The Art Biz

Looking for art career inspiration and ideas while you’re working in the studio or schlepping your art across the country? Alyson Stanfield helps you be a more productive artist, a more empowered artist, and a more successful artist.
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Looking for art career inspiration and ideas while you’re working in the studio or schlepping your art across the country? Alyson Stanfield helps you be a more productive artist, a more empowered artist, and a more successful artist.

Feb 10, 2022
For too long I have been noticing artists posting things like this on social media: ‘Fresh off the easel! What do you think?’ or ‘I'm experimenting with <this or that>. Let me know what you think!’

What do I think? Do you really want to know what I think?

In this solo episode of The Art Biz I want to talk about feedback. When you ask people ‘what do you think’ you are asking for their feedback, whether it’s intentional or not. We are often too quick to ask for feedback, and we ask for it in ways that can be more damaging than anything. In this episode, I’ll share what I’ve learned from wise women and from paying attention to my students and clients. I’ll give you tips on the right way to ask for feedback—in the right environment and with specificity. I’ll also share with you how to handle unsolicited advice and the best way to offer advice to others, all so that you can get better feedback when you are seeking to improve.


  • The best time and way to ask for feedback. (1:36)

  • 4 criteria to meet before asking for feedback. (2:25)

  • You don’t really need feedback from everyone else. (5:35)

  • When feedback actually becomes necessary in order to improve. (7:45)

  • Asking for feedback from the right people. (9:15)

  • How to ask for feedback with specificity. (11:14)

  • The right way to offer feedback to others. (12:38)

  • How to respond to feedback graciously. (14:33)





  • “We’re often too quick to ask for feedback, and we ask for it in ways that are damaging.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “You shouldn’t care what everyone thinks.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “You need time to figure out what you think about your art before you ask others what they think about it.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “At some point, feedback is necessary when you want to improve, but you have to set up the parameters.”— Alyson Stanfield

First posted:

Jan 13, 2022

Risk is scary. Rejection stinks. Resilience seems elusive. When I think of these three R words, the word practice comes to mind. Taking one step at a time over and over again because we know it is the only way to make big progress. In order to embrace risk, we have to practice. We step into it, try it on, and, almost always, discover that it isn’t as bad as the soundtrack we were playing in our heads. Rejection is also a practice. We build up emotional muscles after receiving disappointing news. After years of accumulated rejections, we begin to understand that they are rarely, if ever, personal. And finally, resilience is something we have to work at. We were born resilient, but, over the years, life beat us up. But rejections give us courage muscles we never had before. And, because we paid attention, we pick up on a number of tools that help us become more resilient.

My guest for this episode of The Art Biz is Christine Aaron. You’ll hear how she embraces risk and has come to understand the role of rejection in her art career. She also shares the tools she relies on to act with resilience, to get back in the studio and do it all over again.


  • The unusual motivation behind Christine’s first watercolor class selection. (2:08)

  • Taking risks and challenging yourself in a rewarding art career. (5:31)

  • Refining your art by sharing it with and soliciting critique from others. (12:45)

  • Identifying your safe zone and moving beyond it. (21:45)

  • Taking on the work that pushes you out of your comfort zone. (25:12)

  • Name the risks to work your way through the potential rejection. (32:57)

  • What rejection really means about the work that you’re doing. (39:46)

  • Honing your resilience skills amid rejection. (40:35)

  • Stop comparing yourself to other artists and remember how far you’ve come. (45:45)

  • Reflecting on your work, your processes, and your improvement. (47:06)

  • The risks that Christine is going to take in 2022. (48:00)






  • “There’s not one of us that hasn’t experienced disappointment and loss in life.” — Christine Aaron

  • “I make work ultimately because I want it to resonate with someone else. And the only way to do that is to get it out there.” — Christine Aaron

  • “Think beyond what you can imagine now and know that you’ll have the ability to get the resources you need to do it.” — Christine Aaron

  • “Every artist I know gets way, way more rejections than they get acceptances. But nobody is talking about that.” — Christine Aaron


Guest Bio

Christine Aaron is a conceptual and material-focused artist. Her work is exhibited nationally and internationally. Aaron received an artist’s grant from ArtsWestchester — New York State Council on The Arts, a Surface Design Association grant, and a residency and grant from Vermont Studio Center. She presents talks at The International Encaustic Conference in Provincetown, MA, received awards in printmaking and mixed media, and had a solo exhibit of The Memory Project at California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks.

Aaron holds a BS in education from Cornell University and a Masters in Social Work from Hunter College. She lives and maintains a studio in New Rochelle, NY.

First posted:

Dec 30, 2021

Why is it so hard for us to take care of ourselves? We all get busy. We feel a sense of urgency to keep up and do more. But if we're honest, we realize that very little is really urgent. Still, all of this hustle means we neglect habits and routines that will keep us well and give us energy for work in and out of the studio. And it's even harder when you're also responsible for caring for others. Whether you're a parent with growing children or an adult with aging parents, caregiving can take a lot out of you. It's hard to spend time on yourself when you're maxed out on so many levels. It's no wonder that self-care takes a backseat to other priorities.

On this episode of The Art Biz, I’m joined by Shimoda Donna Emmanuel. Shimoda has been the caregiver in her family, primarily for her mother Izola who recently passed after living with Alzheimer's, but also for an ailing sister. In 2020, Shimoda wrote Sacred Stitches: The Art of Care Giving, which has tips for stitching yourself together when caring for someone with Alzheimer's, but can also be useful to other caregiving roles. Together Shimoda and I talk about her routine, how she keeps her home to maintain a high vibration, tools she uses to de-stress and to stay calm, and how gratitudes and "the rage dance" fit into her self-care routine.


  • The fiber collages, jewelry, circles of love and sacred stitches of Shimoda’s work. (2:13)

  • Shimoda wrote Sacred Stitches during the pandemic while caring for her mother. (7:29)

  • Key tips for de-stressing as a caregiver artist. (14:20)

  • How to keep your energy high so you can stay positive and productive. (24:52)

  • Spring cleaning takes on a new meaning with self-care. (28:40)

  • Finding a support group that can give you the support you need. (31:16)

  • Handling emotions might mean screaming, crying and doing a rage dance. (34:51)

  • How to cultivate a space that helps you destress. (36:30)

  • Making time for sleep and watching your diet. (40:45)

  • ‘Let this be easy’- Shimoda’s mantra for hectic days. (46:05)

  • A peek at what Shimoda is looking forward to in the New Year, and where her name came from. (49:10)






  • “I’ve got to take care of myself. The caregiver has to take care of themselves.” — Shimoda Donna Emanuel

  • “I’ve got to keep my energy high and keep my vibration high. That’s what’s most important to me.” — Shimoda Donna Emanuel

  • “It’s just not good to hold it all in. I can get through emotions quicker if I just let myself deal with the feelings.” — Shimoda Donna Emanuel


Guest Bio

Shimoda Donna Emanuel is a mixed media artist living in Harlem, N.Y. Shimoda Accessories has a range of work that includes intuitive jewelry & fiber art. Her art has been on HGTV as well as the covers of Essence magazine and other publications. Her art is available for purchase at The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

As a caregiver of her sister and her 97-year young mom with Alzheimer’s, Shimoda wrote Sacred Stitches: The Art of Caregiving. This colorful book offers tips for other caregivers. She found solutions that worked for her with creative exercises, rituals, and more.

