Practicing the art of gratitude is an extremely powerful tool. After the past couple of years, it finally feels like we can see the end of the tunnel and I’m sure we are all ready for something to be grateful for.

There is an amazing power in gratitude that helps your mental well-being and emotional health.  Gratitude for a situation, an event or a person in your life sets the stage and opens the door for more good to come to you.  It is very easy in difficult and trying times to concentrate on the negative, rather than taking stock of the other good and positive things that are going on in your life.

However, the practice of gratitude can be learned. Below are 6 affirmations artists can say to themselves every day to reinforce their gratitude for all the great and wonderful things that they have in their life and art career:

  1. I am grateful for being able to be an artist, even with all of the ups and downs that the profession provides.
  2. I am grateful for the ability to express myself through my art as there are many jobs or professions that do not allow you to be creative.
  3. I am grateful for today’s technology which has brought our world much closer together and has expanded all artists’ ability to create, refine and share their art.
  4. I am grateful for my friends and family who support my work.
  5. I am grateful for my art as it is ever changing and there is always something more that I can learn to do that will help me to improve my art.
  6. I am grateful for my followers, fans, collectors and buyers as their support encourages me to continue creating my art.

In these unsettling times it is extremely easy to get swept up in the media’s constant negative bombardment to our senses.  When this is happening to you, turn off your television or computer, turn off your phone, go outside, and take several deep breaths to clear your head.

Make a mental list of all the great things and wonderful people in your life that you should be grateful for.  To cement this list in your subconscious, commit this list to paper and when something comes up in your life that’s good add it to your list. 

Over time, your list will grow and when you’re down, in a negative place or feeling uninspired go to your gratitude list and review all of the things that you are grateful and thankful for.  No matter how bad things may look or feel, there is always something that we can find in our lives for which to be grateful. Remember, the practice of gratitude is the magnet for more good things to come into our lives. 

To quote the famous German philosopher, cultural critic and philologist, Friedrich Nietzsche:

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”

By Barney Davey, Guest Blogger  – To Be An Artist Is A Gift!  

It Is a Unique Thing to Be an Artist. Learn to Celebrate, Enjoy and Utilize the Blessings You Have!

While much of the world is plunged into darkness, we, by comparison, live with a nearly embarrassing, abundant and comfortable means.

No One Is Saying It’s Easy!

To become a successful artist-entrepreneur today is challenging. It requires mastering many skills, not the least of which the ability to create art that continuously sells well. It takes talent, dedication, and ability to make art, to learn how to find buyers and make sales on a steady basis. These hurdles have always been present, and they will never go away.

These Are the Good Old Days.

We are witness to an incredible moment in human history as we experience the greatest advancements in technology, communication, and product distribution ever seen. The pace and scope of significant developments in these fields are increasing at dizzying speeds.

Among these changes are tremendous opportunities for artists who are ready to take them.

15 Reasons Why Now Is the Best Time to Be An Artist

  • Artists have the widest and best choices ever in art-making tools.
  • Creative new ways to make art are expanding along with buyer interest in the growing variety of art forms and genres.
  • Consumer buying habits have changed, which makes them more likely to buy directly from artists, and from their websites and blogs.
  • Many galleries are more willing to explore new opportunities to collaborate with artists who bring their fans and marketing expertise to the table.
  • Artists have access to affordable, practical, easy-to-use, marketing tools to help them spread the word and find new customers.
  • The number of places to sell art both through brick and mortar and online venues is developing and growing.
  • Print-on-demand technology allows for remarkably high-quality reproductions with virtually no inventory costs.
  • Licensing offers artists ways to create new, passive income streams.
  • Artists can show their work online at no charge, and then have it sold and fulfilled without any action from them, through sites such as Fine Art America, and a growing list of many others.
  • The wealth of freely available, practical art marketing advice from blogs such as this one, and dozens of others, is a blessing upon artists.
  • The breadth and availability of webinars, free art business podcasts, and self-paced art marketing workshops, which are focused on helping artists learn how to be more efficient business operators and get their work to market is astounding.
  • Alternative marketing through home shows, artists staged events, selling retail in antique malls, upscale coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants, and numerous other locations, venues, and situations is a growing trend.
  • Artists can tap free publicity to take significant advantage of the explosion of media and the demand it creates for more content.
  • Free digital submission of press releases provides artists greater and wider access to journalists and media outlets.
  • Social media provides new channels for artists to develop relationships with buyers who they would have never found through traditional means.

Great News! It Is Not All or Nothing.

