My solution to a common artist stumbling block

“Teachers open the door. You enter by yourself.”

Chinese proverb

A few years back, I found myself tripping over what I’ve observed through my work of the past decade or so to be a common artist stumbling block. It might sound familiar.

I was no longer a beginner. I had taken a million courses and workshops. I knew how to make a painting; in fact I had cultivated a ‘style’ that people recognised as mine, and one that did in fact feel true to me in many ways.

But in the jigsaw of my art there was a piece missing.

I knew that inside me somewhere there was an untapped deeper level of understanding, self awareness, and self trust.

And I knew that if I could fully inhabit that, I could make work that not only felt truly expressive of me as an artist, but would also enable me to commit to a dream I hadn’t really been admitting I’d like to try; to make art my career.

Not only teaching, which I love, but making and selling my work as a professional artist in my own right.

I wrote here: “I find myself wanting my own art practice to take up more space in my life, and I want the work to be the best I can make; I want to be on my own edge.”

My solution? A ‘bespoke art degree’.

I don’t have an official degree, but I decided that to be able to dig deep enough for long enough to get to where I wanted to go, I needed a focus, and a solid container of time.

So I applied for a year long mentoring programme, and made a promise and commitment to myself that by the end of it I’d have found that missing jigsaw piece.

There’s power in declaring something as true before it has manifested, and when I came out the other side of that year of focus and development, I had changed significantly as an artist.

Mostly on the inside {where it really counts}, but also in terms of the work I was producing and what I was now ready for.

That year I found exactly what I wanted to say that felt true, and how I wanted to say it. I felt like I’d finally stopped tripping over that artist stumbling block; in fact, I’d stepped over it and gone beyond it. {For now!}

It wasn’t all easy.

Becoming your real artist self is a process, like any other kind of becoming.

Process is sometimes sticky or painful, even boring. But I never doubted that I was on the right path.

I know that if I hadn’t committed to myself and my art in that way, within a container of time, and worked single-mindedly towards my goal, I would not have made that inner leap.

I would still be in that ‘almost, but not quite’ space in myself, and lacking the confidence, quality and consistency of work to bring my dream to life.

We don’t all want the same things for our art, of course.

For me it was about total alignment between myself, my art, my work, and my life. {And obviously this is not a static state, but something that is always evolving.}

Many artists are happy to dig deep into their process and make art for their own joy, and less interested in the ‘career’ aspect. It’s all valid. We’re all different.

Having found the extraordinary value in devoting yourself to your art for a period of time, I wanted to ‘pay that forward’; to offer it to those who find themselves in a similar place to where I was, and who have dreams and plans for their art but don’t know how to get there.

Whether those dreams are a deepening of personal process, of finally making your truest work, of becoming a professional artist, or all of those things, the Happy Artist Studio is my response to that need.

I’ve created an array of courses over the years that feed into this idea of deepening inwards and expanding outwards as an artist, and now they’re available in one place, so you too can create your ‘bespoke art degree’.

For those wanting to jump in for the full year, the regular price is £350, which includes two months free.

Considering the cost of an actual degree {and this is not to dismiss that as an option, simply an alternative}, this is a rather smaller investment!

And while it doesn’t cover the same things necessarily, I can promise there will be no harsh critiques, and if questions or requests for more information on certain topics come up, I’ll be there to respond!

What if I don’t want to or have time to commit to a whole year?

I know that not everyone has the time or the inclination to commit to a full year of diving deep into their art, which is why there’s also a monthly option for the Happy Artist Studio.

This means you can jump in and out as the time and desire take you.

Want to explore loosening up and making more expressive art this month?

Join the Studio, work through the Loosen Up course, and cancel your membership when you’re done.

If later on you want to spend some time working on your process and dealing with demons, rejoin and take Touchstone.

Make it work for you! That’s the whole point of bespoke. 😊

The monthly option is an affordable way to take my courses, and the best part is, you don’t have to wait for registration to open. You can make it work with your life and commitments.

Plus there’s a private, friendly community space to ask questions as you work through the course{s} of your choice.

I want to support you in taking your art to the next level, and the Happy Artist Studio allows me to give you my best energy.

The Happy Artist Studio

Feel like you might be tripping over the same artist stumbling block that I was?

All the details for the Happy Artist Studio can be found here, including a Q&A at the bottom of the page, but if you have a question you can’t find the answer to, feel free to contact me here – I’m happy to help!