Shimoda also published Sacred Stitches: Fiber Art Dolls for the Soul and Sacred Stitches, an inspirational 25-piece card deck.

First posted:

Dec 16, 2021

We need art. Some of us need it more than others, and for some of us, it's as necessary as the air we breathe. My guest on this episode of The Art Biz is Rich Simmons, a London-based artist who insists that art saved his life. Rich is not an art therapist, but he is an advocate for the therapy of an art practice. He knows from first-hand experience that art heals.

Rich has struggled with depression and was eventually diagnosed with Aspergers. The realization that making art could make him feel better was life-changing, and he wanted other people to know about this. In 2008 he started Art Is The Cure to inspire people to turn to creativity in times of pain. Art has given his life purpose. In our conversation, you’ll hear that Rich has many balls up in the air. He makes murals, gives workshops, sells prints, has recently entered the NFT market, and is starting a podcast. And that is just scratching the surface of his inspiring ambitions.


  • “I was thrown into the deep end.” Rich’s unusual entry into the art world. (2:51)

  • Rich started on his artistic path at a very young age by trading art with his grandfather. (7:57)

  • Discovering art as a form of creative therapy amidst personal turmoil. (11:49)

  • The act of creative release has expanded Rich’s spectrum and allows him to make better art. (17:44)

  • Art Is The Cure gave Rich the purpose he needed to move forward. (24:50)

  • How to channel your negative energy in a way that affects change. (33:48)

  • Finding inspiration, community and movement, and what to do when art is the source of your stress. (36:50)

  • Rich’s income stream and his approach to creating a continual stream of potential clients. (41:50)




  • “I want to give back to art because art saved my life.” — Rich Simmons

  • “I like to say yes to opportunities no matter what it is and try to figure out how to do it.” — Rich Simmons

  • “I realized I had found my own version of art therapy, and I needed to help other people discover their own version of art therapy.” — Rich Simmons

  • “An artist’s job is not only to be a storyteller but to evoke emotions.” — Rich Simmons

  • “I couldn't be an inspiration for people if I wasn’t looking after myself.” — Rich Simmons

  • “You can be the messenger about how powerful art can be.” — Rich Simmons


Guest Bio


Rich Simmons is an Urban Pop artist who has exhibited all over the world. Simmons' work explores the intersections of visual culture, spanning pop art, comic books, the Renaissance, contemporary fashion, sexuality and beyond.


Simmons' bold use of color, intricately detailed hand-cut stencils, sense of humor and thought-provoking narratives running through his work are proving Rich is both an innovator and highly collectible artist.


Simmons is also the creator and founder of Art Is The Cure, a vInspired award-winning organization promoting art therapy and has run workshops and talks around the world.

First posted:

Dec 9, 2021
There is an urgency to making the work and getting it out there so that you can find the people who respond to it, but it becomes much harder to accomplish much of anything if your body aches from the physically demanding work you do, or your shoulders are tense from hunkering over the computer all afternoon, or you're living on caffeine and wine, or especially if you aren’t sleeping. If you want to improve your productivity, and your health, then it’s time to focus on your self-care.

What are you doing to take care of yourself? To keep up your energy, maintain a positive mindset, balance out the hours in the studio and on the computer? Is balance even necessary when you’re doing what you love?

In this episode of The Art Biz, I talk with Maria Coryell-Martin, a busy mom with a thriving art career and companion business that supports her family. With all that she has going on, Maria makes time for almost daily swims and cold, open water, healthy eating, and plenty of sleep. Listen to hear how she does it.


  • Maria’s expeditionary art combines her passions for science, art and education. (2:20)

  • The motivation behind splitting Maria’s two artist endeavors. (4:57)

  • An income breakdown from Art Toolkit and Expeditionary Art. (7:44)

  • Maria’s art takes her all over the world. (10:31)

  • “I want to be a capable, useful person in the field.” (14:39)

  • How Maria successfully solicits funds for her expeditions. (17:17)

  • Self-care is the rock for Maria’s sanity. (19:25)

  • The physical aspect of making art requires taking care of your body. (24:06)

  • A typical day for Maria starts with getting enough sleep and swimming in the ocean. (28:21)

  • Monitoring energy levels, controlling what you’re eating, responding to stress. (35:15)

  • Setting boundaries around your time and energy. (40:57)

  • Getting the help you need so you can do your best work. (42:45)

  • The simple first steps for starting self-care today. (46:00)




  • “Ask for what you need. You may not get it, but at least you’ll learn something.” — Maria Coryell Martin

  • “I’ve developed tools and habits over my life that are my rock for my sanity.” — Maria Coryell Martin

  • “Work is like a river. You dip your toes in and do what you can and then you take your toes out and it keeps flowing.” — Maria Coryell Martin

  • “Mistakes are part of everything you do, but you’ve just got to move forward and let mistakes happen.” — Maria Coryell Martin

Guest Bio

Maria Coryell-Martin is an expeditionary artist following the tradition of traveling artists as naturalists and educators. She graduated from Carleton College in 2004 and received a Thomas J. Watson fellowship to explore remote regions through art from 2004-2005.

Since then Maria has worked with scientists, local communities, and travelers in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and the Antarctic Peninsula. In the field, Coryell-Martin sketches with ink and watercolor, and collects multimedia recordings to build her palette of place, a record of experience, climate, and color. This led her to create the wildly popular Art Toolkit.


This work became the basis for exhibits of large-scale studio and field paintings, as well as multimedia presentations and hands-on workshops for audiences of all ages to promote observation, scientific inquiry, and environmental awareness.

First posted: 

Nov 18, 2021
Lots of artists make a good living, or at least a significant part of their income, from commissions. The standard commission process is something we don’t question, but what would happen if you turned the whole commission process on its head?

In this episode I talk with Leisa Collins, who started her art business by targeting people whose homes she wanted to paint. After a few failed attempts at marketing her work, her career as a house portraitist took off. To date she has painted more than 2,500 house portraits and has a waiting list for commissions. She no longer has to send direct mail, which you’ll hear about, but maintains that the personal relationships with clients are paramount.

Leisa shares her quest across the country to paint a house in all 50 states, that following up with prospects results in 85% more sales for her, and how she has partnered with realtors to provide closing gifts for their clients.

First posted:


  • “I exchanged my art for everything.” Leisa’s adventurous art journey. (2:17)

  • Combining a love of art with architecture and advertising it in effective ways. (4:36)

  • The details of direct mailings that lead to collectors. (9:45)

  • Hand selecting the demographic you want to work with. (13:05)

  • The business process and price range of Leisa’s non-traditional approach to commissioned art. (16:10)

  • Selecting, photographing and painting houses in all 50 states. (22:26)

  • Creating 250 pieces a year means Leisa gets two or three new clients a week—and has to keep careful track of them all. (30:50)

  • Selecting images, marketing and selling a book. (36:50)

  • The importance of following up with prospective clientes—without being too pushy. (39:31)

  • The details of Leisa’s spreadsheets help her maintain a personal relationship with her clients. (45:10)

  • Creating relationships with clients through realtor closing gifts and phone calls. (48:51)

  • A look at what is coming up next in Leisa’s very busy holiday schedule. (53:25)




  • “I could choose my demographic very carefully by looking at the house.” — Leisa Collins

  • “I now get tons of commissions every week because they told their neighbor… by now it's just word of mouth.” — Leisa Collins

  • “I get quite a few commissions coming in every single week. I get two or three new clients a week.” — Leisa Collins

  • “If you love what you’re doing, it’s not so much like work.” — Leisa Collins

Guest Bio

Leisa Collins, a native of New Zealand, has carved a niche for herself as an acclaimed architectural artist.Eventually settling in the United States, Leisa became interested in the people and cultures that defined architecture throughout the country’s history. She was inspired to drive from coast to coast, creating original paintings of homes in every state. She selected 650 of these works of art—as well as the fascinating stories behind many of them—to share with readers in her new book, Hand-Painted Homes: An Architectural Artist’s Pen and Watercolor Journey Across America (May 2021). This coffee table book explores architectural styles in all fifty states, plus the nation’s capital.

