How did you leap into becoming a full time artist?
Around 2010 I had been envisioning a life as a full time artist for several years. At that time I was working full time in Special Ed at our local high school and running kids art classes three afternoons a week.
I was keenly aware of, inspired by and deeply curious about other creatives who had somehow managed to create lives that could sustain themselves financially whilst doing what they loved, and I was inwardly determined to do the same. My intention was clear and the more I “noticed” the success of others the more my own bubble of what was possible began to expand.
Both the inner work of believing strongly in my desired outcome AND the outer work of practicing my craft, becoming more proficient in my skill set, building community and learning EVERYTHING I could about the directions I wanted to pursue as a "creativepreneuer", were important factors that led me to making the decision in 2012 to resign from my permanent position with the Department of Education and make the leap into becoming a full time artist.
How do you decide what to charge for your work?
Our struggles with pricing our work are often linked to our own issues of self worth. Doing some of the inner work to recognize your own unique brilliance is a great place to start.
Your creative voice and the work that comes from it is NOT a “by the hour’ manufacturing scenario. Think of all of the hours you have invested in classes and books, the lifetime of figuring out how you see the world in your own special way and how you choose to interpret that through your work.
In the early days of my art career I looked around at the arts community in my local area and even though I was a relative beginner I decided to plop myself right in the middle of everyone price wise. As time went by, and year after year my paintings sold well in local arts events, I began to raise the prices, little by little.
Around 12 years into my career when I had begun to sell internationally I had the sudden epiphany that I was holding myself back to conform to “small town” prices, not wanting to be seen to be lofty or making myself out to be better than those who might have had way more experience under their belt than me.
After a good talking to myself I decided to almost double my prices all at once, and right before the next arts festival. And guess what, no one seemed to blink an eyelid AND I sold a large painting for way more than I ever would have asked before. Bottom line is that your work is worth what you say it is AND what someone will pay for it. Perceived value is a REAL thing!
How do you get exposure for selling your artwork?
For the past 11 years I have built a large social media following by investing thousands of hours into building community and connecting with other creatives. This has in turn lead to amazing friendships and creative collaborations which continue to expand my network and reach. I’ve also written for various arts and crafts publications and been interviewed on several podcasts. I post consistently to my Instagram page and sell my smaller works successfully from there. I love to support and give shout outs to other artists and wish abundance for the whole creative community! The more creativity and art in the world the better! ♥ For a list of my collabs click here.
How do you get started with running art retreats?
Don’t be afraid to ask!
I knew that my leap into a career as a full time artist would include teaching and I was determined that travel would be on the list too. With that in mind I reached out in 2011 to the Art Is You Retreat and asked if I could teach at their 2012 retreat in Petaluma California. As naive and fresh as I was I had no idea that there was a formal application process or that hundreds were applying each year. As fate had it the organizer Sallianne, a fellow Aussie and now dear friend, loved my work and decided to take a chance on me. I was so excited that I announced the news to my art community on Facebook and within a few days friends from cities all over the U.S had reached out to host me and my one stop class had become a three month tour!
Since then I’ve facilitated and taught over 100 workshops and retreats all over the world and I absolutely LOVE connecting with other artists in person and playing a small role in their creative journeys! If you’re interested in hosting me in your town or city, contact us here!
Can I exhibit or sell the work I create in your workshops?
One of the main intentions in my courses is to help you find ways to connect with a style all of your own. So, with this in mind, I’m happy for you to show and sell original, innovative work created. If, however, you feel that you want to follow along more closely and produce pieces very similar to those within the projects that is all good, but I would ask that you don’t put those pieces out to exhibit or sell if they are close copies of my work. I trust that your heart will tell you what is too close. We also ask that you understand that these are Tracy's copyrighted techniques and may not be taught or packaged as a class by any individual other than Tracy without express consent. ♥
How do you overcome creative blocks and procrastination?
Find yourself an accountability buddy! Procrastination has been a big one for me. I’m naturally pretty scattered with my focus and so its easy for me to avoid the things I’m scared of doing or not so enthused about. I can easily find a thousand other shiny things to spend time on! Having a daughter who is my right hand PA and has several opposite personality traits to me, has been invaluable. Cece has helped me to manage my time better, to create lists that are realistic and not overwhelming and to be more accountable for the tasks I say yes to.
