I was thinking the other day about how some artists become successful and others, equally talented, don’t seem to be able to attain any kind of success.
I think I was prompted to this thought by a casual remark my husband made while he was watching the Masters golfing tournament, I wish I could golf like that. My flippant reply was, Well, you have to get out there more. Golfing a few times a year won’t cut it.
This harkens back to Malcom Gladwell’s theory that you need 10,000 hours invested to master anything. Not quite true but close. I would clarify that to be many hours of working diligently and with thoughtfulness. If you practice incorrectly, you’ll only get good at doing something poorly.
But I asked a visiting artist, Alice Kidderman, a tiny woman who is a wonderful stone sculptor, what her secret was. We hosted many artists over the years at the arts center and some were definitely more organized and easier to work with than others. Alice was one of the best. And most successful.
She told me that being a stone sculptor took a physical toll on her body with all that hammering away at pieces of rock. She always spend one day a week, usually Wednesdays, on the business aspect of her career. Updating inventory, posting and updating her website, applying to shows, taking care of the money and correspondence, etc.
This reconfirmed some things that other artists have written; about how they spend 50% of their time on the business of art and the rest of the time on creating. That makes sense to me. Otherwise, you can end up with a studio full of work and no place to go with it.
When I was Director of the arts center, I always made annual, monthly and weekly goals, keeping in mind the five year plan. Everything was flexible but it gave me a road map. Each Monday I would look at what I wanted to accomplish in each area (fundraising, grants, performing arts, special events, etc.) and started with the most difficult task first. Sometimes this meant locking myself in my office and just sticking with the task at hand, without distractions. I have always been a goal setter and list maker and I still do this. Now I apply my efforts to my own career – art creations, home / farm stuff, whatever.
One of my top goals this year was to redesign my website, a chore I was definitely not looking forward to. I’ve had my own website since the 1990s and it has morphed several times. And I’ve managed several other websites, too. It always involves learning new platforms, tricks, maybe some coding. What a headache!
After several months of researching what other artists are doing, many web hosting companies, and new platforms, I finally made my selection. I made a list of what I wanted: full screen but adaptable to notebooks and mobile, an e-commerce site, a site that looks good but is relatively easy to manage (ha ha), and more bells and whistles.
Then I spent some months moving domains around to new hosts (the former hosts really gave me a hard time about this). I outlined what I wanted on the actual site, wrote out the descriptions, found or took the art photos, and then I dove in.
I made use of my library’s high speed internet and would come in early and spend ALL day in a little study room working. Even the librarians were surprised when I left in the evening and commented on how long I had been here. But, as I replied, sometimes the only way to get a job done is to sit your butt in a chair and do it. So, whether it’s writing a grant application, doing your taxes, or creating something new, just dedicate a significant amount of time without distractions to the task at hand no matter how difficult it may seem at first. Break it down to small tasks or steps if you need to, but stick with it. The feeling of accomplishment when you’re done is amazing. And it encourages you with the possibility of the next big thing you can tackle. And you will.
So, I invite you to check out my newly designed website at www.kgmiracle.com . It shows my bigger paintings and will give you a lot more information about me as an artist. There will certainly be additions and changes over the coming months but I always welcome feedback and suggestions.
Thanks for stopping by.