In 2013, Leisa established the Leisa Collins Historic Preservation Award to pay tribute to exceptional individuals committed to saving and restoring old buildings across the country. Her work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Huffington Post and Los Angeles Times.

Nov 11, 2021

So many art venues shut down during the pandemic, and I'm sure many of the people that ran those venues mourn for not only what might have been, but also the fact that there wasn't an opportunity for closure. My guest for this episode of The Art Biz is Mai Wyn Schantz, an artist who was also a gallerist when she closed her space at the beginning of COVID. She hated to lose the relationships she had built over the years as the gallerist. She needed closure and she was determined to do right by her artists.

As soon as she felt it was safe, Mai Win organized a pop-up farewell exhibition with her artists. Her goal was to break even, which as you'll hear was far too conservative of a goal because she hit it out of the park, mostly because of the relationships she had nurtured throughout the years. Together we discuss the timing of the pop-up, the details for pulling it off, including the space she worked with, and what she learned from the experience. She reveals at least three things that she will do differently next time, and will inspire you to consider a pop-up gallery for your next art sales event.


  • Mai Wyn’s journey to finding her space in galleries. (1:42)

  • Acting as a gallerist when you feel like an imposter. (6:11)

  • The impact of an artist's experience on Mai Wyn’s gallery experience. (8:58)

  • Reflections on the decision to close her gallery. (11:55)

  • Celebrating the closure the proper way with a pop-up gallery. (16:16)

  • Artist requirements for participation in the event. (25:42)

  • How to promote a pop-up event across your network. (27:08)

  • Handling inventory and sales in a pop-up gallery. (30:10)

  • Playing the part of the hostess means hiring the right kind of help. (32:50)

  • Lessons learned from this hugely successful pop-up. (42:51)

  • Exceeding sales expectations by 1000%. (49:00)

  • The relationships that make artists and gallerists succeed. (50:26)

  • Mai Wyn gets real about what’s up next for her as a reborn artist. (52:22)




Guest Bio

Landscape and wildlife painter Mai Wyn Schantz developed a love of nature at an early age canoeing the lake country of the upper Midwest with her father. Since her introduction to the art world in 1999, Schantz has exhibited steadily, including solo and group exhibitions at commercial galleries, art centers and museums notably the Museum of Wisconsin Art, Yellowstone Art Museum and Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities in Colorado. Beyond the studio, she remains an avid hiker spending her down time exploring trails along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies with her husband and young daughter.

First posted: https://artbizsuccess/pop-up-schantz-podcast

Nov 4, 2021
People. You need them. You need people to buy your art, people to show your art, people to attend your shows, people to write about your work and let's face it. You need people to support you emotionally along the way. You need other artists around who get you. It's in these friendships that you will find understanding as well as ideas that challenge you to be a better artist. The relationships you nurture can sustain you, but you'll never know to what extent until you start taking them seriously, until you believe with all of your soul that you can't do this on your own.

But what do you do if you move to a new place and don't know anyone, or if you're just getting started? Where do you begin? In this episode of The Art Biz, I talk with Laurence de Valmy about how she has used her bonus talent as a writer to make connections in all areas of the art world. It started with the thought that there were people out there who knew more about how to be an artist than she did. She trusted that she could learn from them. Even if you aren't a writer, you'll be inspired by her boldness and creativity. Here's my conversation with Laurence de Valmy.


  • “This is the place to take the leap.” Laurence reflects on her artist journey. (2:32)

  • Have you ever Googled ‘how to be an artist’? The birth of The Curious Frenchy blog. (5:42)

  • Laurence’s publishing schedule is shaped by the artists she meets. (8:14)

  • How to more effectively learn from others while promoting their work. (9:52)

  • What was it like interviewing Henry Matisse’s granddaughter? (13:40)

  • Embracing the value of personal relationships with people. (15:30)

  • Opportunities that have come to Laurence as a result of her blog connections. (17:05)

  • How Laurence leverages and promotes blog content on social media. (21:17)

  • The difference that one-on-one relationships can make in your business. (23:29)

  • Tools for organizing your connections and contacts. (25:58)

  • A look at Laurence’s typical workday and schedule. (27:57)

  • How to meet people when you move to a new location. (31:32)

  • Simplifying the sharing of content on social media (32:29)

  • Laurence’s advice for artists who are intimidated about reaching out to form new connections. (34:08)

  • A look at what’s coming up next for Laurence. (36:16)




  • “All I knew was that I didn’t know. And so I had to learn a new job and in order to do so, I started to connect with other artists.” — Laurence de Valmy

  • “I quickly realized that’s how things happen. It’s through the people you know.” — Laurence de Valmy

  • “People work with people that they like.” — Laurence de Valmy

  • “The worst that can happen is that nothing happened. It’s as simple as that.” — Laurence de Valmy

  • “If you are prepared, you will know what to say.” — Laurence de Valmy


Guest Bio

Laurence de Valmy invites us to reflect on the links between artists through times and the relationship between art and social media today. In her POST paintings, she revisits art history through imagined Instagram feeds of the past. Her recent work explores the place of hashtags in our communication. Laurence is French American and lives in the U.S. She writes about art on her blog The Curious Frenchy and for art publications.

First posted:

Oct 28, 2021

We’re all about the quest for more followers, more likes, more shares, more views, and more comments these days. It feels good when more people respond to your art because art is a form of communication. It’s the means you use to share your ideas and your soul with the world. But that self-expression isn’t meaningful until other people respond. Until they comment, share, and start a dialogue with you about it. And when you put the work out there and don’t get the appropriate number of expected likes or comments, you are unfulfilled.

It’s not fair that the social media algorithms have so much control over who sees your art. But are we really so subject to social media giants? I believe we are taking huge risks by relying on mass communication to complete the circle of communication. We know for a fact that art must be experienced in person in order to be fully appreciated. So why do we insist on online validation?

In this solo episode of The Art Biz I want to talk about what really works for moving the needle with your art. It’s a secret shared by my highest level clients, only it’s not really such a secret. But I can guarantee that it will help you stand out in an over-saturated digital space.


  • The not-so-secret secret that moved the needle with your art. (2:18)

  • The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one. (3:12)

  • Examining the anatomy of a whisper. (5:14)

  • 4 ways to effectively connect on a more personal level. (6:19)

  • Where should you begin when your time is so limited? (9:58)

  • What you can expect to gain from one-on-one interactions. (10:55)





  • “We are taking huge risks by relying on mass communication to complete the circle of communication.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “The most important information you can share is whispered one-on-one.” — Steve Cranford

  • “Personalizing the relationship you have with buyers, students, and collectors will make you feel better because it feels more authentic.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “Stop relying on broadcasting for all of your marketing.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “You’ll feel better about your marketing when you value individual relationships.” — Alyson Stanfield

First posted:

Grow your mailing list:

Oct 21, 2021
It takes a great deal of effort to find the right person to help with your art business, so you want to get it right. That means you need to find a way to retain good team members. You want them to take ownership in your business and pride in the work they do on your behalf. You may not be thinking about this from the beginning of the relationship with a new team member because you're so focused on getting the help you need fast. But you absolutely should be thinking about it: How do I keep good people on my team?

