Top Tips for Promoting Your Art with Tailwind’s New Instagram Hashtag Feature!

Disclaimer: I receive a a small commission at no extra charge to you when you purchase anything from certain links in this post.

Back in August I wrote a post on How to Promote Your Art on Pinterest, where I covered my favorite aspects of Tailwind and how it’s helped me increase my art business and blog traffic. Within one week of using rich pins and scheduling my pins in Tailwind, and using Tailwind Tribes, my Pinterest average monthly viewers increased by 16,000, and by the end of August, 2018 it skyrocketed another 22,000, with a total of 38,000 average monthly viewer increase! My average daily viewers and people engaged with my pins increased dramatically and I made some sales on Etsy. Today, in May of 2019, my monthly viewers are sitting pretty at over 80,000!! That’s HUGE!

Since then, Tailwind has launched some new Instagram related features that have been highly requested. They now both support video auto posting for business accounts and they have a brand new Instagram hashtag feature! This tool essentially lets you add your Instagram hashtags to your first comment right within Tailwind.

First of all, here’s how it works:


💮 Go to your Instagram Tailwind account (make sure that it’s connected to your Facebook and the phone Tailwind app for all special posting features) and upload your image into the Publisher, write your caption and then type the # symbol to get predictive hashtag suggestions.

💮 Click to choose or add frequently used hashtags from your list (or create lists as you go).

💮 Check the box to move those comments from your caption to your 1st comment.

💮Click “Add To Queue” to automatically schedule your post for the best time or post at a custom time.

This feature allows you to:

💮 Add hashtags in your first comment with the click of a button

💮 Hide hashtags in your caption 

💮 Separate hashtags if you’d like to keep a few in your caption and add the rest to your first comment

I tried this out to show you guys how it went. I ended up using this opportunity to announce my newest Etsy shop additions, digital downloads! You can check out my post here.

My favorite thing about this tool is that it gives you hashtag suggestions based on your descriptions, which change as you write, and if you hover over them Tailwind will tell you how many posts are out there using that hashtag and whether it’s niche, good, best, or competitive:

You can add up to 30 hashtags, and save your hashtags in lists so you can easily use them for future posts!

You can also choose a location or tag other accounts in your scheduled post, as well as check the box to “Post hashtags in the first comment” to declutter things a bit!

I then chose a Pinterest board to post to as well, and scheduled my auto-post Instagram post for the next best suggested time slot by clicking “Add to Queue.”


Of course, with any of these tools you have to keep in mind that posting often and at the right times, using good hashtags, and interacting in Instagram comments and your story are going to be key to increasing your traffic, followers, and sales. Can’t wait to get started on scheduling my next week or two of Instagram posts!

You can learn more about Tailwind’s newest Instagram posting features in theirlaunch blog post.

*If you’re new to Tailwind, you’ll get a free month of Tailwind Plus!
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Interview with Amanda Bosveld from Dear Musketeer

It’s my pleasure to feature Amanda Bosveld from Dear Musketeer on the blog. Make sure to check out her Etsy shop and leave her some love in the comments!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your creative journey? 

I’m Amanda, from the beautiful island of Tasmania in Australia. I’ve always been madly in love with creating, art and design. I’m a qualified graphic designer by trade, but when I got seriously sick with (what I now know to be) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome five years ago I resigned from my corporate job and have totally changed direction.

This illness has an extreme amount of challenges but it’s also given me time and space to grow the little business that is Dear Musketeer. I find so much happiness in the sweet distraction of creating – even on my many bed bound days I can still design or make. (It’s amazing how much you can still do whilst lying down, propped up on a sea of pillows). It’s wonderfully fulfilling to put my limited energy into something I love so much. I really do miss my old life as a graphic designer, copywriter and marketer. But I have always been drawn to the really artistic side of whatever I did more, so it’s been a beautiful, natural progression of my skills into this space.

My advice is to work with what works for you – don’t be pressured to do what you think is expected of you as an artist. You don’t have to create how others create or run a business in a similar way.

So many of us have unique challenges or limitations and there is no one way that is ‘the right way’ to be creative or to run a small business. My intention for myself this year is to focus on my 2019 goal of a ‘slow and joyous flow’ in my work. I know that I can’t push myself or be always on the go so I’m sticking with what works for me.

I wouldn’t say I have one preferred medium or style. My work includes digital art, painting, drawing and my latest love, fibre art (or ‘fiber’ for all you Americans). But my art for my Dear Musketeer shop is always based around it being wall art as I love interiors and offering pieces to make people’s spaces beautiful.

When did Dear Musketeer get started? How has your art business experience been on Etsy? 

I started Dear Musketeer on Etsy in 2011 but only for a short while since my work as a full time graphic design job kept me more than busy. So I feel I really started just a year and a half ago with my current art range and style.

