Born Creators

We are all BORN creators. Like Pablo Picasso says: Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Do you believe that? That every child is an artist? I do. Picture a classroom full of preschoolers, or kindergarteners…they’re fearless, right? Born creators. They love it…can’t get enough. Ask your kid, ask any kid–they will tell you they LOVE art—in fact, the majority of them do. What happened to all those kids that loved art?

I would offer that that little art-loving soul is still inside of you. It still loves art and imaginative creating but hasn’t been allowed to play in a very long time.

Before we became hyper-aware to this mysterious judging panel watching our every move, we were five—drawing with abandon anything we could dream up, using every color imaginable. Then we would run to our parents, “look at what I made!” So proud of what we had created. We rode bikes, and fell, and got up and tried again. That is, until they reach age 8 or 9 (or somewhere in there). This is the time when we start learning all the things we’re good at and the things we’re not so good at. It’s those formative years that we start defining our own limitations and creating boxes for ourselves to fit nicely inside of.

I think we stop creating art as adults because we put an insane amount of value on whether our efforts are stellar and impress others, instead of whether we are changed and moved by our experiences. Creating always involves an emotional experience. That’s why Art Therapy works.

Though I am not a therapist, I have painted with many of you at a “Painting in the Vineyard” event and have witnessed the creative experiences of, literally, thousands of people. I’ve observed a very distinct pattern in the way we, as humans, experience creating. We all seem to go through a specific cycle of emotions, or an arc, really. In fact, an artist friend Luis Ramirez, (who has a show up at the Elverhoj Museum right now, actually–check it out!) posted this perfect photo on the creative process the other day on one of his social media feeds that I follow and it was the most relatable thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Creative Process Flow Chart

Best, right? I apologize for the swearing, but it was just so perfect. It hilariously describes the creative arc. It’s what I’ve observed while teaching many of you–and what I experience every time I paint. It’s the beginning when most everyone feels pretty confident and excited–the “this is fun, I’m not too bad with a paintbrush” stage…but deteriorates pretty quickly to the “oh no, what have I done–this will not end well” stage. Then we’re onto underpainting when everything seems wrong and counter-intuitive. This stage and perhaps the one before is usually where people begin to be very self critical–vocally. Self-sabotage and negativity is rampant in the painters’ dialogue. But, then, when we’re nearing the end (or once the painter steps back from what they’re working on for a second), there is a shift. We round the corner and suddenly the painting starts looking like something. Details and highlights are added and it starts taking shape. Everyone’s starting to feel better about their paintings.

Now, you may or may not ever get to a “this is awesome” stage…especially on your first painting, but come on, cut yourself some slack…FIRST painting, people. Beside, any artist will tell you that behind every good painting is hundreds of…meh paintings they would never show.

I share all of this to say that I think we’re missing the point of creating. Creating feeds our soul—it is nourishment. It is not a competition or a self-evaluation tool. It is good for our mind, body and spirit.

I also understand, though, that creating is one of the most vulnerable things we can do. Kids do it instinctively, but as we get older, we’ve learned to be careful with what we expose of ourselves. Because it’s scary & risky and vulnerable to make something and show it to the world. It’s a little piece of you that you offer up and say “here…I hope you like it.” It stretches us and challenges us to be vulnerable and to discover parts of ourselves we didn’t yet know existed.

And to try and pick something up now…as an adult? Forget it. That’s so scary! When you’re five, you know that trying something new involves learning and practice. Now that we’re adults we seem to believe that by virtue of the years we’ve put under our proverbial belts, we should be able to deliver perfection the first time we do anything new. And this anxiety often deters us from making good on that inkling to pick up a paint brush, take a dance class, sign up for that jewelry making lesson or ceramics class.

Don’t let that voice win. Doing something creative, trying something for the first time is not really about the outcome. It’s about the process.

I wonder if, when we practice things that we’ve told ourselves (or others have told us) for years that we can’t do or we’re not good at–we might just surprise ourselves? It might just be terribly therapeutic to learn a new skill or practice something long forgotten that was once a piece of us.

I tell my classes all the time—just try it. If you get lost in it…if you lose track of time, do more of it! That is life-giving stuff—that is good for your soul. We need to engage in activities that are good for our souls. We all have heard the buzz word “self-care”—it’s being talked about for good reason. When we care for ourself…when we nurture ourself…only then can we nurture those around us. As Eleanor Brown says so eloquently: “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the OVERFLOW. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

Love + Art,


Posted in activity, art, art classes, Art Retreat, Art Retreat in Florence, art retreat in tuscany, Art Show, Art Workshop in Italy, art workshop in tuscany, Art Workshops, artists, beginnings, creative process, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, events, gratefulness, Inspirational Quotes, interesting, Italy, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, make time, Painting, Past Events, perseverance, Picasso, Ramblings, Real Stuff, restorative retreat, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Solvang, stress, The C Gallery, Things to do, Tuscany, Vineyard, wine tasting, wine tasting events, winery

New Year…New Art

Happy New Year to you and yours! We at Gypsy Studios are looking forward to all the excitement that 2017 holds for us and all the adventures it is sure to bring. We hope you’re recovering from the holidays and looking forward to a fresh start as well.

