I’m dreaming of the West Coast today – this picture was taken last year when my husband and I were traveling up the California Coast – so I created a desktop wallpaper capturing dreamy landscapes, warmth and inspirational words.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle.
Have a great weekend and download your fresh new desktop art here:
I’m obsessed with movies. In particular indie films, even more specifically dramas. The majority of my nights, when the husband is off rehearsing or making music, I’m drinking chamomile & lavender tea and being swept away in an indie drama.
It’s the unknown or unexpected actors, artistic and experimental shots with emotional breakthroughs, perfectly combined with music and sounds, that blow my mind.
These movies, and many others, inspire me to dream, that it’s ok to fail, to try harder, to cry, to be myself, to grow and that beauty is in the unexpected. A lot of times, I write my newsletters and get ideas for blog posts after movies.
Here’s my favorite 4 indie films worth watching on Netflix:
A 2012 film starring Dree Hemingway (Earnest Hemingway’s great-granddaughter) and Besedka Jackson. With California as the backdrop this movie explores beautiful landscapes and the unexpected friendship between a 21-year old adult film star named Jane (Hemingway) and an 85 year-old retired, bingo-playing Sadie (Jackson).
I loved this film for its dreamy West Coast vibes and the vulnerability each character bears as their relationship develops.
“A poetic meditation on loneliness and friendship.” - Dennis Lim, New York Times
A 2013 film starring newcomer Julia Garner with supporting actor Rory Culkin (Macaulay Culkin’s brother). Set in Utah, the delicate 16-year old Mormon teenager Rachel (Garner) discovers music for the first time – rock and roll music – on a forbidden cassette tape. A few months later Rachel finds herself pregnant, claiming to have experienced immaculate conception through the music. With the song stuck in her head on repeat, she runs away from home to Las Vegas in search of the rock and roll singer on the tape that may help her to find answers.
With the rock and roll song slowly fading in and out, angular scapes of Utah, the neon lights of Las Vegas and the unknown world of music, love this movie showcased moments that I want to relive over and over again. This movie reminded me of the true miracle music is and has and how it can change our lives at any given moment.
A 2013 dramedy starring Kristen Belle as Leigh, this movie is about a NYC reporter whose life and career implodes, forcing her to pack her bags and cat and move back in with her parents in Connecticut. She gets her old high school job back as a lifeguard and revives her past and immaturities with her friends and a 16-year old boy.
Belle avoids reconciliation until she finally hits rock bottom and has nowhere else to go. The moment she finally gets back up and learns how to live again had me in tears. It’s a beautiful story of a girl figuring life out.
The Giant Mechanical Man
A 2012 dramedy starring The Office’s Jenna Fischer as Janice and The Mindy Project’s Chris Messina as Tim is about a 30-something Janice unsure about her life and how to find happiness and a passionate street performer who feels like himself when he’s dressed up as a Giant Mechanical Man.
The two meet and remind each other of what they’re missing and help strengthen each others courage to never give up on their dreams. Against all odds, they both find happiness in the unexpected.
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Do you have any movies you’ve watched on Netflix lately to recommend? What do you do to find inspiration to write? Any tips to share?
I always recommend blogging to any creative or entrepreneur who wants to grow their business, make money and attract their dream clients.
5 years ago when I started to blog, I had no clue that it’d be one of my favorite things to do each week. Blogging has helped me promote my work, build relationships, grow my expertise, find clarity, attract my dream clients and more.
Here are 10 reasons why you should blog:
1. To become a better writer
I’m slightly embarrassed at how terrible my writing was when I started blogging over 5 years ago. But as the years passed and my reasons for blogging and expertise grew, I found my voice and learned how to write better and better. No because I was forced, but because practice made it better. Writing is communication so the better we can communicate the better our relationships, life and message will be. Writing is also a valuable asset for future endeavours like writing a book, letters and public speaking.
2. To gain confidence
Just like my skills for writing grew, my confidence did too. The more I shared my work, blogged about it, received comments and sales because of it, the more my confidence grew. I’ve learned that what I say here does matter and people listen.