Etsy has been the most amazing platform. Many other small creative businesses I have talked to say they stay away from it since they think the fees etc are too pricey. But personally, I don’t know of any other selling platform that would give me the same exposure to new customers and therefore more sales.

It is also very user friendly and you don’t need to be some web genius to use Etsy to its full potential. For example, I still have times I can barely get out of bed, so when I feel like this, I change my shipping profiles with a few quick clicks to increase my processing time. Then I simply change it back once I know I’m feeling a little better again. 
All in all, I can’t recommend it enough.

What does your artistic process like? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My work develops as I’m taken ‘where the wind blows me’. Sometimes I’m super inspired by the colours I see around me and ideas just spring into my mind. On my recent summer family holiday to Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula (please Google it and possibly put it on your travel bucket list), I was totally inspired by the white beaches, blue water and huge granite blocks that are coloured orange by lichen. This led to my latest collection of watercolour leaves art. Other times I feel compelled to work with my hands and just experiment and get super stuck into tactile forms of art.
I find inspiration all around me and always carry a little notebook to jot down ideas for later. I also find Pinterest a great platform for compiling (and finding) ideas and inspiration.

For other artists selling prints, do you have any solid printer recommendations?

 My biggest tip would be to do your homework. Email a number of printers and ask all the questions you need to to find out it the company to work with is right for you. If possible find someone local or in your country that will deliver to you in your time frames and with your quality requirements.
I recently changed printers since I wanted to upgrade my printing quality and paper stocks. I would say I was possibly annoying with the amount of questions I asked different printers. I’m fussy and with good reason – I want to give my customers the best! I knew the right people to work with would understand my desire for amazing quality and consistency, plus be able to work with my time frames. I therefore found a printer who I now have the best and easiest working relationship with. The quality and consistency of their prints are amazing, so in turn I’m then so happy and confident to sell to my customers. Win win!!

Are there any projects in the works for the coming year?

Ah there sure is – my work is always evolving. I’m currently in the process of creating prototypes for some unique style wall hangings. I’m also going to expand my print range plus offer gallery pack options and canvas prints with hangers too. Where else my art goes, I don’t know. We’ll just see where my ever inspired mind and whim takes me.

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Top Tips for Launching Your Skillshare Art Class

Skillshare is a wonderful place where you can learn how to build skills without paying the high price of taking an in-person workshop or class elsewhere online. It’s also a great place for artists to launch courses teaching others how to hone artistic skills.

This article features 5 art instructors who share their top tips for launching your Skillshare art class!

If you’re interested in learning more about Skillshare, or want to sign up for a Premium account to get 3 months for $0.99, follow my referral link here.

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Tom Froese

Artist and Illustrator Tom Froese, who most recently launched his “Odd Bodies; Illustrating Expressive, Stylized People” course on Skillshare (take the class here), shares his top tips for launching your Skillshare art class.

1. What should you teach? Find something that you are good at and that others would want to know how to do. It should be something that balances useful and fun. 

2. How should you structure the class? In my experience, classes that are centered around a clearly defined, shareable project are the most successful. The more accessible (easy to do for everybody at all levels) the better, but going more niche or pro is also good. Use the project to demonstrate the skills you are teaching. Avoid teaching skills that cannot be used in the project. Keep things as concrete and practical as possible. Provide clear, actionable steps, and easy to follow examples.

3. How should you engage your students? Be positive, encouraging and authentic in your videos. Look at the camera, sit upright, and use your face muscles (this is hard for me, since I have a bad case of RBF). Follow the Skillshare Class Guidelines and Class Publishing Checklist. Once you publish your class, respond ASAP to each and every class project. Encourage and praise all efforts. Don’t offer too much critique unless asked. I find most students want to share and celebrate, and often feel quite vulnerable. Share their work on your social media feeds if possible. Keep the overall class length to 30-60 minutes if possible.

4. How should you produce your class? While quality matters, and the better your A/V equipment the better the quality of your class, the absolute most important thing is the quality of your content/topic, the structure of your class, and the clarity in which you deliver that. Tabitha Park teaches this helpful class on using basic equipment to record and edit your class. You can also peruse the Skillshare Class Production AMA discussion I held in July 2018 for some tips.

5. How long will it take to produce a class? As long as it takes. Personally, I spend 100-300 hours each class, from early brainstorming, to writing, to recording, editing, and creating all the demo assets. As with most things, it takes a long time to craft something of high quality. Hopefully you can work faster than me, but be prepared to put in the time and do it right. You only get one chance to hit Publish on your class and make that first impression. 