In this episode of The Art Biz, I talk with Ali Manning about the responsibilities she feels as the person in charge of her business, including the responsibilities she has to team members. We discuss her membership-based business model, the dynamics between team members, how she hires, when and why she hires employees instead of contractors, and how she keeps team members happy. We also get into the hiring mistakes that both of us have made in the past—freely admitting that it was our fault, not the employees.


  • The ah-ha moment in Ali’s art journey. (2:45)

  • How does Ali make money in her art business? (6:25)

  • Running a business with 1,500 members requires the help of several assistants. (10:15)

  • The key difference between employees and contracted help. (12:27)

  • Bringing your team together regularly starts with a weekly meeting and the right technology. (15:09)

  • You might be surprised at where you can find the right help. (19:07)

  • Hiring mistakes and how to correct them quickly. (24:15)

  • Tests and onboarding processes that can smooth out the new hire process. (28:56)

  • Clearly defined business processes and procedures will help your team members succeed. (31:35)

  • Your assistant can’t actually read your mind, but taking these steps can help them out. (34:06)

  • Keeping your employees—and keeping them happy. (38:46)

  • A peek at Ali’s upcoming launch. (42:41)




  • “From a business standpoint, I want to be able to offer my help a secure job. It’s important to me that they’re invested.” — Ali Manning

  • “With as many moving parts as I keep in my brain, it’s no wonder that I needed some help with this stuff.” — Ali Manning

  • “It’s important to slow down, take a step back and really think about what you want and how you would like your assistant to do it.” — Ali Manning


Guest Bio

Ali Manning creates bindings that showcase the stitching and the handcrafted nature of books. Her mixed media books are inspired by the forests of New England and the gardens of her home country England.

Working from her studio in a converted textile mill in Massachusetts, Ali has taught thousands of students via her blog, Vintage Page Designs, in person and with her latest online adventure, The Handmade Book Club. Teaching others to express their creativity through handmade books is her greatest joy. She believes that anyone can create a handmade book and it shouldn’t require expensive tools or equipment. Ali's work has been featured in Somerset Studio, Take Ten, Paper Crafts Magazine and Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

First posted:

Oct 14, 2021
In order to have a successful working relationship with anyone, you need guiding ground rules. You need employee policies and agreements, and boundaries have to be established, especially when you’re working with family. It can feel unnecessary to enact these formal arrangements with those close to us, and yet it's even more important to have them when you’re navigating the relationships that mean the most. In this episode of The Art Biz, I talk with Trudy Rice about her working relationship with a family member. Trudy reflects on what her business was like before her sister Jenny started helping her, the specific tasks that Jenny is responsible for, and how they structure their business partnership to make sure each is happy and fulfilled.


  • The point at which Trudy realized she needed help in her art business. (2:20)

  • Why hiring her sister was a perfect fit for Trudy. (6:17)

  • Writing a job description for a relative—or any employee—is an essential first step. (9:00)

  • Establishing an appropriate pay rate to compensate for the skills your new hire brings to your business. (11:48)

  • Structuring a typical week when you’re scheduling more than just yourself. (15:20)

  • Maintaining your voice when someone else is writing your social media posts. (21:24)

  • Communicating effectively in between weekly meetings. (24:01)

  • What Trudy wishes she had known before hiring her sister as her assistant. (28:25)

  • Identifying the areas that would allow you to accomplish more if you turned them over to someone else. (32:24)

  • Trudy’s advice to anyone that is considering hiring help. (34:54)

  • A look at what is coming up next in Trudy’s studio. (37:18)




Guest Bio

Artist and entrepreneur Trudy Rice has been a professional artist for more than 10 years. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Trudy has a diverse business consisting of original artworks on paper, paintings, commissions, large projects, wallpaper, and linen homewares. Her artworks are inspired by our natural world, particularly flora and fauna. Her works on paper and paintings are created with mindful observation, the initial drawings are etched in the very sun and water from which the original specimens are found.

First posted:

Oct 7, 2021
It can be very difficult to hire someone to help with your business, but if you want your business to grow, there comes a point at which you must hire to support that growth. And the wisdom is to hire before you think you can afford it. In this episode I talk with Angela Fehr and Robin Edmundson. Angela has been building a thriving business teaching heart-led watercolor, along with a community of artists to support one another on that journey. She knew she needed help, but she wasn't prepared to struggle to find that help. She was content in setting her intention and being open.

Enter Robin—Angela’s student as well as a member of my former Inner Circle program for artists. In our conversation you'll hear how Angela has handled building a team and how Robin has been able to support her in this process. We talk about the technology they use, how they communicate with one another, and how they work with other team members who have since come on board.

First posted:


  • Angela and Robin both focus on watercolor and Angela’s teaching offers regular lightbulb moments. (1:43)

  • How has Angela’s approach to watercolor grown her art teaching business? (4:45)

  • Building a thriving business while raising families and connecting in the artist community. (9:09)

  • At what point do you know it’s time to get help? (11:15)

  • Finding the best fit—from both Robin and Angela’s perspective. (13:25)

  • Learning how to hire correctly while trusting and protecting your values. (16:22)

  • Finding assistants that have the skill set you might be lacking. (19:35)

  • Building a support staff as your art business needs expand. (24:13)

  • A typical week in this thriving art business. (29:32)

  • The first step of a journey might be a boring one, but it can lead to a great adventure. (32:18)

  • Email support, tech support, and everything you might want to hire an assistant to do for you. (34:54)

  • The policies and procedures that keep a sustainable business running smoothly. (39:18)

  • What are the rewards and challenges of supporting another artist? (43:32)





Guest Bios

Angela Fehr first picked up a watercolor brush as a shy teenager newly returned to Canada. During her teen years she’d lived in a remote village in Papua New Guinea, and the solitude had cemented a passion for art that she was excited to pursue. She quickly realized that watercolor was a perfect fit, and along the way, realized that she wanted something more for her paintings than simply to copy what she could see with her eyes. Angela aims to show her heart in her paintings, to pair the beauty of the world with a loose, intuitive, heart-led style.

She launched her first online course in November of 2013, with the goal of teaching technique and empowerment to help painters become their own favorite artist. Angela shares her home in northern British Columbia with her husband and three teens. The beauty of the Peace River and northern Rocky Mountain region serves as the main source of inspiration for her paintings.

Robin Edmundson paints everyday rural things in new ways with bold and unusual colors, using simplified shapes and lines to emphasize the patterns and rhythms of rural life. Robin grew up in northern Indiana in an old farmhouse on a property full of old farm buildings. Her early goal was to learn as many languages as she could. In college, she quickly found Linguistics and earned a Ph.D. in that field. She taught in various capacities at Indiana University for twenty-seven years. Always looking for creative outlets to balance her academic life, she learned to dye and weave and became an award winning fiber artist.


In 2011 she began blogging about rural life in southern Indiana. It took her a while to realize that she was still searching for a language that could express some things she wanted to say about life in rural southern Indiana. Imagine her surprise when she finally figured out that the language she was looking for was one of paint, color and line instead of words. Nothing makes her happier than to communicate through her paintings her deep love and respect for the unruly places and people of rural Indiana.