3. To connect with others
Everyday someone new reads my blog and gets to know me a little more than before. And every once in a while one of those readers will reach out and either comment on the blog or email me. Sometimes it’s because they read something that really resonated with them, other times it’s so simply say hello. No matter the reason, blogging allows me to meet new people from all over the world, building relationships and community that gives me purpose and support.
4. To find your voice
Finding your voice is finding your take on things. It’s what makes you, you. For a long time I didn’t know how to write or how I wanted to sound or what I really wanted to write about. But over the years I discovered what topics are significant and meaningful to me and my opinions on them. This has helped me discover my writing style, why I wanted to write, who I am writing for and what exactly I wanted to write about.
5. To share yours and others work
My third blog was to share my work. But after a while, I got bored with just my own work and started interviewing other creatives and showcasing my favorite music and artists. This was a huge revelation for me. Because I thought I should only share my own work. But once I started sharing other creatives work, I connected more with people who inspired me, felt good because I knew I was helping them promote their work and ultimately is helped me build my brand and my voice by showcasing only the best artwork and music I loved. To this day I still love to share other creatives work.
6. To position yourself as an expert
Your blog is your zone, your platform, your classroom to share your expertise. Consider what you know how to do really well and what you love, then start sharing it on your blog. The more problems you solve for your readers, the more they’ll come back again and again. They will view you as an expert in that particular field and you will build your expertise the more you write about it. It’s a win, win.
7. To attract new clients
Your blog is like a magnet in the ever-growing community of experts and online resources. If you’re looking to attract your dream clients, then write about something they’re interested in or help them solve a challenge they’ve encountered. With the right tags, social-media shares and title, your blog posts will float to the top when your dream clients are searching for you.
8. To have documentation of your life
Today we live in a digital world and rarely take the time to write anything down on paper. This is something I personally would like to change about myself, but for now I’m grateful I have my blog to look back on. It has pictures I’ve longed lost and thoughts relevant to each moment in my life and business.
9. To find clarity around your thoughts and intentions
I have thousands of thoughts and ideas swarming through my head daily and find clarity by jotting them down on paper and writing about them here. Writing about my life, my business and the thoughts that shape it, allows me to think more intentionally about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and if I like what I see.
10. To help and inspire others
Perhaps one of the most important reason why I blog is to help and inspire others. I’ve dug deep and discovered my mission is to help creatives envision, start and grow their ideas, expertise and businesses. I want readers to know they can come to me to find answers, solve their problems and find inspiration.
Are you blogging and not sure what to write about? Check out this post here and here.
Do you need help getting started with your blog and live in Nashville? I’m teaching a Blogging 101 class here.You even get a new head shot for free with the class!
Want a fresh new blog with a clean design that attracts your dream clients and showcases your beautiful work? I design and develop simple, clean and easy-to-use blogs for creatives starting at $1500. Email me today to learn more.
I can’t recall when I first stumbled upon Bethany’s work, but what I do remember is reading her blog posts on launching her new business and her day-to-day life and work challenges on taking the leap into self-employment. I fell in love with honesty, clean designs and hilarious commentary. Meet Bethany Grow, a wildly talented designer, blogger, creative, entrepreneur and the cutest thing since cupcakes.
AN INTERVIEW WIT BETHANY GROW | DESIGNER & CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR
How did you get started as a designer and entrepreneur?
I actually got started after designing my own wedding invitations! I loved the challenge of creating the first piece that would introduce the whole look and feel of my wedding to my guests. I had such a great time creating my own that I decided to start designing more and creating wedding stationery for other happy couples! Through that I discovered a love of branding as I loved capturing the whole feeling and experience of an entire event in one design. Since then I’ve transitioned into working with businesses and blogs to style their look and strategize the brand experience!
Looking back at your childhood, did you have any creative talents that eluded to a career as a designer/entrepreneur?
Oh yes! I mean, I had so many ideas of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do when I grew up and I wanted to start as soon as I could! At one point I started a fake radio show called “The Cheese” and I wrote stories and songs for the show that were all about cheese. I used to draw and paint all the time and I would sell the finished pieces in my front yard (but I was never successful since I hid behind a tree when cars came because I was uber shy). I loved writing books and had many many notebooks full of novels that I would start.