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Nic Squirrel

Artist and Illustrator Nic Squirrel, who most recently launched her “iPad Art: Create Robots – An Introduction to Affinity Designer” on Skillshare (take the class here) shares her top tips for launching your Skillshare art class.

Think about something you do in your art practice that people may find helpful or interesting.  Maybe you do things a certain way, have developed techniques, shortcuts and systems, or use a particular program, app or art material.  Maybe you have specialist knowledge in a certain field.  Teach what you know and what you do.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the technical side.  I had never even filmed a video on my phone before, but if you join in with Skillshare’s 30 Day Challenge for new teachers and look at the Teacher Handbook you will be armed with all the information and encouragement you need.  You can get started without a huge outlay using minimal equipment.

Once you launch your class, be sure to market it on social media to let people know about it.  Again, there is plenty of information about this in the Teacher Handbook.  Consider making a short taster video about your class to share on social media, and mention that people can get a free trial of Skillshare Premium using your link.  The sooner you market your class, the sooner you will get enough students to appear in the Trending section, which then means you will get even more students enrolling.”

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Camilla d’Errico

Comic artist and illustrator Camilla d’Errico, who has done work for clients such as Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics, Random House, Tokyopop, Hasbro, Disney, Sanrio, Neil Gaiman, and more, recently launched a course called “Imaginative Drawing: Developing Concept Art Characters” on Skillshare (take the class here). Camilla shares a brief comment on starting a Skillshare course:

“Starting up with Skillshare is a fantastic way to share what you know and connect with a knowledge-driven community. My pro-tip is to be prepared! Set out all your materials neatly in advance, and plan your lessons and steps ahead of filming. Then get ready to share share share your new lesson links on your social media! Promoting your new releases and where to find them is a huge part of being an independent artist!

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Cat Coquillette

Illustration, design artist, and world traveler Cat Coquillette recently launched her course “A Step-By-Step Guide to Art Licensing” on Skillshare (take the course here) and shares her top tips for launching a course on Skillshare:

My vocation goes beyond painting – I’m also passionate about using my experience and success to help other creatives reach their full potential. I believe in community over competition, and devote a large part of my brand to creating resources that allow fellow artists to thrive. I’ve published a series of video courses on Skillshare that educate fellow creative entrepreneurs in building their businesses. My classes cover a wide variety of topics, including finding your artistic niche, marketing through social media, selling artwork online, working with clients, and making a name for yourself in the online art world.

Your class doesn’t have to be 100% perfect to hit publish. You’ll learn as you go and get better as you become more familiar with the process. The first time I filmed an intro video, I had no idea what I was doing. I thought filming in a jungle cafe would be exotic and interesting, but I was dead wrong– the humidity blurred my camera lens and my voice was overshadowed by the background noise of chirping geckos. I can chalk that up to inexperience and learn from my mistakes. 

Now, with several classes under my belt, I’m more familiar with the production process, including what works and what doesn’t. Teaching online is a constant learning curve; every time you publish a new class, it’ll be more polished than the one before.

 Don’t forget to get involved with class discussions– this is a great opportunity for you to check in with your students and make sure they’re getting the most from your class. I’ll often answer questions in the discussion thread that give me bonus material for new class content as well. 

Lastly, have fun with it! I choose my curriculum based on the things I wish I would have known when I was first getting started. I try to infuse my sense of humor into the content, especially in my more technical classes where it’s probably needed most. My classes are a mixture of art/technical content and business advice.

By creating a series of video classes on Skillshare, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to become an educator and directly help thousands of fellow creatives– whether it’s helping my students learn new tricks in Photoshop or provide tips about running your own business successfully. I’ve found it empowering to be able to use my personal experience to help other creatives reach their full potential.

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Denise Soden

Watercolor artist Denise Soden, who teaches the Skillshare course “Watercolor Mixing Based on Pigment Properties” (take the class here), encourages artists who are thinking about teaching on Skillshare to embrace their passions:

After many years as a zoo educator, I was faced with needing to switch careers due to health complications, and so my journey as a self employed artist began. My relationship with art had ebbed and flowed through my life, but it was around this time when I first found watercolors. I immediately latched on and refused to let go. Taking hold of my background in education, I began creating content for YouTube which later expanded into Patreon tutorials, but I was missing a sense of the depth and professionalism that I used to experience in the classroom.

In addition to my love for animals and watercolor, I also found myself completely fascinated with the actual pigments that are used to make various paint colors. In watercolor, these characteristics are especially intriguing due to the transparent nature of the medium. Expanding on a few different series I had previously created on YouTube, I turned to Skillshare to make my first in depth online course exploring watercolor mixing based on pigment properties in order to provide others with information I myself was so excited to learn. I believe that is a key component to creating engaging content on this platform: embracing your own passions.

