Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Creative Journey Begins

My creative journey is about discovering where my creative heart lies and trying to figure out whether I can build a real business out of the artwork I produce.  I have been working in papier mache and air dried clay for few years, and had just started gaining some headway with gallery representation, a growing group of collectors, publication and the financial reward that comes from regular sales when the recession hit in 2008. 

Over the course of the next few years, the gallery downsized and hosted fewer shows, I lost contact with some of my collectors (because they were really the gallery's clients, not mine), sales fell off, and financial rewards dwindled.  On top of all that, 2010 was challenging on the home front and my desire to create art all but dried up.

All this has led me to try and look closely at what I really want to do.  There is no doubt in my mind that I want to lead a creative life.  I'm not sure I'd really know how to live otherwise.  But, how that creativity gets expressed, what my art looks like going forward and whether I'll be able to contribute financially through my art are BIG questions.  So I'm on a journey to find the answers.

One of the guidebooks I'm using to help me find my way is The Creative Entrepreneur, by Lisa Senora Beam, and one of the tools that she teaches you to use is the "Creative Entrepreneur Mandala."  The mandala is an ancient symbol of "wholeness" and was used by psychologist, Carl Jung in "the process of  individuation, or becoming a whole person.

The mandala looks like a flower with eight petals.  The petals represent four distinct pathways:
  • Heart and Meaning,
  • Gifts and Flow,
  • Skills and Tools, and
  • Value and Profitability
The center where everything intersects is the "sweet spot."  Here is my mandala. 

As I go forward, I'll be filling in each of these petals and refining each pathway.  Hopefully, by the time I've finished this and the remaining exercises in Lisa's book - I'll have a clear understanding of what I want and how to put it in practice.

I'll be posting about the work I'm doing on this blog, but I'm also in the process of setting up a second blog called, "The Daily Bird..."  You can read about how I came up with this title HERE.  The Daily Bird... will give me a place that I can write in more depth about the questions I need to answer, without having to worry about long posts or fewer pretty pictures.  Although there will be pictures, artwork, as I explore.  You are invited to follow along if you're interested.

I'd love for you to join me on my journey.  Make your own mandala, or just comment on what I'm doing.  Better yet, if you're like me and want to build a business based on your artwork, pick up a copy of The Creative Entrepreneur and join me on the whole journey.

So good night dear friends.  I'll see you on the road less traveled.



  1. I look forward to following and thinking more about my journey, too!

  2. Susan you are not alone in this journey.
    I think all of us as artist struggle to find that sweet spot.
    I flipped and flopped on so many things seeing something and thinking I can do that, but not gaining satisfaction from it because it wasn't me, yes I created it but the idea wasn't mine.
    Once I found myself and started creating my own patterns and look I became whole. Not needing to wonder any longer what I want to do but where to I find the time to do it. I could sit from day until night in my studio. The ideas never stop.
    Alas I am a mother and a wife, my journey is how do I find the time.
    I wish you luck and will follow you on your journey to finding your sweet spot. I am sure it will come with tons of inspiration and eye opening stories.

  3. Susan,
    You are so going to laugh at me. My friend got me this book. I cannot seem to get beyond the creative mandala. Honestly. I have picked it up so many times and I am flummoxed by that thing. HELP!!! I am so, so glad you are sharing all this.
    I am with Amy. I am trying to find my sweet spot this year. I want to create what is mine, what I love to do....
    Looking forward to the journey.

  4. I am with you girlie! I will be creating a mandala for myself.

  5. Susan,

    Like any other career the life of being an artist has it ups and downs but it is so worth it in the long haul. Hang in there, you will find you path to success!

  6. I just started the "Creative Entrepreneur" and I had saved the exact Mandala colored and printed out from years before. I am so excited and would love to hear about your experiences!
    Check out my blog sometime because I think it would be fascinating to see this journey and where the mandala takes us!