I just new that I wanted to do something creative and I don’t think I understood this at the time, but looking back at my many ventures, I really wanted to run my own show.
Creativity and art has always been hugely important to me. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the one time I peed my pants in 1st grade because I just REALLY didn’t want to leave art class to go to the bathroom.
How were you able to take the leap into self-employment successfully? Did you overlap your day job with freelancing for a certain period of time?
I started my business about a year and a half ago and up until three months ago, I was always working another job while freelancing. There were a few times when I actually had 2 jobs! It was crazy stressful, trying to get a business off the ground in the evenings when I was already tired and grumpy from my other jobs earlier that day. Really I decided to take the leap when I realized how miserable my 9-5 jobs were making me and how much I loved my freelance work. And while I did LOTS of planning, preparing, and saving, I honestly couldn’t have made this leap without my husband by my side. Together we’ve been able to set budgets and cut back on our spending so I don’t feel too pressured to make tons of money during this truly vulnerable time. He is so supportive of my goals and dreams and can see the joy that freelancing brings me so he has been amazing and made lots of sacrifices for me. And I’m so glad we took this leap together because I’m so much happier and have been able to do so much more with my business!
What are you doing today or what have you done in the past to successfully grow your business?
I work hard every single day to grow my business! A huge part of what I do that has contributed to my success is marketing with my blog. I’ve been able to connect with so many potential clients by sharing my knowledge and experiences for everyone! Beyond my blog, I’m constantly strategizing new ways to reach my target market and grow my business by creating new offerings, strategizing new marketing plans, and taking little risks that will push me further.
What’s one of your greatest accomplishments?
One of my greatest and more recent accomplishments was taking the huge risk of quitting my job and giving up my steady income to invest my whole heart and time into my business. It was a big step and a hard one to take and I had many a panic attack before my first day of working from home, but with a lot of effort and sacrifice I’ve not only made it work but I’ve thrived! It was the best decision I’ve ever made for my business and I’m so proud of myself for having the faith and guts to do it! Because of that step I’ve been able to do so much more with my business and make new plans that will propel me even further!
What’s one short term and one long term goal of yours?
One short term goal of mine is to finish my book! Over my Christmas vacation I got the idea and started brainstorming and just recently have had the time to get started on it. It’s been a big adjustment as writing in this setting is so new to me, but I’m learning a lot throughout the process and I can’t wait till it’s finished!
A long term goal of mine is to travel all over Europe and Asia! I know that doesn’t seem business related at all, but one of the many many reasons I wanted to quit my job to become a creative solopreneur was to have the freedom to pursue my dreams and not just my business dreams, but all of them! It will require a lot of work on my part to earn the money to do it all, but I’m determined and I’m making the steps to eventually get there. Hopefully it’s not too far off! I’m itching to go see the world!
Ooh a book, do spill!
I’m so excited about this book! It started as a way to fully gather my advice and lessons that I’ve given to design and consulting clients that have struggled with creating and maintaining a professional and successful blog.
In working with these clients, I’ve discovered that many don’t understand the concept of branding and are missing out on a hugely important part of what they do that can really propel them forward in the blogosphere.
Have that brand experience- the stories, voice, feelings, actions, expectations, style, everything that goes into creating a brand- is what will set them apart and help them be more successful. My goal is to show them how they can create a brand for themselves and their blog all on their own with lots of brainstorming, strategic planning, some helpful tools, and tons of work. I want to empower readers to go out on their own with clarity on who they are, who they want to reach, and how they’re going to reach them and then the confidence to go out and do!
What’s one challenge you’ve encountered as an artist and what did you do to overcome it?
One challenge I really really struggled with for a long time was comparison. It’s so hard to not compare myself to other creatives when everything seems to be so quantifiable these days! They are making more money than me, they’ve had more sales, they have more readers on their blog, more Twitter followers, everything! But almost a year ago now I was having a conversation with a friend about competition in the creative fields when it hit me that we are all so different and have so many different styles that why on earth do we compare ourselves to others? That’s the great thing about being creatives is that we can all work in our own ways and have so many opportunities to be unique! Since then I’ve made a huge effort to avoid the comparison trap (though I admittedly still fall into it sometimes) and instead focus on putting my heart and soul into the work that I do. I am unique and do great work and that’s all that matters!