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Interview with Australian Painter Jaqueline Burgess

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy

It is my pleasure to welcome to the blog Australian painter Jaqueline Burgess! Originally born in South Africa and now living in Australia, Jaqueline’s paintings are inspired by a strong sense of place. You can see and buy Jaqueline’s work in her Etsy shop or on her website. You can also follower her on Facebook and Instagram.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I was born in South Africa, and at 19 decided to travel and see a bit of the world. For 9 years my love of drawing and painting led me to a variety of part-time work – I painted murals, decorated restaurant and bar menu boards, illustrated, painted commission pieces for private homes and ended up teaching art in a London school. I communicate through my art, It brings balance and grounding to my life and it encourages my children to always create.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy
Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #austrailanart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy

What was life like living in South Africa? Can you talk about how living there has inspired your work? 

South Africa is so unique and diverse in its culture that naturally a sense of creativity and adventure became an inherent part of my personality. Surrounded by the Zulu and Indian cultures brought about a colourful and somewhat decorative approach to my art. Through most of my works, reference to pattern and subtle ornamentation is present in the compositions.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy

What is the process like creating one of your wildlife portraits? 

Painting something from nature is always a special process. I begin with sourcing photos online for inspiration, a couple of sketches later I sit down with paint and brush to bring the drawing to life – finishing with the animals eyes is the most exciting part.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy
Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy
Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy

What are some favorite materials you use in your work?  

I love painting with Derivan Matisse Ink and Liquitex Acrylic paints.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy

What have been some of your favorite exhibitions and projects over the years? Are there currently any upcoming or in-the works projects or exhibitions?

Each year I set myself the goal of painting a portrait for the Archibald Prize. In 2016 I submitted my entry of a portrait of my eldest daughter and her friend to the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and was selected as a semi finalist. Last year I was asked by a gallery in Melbourne called Otomys to create a group of seascape paintings for their sister gallery in Sorentto.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy Last year was also a huge step in opening a joint family business which comprises a coffee shop and art gallery /gift store called Sketch Coffee & Art in Towradgi NSW (follow us on Instagram and Facebook!). The concept of the store is to serve local and fresh produce, with local roasted coffee. Customers enjoy the gallery space and peruse the gift store whilst enjoying breakfast and lunch.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy
Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wildlifeportraits #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy Sketch Coffee & Art houses only Australian and locally made artworks, textiles, ceramics, stationary, jewellery, photography,  and homewares, to name a few, alongside a rotation of my own large artworks on canvas. Its a very special corner of Wollongong that encourages the locals to get creative with monthly sketch competitions. Sip coffee whilst you sketch- people love it.  I have also just recently released a textile range of beach Sarongs and scarves called WEAR THE ART as well as soft furnishings for the home.

Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wearableart #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy #scarves #fashionscarves
Interview with Australian Painter Jacqueline Burgess #australianart #australianartist #wearableart #artists #art #painting #smallbusiness #etsy #scarves #fashionscarves
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Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

It is my pleasure to feature artist and graphic designer Rachel Roe on the blog! Rachel is a St. Louis based artist and you can check out her Etsy shop, her website, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art?

My name is Rachel Roe. I am an artist and graphic designer based in St. Louis, MO. I work from my backyard art studio — a space my husband built for me to encourage my career as a full-time artist.

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in graphic design. So out of college, and for 4 years after, I was a full-time graphic designer (doing art on the side) working for a company that wasn’t fulfilling or pushing my creative limits.

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

I’ve always had an interest in art but I never thought I could do it as a career — partly because of the sheer logistics of it but also partly because it was a scary transition from my comfortable job as a designer. But after a few encouraging voices and a leap of faith, I quit my 9-5, and started my career as a full-time artist.

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

What is life like in Missouri? Any places in the area that inspire you or that you generally like to hang out?

I live in the outskirts of St. Louis so I get the hustle of the city but also the serenity of hiking trails, rivers and lakes all around me.

I’m lucky to live close to some pretty amazing/inspiring art museums. However, lately I’ve been trying to rely less on inspiration and more on discipline. Inspiration and motivation can be oh so fleeting. I’m learning I may not always be motivated but I can always be disciplined.

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

Can you tell me a little bit about your vintage uniform series? What was the impetus behind the people being faceless?

The vintage inspired pieces were initially created around my admiration for vintage uniforms. By abstracting the faces and settings, the piece becomes more about the uniform and the type of persona it creates rather than focusing on a specific individual. The fluid/abstracted brushstrokes compliment the piece making it feel like a faded memory.

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

What are some of your favorite art products/materials?

I love painting on birch wood panels. Being able to see the grain beneath the paint adds a natural element to the overall composition.

What have been some of your favorite projects and/or commissions? Any exciting paintings, projects or upcoming events in the works?

