Savvy Painter is a bi-weekly podcast for artists who mean business.
Antrese Wood talks to expert painters about the business of art and how it gets created. Want to know how leaders in the fine art world of plein-air and landscape painting got their start? What habits do top artists have in common?
Savvy Painter digs deep into the struggles and successes of contemporary painters. Artists spend enormous amounts of time alone in their studios. It's easy for them to believe their challenges are unique when in fact they are not. Fortunately, others have been there before, and by sharing our stories with other artists we all win.
The collective intelligence of the artist community is infinitely greater than the individual. Here's how you can tap into it.
Bringing Art to Life: An Interview with Artist, Nicholas Wilton
Have you struggled with integrating the various aspects of your day to day into a workflow that respects your responsibilities AND your passion for art? How do you avoid burning out and feeling like you’ve wasted too much of your life?
If you’ve ever wondered if there was a way to truly bring your art to all aspects of your life - you’ve come to the right place! Here to help me dive into this critical topic that burdens so many of us is my friend and fellow artist, Nicholas Wilton.
Hailing from San Francisco, California, Nicholas studied art at the College of Creative Studies in Santa Barbara and then went on to receive his BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Wilton’s paintings are seen in yearly gallery exhibitions, International Art Fairs, and are included in numerous private and corporate collections in both the United States and Europe. Nicholas is also the founder of Art2Life, an online platform that strives to build, empower, and inspire the creative community.
I can’t wait for you to get to know my engaging and insightful friend as he helps us explore what it really means to bring our art to life - you don’t want to miss it!
What is ART2LIFE? Thousands of artists listen to and believe this lie every day and they walk away from the passion and energy that set them on their creative path - what is the lie?
You aren’t good enough. You’ll never make it. No one wants to buy your art. Only the supremely talented can make any money off of their art. Do any of these lines sound familiar?
What if there was a way to silence those lies that swirl around and re-train your mindset? With his Art2Life program, Nicholas strives to build, empower, and inspire the creative community. Nicholas wants to flip the script and help us shift our focus away from competition to sharing. His program is all about finding what inspires and brings you joy, and making art that is more and more like yourself.
The process of becoming yourself If you’ve been around the Savvy Painter community for very long, you know that I am passionate about empowering artists like you to fully realize your potential and chase after your dreams. It’s been so encouraging to meet and speak with artists like Nicholas who have dedicated their lives to their craft but to also helping others discover the joy of creative fulfillment. If you find yourself wondering if you’ll ever be able to talk about your art like Nicholas does - STOP! Remember, this isn’t about who you can be most like, it’s about discovering the real YOU. Give yourself patience and space to continue the process of discovery - we are all works in progress!
Pay attention to your energy and mindset While it might sound silly, the truth is, the energy you bring to your studio matters. Maybe for you, it is all about that cup of coffee or maybe it’s about getting in an early morning run - the actions we take before we decide to sit down and create can have a huge impact on our artwork! As you continue to explore this critical topic with Nicholas, I encourage you to begin paying attention to what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how it is impacting your creative process - the result might surprise you!
Outline of This Episode [0:25] I introduce my guest, Nicholas Wilton. [4:00] Nicholas talks about the moment when everything came crashing down. [8:00] Setting intentions and turning over a new leaf. [11:00] What is, “ART2LIFE?” [15:00] Why the world needs YOUR art. [20:30] The process of becoming yourself. [28:45] Nicholas opens up about “getting stuck.” [33:30] Pay attention to the energy you want to bring to the studio. [37:00] How you can learn from Nicholas’ innovative approach. [40:30] Closing thoughts. Resources Mentioned on this episode www.nicholaswilton.com www.art2life.com Spark: The Revolutionar
Why you might struggle to create (and what to do about it).
Sometimes we can sabotage our creativity without even realizing it. We think we can buckle down or toughen up to just get it done. But what if there is a better way to inspire your creativity? What if you can create from a place of authentic joy without the drama? That's what we explore in this episode of the Savvy Painter podcast!
Office Hours with Antrese and Elisia Keowin
How do we set goals that allow us to stretch and grow rather than contract? Antrese and Elisia Keown share their insights and give concrete tips to help you think about the year ahead differently!
Dedication, Focus, and Setting the Right Priorities: An Interview with Artist Steven Walker
In this interview with the artist Steven Walker, we explore how dedication, focus, and setting the right priorities creates an environment that empowers creativity and excellence in the studio.