Any words of advice for other creatives and artists looking to start and grow their expertise and business?
Remember to relax. It’s funny because I almost wrote “work hard” because of course a lot of work is required to grow any business.
So much time and energy goes in to running your own show, it’s so easy to become a workaholic and let your life revolve around your work. But don’t forget to live your life!
Get outside, go on vacation, read a book, see your friends, try new foods, go see a movie! Regularly stepping away from your work will be so good for your sanity and creativity. And chances are, if you take a step back you’ll be so much more excited about being able to get back to your work and it will remind you why you love what you do so much!
What’s the first and the last thing you did today?
The first thing I did was cuddle with my dog Bruce Wayne in bed. I’m not a morning person at all so I like to wake up slow (and late) and what better way than to hang with your cute fluffy pup? The last thing that I always do before going to sleep is write in my journals. I have one to record my day to day activities and another Q+A journal where I can answer fun questions! I love to take time every night to look back on my day and write down the things I really want to remember.
Tell me more about your journaling process – the Q&A sounds interesting.
I’ve always been really terrible at journaling. I love writing and I love the concept of saving memories and being able to go back and remember the good stuff, but I’ve always been terrible at committing to a journal and sticking to it. So this year I started two different journals- the one line a day journal and the Q&A journal.
The One Line A Day Journal is five year journal where I can record just a few short sentences about my day. It helps me to stay focused on the things that truly matter that I’ll want to remember in years to come. Each day in the journal has five different lines, one for each year and in years to come I will keep writing in that journal and share my quick thoughts on my day. So in five years, I’ll be able to look back on the things that happened on each day for those years and see how things have changed!
Then there’s the Q&A journal. It’s similar to the One Line A Day Journal as it only lets you write a few sentences and it’s also a five-year journal. But instead of just summing up my day, I answer a random question! This is a fun way to record the simple stuff that might not be important enough to mention in my One Line a Day Journal, but things that will be fun to look back on. Like the song that was stuck in my head all day or what I wore today or who I’m mad at or if I could travel anywhere, where would I go? I have a feeling that these answers will be fun to compare in the next five years.
I just love being able to spend a few minutes every night before bed thinking back on the day and remembering the things I should be grateful for. It helps me to clear my head and to go to bed feeling happy.
What’s the last music you listened to?
The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack! It’s my favorite movie and I listen to the soundtrack a lot while I work
What’s the last book you read?
Daring Greatly- amazing read! Go read it. Do it.
What’s your favorite dessert?
Right now, eclairs! But that will change in a week.
Coffee or tea?
Hot Chocolate! I actually don’t drink either coffee or tea, but you can often find me with a mug full of hot chocolate!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
Routines are like framework. By knowing our limits, creating a workflow that matches our energy levels and making time for what matters we can achieve greatness.
Adapted from this book and almost two years of experience, I have 7 tips that have helped me build a solid routine.
1. Creative 1st, Reactive 2nd
A few months ago I finally kicked the bad habit of checking my emails immediately after I woke up. My entire morning would feel rushed because I knew that other people were waiting on me, like clearing my inbox and responding to every email was the only way I could focus and carry on my day.
Today, I block off my entire morning for me to wake up, drink coffee, eat, write, read, meditate, brainstorm, create and exercise with the phone on silent and emails unchecked.
It’s feels a little difficult at first putting yourself before others’ expectations, but you will soon feel liberated and in control when you make time for you. I wrote about this in Letters from Meredith too.
“To truly excel, you must also continue to create for the most important audience of all: yourself.” - Todd Henry
2. Energy Rhythms
What times of day do you feel the most energized? Months ago, I took note of when I felt the most energized and when I felt the most drained. I then aligned my creative tasks with my most energetic rhythms. For example, I’m most energetic from 8-11am, then again from 3-5pm. So during those time I paint, draw, write, design and brainstorm. Then in between those times I return emails and complete administrative work.
We are said to follow ultradian rhythms which are ninety-minute bursts at the end of which we reach the limits of our capacity. To stay energized, take a break or go outside for walk in between each burst. This will increase productivity and renew your energy.
