Finding your Niche-Edit What You Love

artist mind mapping exercise
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An exercise to try out. Pick 1-3 artists you love. List them in a mind map. Find out who they were inspired by or where they went to school to learn their craft (Search engines are your friend here). Pick a person from that and repeat. Go back as far as you can-or in some cases care to. Continue mind mapping people out.

Find their art online and study it. Copy parts of it. Figure out how they saw light. Find what subjects they were drawn to.

I have only copied a small portion of one painting that appealed to me-it actually resonated. I did not copy the materials originally used. I took out my small sketchbook, watercolors and watercolor pencils to study this particular artist and his work.
Bashi-Bazouk watercolor study ncwren niche exercise

I felt that indescribable shift when I have had "aha" moments in the past. It is an exercise I am itching to repeat-and most of the work is done already with my mind maps. I was inspired by Austin Kleon and his books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work.

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Finding Your Niche in a Market Full of Voices

austin kleon quote

I recently read that an artist was told to stop selling until they found their voice. This is a person who is going gangbusters selling right now. They have the marketing and event planning down to a science. They are relatively new to art, but produce good work. I was extremely surprised that someone would attempt to derail this person's momentum.

I remember several years ago getting phone calls from a law office wanting to speak to a person they needed to interview. I continually told them that they had the wrong number and to please stop calling. I could not understand why they did not believe me and the assumption was made that I was lying to them. It finally dawned on me that I was operating from the perspective of honesty and the law office was not-otherwise they would have realized sooner that their efforts were never going to pay off harassing me.

Now I realize we can never truly know what goes on in another person's heart and what their motivation or intentions are when they give us advice. I do know that if it kills your enthusiasm for your work it probably isn't advice one should listen to. They may have ulterior motives for saying what they say. You may never know-especially if you yourself don't operate in that manner.

The best advice I have come across concerning being an artist..."Don't wait until you know who you are to get started" -Austin Kleon Steal Like An Artist

We are all familiar with baby steps. No one can run until they learn how to walk. Marketing, selling, producing art, learning new techniques-it is all a part of the process of being an artist. Just doing what we need to do and staying genuine will teach us who we are as people. We already have a voice, a perspective. We need to edit ourselves down to that specific area that will help us stand out in a crowd...finding that niche in a market full of voices.

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Staying Sane And Organized

watercolor and pastel painting desktop organizer 30in30I
 I found this nifty desktop organizer at Walmart. I had been on the hunt for ideas on how to make my own staging area for small art pieces that are works in progress.  

Since I mostly work in watercolor and pastel I found this fits my needs almost perfectly. I use the top area to store finished pieces and dry watercolor wips. Having them stored vertically helps keep them clean from any pastel debris and dust and out of harms way from any cat imprints. I don't have to worry about my work getting smudged or damaged before I have a chance to prepare it for shipping or long term storage.

I also really like the removable drawers. I keep pieces ready to be worked on beyond the outline stage, my idea notebook and inspiration pieces. The removable drawers allows me to be more mobile transporting my stacks to other areas making reference work more accessible.

It worked great during the 30 in 30 art challenge in September. It kept everything that I was working on organized and in one place. I didn't have art sprawled all over my studio which helped keep my motivation up and running.

I picked this one up for around $12 usd.

Thirty Paintings Thirty Days Collage

Not thirty, but I submit my 25 paintings for the challenge in September.
All paintings are available for purchase unframed.

30in30 challenge ncwren collage