What grounds you in the chaos that life throws your way? Is your painting what grounds you and keeps you headed in the right direction? Maybe for you, it’s family or friends who keep you focused on what really matters in life. While the answer might change from person to person, the truth is, we all need something that helps us keep it all in perspective.
It was an honor to speak with my guest, Steven Walker as we explored what it takes to make the most of the hand you're dealt. From parenting, understanding depression, honing your craft, and so much more - Steven was kind enough to really open up in our wide-ranging conversation - I know that artists like you will learn a lot!
How Painter Steven Walker Learned the hard way Every artist has that one hurdle that stands in their way - some of us deal with multiple hurdles at once and often at different times through our lives.
Steven Walker remembers learning several lessons in his life the hard way - one, in particular, was the first time he tried to mix colors for his first painting.
Then, fresh out of high school, Steven quickly learned that being the most talented in a high school doesn’t mean much in college. Steven excelled in high school where he honed his skill at drawing but he never took the opportunity at the canvas. You would never guess that Steven’s creative journey started that way by looking at his artwork today!
Rolling with the punches Let’s face it, no one plans on having to struggle with mental health. For years, Steven struggled with depression, he couldn’t understand what it was that was holding him back for so long. Eventually, Steven got the help he needed to thrive and live with his depression - he learned how to roll with the punches. If you want to succeed, you need to find what works for you - every one of us has a different answer for how we will face adversity and challenges when they arise.
Finding your center One of the best ways to weather the storms that life throws your way is to find your center. While the rest of the world might assume that we live to work, the truth is we need something that grounds us just like everyone else.
Steven's center is his family, plain and simple. When things go crazy in life, Steven buckles down and makes sure that his family is OK above all else. You can also see this theme of finding your center expressed through Steven’s artwork, make sure to check out images of his artwork located at the end of this post.
Outline of this episode [2:30] I welcome my guest, artist Steven Walker. [4:30] Early artistic influences. [6:00] How Steven got started as a painter. [16:30] Struggling to get noticed. [25:00] Steven opens up about his habits and how he approaches the canvas. [30:00] Navigating COVID as a painter, partner, and parent. [35:00] Steven shares how he has lived with depression over the years. [45:00] Why family is so important to Steven. [49:00] The most pivotal moments in Steven’s career. [54:00] Balancing family life and an art career.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
Website: https://stevenwalkerstudios.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stevenwalkerstudios/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/steven.s.walker
Do you find yourself struggling with perfectionism? What do you do to turn down the volume and focus on what really matters? I’ve heard from so many of my friends and peers over the years about this topic that I decided to open it up to my Groth Studio participants. Several students were kind enough to open up about how they’ve dealt with perfectionism in the past and the strategies they used to overcome. If you are ready to wrestle back control of your life from the clutches of perfectionism - then this is the episode for you - you don’t want to miss it!
Confusing perfectionism with excellence What’s so bad about perfectionism? Doesn’t a good dose of nervous paranoia help fuel you on your journey to excellence? No! Perfectionism and excellence are not the same things. Excellence is internally motivated - it causes us to reach higher, to become a forever student, and continually improve our creative process. Your baseline with excellence is that you belong at the table - you have something worthy to offer.
On the other hand, perfectionism is externally motivated - it makes you always ask, “What will THEY think?” Perfectionism starts and ends with - I am not enough. When your starting point is “I am not enough” it encourages judgment of yourself and other people - it causes you to contract and shrink.
Which route sounds best to you? Do you want to be constrained by what others think or do you want a more positive and healthy outlook? What are you going to do today to put you on the path that’s best for you? There’s no time like right now!
Don’t let fear have control! Rember that last thing you had to do that you absolutely dreaded about? Do you remember how your muscles tensed up, your temperature rose, and your heart started beating faster? Were all that worry, stress, and fear really worth it in the end? Why are we letting fear have control over our lives? It’s time we learned how to stand up to the circumstances that life throws our way in a healthy and constructive manner. Allow yourself to slow down, acknowledge the feelings you are experiencing, and then move on. Just because you experience a wave of frustration and anger, it doesn’t mean you have to lose your temper - let the feeling come and then let it pass - you have the control!
