A Day for Giving Thanks

Here in the states, we are celebrating Thanksgiving today.

I know I have readers from many different countries, so today I would like to share my Thanksgiving with all of you, whether you are in the U.S. or not.

I certainly have many things to be grateful for.

Thank you for being a reader of my blog, my Twitter, my Facebook, my newsletter, or however you find me. Thank you for following me. Pure and simple.

Happy

Thank you to those of you who like and share what you read.

Thank you for your comments, whether they have been on my blog or to me via email or spoken.

Thank you for letting me share with you the things I find and believe entertaining or helpful. It delights me when I can share things I’m a fan of too.

Thank you for allowing me to not be perfect. I certainly never claimed to be and I’m glad I can fix forward.

Thank you for letting me share my stories and thoughts. Thank you for being there on my adventures. Thank you for sharing a moment in time with me on this small world. I hope that some of what I do (especially in my blog) entertains and occasionally makes you laugh.

Thank you for being with me through trying times and through my successes. Thank you for listening to me talk to myself sometimes, giving my pep talks, and hoping that others might find encouragement from them.

Thank you. This day, I celebrate you.

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Avoiding Hobby Loss

As artists, we not only put our hearts into our work but often times we also put a lot of money into our business in order to get out there and get exposure. Many people don’t realize that it’s not only art supplies or products we’ve created and purchased at wholesale to resell, but there are a lot of other expenses that go into being an artist: jury fees (to get into shows), show or booth fees (the cost to actually set up at an event — and many shows have both a jury fee and a booth fee), gas to get to and from the show, hotel, food while you’re traveling, online selling fees (like eBay and Paypal fees, or Etsy fees), postage (and maybe even postal box) fees, bookkeeping costs, legal fees, etc. The list goes on and on.

Really, when you start to add it all up, being an artist has to be a labor of love. It’s certainly not a get rich quick scheme.

The hard truth is that while you are getting established, there are only a few kind souls out there who will take a chance on you and buy your work. This means, you will most likely be paying out more money than you’re taking in. It takes awhile to really ramp up the process, especially if you don’t have publisher or gallery support. Even if you do have other people, it’s doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to get out there and get your hands into your own marketing. And, you have to keep it up. It’s too easy to lose momentum. I recently heard of an artist who gave up his website because he felt it was too expensive for his return on investment. I just felt sorry for him. I had to put my head in my hands just to keep from screaming in frustration. He’s got lots of fans. I just wonder what would’ve happened if instead of throwing in the towel, he had put an honest effort into consistently updating his website, maybe even learning how to do some of it himself if he really wanted to cut costs. Instead of being sporadic with his updates, he’d actually let his fans see a little into his life so they could feel like they actually knew him, what would happen to his stats then? Why not start a blog on his website? He has lots of valuable information and would be an awesome resource. Oh well, I guess golf was too important.

Anyway, I know a lot of us aren’t lucky enough to be successful yet. YET! But there are things we can do now, to protect ourselves in the future. One of the things we need to do is educate ourselves on the IRS hobby loss rules (since I’m writing in the U.S. I’m sure other countries have something similar in their tax codes; if you’re not in the U.S., please check our own countries tax laws and find out what you need to know). Here’s an article from Forbes I came across which I found interesting and I think you will too. Bottom line, if you want to be a business and be treated as such, do so from the very beginning. Keep good records. Keep your funds separate. We are always artists first, but we also have to be a salesman, marketer, and businessman. Oh, and keep good records and treat yourself like a business (if you missed that the first time).

Finding things a little Strange…

I wanted to give a big shout out to my other Morning Sky Studios author, Cathy Wilson.

She recently won Third Place and received an Honorable Mention for an article and poem she entered into the Idaho Writers League annual contest. Kudos to her!

With it coming up on Halloween, her book is a great one to read. You see, she won a contest to become a ghost hunter and went back east for a couple weeks to receive training and equipment. When she came back from her adventure, she started on another one — collecting all the stories about ghosts that people started telling her. She compiled those into Strange: Unexplained Tales from Idaho and Beyond.

Cathy is currently working on her second book which will be more ghost stories, but will also include UFO and Bigfoot stories. If you have stories of your own you’d like to share with her, she’d love to hear from you. You can contact her through her Facebook page.

Now don’t let your Halloween plans get too spooky!

 

It’s Monday. Where are you?

“Don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love & inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”~ Ella Fitzgerald

Even if you aren’t exactly where you want to be and doing what you want to be doing, it doesn’t mean you can put some effort into that very direction today. Every little step counts. Fifteen minutes at a time adds up. A step forward doesn’t count if you then stop to look around to see how far you’ve come. You’ve got to keep moving.

So, it’s another day. How far have you come today?

Vulnerable

It’s hard to put yourself out there when your heart is in what you do.

Rejection stings the worst when you do your best and someone tells you it’s not good enough. That criticism can tear you down.

Hate to tell you this, but that’s exactly what you need.

You have to keep putting yourself out there, testing and pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. Adventures were never taken by those who wanted to play it safe. When was the last time you heard a successful person say, “Oh, I just stayed home, never went out, and the success just spilled into my lap.” No, chances are the stories you’ve heard are about risk and failure. Inspiration comes from hearing how people overcome their obstacles.

As for rejection and criticism, those make sure that next time you try harder and learn more. These make you grow beyond what skills you have. If you aren’t seeing progress, seeing yourself getting better, then you aren’t pushing hard enough. If someone is telling you that you can do better, there’s probably a reason it’s being said. (This is not to take into consideration the advice of ‘Trolls.’ There is a difference between criticism which will help you grow – at least after the initial sting wears off — and the venomous hatred of Trolls – who tear down only because they wish they were out doing what you’re doing.)

So, I thought I’d show you a picture which shows my progress. No one was ever supposed to see this picture. It’s horrible! I knew it from the moment I painted it. I tucked it away. I found it this weekend when I was cleaning my office. I almost threw it away, but I hid it away because I know that it shows my progress.  Unfortunately, I don’t even have it dated (bad me!) but I’m guessing it’s sometime between 2007 and 2009. Okay, here it is. Don’t laugh!

Practice Painting

Bad, bad painting
12×9 Acrylic on Bristol
©  Dawn Blair

Look at that hair! What was I thinking. And what’s she got in her hands? Terrible, huh? Oh yeah! This painting was never meant to see the light of day. Back to the nether realms it should go.

But, if I’d never tried that, would I ever have done this following painting?

Windswept Angel 20x16 Acrylic on Canvas © 2010 Dawn Blair
Windswept Angel
20×16 Acrylic on Canvas
© 2010 Dawn Blair

If I’d never done Windswept Angel, which wasn’t perfect but definitely progress forward, would I have gone on to paint this?

Manifest the Magic book cover
Holding What Matters
20×16 Acrylic on Canvas
© 2012 Dawn Blair

Let yourself be vulnerable.

We all learn as we go. If we fear the process, the world will never see us shine.

Make your magic.

Sparkle.

Missed Step

acrylic on bristol Dawn Blair ©2012Available on eBay this week
acrylic on bristol
Dawn Blair ©2012
Available on eBay this week

I missed a step in my last post. A very important one!

I think it’s easy to do too because this is really a step that must over arc all of the previous steps mentioned. It is your guiding star, a pinpoint of light that will always assure you that you are on the right path.

So what is it?

That missed step is: Have Fun!

If you aren’t having fun at doing creating your passion, why are you doing it anyway?

Have fun! Through it all, have fun.