As an artist, you don’t have to master or use all the items mentioned above to be successful. However, the more you use to help you get your work seen and sold, the more likely the success you dream about becomes reality.  Start by mastering one or two and grow your expertise. The faster you learn, the quicker you can hand off many of those items to assistants.

You Don’t Need Anyone’s Blessing or Approval.

There’s a popular phrase going around, “Those are not my monkeys, and that’s not my circus.” When it comes to your career, it’s the exact opposite.

You are the ringmaster of your life and your career. If you don’t think you are, you need to change your thinking and take charge of your life. Sometimes when you turn the looking glass inward, you find you are the biggest bottleneck clogging the lanes to your success.

Clear Out the Clutter! Break Up the Bottleneck.

If you are feeling put out, put down or put upon, you have the power to stop those feelings. That’s all they are, feelings or perceptions you can change. You also are empowered to realign your thinking and start taking actions to bring about a massive change in your life.

You may have dire circumstances although most likely you don’t. It doesn’t matter. Whatever your situation is, you can change it. You can lift yourself up. You can beat the odds. You can take an already successful career and ramp it higher than you imagine right now.

Artists Leave Footprints!

There are mountains to climb, masterpieces to sell and legacies to leave. It’s mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Success is limited only by your imagination and your willingness to not let it matter how hard you will work to achieve it.

Art is many things. By its nature, art is ever-changing in how it is perceived as much as how it is made. You don’t know what impact your art will have in the future. No artist ever does, not really.

The one thing you can know for sure is that your art is a gift to the future. Construct it well with archival and conservation quality materials and it can last for centuries. That is an incredible feeling. I know the quality woodworking pieces I’ve made over the years will outlast me by decades and more. I’m proud something that came from my imagination that was crafted by my hands will endure. It gives me goosebumps when I think about it deeply.

Take care in how you make your art and how you brand yourself as an artist. Those are the two things you control. I can’t help you make your art. I wouldn’t try. You have your go-to sources for that.

Helping You Now and Then.

My job, my mission is helping artists. It’s been a passion for nearly 30 years. I’ve gotten quite good at it if I say so myself. I teach my artist followers one can’t expect others to toot their horn if they’re not willing to do it first and with pride. When you are centered, and sure about what you are doing, it’s not boastful to say what you do is excellent. If you’re not there yet to toot your horn, for internal reasons, for lack of skill, or other issues, just know nothing is impossible. And, nothing boosts confidence like excellence and success.

About Barney Davey

Barney Davey began his career advising artists in 1988 as a senior account executive with Decor magazine and the Decor Expo trade-shows. He helps artists and photographers find buyers, sell art and operate profitably. His mission is to provide artists with systems they can use to create successful, sustainable and rewarding careers. You will find numerous ways to grow your career through his books, blog posts, workshops, online training, consulting and more.

By JoAnneh Nagler, Guest Blogger -  The first thing we usually think of when we hear the word ‘artist’ is ‘struggling artist’ or ‘starving artist.’  We tend to measure ourselves against two crazy extremes—either by our willingness to starve or by the multi-million dollar success of the very few.  

We were all schooled in the adage do what you love and the money will follow.  In fact, this is the biggest lie that ever hit the cold hard earth.  There's no guarantee that our work is going to immediately kick-start in the traditional, money-defined sense just because we love it.  Truly, we have no control over outcomes, and since art is something we are inventing from inside our souls, the world is usually not yet clamoring for it while we’re inventing it. 

What that means to our lives is very simple:  if we want to make art over the long-haul—meaning, have a life of artistry—then we need to put supports under our feet. 

But who in the world received that kind of instruction?  I certainly didn't.  What I got was a message that artists struggle, they give up their art to raise families or take day jobs, and the only people who get to be artists are the privileged.  But look around:  there are millions of us creating art with ambition.  So we need a new milieu, a new way of thinking about living an artist’s life.  

The good news is, we really can learn to become healthy artists.  We can learn to balance time, day jobs, money, family, work ethics, and motivation for making art.

We've been culturally brainwashed into thinking that ‘a real artist,’ is supposed to be ‘tortured’ by his or her art, then instantaneously discovered at the drugstore counter, then somehow be magically gifted by a fairy godmother with artistic work ethics.  But that's ridiculous.  It’s like expecting that we can jump in an airplane, without ever having learned to fly, and take off without knowing how the gauges work.  We would never do that.  Yet that's what we expect of ourselves as artists.

So how do we balance all of it?  How do we learn what we need to learn to live a healthy artist’s life?