Sep 30, 2021
Whenever you have multiple styles or subjects, you probably also have multiple audiences. This can also mean that you're essentially running multiple businesses. I'd never tell you not to do this, though I'd be tempted, because experimentation and play are such important parts of your life as an artist. But I will always caution you about the extra work involved. Today we're examining the work and reward that comes with working in multiple styles. In my conversation with Robin Maria Pedrero you’ll hear about the three different styles and subjects she paints. Robin has a very full art business, and she has joined the podcast to share her story about how she juggles her various styles of art and diverse audiences for her work. Highlights
  • Robin’s evolution into the artist she is today. (1:30)

  • Trying new things, making mistakes and moving forward. (7:05)

  • More styles means more audiences and more effort. How does Robin juggle it all? (13:34)

  • Track your inventory with tools that work. (16:49)

  • Robin’s approach to marketing on social media. (18:23)

  • Managing multiple Facebook groups and social media sites means creating more content, but Robin has a system for all of it. (26:36)

  • Robin’s tools for staying so productive with such a long to-do list. (31:09)

  • Lessons learned for successful print on demand. (35:45)

  • Robin’s simple approach to bookkeeping and connecting with buyers. (39:11)

  • The tools, assistance and move that are keeping Robin moving forward. (43:04)

  • A snapshot of Robin’s typical day. (45:39)

  • Providing excellent customer service is a major part of what the best artists do. (48:12)

  • Paper planner or electronic task list, and all Robin uses Artwork Archive for. (50:38)

  • What’s coming next in Robin’s very full art business. (52:45)




Guest Bio

Robin Maria Pedrero is an award-winning artist with work in museum permanent collections in Florida, Greece, public, corporate and private collections. Her abstract paintings are defined by layers of translucent color and overlapping forms, while her whimsical nature work, the paintings she calls “Joy Bringers,” is characterized by bold color and texture. Robin has had solo exhibitions at the Orlando Museum of Art and Lake County Museum of Art. More recently, Tamara Day of HGTV’s Bargain Mansion, has selected Pedrero’s artwork for that show. Pedrero creates from her studios in Frisco and McKinney Texas.

First posted:

Sep 16, 2021
Does the thought of expanding your mailing list give you a headache? Do you constantly push tending your mailing list to the back burner because it feels like the least productive or enjoyable task on your lengthy to-do list? Your mailing list is your art business’s #1 marketing asset, but it’s absolutely useless if you aren’t using it and intent on growing it. Too many artists neglect their mailing lists simply because they don’t know the real power that it holds.

In this solo episode, you’ll hear a new definition for your mailing list that just might inspire you to give it your full attention again. You’ll learn about the five groups of people that need to be included in your list and how you should treat each of them. You will also hear about the upcoming Grow Your List program — our final program for 2021 that is designed to help you create a reliable system to attract new people to your list and nurture them in ways that can make a major difference in your art biz success.


  • How important is your mailing list, really? (1:30)

  • Questions to ask yourself about your mailing list. (2:24)

  • Broadening your definition of a mailing list to include everyone you know. (3:12)

  • The five groups of people that need to be on your list. (4:44)

  • The hardest part about growing your mailing list — and what to do about it. (8:47)

  • How not to grow your mailing list, and what to do instead. (9:49)

  • Finding the fuel that will power the growth of your list. (14:24)



  • “When clients aren’t getting good results I can often trace it back to the fact that they’re neglecting their lists.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “Your mailing list is the number one asset in your art business, but only if you continue to develop it.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “You have to treat everyone on your list well.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “It’s not easy to get people on your email list right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “Stop looking for shortcuts. Start doing the hard — and much more interesting — work of caring about people and connecting with them authentically.” — Alyson Stanfield


First posted:

Grow your mailing list:

Sep 9, 2021
Why do we make things so difficult for ourselves sometimes? We don't mean to. It's our nature to appreciate simple solutions that we can quickly grasp and execute.

I think we unnecessarily complicate our businesses because we lose focus. We get distracted by social media posts and emails. The next great invention makes it to our line of vision and we suddenly wonder how we ever did without it. And during this month while we're working on improving productivity, it's even more tempting to search for solutions outside of ourselves.

But the truth is, you probably already have everything you need to simplify your to-do list and increase your productivity. To help unpack this idea, I’m joined on this episode of The Art Biz by Amelia Furman, who says that her to-do list was out of control before she took charge and started eliminating obligations from her life. She tells us why simplifying has become a way of life for her; what exactly she has simplified; and how she schedules her days, weeks, months and even her year in a way that is more productive than ever.


  • Amelia shares her artist's journey. (2:19)

  • The breaking point that revealed that Amelia’s to-do list was out of control. (4:53)

  • For Amelia, making big changes starts with a deliberate start to every day. (9:58)

  • Why is simplifying so important? (13:29)

  • Focusing on one goal or one word each year can help you recall what matters most. (15:05)

  • Setting boundaries and saying no helps Amelia reach her main goals. (22:00)

  • Doubling her gross income doesn’t mean that Amelia is doing more of everything. (24:17)

  • How to schedule your time in more productive ways. (26:08)

  • What does your ideal day look like? What about an ideal week or month? (29:45)

  • Bullet journaling, calendaring and planning your life. (35:32)

  • How to create a loose monthly flow that allows you to meet your goals. (37:38)

  • Simplifying, eliminating and focusing have increased Amelia’s productivity. (40:18)

  • The value of participating in a business owners group. (42:00)

  • Amelia’s advice for simplifying a complicated artist's life. (45:26)

  • A look at what is coming up next for Amelia. (46:30)





  • “A to-do list can help you get all the things done, which is awesome until it’s the end all be all. Then it’s not awesome anymore.” — Amelia Furman

  • “Organizing what needed to happen for that day only really helped to focus in and start this journey toward simplicity.” — Amelia Furman

  • “Now I’m not saying yes to things just because I can do them. I’m saying yes to things based on my goal.” — Amelia Furman

  • “So much of this is being honest with myself about how much time something actually takes.” — Amelia Furman

  • “I have no further plan beyond each day, and that really helps me stay focused on that day and simplifies it so much in my mind.” — Amelia Furman

  • “Be brave and start taking stuff out.” — Amelia Furman

About My Guest

Amelia Furman grew up in rural, central Pennsylvania amidst pastoral scenes of farms, fields, and forests, and now calls Colorado home. Nature has captured her attention for as long as she can remember. Visual arts were also a dominant force in Amelia’s life from an early age. After graduating with a degree in visual art from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2003, Amelia began to explore how she could use paint to express her love of the natural world.

Amelia’s background in printmaking and illustration has heavily influenced the direction of her work. She works in a combination of paper collage, text and thin layers of acrylic paint. Using a selection of documents, vintage images, handwritten text, and symbols associated with the painted image, Amelia reminds the viewer that places and objects have many layers of meaning, memory, and beauty.

First posted:

Make a plan for your art business:

Sep 2, 2021
Welcome to the 100th episode of The Art Biz! In this milestone episode, the tables are turned as I become the guest of host Cynthia Morris. Cynthia was one of the first guests on my second attempt at this podcast, and I have learned so much from her wit and wisdom. In our conversation, Cynthia is set on helping me not only celebrate this important milestone but also reflect on just how far this podcast has come and what it took to get it where it is today.