This new year brings with it new options for getting your art on in our beautiful Santa Ynez Valley…and beyond! This year we will be teaming up with the Buellton Rec Center to offer a Wednesday daytime class for anybody that has wanted to learn to paint but has been unable to attend our evening classes. That class begins on February 1st. Our evening 6-week beginner painting series will still be held beginning on Tuesday, January 24 at the Bethania Lutheran Church Hall in Solvang at 6pm. So, gather a friend or two and make this year YOUR year, to nurture and grow yourself from the inside out :).

Another new AND super exciting thing is that I (Christi) have been invited to hang my personal work in a group show at a local gallery. I’m creating a new body of work for this show and I’m really excited about it. A little backstory…Connie Rhodes, owner of the C Gallery–a contemporary art gallery in Los Alamos, used to be Christi’s high school art teacher before she retired and started a gallery. She thought it would be a cool idea to gather a few of her former art students that are now working locally in the arts together to put on a show! How fun. Along with Connie & Christi’s work will be Chelsea Ward of Sketchy Notions, and Callie Martin Robertson–Santa Ynez High School’s current art teacher. We are all thrilled about this collaborative show and hope to see lots of familiar faces at the opening in March. Date TBD!

We have already begun filling spots for both weeks of our Italian Bellissima Art Retreat, so if this is something you have interest in joining, please be sure to reach out and secure your spot! Don’t let yourself miss out on the experience of a lifetime!

Lastly…Chelsea and I are planning a weekend-long restorative art retreat in March–most likely in the Santa Ynez Valley or SLO! Think yoga, figure drawing, plein air painting, delicious, healthy food, wine and more! Stay tuned for more info 🙂

Love + Art,
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. ~Thomas Merton

Posted in art, art classes, Art Retreat, Art Retreat in Florence, art retreat in tuscany, Art Show, Art Workshop in Italy, art workshop in tuscany, Art Workshops, artists, beginnings, Buellton, creativity, Do it now, Drawing, events, Florence, Italy, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Los Olivos, Lucca, make time, Painting, restorative retreat, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Sketching, Solvang, take a break, The C Gallery, Things to do, Tuscany, Vineyard, watercolor, wine tasting, wine tasting events, winery

Announcing our Annual Italian Art Retreat–Bellissima Art Retreats!

Bellissima Art Retreat in Italy!
Ciao Amici!

Hope this message finds you enjoying the crisper weather and the anticipation of the holidays. Speaking of holidays, I’m actually hosting my first Thanksgiving this year…so that’s fun (and a bit nerve-wracking), but at least it’s my favorite holiday. I just wanted to write to you to let you know about a couple of really exciting things!!

First and most importantly, we solidified our June 2017 dates and all of the details for our second annual Bellissima Art Retreat in Tuscany! Chelsea Ward of Sketchy Notions & I have teamed up and actually started a new business in addition to our own separate businesses that we’ve named “Bellissima Art Retreats.” We will be hosting our annual week-long art retreats in Italy as well as quarterly weekend retreats stateside! We can’t wait. Stay tuned for more info on a weekend retreat in late February or early March on the Central Coast. And in the meantime–please check out our new website to see what we’re up to and learn more about the Summer retreats. (This year we’re doing TWO).

Florence art retreat, art retreat, tuscany art retreat, italy art retreat, art holiday, tuscany art retreat

Also–if you’re way ahead of the game & already holiday shopping, well…I applaud you. That is super impressive! I’d also love to offer a couple of suggestions. We have gift certificates available for 6-Week Painting Classes in the Valley, Painting in the Vineyard events and if you’re feeling especially generous–you can even gift an Italian Art Retreat to a special someone!

Beside that–please take a look at the upcoming events and classes below!

Thank you and I hope you have an incredible Thanksgiving meal…er, holiday 😉

Love + Art,

PS…if you are in charge of your office’s holiday parties this year–know that we offer private parties and can come to you–or go wherever–because, you know, we’re gypsies.

Posted in art, Art Challenge, Art Retreat, Art Retreat in Florence, art retreat in tuscany, Art Workshop in Italy, art workshop in tuscany, Art Workshops, artists, creativity, Creativity is health, Florence, Italy, learn how to paint, Painting, painting holiday, restorative retreat, self-care, Tuscany, Vineyard, wine tasting, winery

New Events & A bit of Sap…

While the weather might not be reflecting it–Summer is most definitely just around the corner! We’re booking new events left and right (see below for the most recent additions) and attendance at our painting in the vineyard events is better than ever 🙂 So exciting for this small business owner! Please excuse the sappiness that follows.

