signed up. Thanks for the warning… I may listen while painting. I tend to have podcasts on anyway, so it’ll be good. (Ohhhh that’s another blog post, surely? “What’s your studio ritual?” *licks pencil and takes note!) Did your question get answered?
K: Well my question was ‘What is the benefit of working with a mentor/coach?’ or something like that. And yes it was answered indirectly. I’ve got a list of things I need to really focus on -things I know I have to work on. The main theme was making sure that you are projecting a consistent voice -so that people know who you are and what you do. Anyway, what have you been up to?
G: For sure… well, I have finally got another couple of framed paintings to put on my website so I was photographing them yesterday. I try to remember to take a photo of just the painting, close ups, the painting IN the frame, AND the frame… and then create a room mock up on one of those online sites… then upload to Dropbox, name all of the images so I have them all properly listed… blah blah blahhh… then make another cup of tea! Woo hoo! What a palaver! They’ll go on my website today, I think.
Righty-ho… so. Why are we doing this? (Not a rhetorical question!) Let’s talk about our reasons for blogging… this whole artchatter thing. What got us thinking about it?
K: Well, for me it was listening to the Art Juice podcast and something Louise Fletcher said-I can’t remember exactly-but I think for me it was about finding a way to share our lives as artists and how we support each other. I find our Monday chats so useful that sharing that with others seemed a good thing to do-sort of a window into the highs and lows of our art lives. -does that make sense? ar
t business and friendship
G: Totally. I love our chats. I learn so much and we keep on track together, even when we don’t keep on track… if you know what I mean? For me, art is quite solitary, and yet we have this lovely community that we’re both part of and everyone shares so freely and generously and it feels like an extension of that. You know?
K: Absolutely. The chats help me remember that I have got a business and I need to treat it like one -it’s so easy to get sidetracked.
G: It’s a strange thing, working from home, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of home or family life and forget that work isn’t just about studio time. Especially in this time of lockdown. It’s been vital for me to have our weekly connection, and has helped enormously even when my brain was elsewhere, to have the stability of knowing my art business needs attention.
K: It’s good to have someone to sound ideas out with and be accountable to -in the nicest possible way of course. Each week we ask each other what our plans are for the coming week-when we first started doing that I was stuck for something to say as I hadn’t actually thought that far ahead. Now I have a purpose each week. I’m finding that because my art is at the forefront of my mind I’m more aware of opportunities and am soaking up learning from other artists via podcasts etc. In the blog I want to be able to document that journey so to speak -the struggle to get a balance between art, family, work etc and how to keep moving forward. Have the chats changed the way you feel about what you do?
G: Hmmmm yes. Completely. It has definitely changed my way of thinking. It’s great to be able to talk about plans, fears, and have a sounding board. I know you can 100% relate. I even think about what I want to check out, or things I’ve seen I want to share with you. It’s been an amazing experience. I guess that’s why I was all in when you suggested a blog. I want other artists, creatives (or just people who are bored) to see how effective bouncing ideas around can be. a
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K: Lockdown has made me realise that because of my art I have a choice, that it’s totally in my hands how well or not my art business will thrive. I have become more aware of what I can do and am trying things I would never have thought of doing before like recording little video demos for people who were booked on workshops. Options are there -it’s a bit of a steep learning curve, but it’s exciting at the same time.
G: You’ve definitely given me courage. I think everyone should have a Karen George in their life… the encouragement, but with knowledge of how scary it can be, has been wonderful. I’m loving chatting about non-business things with you too, though-it’s no surprise that our weekly half hour is now an hour!
But yeah, I’m definitely more focussed on what my weekly plans are, even if I need to adjust them. I have goals, objectives and my work has improved because I’m not worried about catching up with the admin side of things. Things are flowing better, for sure.
K: If our blog can help other artists to realise the benefits of finding another like minded artist to go on their arty journey then all this madness will be worthwhile. It’s so good to be able to share in each other’s achievements and to be able to pick each other up when things aren’t going as planned or things seem really scary.
Who else would be able to KNOW exactly how you are feeling ?
G: No one. Artist paranoia is real. You think we should explain what we do each week?
K: Okay. Well, after unravelling our week we then think about the week ahead; set some arty goals-actual goals that we report back on the following week. Like, how long we’re going to be in the studio, numbers of paintings, new techniques we’re going to practice, listening to podcasts, researching ideas, and how we’re going to market ourselves (now that’s a massive subject that we won’t go into now).
Basically our chats keep us engaged with our own art, help us keep on track -whatever our track is-and reaffirms that our art is important.
G: Yep, that sums our calls up pretty well. Excellent.
K: Just seen the time -hour and a half later and our blog chat session finishes!
G: Well, we do love a good art chat… see what I did there?
K & G: So our question for you, dear reader, is what are YOU going to do this week? Tell us, we’d love to know.
See you next week.
Cheers, Karen and Gaynor