More than just a self-congratulatory episode, together we discuss the value of acknowledging your progress, however imperfect it may be. We share what it takes to do the work, create the content, and develop the tenacity that results in milestones worth celebrating.


  • Why should you take time to celebrate milestones? (0:07)

  • Alyson reflects on the progress she has achieved at this milestone podcast episode 100. (2:16)

  • Fumbling your way toward success means just doing it! (6:04)

  • What helps Alyson maintain consistency in her content? (9:06)

  • The value of taking full responsibility for your commitments. (12:55)

  • Overcoming the challenges that might be holding you back. (16:32)

  • The systems that make podcasting a seamless part of Alyson’s life. (19:46)

  • Celebrating progress starts with reflecting on where you might be otherwise. (24:55)

  • The tools that Alyson uses to organize and produce this podcast. (27:23)

  • Celebrating milestones, developing key qualities and recognizing your progress. (32:41)





  • “When we don't acknowledge the milestones, when we don't pause to savor and appreciate and see what we did that brought us there, we really lose out on a lot of the benefits that we've accrued in the course of making our way to that milestone.” — Cynthia Morris

  • “Every milestone shows you that you are making progress.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “We've seen so many people sit on the sidelines of things because they haven't figured out the right way or the perfect way. And then they never do anything.” — Cynthia Morris

  • Your plan is going to be imperfect and you just may have to change it.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “When you promise something to people you’re promising something to yourself.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “You can’t make more money if you’re doing all the things that you’re not good at.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “The more artists that I talk with, the more artists I'm able to help and the better advice or consulting or coaching I can give.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “You’re not really living unless you’re learning.” — Cynthia Morris

About the Guest Host

Cynthia Morris helps writers, artists and entrepreneurs make their big dreams a powerful reality. Cynthia is a certified coach, teacher, author and artist. In 1999, she founded Original Impulse, a boutique coaching company that empowers creative people to focus, follow through and finish projects that matter.

The author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Writing a World-Changing Book, Cynthia has published seven e-books on writing and creative travel as well as the Paris historical novel, Chasing Sylvia Beach. She is a watercolor artist and visual journal keeper who uses art as a way to express joy and consistently access inspiration.

Follow Cynthia on Instagram.

First posted:

Build your well-greased art biz machine:


Aug 26, 2021
What can you do if your art business isn’t profitable? When you’ve trimmed business expenses as far as you can, the only other thing you can do to be profitable is to increase your income. Your goal as the CEO of your art business should be to increase income and lower expenses while also increasing joy and lowering your frustration level.

In this solo episode, you will learn about the income-accelerating plan that shapes a realistic strategy for increasing your income. This four-step process is what you need to begin to more easily visualize a more profitable future. If you’re ready to dramatically up level your business IQ by gaining insights into where your income came from, where it can come from, and how you can make it happen, this is an episode you won’t want to miss.


  • You cannot be content to just break even in your art business. (:10)

  • The value of creating an income-accelerating plan. (1:20)

  • How can you make a plan for more money when you don’t know if anyone will buy your art? (2:35)

  • Step 1- Figure out where your income has been coming from. (3:38)

  • Step 2- Analyze the numbers and what they can tell you. (6:32)

  • Step 3- Set your next income goal. (7:25)

  • Step 4- Make a plan that will allow you to achieve your new income goal. (8:51)

  • Join the Artist Planning Sessions to get real about the work you can realistically commit to. (9:35)

  • What other artists are saying about the income-accelerating process. (10:57)



  • “Don’t be content to break even when running an art business.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • "You need money to survive and shouldn’t be ashamed to admit it.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “One of the best things you can do to improve your chances of success in any area is to create a plan.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “You make a plan because you’re the CEO of your art business and that’s what CEOs do.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • While you don’t have any control over results, you do have control over the actions you take (or don’t take) to get the results.” — Alyson Stanfield

Aug 19, 2021
Being profitable as an artist doesn't necessarily mean you need to do more. Sometimes it's about doing less by being discerning about what you take on and where you invest your energy.

This is extremely difficult to do when you are trying to show and sell your art. You want to do more. To add new income streams and the latest marketing platforms. The ads and social media posts want you to do more.

But more is exhausting.

My guest for this episode knows how to get what she wants without doing more. Jill Soukup, who has been a student and client of mine over the past decade, is dedicated to becoming a better artist. She methodically improves her work to make sure that her career, her business, and her life are what she wants them to be.

In this conversation, Jill and I discuss how and where she sells her work, how teaching fits in with her income plan, how she makes sure she remains profitable, and why it's important for her to keep things simple.



  • Jill’s transition to full-time artist and where she shows and sells her art today. (1:51)

  • The inspiration behind Jill’s Western-themed art. (5:56)

  • Selling on Instagram is changing the dynamics of Jill’s work. (8:39)

  • Logistics of selling prints and giving customers what they want. (11:34)

  • You have to spend money to make money. (15:25)

  • The strategies that allow Jill to get work done without working harder. (19:31)

  • For Jill, doing less has resulted in even more success in her art business. (23:47)

  • Dedication to your craft and honing your skills is the hallmark of an exceptional artist. (29:10)

  • Teaching, raising prices, and decreasing her painting output keeps Jill’s income steady. (30:45)

  • Bookkeeping details and how Jill knows she is profitable. (37:24)

  • Why is simplifying so important in Jill’s business and life? (40:56)

  • Insights from Jill’s typical work day and what she's working toward now. (46:14)







  • “As artists we ebb and flow in our process and what we’re producing.” Jill Soukup

  • “This experience is teaching me to dig deeper and to see things that I wasn’t seeing before.” Jill Soukup

  • “At that point I recognized that I was so overwhelmed. I wasn’t making any decisions because I had too many decisions to make.” Jill Soukup

  • “At that moment I realized what really was important to me, and that all of the other things on my list were not even necessary.” Jill Soukup

  • “Everything I chose to do had to meet one of my three goals and it just simplified everything. And it was such a beautiful thing.” Jill Soukup


About My Guest

Jill Soukup was born in Buffalo, New York. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to Colorado, where she still resides. Jill’s affinity for horses as a young girl resulted in countless drawings and studies of them, which made for a strong drawing foundation. As a teen, she started a pet-portrait business, acquired jobs painting murals, and designed logos for local organizations. Jill graduated from Colorado State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Fine Art. There, she received awards for illustration and design and worked as an illustrator and designer for the university. She initially pursued a career in graphic design while continuing to paint part time. After 11 years as a designer, she made the switch to full-time painting. Her work continues to gain recognition as she receives awards, appears in national publications, and shows in important juried and one-woman exhibitions.


First posted:

Let’s do this together:

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Aug 12, 2021
Sometimes you just need to throw out the old models for doing business and try something totally new. Maybe you're bored with business as usual. Maybe the results aren't as profitable as they were in the past. Or maybe you are no longer enjoying the same old way of doing business.

It's okay to go off-script.

In this episode, I talk with ceramic artist Patricia Griffin. If you visit her website during certain times of the year, you won't see anything for sale because she has sold out. Zero inventory. What you will see are items she has sold and an opportunity to get on her list so you don't miss a chance to purchase the next time her shop opens.

Patricia and I discuss what she refers to as events — the 3- or 4-times a year sales of her ceramics that sell out within hours and have led to a dramatic increase in income. She'll describe the philosophy behind them, the promotional timeline, the collaborations to help raise money for nonprofits, and how the events are a valuable tool for her to cultivate relationships with buyers and potential buyers.



