Creativity in everyday life – The ugly truths about being an artist

Creativity in everyday life- 7 Ugly truths about being an artist

Artist get a lot of bad publicity. Living as an artist takes a lot perseverance and drive. You need to do a lot of work by yourself. Delegating work is difficult since you are the creator and owner of the business. Here are some basic truths about being an artist. If you think that what I list below is something you can do and are willing to do, then you will have a head start as an artist. Go through each point carefully and find ways you can overcome the obstacles in your artistic practice. 

If you are a realistic painter or an abstract artist, the struggles are the same. These points are the unavoidable points that you need to master as an artist. 

1. Success is not based on skill. You can be a wonderful painter, for example, and the best portraitist in the whole country but you will not succeed if no one knows about you. You need to get out there and show your work so people know how good you are. Really good publicists in the artworld were Dali, Georgia O’Keefe, Chris Cran and Picasso. 

2. Marketing is not easy. There are many ways you can market your work. Do your homework for your particular niche and find the best way to show your work. An artist that really worked their niche is Yayoi Kusama. She is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. For more information about her go to:

3. Create! You will not succeed if you do not create work. Get to that studio and build your collection of artwork. You need to do work that you can show. No work-no shows. The more prolific artists are everywhere. Picasso and Monet were well known for the quantity of work they produced. One current artist to look at is: Kara Walker. She is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, and film-maker who explores racegendersexuality, violence, and identityin her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes. For more information, go to:

4. Fellow artists are both your biggest promoter and your biggest competition. This is a fine balance. My fellow artists have sent people to my art shows because those buyers were interested in my style. At the same time, I have had other artists say negative things about my work in hopes that the buyers not look at my work. What can I say? Choose your friends carefully.

5. Taking the time to practice your skill without the pressure of sales is essential. You need to take time to just work at perfecting your skills. Not all works should be put up for sale. Most artists need ‘down’ time. One podcast that I listen to is ‘Savvy Painter’. She interviews different artists from all walks of life. Regularly, the artists say that they take time to work on pieces that are not related to their current series. They continue to explore and find new ways to hone their craft. If you like podcasts, here is an article on other podcasts on art:

6. You will need to learn social media skills. Most artists prefer being in the studio and ignore other skills. This is one skill you cannot avoid. You need to learn Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and whatever new media that applies to art. Use them. One online class that helped me was by Alun Hill. You can find out more about him and his classes at: He has sales regularly so wait for one of his sales. He explains social media really well.

7. Earned income is irregular. You will have months where you make a lot and other months where not a dime comes in. You need to save for those lean months. Keep account books and a balanced budget. There are hundreds of advice columns on this topic but it all boils down to keeping your costs down and not overspending. Find a local accountant that specializes in small businesses and ask him/her for help. They are often generous with their time, in my experience. 

I hope this helps you.

Doris’ website:

I have creativity courses and art courses online at:

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Creativity in everyday life — Essentialism View #2

Go to the profile of Doris Charest
Essentialism for artists. A second look at what this book has to offer.

According to Greg McKeown, focussing on what is important and only what is important is part of being an Essentialist. As an artist, this is really important. We tend to work on multiple projects at the same time and are multitasking experts. This is wrong according to McKeown.

Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Sometimes that is not possible. We commit to more than one thing and then we need to follow through. There is a solution to this problem. You commit to each item one day a week.

This is a work week only. Weekends are for families. The five day week is the maximum you can work. So, if you work on your main project on Mondays, on Tuesdays you work on the group project with your friend, on Wednesdays you do your social media, on Thursdays you work on your committee meetings and Fridays you are dedicated to your new installation project.

So what happens to your marketing time, your time to fill out grant proposals, your time to meet with artist friends or your time to think about new projects or figuring out the problems from Monday’s day? You are overbooked. What do you eliminate? What do you do?

According to the Essentialist, you need to take out what is not essential to you. What helps you the least in your artistic path? Take it out now! A true essentialist needs to eliminate whatever is in its path.

First you need to decide what is important to you. Is it the project from Monday? The group project? What is really important. Inside your gut, you know what you really think as important. Follow your instinct. Can you eliminate the least important?

You may be able to do this instantly but you may also have to ease into the elimination. You tell the group that you will attend only three more meetings, then you will have to let it go. You will finish the project with the friend, then not take on any more projects so that you can spend double the time on YOUR project.

You still don’t have any time for marketing your project. That’s a problem. Why create and then not be able to find places to show your work? That is not right. What can you eliminate next so you can promote your project or at the very least finish it.

Remember: Focussing on only one task at a time is the best way to get things done. Work on your project first. Get it done. Market it. Show it in as many places as you can then move on to the next project.