I’m always honored when people ask me to paint a commissioned piece of their loved one. I’ve done faces, families, dogs and buildings. It’s always crazy for me to be painting, painting, painting and all of a sudden… I stand back and there’s a personality staring back at me. Faces aren’t always the easiest things to paint but they sure are rewarding.

Interview with Rachel Roe | St. Louis Based Artist & Graphic Designer

I’m currently preparing for my first big art show. I’m producing tons of new works so it’s been so exciting watching my studio fill up with art.

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Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

I’m so excited to introduce everyone to painter Elizabeth Boudreau! You can find Elizabeth’s work in her Etsy shop, Whimsical Weasels. You can also follow her on Instagram.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art?

Sure! My name is Elizabeth Boudreau. I’m a working artist in Athens, GA, creating illustrative wildlife paintings. I graduated in 2017 from the University of Georgia with my BFA in Drawing and Painting. Since my childhood growing up on a farm in the state of Washington, I have always held a special relationship with animals. In my adult life, that relationship has turned into one of creativity and compassion.

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

One of my greatest pleasures in life is travel. I love to see the world, visit obscure corners of the globe and experience the wildlife and culture. Many of my travels have resulted in projects during and after the trip. An example that comes to mind is my Costa Rican field guide book, created almost entirely during my stay and displaying the creatures observed in person. This past summer I had the joy of visiting South Africa, where I was spoiled with wildlife! The result: 72 art cards to result in one large composite poster.

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

You see, I love drawing and I love animals. It’s heartwarming to have the chance to pursue my passion.

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

What is life like in Athens, Georgia? Any favorite spots that inspire you?

Life after graduation here is a creative journey! I spend most of my days in my studio, creating personal and custom pieces. The area has many artist-friendly venues that showcase and bolster the careers of young artists. I recently developed a great relationship with Trio Athens, a gallery that shows and prints for local creatives. It’s also fun to see quirky art projects pop up around town, like knitted gnome trees that hide around unknown corners. It’s the spunk like this that keeps my love for Athens burning strong!

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

What is the process like behind creating your animal paintings – do you sketch, then paint? How do you go about finding references?

Typically, I begin by lightly sketching out the basic shapes of my subject, creating a composition that feels right. After the main sketch is laid down, I boldly delineate the subject in preparation for my favorite part…COLOR! My primary medium is gouache, sometimes layered with watercolor or marker.

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

The true delight in painting for me comes from troubleshooting. I adore the feeling of satisfaction when a troublesome area suddenly resolves with a resonating ‘ding’ from the light bulb in my mind. It is a constant process of layer, step back, observe, tweak, move on. It is so satisfying to see a piece come to fruition.

References for me are a staple, helping me create anatomy and structure in my figures. Most of my reference material comes from photos during travel.

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartistArtist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

What are some of your favorite art products/materials?

Oh, there are many great materials floating around! I will list below some staples in my studio, materials I heavily trust:

Artist Interview with Painter Elizabeth Boudreau | Wildlife Artist & Enthusiast #wildlifeart #wildlifeartist #animalart #animalpainting #artblog #etsyartist

Any exciting paintings, projects or upcoming events in the works?

Yes! The studio is in full swing right now preparing for the DragonCon art show! This is my first year participating and I am very excited. A few commissioned pieces are in the works and always ready for more. I love to create and see the joy my art gives others.

Click here to shop Elizabeth’s Etsy shop!

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Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward

It’s my pleasure to introduce painter Anne Ward! Please enjoy the interview and leave a comment at the end to let us know your thoughts. I encourage you to check out her website and subscribe to her email list.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? 

I’d always dreamed of being a painter. I remember hours spent sitting and looking at Time Life books with paintings by Impressionists. When I was about 11 years old I had a paper route so that I could earn money to buy the items needed for sketching that I read about in books I checked out from the library. I filled the walls of the room I shared with my sister with my endeavors. I was so lucky to have family and friends who championed my work. My Aunt Peg gave me my first set of oil paints when I was 15. I was beside myself with glee. To this day she still has my earliest paintings up in her home. I have 5 brothers and sisters and when we were growing up we didn’t have a lot of spare income, but my father worked at an airline which allowed us all to fly for free. My parents really valued travel and exposure to museums so I was incredibly fortunate to have seen so much of the world at a young age. I studied art in high school and continued on to UCLA where I chose to get a degree in history…but I was always drawing and painting whenever I had spare time.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

