Tuesday, August 25, 2015

One Year, Many Lessons. What Lori Putnam Taught Me.

It's been one year since I began working for a fabulous artist, Lori Putnam and what a year it's been. I started my Artist BFF service as a way for me to have steady income as I settled into my new life in California. What I didn't realize was the education that I would receive. I work with many artists at different career levels but I'm so lucky to work for her on a daily basis.

Lori exemplifies hard work and dedication. I see the ups and downs, the trials and the many successes. When there is success, I see her forge even further and then the days that are less successful, I see determination to turn it around. It doesn't happen overnight. It's not unusual for us to exchange notes into the night (we're 2 time zones apart). She is always thinking but enjoying life as she works. Her travel schedule rivals my busiest travel days in mortgage banking (in my 20's and 30's). Yet, she shows up, works extremely hard at all her tasks and with a smile on her face. Lucky me to have a front row seat.

So, what have I learned? You probably "know" most of what is listed below but putting it into practice is the key. I knew these to be true but when I see Lori practice them daily, it only reiterates why she is creating a successful career. So how do we get from where we are to where we want to be? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Are you...
  • Willing to Fail. Doing nothing is worse than failing (#1 lesson).
  • Making time at the easel a top priority?
  • Settling? Challenging yourself to grow artistically?
  • Showing your best work (this should apply to artists at every level). You know when it's not good.
  • Waiting for opportunities? Or are you ringing bells, opening windows, crawling through doors?
  • Filled with doubts because everyone has them at some point. However, successful people don't let it cripple them, they use it to propel them.
  • Able to "Cowboy Up" on those difficult days? After having 3 rejections (galleries, juried shows, etc.) in one day, can you make one more attempt and see success? Yes, I've seen it happen. It takes persistence and moving forward despite the "nos".
  • Are you making your own path or following another's path? 
  • Afraid to ask a question because the answer might be no?  If the answer is no, then ask a different question or pursue a different option. "No" is not the end. It should encourage you to push ahead.
  • Surrounding yourself with trusted advisor(s) or just someone who is only willing to tell you what you want to hear? Say No to the Yes men. 
  • Just taking from other people? Life isn't a one way street. Give as good as you get. Lori practices this in abundance. 
  • Finding "your" audience? My audience is not your audience and vise versa.
  • Expecting to be spoon feed?  Then prepare to only get what is offered. 
  • Thinking that others have all the answers?
  • Thinking that the world is going to show up at your door and offer to buy your art? Well, good luck with that theory. 
  • Being honest with yourself about where you are along your artistic journey? Always search, never settle.

I've never seen a lazy,successful person. The successful are the ones that show up, work hard, push through the difficult passages and ask for advice when needed. Currently easel time can't be a top priority for me. I keep my fingers in the "pie" by teaching 2 classes a week, an online class and sketch/paint when I'm able. I juggle daily client consultations and many projects a week. This doesn't leave me much time to paint but that day is not too far off. Stepping back and having the opportunity to network and engage with some very talented artists/people in the industry has only given me a greater insight into what is head for me. Hard work is not only required but demanded. Success isn't going to come to me. I have to go and get it. I have to thank Lori for allowing me to join her on this wonderful ride. I hope that one day, she looks behind and sees me on her heels or better yet, side by side, each following our own path. What are you prepared to do?

Happy Anniversary, Lori!


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