Events things to do in Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County Wineries Painting in the Vineyard Sunstone Winery
With just a little over a year in business, I have you to thank for the amazing journey we’ve been on. Thank you to each and every one of you who encourage and continue to support me and my business through your words, emails, by coming to events, signing up for classes and sharing about your experience with others. You’ve helped make this girls’ dreams come true.

One of the most exciting dreams is our Bellissima Italian Art Retreat. I can remember a time not too long ago (literally–November of last year) when this retreat was just a dream we wished would happen one day. It’s actually happening and we’re getting SOOOOOO excited! The first week of July Chelsea of Sketchy Notions, Erin DiAngelis and I will lead a group of 6 women on a fantastic creative retreat! If this is the first you’ve heard of it and you’re thinking you’re bummed to have missed out, don’t fret–we’re already planning our trip for next year–so stay tuned!

Speaking of planning, just this past week part of our group got together to solidify plans and schedules but mostly just dream a bit about Tuscany over a homemade Italian meal (courtesy of Chelsea–I can’t claim any part of that meal–cooking falls outside my realm of creativity). When I say homemade…I mean from scratch…like, handmade tortellini, focaccia and fried sage leaves, caprese, Italian sausage, potatoes and peppers etc….along with tons of other accouterments–cheese and charcuterie, cannelloni and obviously, great Italian wine. 🙂 (Happy National Wine Day, btw)

Of course it’s not rainbows and unicorns all the time, but being able to share art and a little of my heart with you makes all of the less desirable tasks (i.e. budgeting, ordering, packing, unpacking, cleaning brushes, unwrapping thousands of canvases, admin…) worth it! Thank you. It’s been quite the year.

Cheers to you! …and lots of Love + Art,

Posted in activity, art, Art Challenge, art classes, Art Retreat, Art Retreat in Florence, Art Workshop in Italy, Art Workshops, artists, beginnings, Buellton, creativity, Creativity is health, Do it now, Drawing, events, Florence, gratefulness, interesting, Italy, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Los Olivos, Lucca, make time, Makers March, Painting, Past Events, perseverance, Ramblings, Real Stuff, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Sketching, Solvang, take a break, thankful, Things to do, Tuscany, Vineyard, wine tasting, wine tasting events, winery

Paintings, Poppies & Priorities

POPPIES for days!

watercolor poppies

If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in these parts, you may be unaware of the incredible wildflower show that occurs during this time of the year in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Here’s a little example of what I’m talking about. Look at all those poppies behind me and my cute (and super happy) pup! If you’re in the area and haven’t yet–make the trek out to Grass Mountain to catch a glimpse of God showing off. If you don’t live in the area–perhaps it’s time for a trip! It really is incredible…not to mention great inspiration for art.

Last email I mentioned a 30 day challenge that I had just started (#MakersMarch) where I challenged myself to complete a painting a day. Well…it’s almost over and I’ve learned quite a bit. Here’s a recap of my take-aways if you’re interested:

  • I’ve realized that it’s easier than I thought to make time for it (most days). It’s amazing how creative you can become with your schedule and medium when you have to figure out when & how you’re going to make time for art during the day. Daily art doesn’t have to be as arduous as we make it out to be. It doesn’t have to mean pulling out a new canvas, mounting it on our easel getting paint out, setting up and clean-up time etc. It can just be a little watercolor or a sketch. Something to exercise that creative muscle. For example: the poppies to the right were just a quick sketch with a tired hand & worn-out body after the Grass Mountain hike (4.3 miles UPHILL) that I added a touch of watercolor paint to. It didn’t take more than 4 or 5 minutes, but I created art…and that alone shows me that this can be incorporated into my daily routine.
  • I’ve learned that I really enjoy experimenting with techniques and subjects I haven’t tried before.
  • I’ve found that, like exercise, creating becomes more enjoyable with practice. I like painting more than I did a month ago. When we get out of practice, it just doesn’t sound as fun…or good for us…or as life-giving as it truly is.

More than anything, I’ve learned that if it is a priority, we will make time for it. If there’s something that you LOVE doing…that makes your soul happy….that is life-giving…that you lose track of time when you are engaged in it…do more of that! Make time for it. It will be more enriching than you know.

Here are some of my favorites from the month (if you’re interested in the seeing all 30 days visit our Instagram page):

Lompoc Flower fields painting, santa ynez valley art  Alpaca my bags, alpaca art painting  Horse Painting, equine art, Santa Ynez Valley  Dal Lake India Kashmir Sringar, Painting, lake living

If you would like to purchase any of these or other paintings you’ve seen, let me know. They are most likely for sale–email for prices if they aren’t listed. I’m currently working on creating an online gallery of artwork for sale.