After college I was so lucky to get a job working for a movie writer/director named Lawrence Kasdan. I was responsible for running his office, reading scripts, being on the set and being a gatekeeper to the busy demands on his creative time. I worked on a few movies in my time there and lived for nearly a year in Santa Fe working on a movie called Wyatt Earp and a year in Paris working on a movie called French Kiss. It was an incredible opportunity to deeply understand what goes into the creative process on a large scale. I taught my boss to learn to use a computer (this was indeed a LONG time ago!) so that he no longer wrote his scripts in longhand form on legal pads. I learned so much about focus and creative dedication and fun from him. All the while I worked there, I was saving money to support my dream of taking time off to finally learn to paint. I was still reading art instruction books and after 6 day work weeks on location,  I would spend my Sundays studying art and painting. I sold my very first painting to a film coworker in Santa Fe and I was so thrilled.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

After being in Paris for over a year I left my film production job to begin my dream of taking time off to paint. My parents had given me an outdoor easel and my boyfriend at the time urged me to bring it along on a weekend trip. We were in a small village in France. I must have worked easily 15 hours on that tiny attempt to capture light! By the end of the weekend it was pouring raining and a man with one arm held an umbrella for me to finish, people had brought me food and welcomed me into their homes, children had helped me with my clumsy attempts at speaking in French. I was hooked. The way an easel connects you to people and nature and the environment is such a special privilege! I realized that if I could do this I would live the happiest life ever. I quit my job in Paris, I returned to LA and within two weeks I had magically met a group of painters who had dedicated their lives to this ‘plein air’ thing. It was a somewhat unusual pursuit at the time to find people devoted specifically to plein air and I spent hundreds of hours outdoors learning from these generous artists.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

So while I’m mostly self taught, I was so lucky to have been exposed to incredible painters who taught me exacting ways of seeing light. I began showing paintings and was fortunate to gain a following of collectors who supported me. I went through a divorce and painting was my anchor. With two children I realized that I had to figure out how to squeeze in painting. One of my mentors and a painter I greatly admire is Dan McCaw. He suggested that I should ‘always paint in my head’ when there wasn’t time to actually paint.  Such good advice. I could be mentally prepping for the moment when I actually had time to paint. I read an article by another art hero of mine who eventually became a dear friend, Peggi Kroll Roberts. She described raising her kids and painting and setting up still lifes and painting small between loads of laundry. I began setting up my easel in the kitchen at night after the kids were asleep. While I didn’t have time to chase the light outdoors in true plein air fashion, I could grab whatever was in the fridge and set up ‘problems’…impossible color combinations or green on green, pink on pink etc. It forced me to see/question assumptions about colors and figure out where the actual chroma belonged. I was obsessed with taking the same objects and painting them indoors and then outdoors at various times of day to understand how light can transform even ordinary objects. Doing this allowed me to better understand color.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

Now I am happily remarried to painter and author Ian Roberts. We share a studio and I am always inspired by his approach and patient allowing of a painting to progress. He is an amazing painter. Before anything heads out the door we discuss what might be popping out or distracting from the whole of the picture plane.  I am dyslexic…so when I see a painting I see an abstract pattern of shape and color…Ian sees the ‘underneath’ of painting in the form of composition so I really am blessed to have that influence.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

My children are older but I still set up still life on the back porch so that I can paint from life while also preparing meals. I am SUPER inspired by our beautiful garden and the vegetables and flowers we grow. My second love is pattern. So I have been making patterns to accompany my paintings and experimenting with putting them on bags, totes and fabric to use in my still life paintings. I love the idea of art being useful in the world so that even if someone can’t afford an original painting they could have something beautiful like a coffee mug that makes their day happy. I also have a few images that are reproduced and available online at Pottery Barn.  Also, as a means of using my art to be of service in the world, I made an app that pairs my paintings which an intention for the day. It is free and has a simple meditation included to create more calm in a topsy turvy world. Its called i-intend on iTunes and has been downloaded by thousands of people around the world.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

I’m SO inspired by pattern, light and color.  I’m obsessed with infusing my work with the the joy and wonder I feel in our garden. I think that beauty is such a stabilizing force and I am always in pursuit of it. I find there is truth, integrity and absolute joy to witness things growing. It is humbling and powerful to feel connected to the growing cycle of things in the yard. A tiny seed becomes a carrot in 120 days. Amazing! A grasshopper that perfectly matches the color of a leaf on a lemon tree.  That’s magical! Things that could easily be missed given the ‘important’ distractions of my phone. I’m inspired by bringing that experience of how I feel in nature to the walls of someone’s home. I’m using our daughters and the arrangement of light in our dining room as the backdrop for a painting I’m working on now. I think its important to use the truth of the things I love in my life as elements in paintings. I’m going to be incorporating more of my patterns into my paintings. I’m also inspired by painting on the Ipad and using it as a tool on days that I don’t have time to be in the studio.  A daily practice of creating is so critical to my work.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists
An iPad painting – I often use an iPad to sketch up ideas for oil paintings

What have been some of your favorite exhibitions that you’ve been featured in and why? 