First, we have to give up the myth of starving as a motivator.  Artists don’t do struggling well.  We are sensitive creatures, and struggling runs too much electricity through already-delicate circuits. 

Then, we need to learn some simple tools.  I talk about these tools in my book—easy things we can apply as we’re learning how to get our hands in our art regularly.  We need to under-expect and work steadily, not in big bursts.  We need a day job we can live with, one that doesn’t promote angst.  We need clarity in our money—not so we can be good little citizens, but so we can fund the art we love.  We need simple time-mapping exercises, easy motivational tools for beginning, as well as a framework for measuring success based on having our hands in our artwork, versus what we earn.  There are skills we can apply to make all of these things work together.

When I was writing my first book, The Debt-Free Spending Plan, I worked one hour a day, four days a week, by the timer.  I definitely believed the American hype that more is better and faster is necessary.  I didn’t think I was doing enough.  But I began to apply what I call the ‘two-thirds rule:’ I mapped out what I thought I could accomplish in a week of writing, and then cut it by two thirds.  Why?  Because everything in life takes three times longer than we expect

Four hours a week, it turned out, over the course of six months, got a lot of serious work done. Slow and steady gave me a way of beginning; a way of getting my hands dirty with my art each week.

Does that mean that I automatically sat down in my allotted hour and instantly became motivated? No.  But I kept at it—recognizing I was learning a new skill—until I had some chops.  By working each week, I started experiencing the self-esteem of doing my art, and that drew me back into it. 

Art is unlike anything we do in our American linear timeline. It is not populated by the urgency of things like email, running out to pick up the kids, or rushing down the freeway to get to work.  Though our art haunts us, it is not an immediate, do-what’s-urgent process.  It asks us to do what’s important first.  It asks us to set aside blocks of time to discover and explore. 

We often think that if we had a completely open, no-day-job life we’d automatically be motived to sit down and do our art.  But that’s not true.  I know dozens of people who don’t need a job and don’t have kids to raise, who still can’t get to their artwork.  Our regular life and our day job are really our gifts, then:  they hold our feet to the fire with the schedule until we gain the strength to beat back distractions and show up for the work we truly love. 

We need—all of us—to move towards a new definition of what it means to be an artist:  a life with art at the center, surely, but one that’s lived in a balanced, decent way.  When we live like this, we are creating the path to happiness for ourselves.  We are structuring the foundation—building it, stone by stone—upon which we are going to build our joy.  

We are showing up for all of it:  artistry, relationships, family, money, day jobs—being fully engaged in every arena of our lives, using every one of our gifts out on the field.  That is how we build a heaven on earth. 

JoAnneh Nagler is an author, painter, musician and yoga teacher.  She is the author of How to Be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt or Your Creative Compass, and the Amazon Top 100 Book The Debt-Free Spending Plan.  Find her at


Never Say These Things to an ArtistThe other day I had some time on my hands and I started to make a list of things that I have heard in art gallery openings or overheard while at art fairs from the general public.

People who ask or say these things generally have no manners at all and of course, they have no idea what it is like to be an artist or what an artist’s motivation is when it comes to creating their art and being an artist.   The statement is in bold and what we all would like to say back to them (in italics), but don’t dare because we want to make that sale!

Here are the top 10 things never to say to an artist;

I could do that!“Then go do it…!”

You must have expensive equipment to do that!“If you had the same equipment you could do this?”

Is this finished?“Yes and I do not want to know what you think it needs!”

My 4-year-old paints like that!“Then go buy your 4-year old’s art”

That’s neat, you should be an artist.“Thanks, I will think about it”

Is that a Photograph?“Is that a compliment or a slur?”

That’s a good start… “See 3# above”

What is that supposed to be?“Shoot me before I scream!”

Can you show me how to make that?“Of course, I have all of the time in the world to show you… NOT” 

Can you please explain your price to me?“No, it is what it is. NEXT”

Another 5 That Will Make You Shake Your Head!

But what is your real job?“My real job is pretending to be an Artist”

No wonder you are starving!“Who said I was starving?”

Did you actually make that?“No. According to Ancient Alien, Astronaut Theorists Believe…”

I love that frame!“Oh good, because the frame is for sale with the art included…”

Photography is not art! – “Hey, Ansel… I got another one here who believes that….”

I am sure as artists that we have heard all of these statements or even more cringe-worthy statements and declarations from the public.  If you want to share any with us, please post them on our Facebook Page at  Try to keep them clean!


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