Love + Art,

Upcoming Events

Our events calendar is filling up with fun and interesting ways to enjoy the beauty of the Valley. Check out the line-up below. There’s a little something for everyone!

Paint in the Vineyard at Gainey Winery, Saturday, April 2, 11am – 1:30pm

Still Life Painting at B*Living Store in Solvang, Thursday, April 7, 5:30pm – 8pm

Vines Into Water Charity Painting Event, April 23, 10am – noon
*Saarloos + Sons and Gypsy Studios are donating all proceeds to building wells in developing countries.

Art Classes

Linda Ashby Bear Landscape painting

Seriously loving the artwork that is coming out of our Gypsy Students and had to share! (painting of bears above by Linda Ashby & painting of sunset below by Kerry Robinson) If you’re interested in our 6-week beginner painting series but can’t make it Tuesday nights–why not gather a group of 4 or more friends and host your own private 6-week art class? Daytime and evening availability. Email us at for more info.

Kerry Robinson sunset ocean painting

Private Painting in the Vineyard Experiences

Don’t see a painting in the vineyard date that works for you on our calendar? Have a place of your own that you’d like to paint? Celebrating a birthday? Family reunion? Bridal shower? Why not book a private painting experience with us. We’ll come to you, or make all the arrangements at a local vineyard. Check out our website for more info.

Posted in Uncategorized

Do it now.

This month I have taken on a few personal challenges–one of them being an art challenge that I’d like to share with you. Lately, I’ve been putting a lot of things off–especially self-care or betterment type things–until I have “more time for it.” The problem is…more time never seems to open up. My schedule always seems to fill up with things demanding my immediate attention. It’s the darndest thing, really. So I decided to make time for it…to do it now.

I’ve felt very out of practice lately and haven’t been painting for my personal enjoyment in quite some time. That needed to change. Anytime I stop painting for fun, my soul dies a bit. Maybe you can relate? What feeds your soul? Is it cooking, playing an instrument, journaling? There’s so many ways we create as human beings.

Enter–Makers March–the 30 Day Painting Challenge. I’ll be completing a painting a day. The challenge doesn’t have a lot of rules. My only parameters are to complete a painting sometime during the day and post it on Instagram. I thought the hardest part of this challenge was going to be finding time to paint. WRONG.

The biggest challenge is the internal struggle that is the creative process. 

I’m sure you’ve all heard of writers block. Well, the same thing happens to us painters. With this daily painting challenge, specifically, my first obstacle has been the size. Because I’m committing to finishing the painting, I usually need to work small since I’m running a business during the day as well. The smallness of the canvas is proving to be much more challenging than I imagined. I tend to get too focused on the details and overwork these tiny compositions. I’m working on painting looser, broader strokes more confidently–harder than it sounds!

Another thing I’ve come to realize is that there is a lot more added pressure since I decided I would also share this journey publicly and post the completed paintings (that I’m not necessarily proud of) each day. Most artists will tell you that for every painting you see in their gallery, there are 10-50 bad paintings that the outside world will never see. Very true–so the thought of posting EVERYTHING that comes out of my studio is to say, the least, terrifying. This added pressure seems to deplete me of spontaneous and creative expression. I am left feeling much more bound to the outcome or the finished product than the process itself. Again…maybe you can relate?! ha.

Basically, it turns out–this challenge is much harder than I anticipated, but I’d like to invite you in anyway. It’s been a great learning experience and lesson so far (especially in vulnerability).

I hope you’ll join me in the journey–either painting yourself (or some other creative challenge that is more suited to your soul) or simply following along on Instagram.

And, if you (like me) have been putting something off–taking an art class, for example, joining the gym, eating better, saving–or investing, getting more sleep, writing etc…I urge you to do it now. More time rarely opens up. Do it now.

P.S. The inspiration for the Florence painting above–our Bellissima Italian Art Retreat is almost sold out! We only have 2 spots remaining. If you are interested, let us know right away!

Love + Art,

Posted in art, Art Challenge, art classes, artists, beginnings, creativity, Creativity is health, Daily Painting, Do it now, Florence, Italy, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, make time, Makers March, Painting, perseverance, Ramblings, Real Stuff, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Things to do Tagged with: , , , , ,

2016 Italian Art Retreat Announcement

We’re super excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with Chelsea Ward of Sketchy Notions to create an art retreat in the home of the Renaissance. Picture a week in Florence, Italy soaking up all that Tuscany has to offer while creating art in the very footsteps of the masters.

Promo Slide
Art. Food. Beauty.

Come to Italy this summer and awaken your senses at the Bellissima Art Retreat. This is no ordinary excursion, but an adventure of creativity and soul quenching activities you’ll never forget. Your days will be leisurely, with sketching lessons to capture some of Italy’s most gorgeous vistas and vineyards. You’ll experience exquisite wines and learn to cook rustic and authentic cuisine and take time to soak up the charm of cobblestone streets, majestic buildings and the beauty of the Italian landscape. Spark your creativity, try something new, and make a memory that will last a lifetime.