Embrace accidents and paint from a place of love The biggest casualty to the trap of perfectionism is often our artwork. Just think of all the amazing projects that never came to light because we listened to another voice - the wrong voice. I don’t want my life ruled by fear and the opinion of others - there is too much freedom out there to enjoy! Over the years, I have found that the best way to move forward is to remember that I paint from a place of love. I love myself, I love my life, and I love my art - it might sound silly but just starting with those intentions can make all the difference. What will you do to conquer the power of perfectionism in your life? Let me know what works for you!
Outline of This Episode [2:00] My introduction to today’s episode on perfectionism. [5:00] Confusing perfectionism with excellence. [7:30] Jenny opens up about her struggles with perfectionism. [10:30] How fear hijacks our lives. [13:45] Dancing with fear. [18:15] We always have a choice. [21:30] How confirmation bias works. [23:30] Painting from a place of love. [30:30] The danger of falling into the comparison trap. [38:00] Choose the thought that moves you forward. [41:30] Learning to embrace accidents. [44:00] Don’t edit yourself - take your power back! Resources Mentioned on this episode Tara Brach’s Website Radical Acceptance - Tara Brach Connect With Antrese On Facebook On Pinterest On Instagram On Twitter
From Sketching Handbags to Creating Reclaimed Earth Colors and More: An Interview with Artist, John Sabraw
Have you ever felt like you just don’t “fit in” at non-artist gatherings? What do you do with that feeling? Do you shrink back and retreat to the safety of your peers and insulate? Or do you press into the discomfort and forge your path? Everyone’s story is going to be different and that’s the beauty of our corner of society, we embrace the mosaic of diversity - but what would it look like if we were to integrate our creative outlook with other areas?
That’s where my guest and talented artist, John Sabraw comes in! Hailing from Lakenheath, England, John is an activist and environmentalist - his paintings, drawings, and collaborative installations are produced in an eco-conscious manner, and he continually works toward a fully sustainable practice. In our conversation, John opens up about his time working with Kerry James Marshall and how he got involved with Gamblin and producing their reclaimed earth colors. Trust me, you’ll find John’s perspective refreshing and engaging - I know I did!
Throwing it all away You know those days where you feel like tossing everything in your studio in the garbage? Imagine doing that and then getting an invitation to Washington DC to meet members of Congress because your art was selected as the winner of a competition. Sounds crazy, right? It actually happened to John Sabraw!
As he struggled in high school and tried to decipher the way he wanted his life to go, John reached a breaking point where he just had to walk away. He took all his artwork that he had completed in his high school art class and tossed it in the dumpster and then took off for a week. When he returned, what he saw changed the course of his career - his teacher had entered him into a contest and he had won! John’s journey wasn’t all smooth sailing from there - he faced setbacks and challenges but this initial success helped see the talent he had honed.
Speaking your truth How does your truth, your authenticity show up in your artwork? Do you try to embrace it or do you try to go in a different direction? As the United States was gearing up for the Iraq war in 2003, John felt like he needed to speak out and share his conviction that war was not the answer with his art. The result was a fierce backlash that made John rethink his approach and if he wanted to make a stand that would continue to incur this type of reaction from people. John didn’t back down, he just decided to change his approach - this launched him on the path to his work with sustainability and activism.
Exploring sustainability Imagine visiting a community ravished by the scourge of industrial waste and environmental destruction and finding in that mess and contamination a way to create sustainable paint colors. No, this isn’t a pipe dream, this actually happed with John’s efforts to collaborate with scientists on many projects. One of his current collaborations involves creating paint and paintings from iron oxide extracted in the process of remediating polluted streams. I hope you are as inspired by John’s story as I have been - make sure to check out images of John’s artwork located at the end of this post!
Outline of This Episode [2:50] I introduce my guest, John Sabraw. [4:00] How did John get started as an artist? [18:30] John describes his artwork. [25:00] Speaking authentically and truthfully. [27:30] Exploring sustainability. [33:00] How artists can help with creative problem-solving. [45:00] Why we need more artists who speak up and break out of their silos. [52:00] You don’t have to be an expert to contribute to the conversation. [55:00] Closing thoughts. Other artists mentioned on this episode Savvy Painter Anti-Racist Episode Jacob Lawrence Kerry James Marshall Resources Mentioned on this episode www.johnsabraw.com TED talk: www.ted.com/talks/john_sabraw_how_i_make_p