  • The book that changed the course of Patricia’s artistic life. (2:04)

  • Patricia’s cautious first step into selling her art. (6:35)

  • A visual description of Patricia’s functional stoneware. (8:52)

  • An overview of Patricia’s sales philosophy and the online sales events that bring in more orders than she can quickly fill. (11:20)

  • The learning curve that comes with selling art in a non-traditional way. (15:46)

  • Cultivating a studio friends list allows Patricia to connect with interested buyers. (17:47)

  • Timing sales events and refining the sales process. (21:50)

  • How many pieces does Patricia have ready to go when her events go live? (26:25)

  • The benefit of connecting your Instagram feed to your sales website. (27:14)

  • Marketing for sales events and what launch day looks like for Patricia. (28:53)

  • Collaborating with a non-profit does not have to mean donating your work for free. (33:05)

  • Hosting online events, for Patricia, has resulted in a dramatic increase in sales and skills. (34:43)

  • Stories of creating connections and increasing loyalty with buyers. (36:20)

  • How to create the deadlines that will result in increased sales. (39:16)

  • The success of Patricia’s most recent online event by the numbers. (41:04)

  • Which social media platform brings in the greatest number of customers? (43:18)

  • How does Patricia balance the need to produce art for her soul and the need to produce art for her business? (46:07)







  • “I like the association with the people who are buying my art through online sales. I don’t know that doing it another way would cultivate the same kind of relationships that I have now.” Patricia Griffin

  • “Some of these people had been on my email list for years and maybe just purchased something for the first time.” Patricia Griffin

  • “Hosting online events has been really beneficial, not only to my business but also to my skills.” Patricia Griffin

  • “I don’t think I would have had those commissions if it wasn’t for the online events.” Patricia Griffin

  • “I’ve really felt the pull to do something else and get back to some of the experimenting that I like to do.” Patricia Griffin

  • “I’m continually walking that tight line between the need to produce art in my soul and the need to produce art in my business hat.” Patricia Griffin


About My Guest

Patricia Griffin is a potter-artist in the seaside community of Cambria on California's central coast. She makes functional ceramics that are hand-thrown and hand-built and etched with designs that look like woodcuts. Griffin’s work is sold primarily through shopping events held three to four times a year on her website.

First posted:

Let’s do this together:

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Aug 5, 2021
You’re most likely listening to this podcast because you are in the art business. It’s more than a hobby to you. It’s your professional line of work. In this episode I want to talk about profitability—what it takes not just to make and sell art, but to also make money and to ensure that you have a positive net income in your art business.

As the CEO of your art business there are things youand only youneed to be doing to make sure that you are running your business in the most profitable and productive way possible. From running the numbers in your books to delegating the menial tasks that someone else can do so that you can focus on making art, I offer six different ways that you can ensure profitability in your art business.




  • Getting serious about making money out of your art businessnot your art hobby. (0:01)

  • Yes, you really are the CEO of your art business. What exactly does that mean? (1:42)

  • Art business CEOs know when and how to ask for help. (3:53)

  • CEOs do what they do best and they delegate the rest. (4:43)

  • Do you know exactly how you are spending money in your art business? (5:30)

  • What you will learn from analyzing your profit and loss statements. (6:37)

  • 3 evolving art business trends you need to be aware of. (9:23)

  • A look at the upcoming and inspiring episodes on the Art Biz Podcast. (12:02)






First posted:

Let’s do this together:

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Jul 29, 2021
Failure. We all fear it, especially in our art businesses.

But failure is necessary for growth. If you are succeeding at everything, there is no way you're learning and growing.

My guest today is ambitious and knows what she wants, and she is not afraid to fail.

In our interview, you'll hear about Laura Petrovich-Cheney’s philosophy that failure is the result of not listening to your instinct and not doing your best. Laura talks about a few failures she has learned from, why it's helpful to have a little bit of time and space between examining failures, and the shame that gets in the way of sharing failures with other artists. We also discuss the inevitable comparisons with other artists that arise when you fail and see only their successes.


  • Laura Petrovich-Cheney shares the artist journey that led her to embrace failure. (1:40)

  • Defining failure as a lack of listening to your intuition and not trying your best. (4:30)

  • The difference between failures and mistakes. (6:14)

  • The most productive timeline for examining your failures so you can learn from them. (11:45)

  • Success comes from learning to do something better. (15:05)

  • Compare rejection and failure — which one comes from within? (16:49)

  • At what point should you define an experience as a failure? (19:47)

  • Throw yourself a pity party, then let go and move on. (22:23)

  • Should you share your failures with other artists? (25:42)

  • Trying again, and again, and again, and knowing what to do better next time. (29:17)

  • Laura shares the lessons she has learned from failing so successfully. (32:43)

  • The benefit of asking others for help. (37:58)

  • What is currently holding Laura’s attention in her studio? (39:05)




  • "Failure is primarily a lack of listening to your intuition.” — Laura Petrovich-Cheney

  • “If you really tried your best and you were only capable of a mediocre performance, that’s still your best.” — Laura Petrovich-Cheney

  • “Failing to learn from an experience is another failure.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “In the failure, you learn how to do something better. And that sometimes is a bigger success.” — Laura Petrovich-Cheney

  • “Listening to your intuition and honoring who you are is so important to being successful.” — Laura Petrovich-Cheney

About My Guest

Laura Petrovich-Cheney’s work is a profound assessment of contemporary issues merging with traditional folk art practices, quilting, woodworking and her repurposed materials with environmental issues of climate change. In all of the artist’s recent sculpture, a dialogue exists between environmental and individual concerns. Much of Laura’s work is feminist in nature, incorporating traditional women’s arts such as needlework and quilting, which are then transformed through found materials. Laura’s work has been published in several national and international publications including television, books, magazines, podcasts and NPR.

Laura was born in Philadelphia and raised in Haddonfield, New Jersey. For twenty years, she has lived in Asbury Park, New Jersey. She earned her BA in Fine Arts and English Literature at Dickinson College. Laura also has an MS degree in Fashion Design from Drexel University and an MFA in Studio Arts from Moore College of Art and Design.

First posted:

Build your well-greased art biz machine:

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Jul 22, 2021
There is no such thing as the artist's path. Look at the careers of 50 artists side-by-side and you'll see 50 different paths. And probably none of them happened exactly as planned.

In this episode I talk with Leah Smithson about her path, which kicked into gear after her father suffered a massive stroke and she began researching how creativity works in the brain. Leah's interest in learning has led to her untraditional portrait paintings, line of jewelry, public art, and murals. You'll also hear about how she embraces technology and has been teaching herself augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR).

Leah and I discuss how she decides which risks to take on and which projects to get involved with, how she schedules her week, and how her well-meaning husband cajoled her into co-hosting a podcast with him. Leah has taken many risks in her art career, and I love her point of view — you'll never know until you try. You can decide to take a risk because even if it doesn't turn out as you'd hope — even if it's a disaster — you'll be glad you did it anyway, it's something that fits with your goals.

If you’ve ever considered which step to take next or which opportunities are right for your art business, you need to listen to this advice from an artist who has failed and continues to experience success.