 I once had a solo show based on a line in a book by Eckhardt Tolle about ‘spacious stillness’. That really is how painting feels to me.  Its a wordless expansive feeling. The show was a series of outdoor still life paintings and some landscapes and moments where I had felt spacious stillness. An elderly neighbor who was no longer able to travel remarked  ‘Thank you for taking me on that journey’. I was so moved by that. I’m always honored to show work at Marcia Burtt Gallery in Santa Barbara. Marcia has been one of my art heroes and part of me still can’t believe that I get to show my work alongside hers there! It’s also an honor when I have shown work with the California Art Club at their juried show. So many amazing painters.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists

What has been your experience with art associations? How can they be helpful for artists and their businesses?

I have been involved with the California Art Club which was founded in 1909. There are wonderful opportunities to go on paint outs and gain exposure to new ways of thinking and approaching work. When I was very new to painting, the club offered so many opportunities for exposure and submitting to shows. I think clubs and art associations are so valuable because making art can be a solitary endeavor. Its so important to find the people who inspire you along the way. I used to keep a binder of paintings I’d seen in magazines as ‘reminders’ of what made me really excited about painting. It helped me to figure out what and how I wanted to paint.

Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artistsWhat have been a couple of your favorite projects and commissions over the years? 

One of my favorite experiences was getting to help chef and restauranteur Suzanne Goin choose some of my paintings for her house. I love having the opportunity to do that and find images that resonate for people in their homes! I really admire Suzanne and all that she has created so that was a special experience. I also did a commission for my friend Laurie David of some of my kitchen counter/garden paintings. A lemon, an avocado and a radish…it was so fun to paint things I love for her beautiful home. Recently a dear friend and collector bought a large number of paintings of mine and Ian’s for her home. That made me so happy to imagine all those little snapshots of my life together in one environment.

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Artist Interview with Painter Anne Ward #artistinterview #artblog #pleinair #painting #florals #artists #floralpaintings #oilpaintings #stilllife #stilllifes


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Mindset Matters: When You’re Not Crushing It In Your Art Business

So you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram at the beginning of your day, maybe you’re sipping your tea or eating your breakfast, and the first thing you see are just a bunch of posts where artists are showing off their sold commissions or paintings from their shops. Their posts are flawless. Even though they don’t have a ton of followers, for some reason the engagement on their posts are ridiculous. They seem to be so good at what they do, but you start to compare yourself to them and wonder what the big difference is between you and them – why didn’t you sell that piece you wanted to sell,  or why haven’t you landed at least one commission this week, this month, or maybe even this year despite all of the hard work you’ve done?! Here are some points to keep you focused on your own business and creative output:

That artist is not you. You don’t know them, their business, or what their finances really look like. Their customers are not your customers.

Most of the artists that are crushing it in their art businesses have likely been in it for a bit longer than you and probably started in a similar place you did. Perhaps you can connect with that person – send them an email or a DM and ask for advice in the area/s you’re struggling with, or learn from them just by following them closely on social media.

Stop worrying so much! It doesn’t matter how much that person is making or that they seem to have a higher level of engagement with their social media posts – your work and journey are your own!

Real Artists’ Thoughts on This Topic

Abstract Painting by Chloe Meyer

Chloé Meyer

“On the pros and cons of comparing myself to other artists… On the one hand, a lot may be learned from studying the careers of people we admire in our industry. We can read their bios and CVs, see where they went school, their exhibition history, etc. This can give us ideas of what we can do to improve our own careers. On the other hand, there is the potential to compare ourselves to them. Doubt will creep in… How did they get a solo show five months out of school? This person has over a hundred thousand followers and they never smile in their photos, should I stop smiling? This artist is selling out all their shows and every painting has blue in it; should I only paint with blue? As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s crucial to remember to stay in your lane, run your race, have faith, trust the process, and keep moving forward.”

You can buy or commission work from Chloé on her website and follow her on Instagram.

Embroidered T-Shirt by Michelle Hawran

Michelle Hawran

“These days it seems like social media is the key to being a successful artist, and it does help me connect with potential clients and see what other artists are doing out there. But then it becomes far too easy to compare myself to these amazing, established artists! I’m constantly comparing my amount of followers and likes to theirs, and some days it makes me wonder why I do art at all.

Carousel Painting by Michelle Hawran

But then I have to remember that I did not choose an easy career. All of these artists that I look up to had beginnings just like me, and as long as I’m putting everything I have into my pieces, then I will be successful. Between my painting and embroidery, I get to work on something I love everyday. And honestly, the massive student loan debt is a great reminder to keep going and stay focused—can’t waste that degree!”