As far as creative blocks go the most important thing I feel is to put consistent effort into your practice. The more you are able to get into flow the more momentum you will gather. Not making time to create for weeks and months on end always makes it a thousand times harder to get back into motion.
How do you deal with your inner critic or inner ‘naysayer’?
The first thing I always remind myself is to be as gentle with myself as I am with others. To recognize my own humanity, flaws and all, and to keep working, learning and staying open and curious.
Keeping this front and center I’ve found that my inner critic has become much quieter over the years and she usually only appears when I’m feeling tired, cranky or overwhelmed. Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and going for walks on the beach or in nature seems to keep her from making too much of a fuss.
SOME OF MY
Where do you source your art materials?
Dickblick is my go to for supplies. Living in a regional area in Australia it’s easy for me to order online and Blick ships from the US usually within the week, especially when I’m stocking up with a large order.
Yes the shipping is expensive, between 30-50% of the entire order BUT it still works out more budget conscious than ordering from Aussie suppliers.
If I’m just after a few items in the Golden or Daler Rowney range then my friend Alice West is always great to order from!
What are you favorite go-to products?
I always find myself gravitating towards Golden Fluids, here are some of my favs (affiliate links):
I also can't get enough of these Daler Rowney Inks:
I'm loving a smudge or two of Holbeins Luminous Opera AND have just invested in a huge range of Holbein acryla gouache which I am loving experimenting with!
My techniques often call for twigs and nature tools for interesting mark makers. However, I also wouldn't be seen without a one inch cheap flat synthetic wash brush, a small round detail brush and a couple of medium flat brushes.
What are your favorite apps?
I love using apps to manipulate photos I have taken. It helps me to simplify images, try out different color palettes and begin the process of abstracting an image so that I can see the multiple possibilities of a painting inspired by the image.
In my FREE mini class, Abstract Approaches, I show you how you can begin to use apps to enhance your creative process.
Favorite apps of the moment:
- Diana Photo (iPhone/Android)
- Superimpose images from your camera roll to come up with new and exciting juxtapositions!
- Easy Oil Painter (iPhone)
- Great for adding painterly effects to your photos.
- Enlight- It looks like this app has changed to "Photofox" and is quite expensive now.
- BeCasso (iPhone) is a good free alternative.
- Typorama (iPhone) and Phonto (iPhone/Android)
- Great for overlaying text onto your images.
- You Doodle (iPhone/Android)
- Excellent for drawing over the top of your images. I sometimes upload photos of my works in progress to try out new background colors, shapes etc. before making a physical move on the canvas.
- Percolator (iPhone)
- A fun app for those who love circles and color. User friendly, fun to play with and unexpected results!
How do you ship your artworks?
Depending on the size of the work we have a few different methods for shipping. For small-ish prints and artworks on paper, we use a large envelope and line the artwork with 1-2 layers of cor-flute to prevent bending. For larger works on paper we use mailing tubes. For canvases we use similar methods with large boxes or remove the canvas from the frame and ship them in parts.
What printer to you use for your prints?
I use the Epsom Artisan 1430 which you can read more about here. I find this printer creates wonderful prints up to A3 in size that I can sell at my workshops and retreats.
Epson have since discontinued this printer but the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 is a similar equivalent model. You can find this one here.
What are your favorite creativity books?
- Abstract and Color Techniques in Painting by Claire Harrigan and Robin Capon
- Awakening your Creative Soul by Sandra Duran Wilson
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Collage, Color and Texture in Painting by Mike Bernard
- Daring Adventures in Paint by Mati Rose McDonough
- Desire to Inspire by Christine Mason Miller
- The Drawing Club of Improbable Dreams by Cat Bennett
- Expressive Flower Painting by Lynn Whipple
- Life is a Verb by Patti Digh
- Once upon a Colourful Canvas by Kindah Khalidy
- One Watercolor a Day by Veronica Lawlor
- Unfurling- a mixed media workshop with Misty Mawn
- Wabi Sabi Art Workshop by Serena Barton