Figure out what your associative triggers are and repeat them daily. Sitting at a clean desk, showered, with coffee and listening to music tells me it’s time to work and create. On days I don’t shower, have a messy desk or work in silence, I feel unproductive and scrambled.
4. The to-do list
Know what you can achieve in a day, jot it down, and let go of the rest. Mark McGuiness suggests writing your daily tasks on a 3×3″ Post-It note “because if you can’t fit everything on a list that size, how will you do it all in one day?”
I’ve recently updated how I write out my daily goals to separate “for me” and “for my business” instead of “home” and “work” tasks because it feels more intentional. For the most part, this is still how I approach my to-do list.
5. Your ideal day
Imagine what you want your day to look like and stick with it. Set a time of day when you start and end work, dedicate times of day for creative work, meetings, admin work to stay productive and help you avoid workaholism.
I work every day from 12-6:30/7pm and would like to end my days earlier. I’m slowly working at fine-tuning my schedule to accomplish that. I talk a little about my day-to-day hereandhereand have this worksheet for you so you can write out what you want your daily routine to look like.
Close Facebook, Pinterest and your emails while you’re trying to work. multi-tasking is a myth and we need to focus to get real work one. Distractions interfere with our productivity and creativity. Stick with your schedule and dedicate time for accomplishing work, and other times for social media, emails and distractions.
It’s essential to find solitude every day so that we can listen to our inner voice and learn what it has to teach us. For me, the best time to mediate is in the morning. Mediating doesn’t have to complicated, in fact it’s simply sitting and doing nothing. I dedicate fifteen-minutes daily, but maybe it’s five or thirty-minutes for you. The most important thing is that you make time for it everyday.
“The calming of the mind helps us to figure out what really matters and to hear our creative voice.” - Leo Babauta
What are you doing today to stay focused, productive or creative? Any tips or resrouces to share?
I can’t believe it’s already the end of March. This means two things:
My husband’s birthday is near (it’s actually today – wish him a happy birthday here)
And taxes are due
I dropped the ball this year and did the minimum amount of financial work for my business. Meaning taxes this year will likely take triple the time it would usually. Not to mention how unhealthy and stifling it is for my business to not keep track of where and when money is coming and going. Do not do what I did. Instead, follow these tips to stay organized and ready for tax season.
Keep a balance sheet
A balance sheet is essentially a spreadsheet or a piece of paper with lines and categories for you to organize when money is coming in and out. You can easily create one in google docs (see screen shot below), with windows excel, write on a piece of paper, or download this pdf I created hereand pictured below. The one I use (and created for you below) has a column for projected and actual income and expenses, that way you can plan ahead and budget your money. You can use this pdf each month and at the end of the year to tally everything up.
Put money aside
Save yourself the stress mentally and financially and put away 10-15% of your monthly income into your savings for taxes. Odds are you’ll have more than enough money saved to not only pay the man, but to also to go on a mini vaca or maybe attend that workshop you’ve had your eye on.
Have a separate business account
Don’t try to decipher business money with home money all in one joint account – that’s terribly stressful. Do yourself a favor and open up a separate checking and savings account just for your business. That way when you meet with a client over lunch or run to Office Max to grab some ink and paper, you can whip out your business account card and swipe away knowing it won’t get lost with your grocery and home charges.
Using services like Mint, Freshbooks, OutrightorQuickbooks can help you stay organized throughout the year and some offer functions and features that help prepare you for tax season. Personally I use Mint and love it. I can budget, receive texts when I’m close to going over budget, check balances from the app on my phone, create goals and its all free. Another tip to staying organized is stowing away your receipts each month in an accordion folder. That way when you need to find a receipt for a specific month, you don’t have to dig through the entire years worth. Trust me, it’s not pretty when you have to do this.
Print off monthly bank statements
If you’re like me, you use your computer for mostly everything when it comes to money. So when you receive your monthly statement from PayPal or your bank, print it out. Otherwise you might have to go backward for months in order to track down each expense. It’s also a good idea to have a paper trail of everything just in case.
