How can artists recognize good feedback?

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Are amateurs the new professionals?


The magic pixie dust of perseverance

This morning I woke up early, knowing I had much to do.  There’s a book polish to dive into (and rewrites are always hardest), blogs to write, a new website to work on, two paintings to finish in my studio, rehearsals for a music duo performance, a travel article to write, and yoga teaching morning and night. And asked myself, “What keeps me in all this?  What makes me get focused, set aside the email, the phone calls, the neat-nicking around the house, and dial-down into my art mode?”...more

'Insist upon your life'

The folk singer Odetta, who died recently, once said that “One day while you’re walking down life’s road you may reach a fork, and at that fork you’ll have to insist upon your life, you must insist upon the human spirit that’s within you.”A number of years ago I came to that fork, and what I had to insist upon was my art. And since that decision, since becoming a working artist—I’ve tried to listen as closely as possible to that “human spirit” and its illuminating voice....more

Does Art Mirror Life?

Does Art Mirror Life or Life Mirror Art?Cynthia Ozick, the fabulous fiction writer was asked this question once in a speaking gig at the Los Angeles Library that I attended.  She laughed.  "Life INTERRUPTS art!" she quipped, and then proceeded to tell the story of how she was in the middle of the novel, ran into the kitchen, slipped on the faulty freezer's melted ice, and broke her wrist and couldn't write. ...more

Artists: Vision, Faith & Courage

Last night before I went out to teach yoga, my husband told me something startling. One of our brilliant actors had killed himself, leaving shock and amazement in the wake of his death.And I sat still for a moment after I heard the news, and thought, ‘How does this affect me?’ It’s a mish-mash of feeling when someone so public takes such a radical and depressive action, but I don’t him personally, so why does it cut at my heart?...more

Art: The path of love, not the path of duty

In college, every adult in my life was touting the same tagline: “Get a degree in business.  That’s what you’re going to need.”  “Business is where the money is.”  And though wanting a piece of the post-feminist, business-woman pie seemed the ticket to having an independent, self-assured life, business left me cold.  Even when I succeeded at it—which I did, early and before college—I felt no love for it....more

'I'm just not that disciplined'

When I’m talking to other artists and entrepreneurial folks about time—and the need to carve time out of our busy lives for our art—I often here the same thing:  “I’m just not that disciplined.”I hear, “Well, I started this terrific memoir, and everyone I shared it with said to keep writing, but I can’t find my way back to it.”  Or, “My inspiration to work kind of comes and goes.” Or, “I’m a terrible procrastinator.”...more

How to be an Artist without Totally Losing It

Get a Dayjob:  How to Be an Artist without Totally Losing ItAn artist is a person who makes art.  Simple association, right?  Yet the first thing we think of when we hear the word “artist,” the first culturally-engrained association that unwittingly pops into our head, is “starving artist,” or “struggling artist.”  With rare exception, we immediately assume that anyone who dedicates their life to making art will be poor and will have to scrape by on a meager existence....more

Ruth Faktor, Israeli Artist to Watch

Anyone who reads my blogs at all knows how much I love art, be it visual or literary, so when I spend time picking the local thrift stores and City Missions, that's where my eye leans. Yesterday, I had the good fortune to pick up a ceramic wall plaque created by Ruth Faktor, an Israeli artist whose studio is set up near Tel-Aviv. She studied sculpture and modern art at the Ramat-Gan Art School during the 70s and continues her work to this day with her daughter, who is also an accomplished artist. ...more