  • Leah Smithson shares her art and the family experience that led her to focus more on her own creativity. (1:19)

  • Unpacking the effects of art and creativity on the brain. (5:05)

  • The evolution of Leah’s art in the face of emotion and self-expression. (6:46)

  • Income streams and impact that Covid-19 had on Leah’s work. (10:55)

  • Taking calculated risks in art and tuning in to what you want for your art business. (14:52)

  • Learning from Leah’s failures. (17:10)

  • How to identify the right opportunities for your art business. (22:08)

  • The role of research in Leah’s art. (27:55)

  • Creating digital art experiences with AR and VR. (31:43)

  • Leah’s typical work week balances studio work, social media, podcasting and community projects. (36:37)




  • "The faster you get it out there, the quicker you can make progress." — Leah Smithson

  • “I try to balance an educated decision with being tuned in to what I really want to do, so even if it doesn’t go well at least it was because it was something I wanted to do.” — Leah Smithson

  • “Even when I fail I can still be happy with the decision I made.” — Leah Smithson

  • “I’ve learned that the next time I take a risk, it needs to be something that I really want to do. And even if it’s a disaster, I’m happy I did it anyway.” — Leah Smithson

About My Guest

Having moved around as a kid, Leah Smithson's style comes from a patchwork of influences from classical painting to cyberpunk. Through her murals, painting, NFT CryptoArt, and sculpture she often uses nature and portraiture to express the complexities of being human. She’s not afraid to take up new technology.


Leah was born in Tennessee. She has lived in Atlanta, the Bay Area of Northern California, and now calls L.A. home. She co-hosts the Vessel: Art as a Doorway podcast with her husband.

Jul 15, 2021
Many artists take risks in their businesses and in their art without even thinking about it. They are hard-wired to experiment and stretch the boundaries of what is possible.

Artists are innate problem solvers.

My guest for this episode is one of those artists. The list of what Michael Gadlin has done (legally) to earn a living as a working artist for more than 20 years is impressive. He sells originals, consults, teaches, designs, builds websites, and even hosted a show on public television. He has also sat on boards and committees in his local Denver art community.

Michael was gifted with what seems to be an endless supply of energy. I came at him with one topic and his mind connects it to numerous other experiences. The result is a wide-ranging interview. Michael waxes philosophically about the life of an artist, and you won’t want to miss his take on the lessons he learned from other working artists, the artist's collaboration with viewers, gallery representation, why it's important to be part of a community, and much more.


  • Michael Gadlin reflects on his journey as an artist and the key role of mentors along the way. (1:32)

  • The lessons Michael learned from reaching his first major studio goal. (6:28)

  • The payoff that comes with showing interest in every opportunity that crosses your path. (9:34)

  • Michael describes his approach to both figurative and non-representational art. (12:23)

  • Experimenting, problem solving creatively, and collaborating with the art community. (18:55)

  • You cannot be a one-person band and succeed in your art business. (27:00)

  • Figuring out who you are as an artist (beyond the art that you make). (29:20)

  • What does it mean to be an integral part of the art community? (31:24)

  • Positioning yourself in the places that will allow you to shape the decisions that are being made in your community. (37:28)

  • When can you truly consider yourself an artist? (43:18)

  • Creating a legacy with your art and with your life. (46:01)

  • Constant hustling — Micheal shares his multiple income streams. (47:36)

  • Staying organized and getting things done starts with finding the right tools. (52:13)



About My Guest

Michael Gadlin began his art education at the Art Students League of Denver, followed by Metropolitan State University, Denver, and New York’s prestigious Pratt Institute of Art & Design in Brooklyn. He was awarded a residency at La Napoule Art Foundation in France. Gadlin sits on the board of directors at both Denver’s MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and PlatteForum, an artist’s residency in the city. He has won numerous awards throughout his career as an artist, including the youngest artist ever to win Best of Show at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Gadlin’s work now hangs in the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art’s permanent collection among other city and government collections.

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Jul 8, 2021
Are you afraid to take risks in your art business? Do you spend your time playing it safe and sticking with what is comfortable and familiar in order to avoid facing the fear of the unknown?

If so, you’re not alone. We are hard-wired for the protection that will keep us safe, but avoiding risks can also keep you small when you give up the power of decision-making. Avoiding risks can hold you back from becoming the artist you are meant to be in the world. In this solo episode, I will introduce our theme for the month — taking risks — and explore why taking risks is a critical step to growing your art business. Listen as I highlight the indicators that you are limiting yourself in your art business, the questions you need to ask yourself when facing new (and potentially risky) opportunities, and the simple steps you can take today to start moving toward the risk that just might bring the next level of success that you’ve been dreaming about.


  • Transition from managing your mindset to taking risks in your art business. (00:07)

  • Are you allowing your built-in sensor to impede your growth? (1:24)

  • Challenge yourself to grow by getting a little more uncomfortable. (3:58)

  • Growth demands risks, especially in your art business. (6:12)

  • Simple first steps that will knock you out of your comfort zone. (7:48)

  • Questions to ask yourself when facing a tough risk-taking decision. (10:22)

  • Upcoming podcast episodes that will inspire you to take meaningful risks. (11:56)




  • “You’re not likely to take risks without the proper mindset.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “I challenge you to get a little uncomfortable with your art, with your marketing and in your life.” — Alyson Stanfield

  • “Growth demands risks. Don’t even think about moving up a level without being prepared to face the little risks.” — Alyson Stanfield

Jun 23, 2021
Who do you think you are?

If that thought has ever crossed your mind, this episode is for you. My guest is corporate-world-turned-full-time-artist Christa Forrest, and our topic is one that most of us experience at some point in our art careers and businesses: Imposter Syndrome.

Christa is a big advocate for "fake it til you make it," but that doesn't mean that she doesn't have doubts and insecurities. In this episode, you'll hear how Christa developed thick skin by showing her work at art festivals, why she is laser focused on building her email list, and how she overcomes feelings of inadequacy in her art practice.


  • Christa Forrest describes the process of turning women into goddesses, and leaving her corporate job. (2:20)

  • Building an art business while preparing to quit your full-time job. (6:05)

  • Christa shares the income streams that allowed her to focus solely on her art. (10:56)

  • The tipping point — pinpointing your focus and selling your work. (13:23)

  • How to develop the thick skin that is required of serious artists. (17:29)

  • Tips for creating an online presence that makes more money. (21:05)

  • Imposter syndrome — what it means and where it’s most likely to appear in an artist’s world. (24:08)

  • Tools that will help you find the courage to fake it til you make it. (30:05)

  • Is imposter syndrome keeping you from making — and meeting — your goals? (33:42)

  • Overcoming the moment when imposter syndrome takes over. (41:44)

  • The support system that helps Christa stay grounded amidst her weaknesses. (44:14)

  • A look at what is keeping Christa’s attention in the studio now. (45:51)




  • “I had to figure out what I have to offer and what problem do I have to solve out there before I started my actual business.” Christa Forrest


  • “It was really important to me at that time to be able to say ‘I’m an artist’.” — Christa Forrest


  • “If I can build my email list, I know I can build my income.” — Christa Forrest


  • “Failure is the only way we get better. We hardly ever learn from successes.” — Alyson Stanfield

About My Guest

Christa Forrest is an artist specializing in pastel, oil, acrylic and mixed media art. After spending 20 years in a finance career, she decided to follow her true passion and become a full-time artist. Christa spends her time sharing her passion with others, teaching others to be creative and exploring the world's landscape, recreating it onto canvas. Her work is a combination of realism, exploration, experimentation and pure fun.


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