Hire an accountant
Back when I was an employee and received a paycheck it was easy to use a service like Turbotaxonline. But now I’m self-employed and have a billion expenses and write off’s to keep track of, I’ve hired an accountant. Actually I acquired my accountant through my husband when we got married and it was the best thing that ever happened to my money. My accountant keeps me organized, sends me a tax preparation packet in February and answers any questions whenever I have them – like when I discovered I had to charge sales tax (oops). When you’re staring out, it might make sense to do them yourself, but as soon as you can afford an accountant, do it. He will save you time, he will cost a chunk of change but he always makes sure everything is legit.
Need more financial advice? Check out these articles:
Something I have on my list of goals is to paint and design fabric. I imagine creating textural and colorful watercolors and manipulating images and designs to transpose onto fabric for scarves, dresses, skirts, tablecloths and really anything I can afford.
I mean, wouldn’t be amazing to have you’re very own collection of clothing that you designed the fabric to?
A while back I discovered Spoonflower – a business that allows individuals to design, print and sell their own fabric, wallpaper, decals and gift wrap. So it is possible to begin that collection of clothing designed by me.
As I think about endless ways my fabric could look, I’ve gathered some of my favorite scarves for inspiration.
I’ve never used Spoonflower, have you? I’d love to know how it went, what it costs, etc.
A few years ago I remember getting this Facebook invitation to an event. This event wasn’t a party or a date on the calendar, it was an invitation asking for help.
I was invited to the event my an old high school friend, so I trusted it was something worth reading, not to mention the title Help Me Fight Back! was calling my name.
I opened the event and first saw a picture of a girl I recognized, but she was bald. She was pictured with a little boy and had a smile as warm as the sun.
I dove into the description of the event wondering how I knew her and why she was bald.
In the humblest of fashions, Chelle shared her story. She had a rare form of blood cancer, a syndrome that she witnessed her mother loss the battle to, and she needed my/our help.
She asked for me/us to donate blood.
My heart ached for this girl as I scoured through her profile and saw pictures of her with her two beautiful children, laughing, smiling, scared while she had her head shaved, and strong as she stood with other friends and family who also shaved their heads in support.
I thought back to the only time I had ever given blood which was in high school. Once. I remembered it was a little scary, with the needle and the wooziness that follows a blood donation, but I also remembered it being pretty easy and painless.
I immediately searched online to find a local blood drive, scheduled a time and donated blood for the second time in my life.
It took about an hour of my time and it was super easy, they even gave me little snacks, juice and water afterword.
I sat there with other donors, eating my raisins and drinking water, feeling like I helped her. That I’d just given the best gift I’d ever created.
While there, I also learned I had a blood type that can be used with most other blood types (type O). So in instances when there is no time to test a victim when being rushed into the emergency room after a fatal car accident, they can use my blood.
I felt like I had liquid gold coursing through my veins and that I had the power to help people, and that I was valuable. People needed me.
After 56 days, I donated again. This time I had my very own donor card and knew what to expect. I even asked my husband to join me and together we donated blood, ate snacks, and wore our “I saved a life” stickers proudly.
It’s been a few years since the Facebook event invite and I’ve donated 4 times. I wish I could say more, but I’ve been told when you’re trying to get pregnant and having 12 weeks of when I was actually pregnant, that you need to conserve all of the blood for the baby. We’re still trying to get pregnant, therefore it’s not safe for me to donate right now.
Chelle has been doing great the past few years, she got engaged and even started her own business. But the other day she shared that her blood count is low and needs blood transfusions again.
She needs your help.
The thing is though, that Chelle is just one story. There are millions of people all over the world that need your help. People just like you and Chelle that suffer from illness and disease, have newborn babies who need transfusions, and victims of fires and accidents who need your blood to save their life. The list goes on. And the facts are alarming.
So today, I’m asking you to give a gift, be a hero, save a life and give hope by donating blood.
If you can’t donate blood, ask someone to donate for you. Ask your friends, your family, your colleges. Share these posters on your Facebook wall. Anything you can do to help will be noticed. And will be worth it.
And because I can’t donate blood right now, I need someone to do it for me. Will you help me donate? Go here to schedule your donation and be a hero.
Wanna print these posters out? Click on each link below to print of a 8.5×11″ print to hang on your wall, give to your friends and family or to post on a bulletin board at your local store.
