My Journey to Becoming a Full-Time Fine Artist

Hello my fine artist friend,

Today I want to get a little personal and share with you the story of how I came to be a full-time professional fine artist. It’s been a long journey, but I’ll share with you the one moment in my story that I think was pivotal to actually succeeding in this career.

OK. Here we go.

I grew up in Sacramento, CA. My mom was a first grade teacher and my dad owned a wallpaper store and then an educational video company. I like to think I have both entrepreneurial and teacher blood in my veins. I always enjoyed art, but I think if you asked my elementary or middle school teachers if I showed a real aptitude for it, they would honestly say no.

It wasn’t until high school that I really fell in love with art and drawing in particular. I loved working on projects on the floor of my bedroom until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning. It was a meditative process for me, and my skills improved pretty quickly. I think I won $50 for a pencil drawing of some Calvin Klein models at a school art show. But when it came time to go to college, I really didn’t even think about majoring in fine art. It didn’t seem very practical, so I went to school for graphic design instead. I managed to take a few figure drawing classes while I was there, but other than that, I focused on graphics and took a job at a web design firm after graduation.

After a few years there I realized I was tired of sitting in front of a computer all day. I was laid off from my job and though this would’ve been a great time to explore art as a career, it still scared me so I started a floral design business instead. And though I loved working with flowers, the business became really impractical once I had kids.

Around that same time I was having some health issues and could barely get out of bed some days. So, I just spent my time to be with my family and figure out what I wanted to do next. I started painting again—just a little bit when the kids were napping—and started experimenting with abstract work.

It was around this time that I discovered minted, a company best known for their beautiful crowd-sourced stationary. They were starting to add fine art prints to their business and were hosting online challenges to select the art to be sold. I entered a few of my abstract paintings and one was selected. This was so encouraging to me. Over the next few years I had more pieces selected and built up a small steady income. It was at that point that I decided to take my art more seriously and see if I could make some real income. My goal was to make 25k a year from art and then get a part-time job to make the rest.

With that decision to focus on my art as a career, I spent some serious time in the studio improving my skills. At this point my kids were in preschool so I had a few hours a day to work. I secured an exhibition at my local city hall and put together my first collection. While the exhibition was going on, I built my first website so that I had somewhere to list and sell those pieces once the show was over. I sold a couple of pieces, but it wasn’t the roaring success I was hoping for. At that time, I was also accepted into an artist mastermind group with some insanely smart and talented women. From them I learned what was possible for an artist financially, and what a successful artist business looked like on the inside.

I took what I learned there and got to work. Over the next three years my income grew from less than 10k a year to 25k, to 50k, to over 100k. It’s been an exciting journey, filled with lots of hard work and some amazing opportunities. One of my life mottos is “try it and see,” so I’ve tried a lot of different strategies and tactics inside my business—some more successful than others. But that has been part of the fun.

At this point I’m maintaining my art income and I’ve brought it back full circle to my educational and entrepreneurial roots by starting a group coaching program for fine artists called Palette to Profit.

The one moment that made success in my business possible was learning from all the brilliant artists in that mastermind group. Before that I had no idea what was possible for me. And once I did I knew that if it was possible for them, it was possible for me.

All my best,


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