Why so much art all of a sudden?

Some friends asked recently what made me get back into art. When broached with a question like this I can’t help but want to give the train of events and thoughts that lead to the outcome. Here’s the sequence that brought us to this moment…

I was in a networking meeting for my business, Smack Happy Design. We were in breakout rooms so we could get to know people more intimately and one of the attendees casually mentioned his art salon.

I immediately perked up (que cute doggy tilting her head) and thought to myself, “wha??? art salon??? do I need an art salon???”

Of course, the moment that meeting ended I started doing research on what an art salon is, what it should be, who I should invite, and how to set up my very own salon.

During the first salon meeting, one of my friends suggested we all read this book, “Artprenuer: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity“, by Miriam Schulman. I bought and devoured it in about a week. It completely changed my view on how to approach my art and provided a framework for making more art happen in my life.

The first step: think of your art like a business.

This seems so obvious to me now. And should come easily to me since I’ve been running a successful business (Smack Happy) for over 15 years now.

Prior to this I just kept thinking and saying, “I need to do more art. I need to do more art.” But it just wasn’t happening, I didn’t actually make time for it.

Now that I’m treating it like a business I’m more inclined to set aside time each day for both the business aspects of it as well as the creative aspects. Depending on my mood I can make art or I can do some admin tasks, either way, I’m moving the art business forward. And overall it has more priority because I’m investing in all these different ways (time, money, setup, shows, promotion).

One of the other great tips the author mentions is to think about what you’re really good at, what you love to create, and lean into that. After very little thought, I knew that this boiled down to three things: my abstract octopuses; pet portraits; and line drawings like the ones for Lazy Bear. I’ll go deeper on “why” I love these subjects and styles in some upcoming letters.

To wrap it up, the book was extremely inspiring and motivating. I find myself actually and easily spending roughly 10 hours (give or take) on my art and art business each week since Miriam set a fire under my ass. I am having a blast and am very excited to see what other work comes of it!

I know exactly where Scooby is…

I finished a new pet portrait of this sweet labradoodle, Scooby. His owner wanted regular colors but I couldn’t help myself, I made a colorful version too! The colors on the right match her living room which is why I chose these particular colors. Which one do you like better? Here’s her reaction.

Scooby md
Scooby colorful sm

If you’re interested in commissioning a pet portrait for the holidays, it’s not too late! Lock it in by November 24th if it will be a Hanukkah gift or December 11th if a Christmas gift. You can deliver a beautiful gift card letting the recipient know they have received a one-of-a-kind commissioned piece of art, then I’ll work with them on the details. Every time I’ve presented the final piece, the pet owner has been overjoyed and crying or almost crying. Those emotions are priceless!

Other ways to support my art…

If you know someone that might like my whimsical, colorful artwork, please help spread the word and forward this email to them or send them a link to the specific piece you think they would like. Or you could introduce us or bring them to an art event or schedule a personal studio visit with the three of us.

2024 Abstract Octopus Calendar, available now in the Etsy store!

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