DATES: July 3 – July 9

*We’re filling up VERY quickly and only have a few spots left, so if you are interested, let us know ASAP and we’ll send over more detailed information.
**Deposits are required to hold your spot.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 3.01.56 PM

Florence Sketch Draw Paint Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Workshop

Florence Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Workshop Florence Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Sketch Draw Paint Workshop Lucca Art Retreat Italian Art Holiday Workshop

Posted in activity, art, art classes, Art Retreat, Art Retreat in Florence, Art Workshop in Italy, Art Workshops, artists, breathe, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, Drawing, events, Florence, Italy, learn how to paint, Lucca, Painting, self-care, Sketching, take a break, Things to do, Tuscany, Vineyard, wine tasting, wine tasting events, winery

Picasso Was Right!

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  – Pablo Picasso


Impression III (Concert), 1911, Wassily Kandinsky


Synesthesia is the rare neurological condition in which senses are entwined—it comes in a myriad of forms—smells can evoke sounds, music can evoke color, letters or shapes can evoke smell. It is explained as a phenomenon in which one sensory experience prompts another. One of the more common form of the uncommon condition is called “audition colorée” – the sensing of colors in music and vowels.

A theory, based on research conducted at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, suggests that we are all born as synesthetes, that our very malleable, still-forming, newborn brains are able to make connections between different sensory areas—connections that later become blocked as the brain develops and matures. If this theory is true, babies would have one all-encompassing sense, for example, seeing, smelling and hearing a familiar voice. Synesthesia is thought to be more common in artists than the general public.

Wassily Kandinsky associated specific hues with notes of music. He said, “The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble.” Kandinsky left behind his study of the law in order to study painting in Munich after experiencing a strong visual response to a performance of Lohengrin by Wagner. He wrote:  “I saw all my colors in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me.”

Kandinsky did not limit his creative output to painting alone, creating experimental performances utilizing many media including original musical scores and lighting to express his experience of synesthesia. The Yellow Sound is perhaps the most famous of these.

He wrote:  “Colour is a means of exerting direct influence on the soul. Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays touching one key or another purposively to cause vibrations in the Soul.”

Join us on The Artist’s Road. Members have access to more interesting articles, interviews with top artists, step-by-step demonstrations and discounts in the unique Artist’s Road Store.

–John and Ann

To read more, visit

Posted in art, art classes, artists, beginnings, breathe, children, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, gratefulness, Inspirational Quotes, interesting, Kandinsky, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Painting, perseverance, Picasso, Ramblings, Real Stuff, stress, Things to do, Vineyard

Brilliant Article

As artists we live in fear

“You might as well give up.”
“You’ll never make a living as an artist.”
“Being an artist is a great job if you want to starve.” 

These words have been ingrained in our thoughts for what seems like forever, but it wasn’t always that way.

“That’s such a wonderful drawing.” “You are so talented.” “They should hang that up in a museum.”You’ve heard these words before. Unless you are a professional full-time artist, it’s probably been a while. When we were children, we heard praise like this all the time. People are encouraging when we are children. People make us believe we can do anything.

If we want to pursue art as career, that encouragement turns to doubt.“What if I don’t make it as an artist?”No one tells that to a doctor or an engineer, but artists are different.

What happens to that confidence we once had as children? We have given in to the fear. We become scared of what it means, and what it takes, to be an artist.

Here are the most commons things artists are scared of and what you can do about it.


1.) We’re afraid of failure

Failure is inevitable.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how successful you are, you will encounter failure.

One thing we fear more than success is failure. We fear nobody will buy our art. We fear we will not make it as an artist. We fear our gallery showing will be a bust. These fears pile up until we are paralyzed. This leads to the ultimate failure, giving up.

Fear of failure can bring your progress to a complete halt. Instead of challenging yourself, you play it safe. You create the same looking work as dozens of other artists. You stick with what you know, fearing nobody will like it if you try something new.

How can we succeed if we are so scared of failing? We must take on the startup mentality. Startups are unafraid to fail. If one version of their idea fails, they reflect and try something new. This leads to innovation instead of stagnation. Sure, you shouldn’t try to fail, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to fail. This mentality can help you learn from your mistakes and improve your work much quicker.

Things to do:

  • Accept that failure is a part of growth
  • Try new ideas and expect some of them to fail
  • Learn from what didn’t work and adapt your thinking
  • Instead of giving up, or not trying, figure out what works


2.) We’re also afraid of success

This may seem counterintuitive but one of the biggest fears we all have is a fear of success. You might think to yourself,“I am not scared of success.”  You might not have those exact thoughts, but if you look deep enough, you can find signs of it everywhere.

The most common way you’ll encounter the fear of success is in the “What Ifs”. What if someone steals my ideas? What if I can’t find the time to work on my art? What if I don’t know how to price my art?