You can buy or commission work from Michelle in her Etsy shop, Michelle Hawran Illustration, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Sketches by Danielle Golinski

Danielle Golinski

“Here are a few things I have learned on those days when I feel overwhelmed, unfocused, and just plain stuck (which for me happen fairly often since I juggle running my small business with working as a part time substitute teacher and being a single mom to my 3 and 5 year old!). I have to constantly remind myself that baby steps really do add up and big things happen because of small steps over time. The second thing is lists, lists, lists!  They help me stay focused and crossing stuff off gives me a sense of accomplishment. Lastly, on days when I feel too tired or uninspired I give myself small rewards as I get things done. For example, monthly bookkeeping done, time for my favorite snack, website and store update done, relax and read a chapter of whatever book I’m reading. The main thing to remember is that it happens to all of us and to just keep going!”

You can buy or commission work from Danielle on her website and follow her on Instagram.

Watercolor Landscape by Octavia Spriggs

Octavia Spriggs

I pursue my art in the hours when I’m not at my day job as a marketer/graphic designer, so staying focused and motivated is key! With my background in graphic design, I am used to working with clients and really enjoy it. In a way, clients can be a great motivator. I want to make my client happy so I strive to meet deadlines and communicate clearly. This has really translated well for me when working on custom pieces. However, a lot of the art related to my business is not client focused so I like to imagine myself as a client. I try to set goals and deadlines for myself and constantly keep a list of future painting ideas to help keep myself on task. When I decided to go all in and get my business license, I also wanted to share my work online to hold myself accountable and push myself to keep creating. A huge positive about sharing my work is that I’ve found that people from all over are really supportive and I love getting feedback and messages that keep me motivated every day.

Watercolor Landscape by Octavia Spriggs

I really enjoy following the work of other artists – it helps me break out of my bubble or leads to me trying new techniques. I really try to adapt anything that inspires me to keep my own stamp on whatever it is. I think everyone suffers from maybe feeling like you’re not moving or advancing fast enough and it appears like everyone else is doing more…for me I mainly struggle with time. Since I do this in my “free time” I have tried to go easy on myself but still make creating a priority a few times a week.

Watercolor Landscape by Octavia Spriggs

Setting aside small windows to paint at least means I’m moving forward even if it’s little by little. If I really feel unfocused it’s helpful for me to get outside and go for a run or a hike – I almost always come back with new inspiration. I like to take random photos of the sky or anything I find interesting outdoors so a shuffle through my phone’s photo gallery sometimes helps too. I also try to mix up my subject matter and go back and forth from a more formal piece to my sketchbook. Sometimes being uninspired – or even the odd feeling of anxiousness after of not painting for a certain stretch of time – is an invisible hurdle I imagine in my head and usually I can push through the “stuck” feeling once I start putting brush to paper.

You can buy or commission work from Octavia in her Etsy shop, Octavia Spriggs Studio, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Sea Turtle Painting by Natasha Udovenko 

Natasha Udovenko 

Personally I think comparing yourself to other artists can be really daunting but at the same time I love seeing what other artists create and as soon as I start getting upset (the cons) I turn it all around by switching off the “self-judging” me and switching on the “how beautiful this work is!” me and then I want to start creating more.

So, to draw the line:
Cons: Doubts about how good you are or how talented you are.
Pros: Get inspired and motivated to create more and better! It’s a challenge that makes you work harder, gradually bringing your art to another level. And that’s what we need!

When I feel that I’m not getting anywhere or I just feel low and unfocused I always try to listen to my body and, perhaps, at that moment it just needs something else – so you need to do some other activity, e.g. clean the house, go for a walk, read a book or simply cook and listen to some music.

Sea Turtle Painting by Natasha Udovenko 

Sometimes our brain just needs to be unfocused so that it can take a break. It’s sort of a scream-for-mediation act.

In this case I get myself out of the this “I can’t get anything done!” box and stop torturing myself by focusing on other activities. Amazingly, my body and brain get their refreshment and then I sit down and create something in one go!

Sometimes it happens during longer periods, like several days or even a week, then I scream for help – but as my friend put it – just let it go. If you can’t focus on this work, don’t force it. Distract yourself and do whatever you want and then you are going to be back in shape when you just don’t expect it! So – let it go and listen to your body 🙂

You can buy or commission work from Natasha in her Etsy shop, The Art of Nata, and follow her on Instagram.

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Do you have any tips for  keeping a healthy mindset when it comes to your art business? If so, let us know in the comments!

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Other Helpful Posts for Artists 

How to Keep Your Books for a Small Business: Bookkeeping and Accounting Basics 

Best Hosting Platforms for Artist Websites (And Why You Need One)

How to Successfully Sell Art on Redbubble

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