Today, I’m thrilled to share with you an interview with the very talented, Portland, OR based artist, Bethany Gosvener. I first discovered Bethany’s work through Pinterest when searching for inspiration. I came across a picture of her sitting on the floor, on top of her artwork, drawing larger than life portraits. I was immediately curious and intrigued, not just because she was incredibly good, but also because the scale of these drawings were huge…not to mention she’s gorgeous.
AN INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY GOSVENER | VISUAL ARTIST
How did you get started as an artist creating these amazingly realistic and life-sized drawings?
I have a lot to say, but only recently have I found the courage to say it. For a while I pursued things that felt safe, like wedding invitations, greeting cards, logos, and custom works, all the while pushing down my true creative desires. Many fears kept me returning to these safe pursuits but ultimately time and time again I felt unfulfilled.
I finally took the plunge to say no to these safe temptations and to say yes to my dreams.
I’ve always been incredibly moved by large scale fine art and longed to create massive pieces of my own expressions. It’s terrifying to be so vulnerable, but the thought of bringing to life images I’ve only imagined makes me feel alive and that feels worth the risk.
What are you doing today or have done in the past to successfully grow your business?
I’m personally drawn to people who I can sense are genuine and real. Even if it is over the internet, I relate and feel most at home and encouraged by them. So I suppose my goal is to do the same, to be as true to myself as I can, in whatever way that looks like. I think that in itself will help me to be successful. I think consistency of delivering quality over quantity is probably the most important standard I would like to hold myself to in all areas of my business. Although I am most definitely in a transitional period of learning what this looks like in my life right now, it’s quite a difficult standard to meet.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments?
Starting this first Pollinate piece! I am so proud of myself for going for it! This will be my first series to complete, which is just the start of my goals. It was a terrifying commitment and I could not be happier to have made it. I’m amazed to see how far I’ve come away from those initial fears and doubts. Finding that courage has been most rewarding and I can’t wait to see where it leads me!
Tell us more about the Pollinate piece and what exactly Pollinate (in regards to artwork) means.
Learning about the beauty and knowledge bees posess fascinated me. I’ve never realized just how incredibly moving and beautiful they are, nor the great impact they have on our lives. For our species to be so dependent on such tiny creatures was such a beautiful example of what it means to live on this earth, in gratitude. The way we treat one another. I began to think about the comparison of flies and how they are attracted to death. I had fun designing the series, so these deep feelings I hold may not come across but the concept revolves around how we live our lives, what we give and attract. Do we choose to keep death or life alive.
How do you create such large-scale portraits? Do you use a projector, an image or is it purely memory?
I begin with a concept and from there plan out each piece to tell the story and then take specific photos similar to the design already formed in my mind. I then use a projector to quickly trace the basics, where the eyes, mouth, ears, arms etc are. Filling in the details is quite difficult and time consuming. I may generally know where the arm is but creating the shape of each shadow and the other subtle details is always challenging, but it’s also half of the fun
What’s one short term and one long term goal of yours?
One of my short term goals is to complete a portfolio or works I can be proud of. One of my largest long term goals is to one day have a piece in a museum. (ah! that’s a vulnerable goal to admit!)
What’s one challenge you’ve encountered as an artist and what did you do to overcome it?
I think my largest challenge has been the sense of failing and my perspective on what it means to fail. We all have so much inside of us to give that we’re unaware of. Doubts and fears that keep us from ever even picking up that paint brush or taking that dance lesson or buying that 8′x4′ drawing board. I would have never even known the ability I have to draw if my husband hadn’t badgered me with encouragement to just try. I now am very thankful for his encouragement and pushing through my failings, they’ve rewarded me with humility as well as showing me that I can fail better next time. With my blog I hope to badger everyone with as much encouragement to try as they need. It is worth it.
Any words of advice for other creatives and artists looking to start and grow their expertise and business?
Do not lose yourself in fear. Let out what is inside of you. Take a chance. Let your soul breathe.
What was the last music you Listened to?
Macklemore. His lyrics inspire and amaze me.
What was the last book you read?
The Watchmen. Super intriguing! Read it, read it!
What’s your favorite desert?
Sucker for black and tan brownie any time!