There are an endless number of what ifs, and they prevent us from doing work. We aren’t worried about what happens if we fail, we are worried about what happens if we succeed. Success means change. Most of us are perfectly comfortable doing what we’ve always done. We are comfortable with what we know. To get over your fear of success, you must first believe you can succeed.

Stop asking yourself so many questions and create the best work you can. Stop the negative self talk and believe in yourself. At every stage of growth, you will encounter more doubt. It’s natural.

The best we can do is learn from those who found success before us. Don’t follow their path step for step. It won’t work for you. What you can do is learn from the mistakes others have made and avoid them yourself. Success will come to those who seek it, so go out there and find your path to success.

Things to do:

  • Define what success means to you
  • Stop doing things that aren’t working and find out what works
  • Get out of your comfort zone and do the things that are uncomfortable
  • Experiment and be willing to fail. That is the only way to find success


3.) We’re afraid of hard work

Being an artist should be easy.

You don’t have to listen to a boss telling you what to do. You don’t have to send every project up the chain of command before it’s approved. You don’t have to dress in a suit and tie and head into work. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean being an artist is easy.

Being an artist comes with its own set of challenges. How do you come up with good ideas? Where do you find people who want to buy your work? How should you price your art so you aren’t devaluing yourself. These are just a few of the questions artists ask themselves daily.

Instead of embracing the challenges and hard work that comes with being an artist, we shrink and avoid these things like the plague. We tell ourselves,“I shouldn’t have market my art. If my art is good enough, people will find it.”  We think releasing good work means we don’t have to create more. We shouldn’t have to do any research or improve our skills because “I am fine the way I am.”

These are all convenient excuses to avoid the hard work. How do you expect to become better if you don’t put in the work. How do you expect to sell more work if you don’t go out there and sell it? If you want to live your dreams and become a great artist in this digital age, you need to hustle.

Things to do:

  • Study the masters and people whose work you like. Find out how you can improve or adapt what they’ve done into your own work
  • Create something daily regardless of whether you have a good idea or not
  • Find the people who might like your work and build relationships with them
  • Ask your customers questions. Find out why they like your work


4.) We’re afraid of being ourselves

As artists, we are afraid to let our true selves shine through. We let the outside world define who we are and what we do. If you take a look at different artist websites across the web, you’ll find the exact same thing. One link will be to a gallery of work. One link will be a resume style list of accomplishments. One link will be to an artist statement that bores you to death.

This is the image all artists try to project to the world. Why are we all doing the exact same thing and then wondering why we aren’t connecting with people? What is it about artists? Why do we all follow the same script and expect a different outcome?

If you want to stand out in the world, not just in art, you need to put yourself out there. It’s no wonder the myth of the starving artist still persists. If we are all trying to conform to the same norms, most of which don’t work, we won’t find different results. Don’t let society or other artists tell you how to present yourself to the world.

Instead, imagine unleashing your personality to the world. What do you do that makes you different from everyone else? It is that small difference that sets you apart from all the other artists. Your work may look like other artists’, but if you are vulnerable and share your story, you just will stand out.

Things to do:

  • Discover what makes your art unique. Do you do anything different from other artists?
  • Tap into the stories of your life and how they relate to others. People love to learn from people who are like them
  • Let your personality shine through. Make your voice stand out
  • Allow your interests in non-art related subjects influence your art


5.) We’re afraid to release work that isn’t perfect

When we are kids, we try our best to get 100% on all our tests.

We studied countless hours pouring over a subject so we could attain that elusive perfect score. Any time we got that perfect score, we were praised for how smart we were.

This idea of perfection society cast on us at such an early age has caused us to nitpick every detail. We criticize our own work more than anyone else. We all want our work to be perfect. Even as people tell us our work is great, we refuse to release our art into the world until it is perfect.

Let me tell you a little secret: you will never achieve perfection. Even one of the world’s most well known artists, Salvador Dali, realized this when he said, “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

We can’t let the idea of perfection impede our greatness. That being said, even if we can’t achieve perfection, we can reach for greatness. You will know when your work is ready for the public. When you find the smallest flaws in your work, it is time to let go.

Instead of trying to make a single work perfect, create more work instead. It is only through constant creation that we can grow and become better. Experiment with your art. It can lead to wonderful things. Stop worrying about being perfect.

Things to do:

  • Release work that isn’t perfect
  • Don’t be afraid to leave small blemishes in your art
  • Create new work instead of nitpicking a single piece
  • Experiment and work in things you aren’t comfortable with, it’s the only way to grow


6.) We’re afraid of being rejected

Imagine being up on a stage before a big presentation. You are about to speak in front of a large group of people. How do you feel? If you are like most people, you are terrified.

Even those of who are comfortable talking to anyone, shrivel up when presenting in front of a large audience. What is it about speaking in front of a large audience that scares us? My guess is we are scared of rejection.