Often artists love creating so much that they create non-stop and even forget the marketing part. One idea leads to another and we work on them so that we don’t forget them. That is best for artists- in our heads.

We need to treat our work with disrespect if we do not take the time to show it somewhere. If the work has enough value for you to spend the multiple hours on it for many weeks, why should it not be shown somewhere?

The Essentialist has a point. If we worked on less items, we could finish the work sooner and then market it properly. Like most artists, I like creating more than marketing. I leave marketing to the last minute.

If I took the time to do it well, I would be showing more places. I would be less stressed because I would not be doing things at the last minute. I am going to try to put this principle into practice in the new year. Why wait for the new year, do it now!

I hope this helps you .

Doris’ website:

I have creativity courses and art courses online at:

For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:

All photography and artwork by Doris Charest

Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.

Till next time …

Blogging blues – Blogging is hard but I have one idea -a school mural.

I have the blogging blues.  I am stuck!  Everywhere, absolutely everywhere I read, the literature says that I should blog regularly.  I am not a regular blogger simply because I have trouble finding topics to write about.  I would love suggestions if you read this. 

I went to a lecture/talk by Michelle Blanc who gave us some wonderful tips on social media updates that we should initiate.   Mainly, she emphasized finding your niche and writing about that.  I am not sure I have a niche.  I love mixed media and know a lot of information about this but is that my niche?  

She also said that we should talk about our environment; what we see or do.  My latest is finishing a mural with a friend of mine, Karen Blanchet,, at the Ecole Pere Lacombe School.  Thanks to Josee Lemire, the principal,  for the opportunity:  We loved working with the children and helping them paint the mural.  Putting it together was a challenge.  Each of the little squares were painted by the students then we had to put them all together.  The steps actually went like this:

Pre work: We meet with the Principal and discuss the theme and the location of the mural.  Several meetings later, we set a budget that goes in for approval.  Once approved, we decide dates that will work for the school and for us.  There will be a time to prep the mural, a time to work with the students and teachers and a time to put together the mural.

1.We get the two pieces of plywood and put them on a frame.

2. We add some mural fabric on top of the mural without adhering it.

3. We draw out the mural – the school logo in this case.

4. We paint an undercoat of colour for the mural.

5. We cut the mural into 5 x 5 inch squares. This was long because we had to label each square. 

6. The students paint the pieces based on a theme decided on by the school. This takes a week.

7. We put all the pieces back together again!  This was a very interesting puzzle.  There are always glitches.  Keep that in mind. 

8. We gel the pieces on then gel the surface several times.

9. We varnish the mural 3 x. 

10. We seal the edges with silicone. 

11. We call the school for pick-up.

12.  The school sets up the mural and we attend the opening. 

My biggest blog blues issue is that I am not sure what people want to know.  I know a lot of technical information related to art, but is that what people want to know?  Do you want to know about the ins and outs of being an artist or ??????

Here is a new work of mine.  This is what I like to talk the most about- the work. Is that enough?


Marketing SOS – Christmas giveaway and sale

The Shack 19 8 xx 10 in. sm IMG_2625 Marketing is a chore to most visual artists.  I have made a resolution to beat this problem.  My first step is writing this blog and committing to the project.

Here is a quote from someone good at marketing (M. Hernandez); The perfect marketer is someone that loves challenges, thrives in uncertainty, can think outside the box, likes to take risks (calculated ones), has boat loads of resilience, patience and energy.

The question is ‘Can I do it?’.  Yes, because I want to get my work known and I want to send my  painting babies to ‘nice homes’ so I can create more.  I love being in the studio and time away is painful.  Marketing is part of the away time.  All the advice says to make a plan.  Break it down into manageable sections and do it!  My plan includes two or three marketing/sales events a year, applying for at least three shows a year and promoting my website more.

Step 1.   My first marketing plan

Marketing strategies say that you need to give in order to receive.  Since it is the giving season, I will be giving away what? That is the question.  I have an idea!  The title will be:  The twelve days of Christmas giveaway.   Since it is near xmas, I am going to do a seasonal sale and giveaway.For twelve days, I will give away something that I have created. Twelve days equals 12 items.

 I do not want to spend a lot on shipping away free products.  I have several online classes, so that is inexpensive to give away.  What else?  Prints.  If the prints can be put in an envelope, that is reasonable.  Cards also.  I have a large supply.  Ideas, ideas…..please come to me………Anyone reading this column, please let me know your ideas.  I could use some help.  




Subscribe to

As my thanks download

Being an Artist Means Doing This. (PDF).

The link will be sent to you in a welcome
message once you verify your subscription.

Your privacy is very important to me!
I will never ever share or sell your
email address to anyone ever.