“What if I mess up?” “What if they don’t like what I have to say?”  These are the thoughts that creep into our minds no matter how hard we try to keep them out. We are deathly afraid of being rejected by other people.

This fear is just a product of our thoughts. Most people want us to succeed. After all, they are there to listen to what we have to say.

This same fear creeps into the minds of artists.“What if no one likes my work?” “What if the gallery doesn’t want my work?”  We project rejection onto ourselves to soften the blow if we don’t succeed.

To break this fear of rejection, we need to realize that everyone won’t like our work. That doesn’t mean the work isn’t good. It just means people who don’t like our work have different tastes.

If you try to make art for everyone, you are making art for no one. Instead of making work to please everyone, we need to seek those who like our work instead. These are the people who will buy from you and support you.

Things to do:

  • Get over your fear that someone won’t like your work. You will never please everyone
  • Instead of fearing rejection, embrace those who support you
  • Stop creating work that tries to cater to everyone
  • Create work that you love and find those who like it instead


7.) We’re afraid to ask questions

When we are kids, we have no problem asking questions. Just ask any parent. They are barraged with questions from their children non-stop. As adults, however, we take for granted how much we know about the world. We forget what it feels like to have a beginner’s mindset.

How often do we try new things without giving up in frustration? How often do we ask questions in order to help us understand what is causing our frustration?

It is no wonder we stick to what we know. Instead of challenging ourselves, we try nothing new. I think this is why so many artists have such a negative attitude towards marketing. They believe marketing is evil instead of trying to understand how marketing can help them. How do you get past this mindset?

You must embrace the beginner’s mindset and childlike curiosity. Ask questions when you don’t know the answers. Explore subjects without becoming frustrated and giving up. Get over your fear of looking stupid and become curious instead. The smartest people in the world are open to asking questions when they are unsure, you should follow their lead.

Things to do:

  • Embrace challenges instead of giving up
  • Take on a beginner’s mindset
  • Explore the unknown and don’t fear looking stupid
  • Ask questions like with childlike curiosity


8.) We’re afraid to ask others for help

We are all told this lie and we foolishly believe it. That lie is that geniuses live a life of solitude.

We are made to believe that creativity is a lone adventure. We are told that inspiration will strike like lightning, in a flash of insight. It will come out of nowhere and it will be glorious.

We want to come up with ideas on our own. Instead of seeking guidance from others, we toil away on our own, because that’s what creative geniuses do. The truth is creativity is not achieved in isolation.

This is also the reason we’re afraid to ask others for help. We are afraid to ask our previous customers for a testimonial. We are afraid to ask successful artists how they got over the proverbial hump. We are afraid to ask readers to share our work with their friends.

We believe, since we are artists, we have to do it all on our own. What other occupation is so opposed to help from others? What makes us so different from the rest of the world? The answer is, nothing. If we want to take our art and career to the next level, we need the help of others.

We need the help of our fans to tell others about our work. We need the help of our friends when we are going through tough times. We need the help of others when we need a different perspective and a creative spark. We need to break from the myth of the lone creative genius and embrace the help of others.

Things to do:

  • Stop believing in the myth of the lone creative genius
  • Be willing to ask for help when you need it
  • Find your tribe and embrace them. They will be more than happy to help
  • Find out what you need help with and ask for it


9.) We’re afraid to ask others to pay for our work

“I’m an artist. I don’t need to sell my art for money.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you heard yourself or another artist make this claim? Do you believe it?

Are we telling this to ourselves because we believe it or because it makes for a convenient excuse? How many hours did your art take to create? Would you rather continue doing what you’re doing or would you rather make a living off your art?

No, everyone is not meant to make a living off their art, but you can still make extra income from it. We tell ourselves we don’t need to make money from our art because we are scared. We are afraid no one will like our art. We are afraid people won’t be willing to pay for our art. We are afraid to ask people for money.

How do we get over this fear of asking for money? We need to realize that people are more than happy to pay for art if they like it or the artist. If your art touches that person’s soul, money won’t be an issue. They will not only be willing to part with their well earned money, they will want to.

The realization you need to come to is people want to support people they like. Whether that’s because they like you or your art makes no difference. If you can build connections with people through your art, they will pay you for it.

It may seem uncomfortable at first, but if we don’t try we will never know. Instead of excusing yourself from trying to sell your art, go out there and promote it. Find the people who love your art and want to help you by paying you what it’s worth.

Things to do:

  • Change your attitude about needing money for your art
  • Find people who love you and your art
  • Be willing to sell your work for what it’s worth
  • Ask people who like your art to support you buy paying for it


10.) We’re afraid to market our art

Marketing has a bad reputation in the art world. When you hear the word marketing you might think about a sleazy salesman or an ad that has nothing to do with the product. The fact is marketing has been given a bad name.

We live in a world where marketing is shoved in our faces. Commercials are selling us things we don’t want to buy. Radio ads tout products we don’t need. Magazine ads show us the lives we aren’t living.

The good news is, marketing is changing. We no longer need to rely on TV, radio, or print ads to promote our work. We our shifting from pushing things in front of people to pulling them towards us.

What does this mean? In the past, we needed to rely on the gatekeepers to get our work in front of people. We went to a gallery or a music studio or a book publisher to put our work in front of the masses. Our work was pushed in front of people. Since the rise of the internet, we have realized the power of relationships, not only in our daily lives, but in our businesses too.

The method of marketing to the masses is fading. Instead we are seeing companies provide value to their customers. Through social media, companies are now trying to start conversations with their customers. Companies want to figure out what the exact needs of their customers are and how they can help them.

This is what you need to do too. You need to build strong relationships with your customers. This doesn’t mean throwing a picture of your art up on Facebook and hoping people comment on it or like it. It means finding out why they buy YOUR art and starting a conversation around it.

Things to do:

  • Change your attitude about marketing
  • Stop relying on the gatekeepers to do the work for you
  • Create relationships with your customers and prospects
  • Build a community where dialog and action can take place


11.) We’re afraid of the unknown

There is nothing more terrifying than the unknown. It’s the creature that lives under your bed when you are a child. It looms over you like a dark spirit in the night. It is the most likely cause of all our fears.

We let the unknown rule our lives. How often have you refused to try something because you didn’t know the outcome? What experiences terrified you before trying them? How many things are we missing out on because the unknown terrifies us?

There is only one way to conquer this fear of the unknown. That thing is to go out and do the things that scare you. How else can you get over your fears if you don’t conquer them?

You need to face your fears, or you will never get over them. If you’ve faced your fear just once, the unknown becomes known. As a result, a whole new world of possibilities is at your feet. If you’ve been living your life scared of the unknown, your old world will seem small by comparison.

The biggest thing preventing you from growing as an artist is your unwillingness to try new things. You must change your mindset and be willing to embrace new things.

Things to do:

  • Let go of your fear of the unknown
  • Face your fears head on
  • Try new things and expect to fail
  • Embrace your new world of possibilities



The things I’ve listed above may seem daunting and uncomfortable. They should be. As author Brian Tracy has said, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

If you are struggling with lack of sales or an inability to market your work, these fears might be the cause. The good news is, they don’t have to be. If your art is great, but you have been struggling with finding customers, all you may need to do is shift your mindset. You must be willing to change and try new things. That is the only way to see progress.

-by: Kevin Chung

Read more at:

Posted in art, art classes, beginnings, breathe, creativity, Creativity is health, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Painting, perseverance, Ramblings, Real Stuff, self-care, stress, take a break, thankful, Things to do, Vineyard

Some call it therapy…


Well, because it kind of is.

The act of creating is something we were literally MADE to do. We’re designed to create–whether that be cooking up a fabulous meal, composing a song, building something, tending a garden or painting a picture–we were born with an innate desire to create.

Remember back when you were a kid–or, if you have kids, picture them as little ones–they’re fearless, right? Born creators. They love it…can’t get enough and they’ll just dive right in and can’t wait to share what they’ve made with you. That is, until they reach age 8 or 9 (or somewhere in there). The time when we start learning all the things we’re good at and the things we’re not so good at. It’s those formative years that we start defining our own limitations and creating boxes for ourselves to fit nicely inside of.

It’s sort of tragic, really. One little remark or comment about our performance during these impressionable years can really shape our identity.

I wonder if, when we practice things that we’ve told ourselves (or others have told us) for years that we can’t do or we’re not good at–we might just surprise ourselves? It might just be terribly therapeutic to learn a new skill or practice something long forgotten that was once a piece of us.

It’s one of my favorite things when we’re over at Figueroa Mountain Brew on Wednesday nights when kids come upstairs and watch us paint. They’re enthralled and almost always want to jump in themselves. If not, they’re at least sure to notify you that they love art. I haven’t met a young child yet that doesn’t.

What happened to all of those kids that love art? My suspicion is that that kid is still in each of us…waiting to be acknowledged and allowed to play again.

Come be a kid with us! We’ve got new beginner painting classes starting up the first week of October. This time we’re adding in another medium too–WATERCOLOR! Fun 🙂 Check out this link for more info: 6-Wk Art Classes.

Also–check out this article: Art as Therapy if you’re interested in the idea.

Art + Love,
The Gypsies

Posted in activity, art, art classes, beer, beginnings, breathe, brewery, Buellton, creativity, Creativity is health, culture, events, Figueroa mountain brewery, gratefulness, learn how to paint, Life of an Artist, Los Olivos, Painting, Ramblings, Real Stuff, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Ynez Valley, self-care, Solvang, take a break, thankful, Things to do, watercolor