#158 Jessica Hitchcock: Keep Making Art and Share What You’ve Learned

Artist Jessica Hitchcock lives in St. Louis, Missouri. We first talked on the podcast about a year ago, in April of 2019. She had just quit her day job in February to be a full-time artist. She had been painting for a few years part-time, showing and selling her paintings as well as doing the occasional live painting. She went all in, and in a matter of a year she has offered a few collections of her artwork, in her vibrant and bold color style, she’s painted live at a wedding and other events, and now she’s sharing what she’s learned through a year of hard work with others on her blog. She’s adapted to this strange quarantine time by moving forward and sticking with her original plans for her year.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Jessica Hitchcock

Jessica Hitchcock

Jessica Hitchcock
I Flew My Colors Like a Sail
Jessica Hitchcock
Peppermint Tea
Jessica Hitchcock
She Believed She Could
Jessica Hitchcock
Jessica Hitchcock
From the Primavera Collection
Jessica Hitchcock
It's the Small Things
Jessica Hitchcock
Start Today

Jessica’s website is jessicahitchcock.org

You can sign up for her newsletter list right on the front page of her website.

You can find out about her online course Art Business Evolution on her website here.

Jessica can be found on Instagram @jessica_hitchcock

and Facebook at jessicahitchcockart

Jessica will be doing Facebook Lives weekly on her Facebook Group called The Creative Business Convo.

You can find out about her online course Art Business Evolution on her website here.

Jessica Hitchcock

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Jessica is doing regular blog posts about helpful tips for artists. Blog posts are a great way to regularly give content to your customers.
  2. A great way to decide what kind of online class you’d like to teach is to think about what the most common questions your viewers are asking you. Respond to those common questions by putting them into a class or a Facebook Live event or a Youtube video.
  3. If you’ve done live painting or other art making and you’re comfortable with it, then you will be able to offer live online videos or online classes. And the reverse is true. When we get back to doing events with others, if you’ve gotten good at painting and talking during videos, why not try live painting?
  4. Don’t worry if your videos aren’t perfect. The important thing is that the viewer sees your personality.
  5. During this uncertain time, Jessica is following the mantra “Keep moving and don’t retreat.” She believes that this is the time to keep following your purpose. And if you don’t know what your purpose is yet, now is the time to double down and figure out what your purpose is.
  6. Jessica has continued to create art, in fact she has created a series of paintings. Creating in a series will help to give you direction in your artmaking.
  7. Don’t be afraid to try to sell your artwork right now. People are still buying.
  8. As part of Jessica’s plan for the year, she plans to put out new collections of art a couple times a year. Don’t let this time change a plan like that. Evaluate what you can still do and what you can’t and continue with the business you have planned.
  9. Jessica has a newsletter list, and she considers those people to be her biggest fans. When she made her new collection available for purchase, she put it out to her newsletter list a little bit earlier as a way to thank them for following her.
  10. Online classes are a great thing to offer right now since we can’t do classes in person, but they will be a great thing to offer from your website even after we are done social distancing.
Jessica Hitchcock

#157 Dina Wakley: A Teaching Artist Adapts to Online

Artist Dina Wakley is a teaching artist who keeps a full calendar of art classes in the U.S. and beyond. While she’s canceled upcoming classes and is hopeful for the second half of this year, she’s started offering online classes on her website. She’s also appearing in Facebook Live videos a couple times a week. We originally spoke in November of 2019, where she told me about her travel and teaching plans for the upcoming year. We spoke again on March 31st, a few weeks into everyone’s self-quarantine, and she told me about her plans to offer online art classes. She also has plans for the volumes of artwork she’s created over the years.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Dina Wakley

Dina’s website is dinawakley.com.

Her Facebook page is Art of Dina Wakley.

You can find her on Instagram @dinawakley.

You can listen to our earlier conversation in Episode #127.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. OK, if you haven’t realized this yet, I’ll say it again: now is the time to start teaching online classes. Many artists have had to cancel their in person classes. They can take that content and create online classes that are either live online, or students can do them at their own pace.
  2. I’ve talked with a lot of artists who are offering online classes and I’ve asked them which platform they’re using, like Teachable or Skillshare or Ruzuku. Dina has put her classes right on her website and is not using a third-party platform. That’s an option too, you just need to know a bit more about programming in order to do that.
  3. One of the advantages of using another platform is that some of them market your classes to thousands of people. Skillshare is an example of one that does that.
  4. Dina is keeping herself out there by doing live artmaking on her Facebook page for people to see her techniques and get engaged with her art. That’s a great way for you to keep in contact with your customers.
  5. Dina pointed out that local, independently owned art stores and scrapbook stores need your business more than ever. A lot of them are offering online ordering and shipping of their products, or you can pick up the products at the curb. That’s a great way to support these stores.
  6. It’s important for Dina to support these stores because that’s where she teaches a lot of her live classes. She wants these stores to be around when all this is over so that she can go back to teaching there. Try to support the locations where you have taught classes and encourage your customers to do the same.
  7. Another good reason for getting art supplies from smaller stores is the items will be touched by less hands than they would be from a warehouse supplier, and therefore they’re potentially safer.
  8. Dina has had to cancel a lot of in person classes as well as larger retreats. One of the things she does when she receives deposits from people for retreats is, she puts those deposits in a separate bank account. That way they are available if she ends up not canceling the retreat or if she just applies the deposit to a retreat at a different date.
  9. When Dina does a Facebook Live, she uses her camera to film it. She also has it open on her iPad so she can see the comments that people are saying and she can respond right away. Dina also saves all her Facebook Lives to the video tab on her Facebook page so you can go back and view any of them. She also puts them on her Youtube channel.
  10. Because Dina uses a Mac, she can airdrop her videos from her phone to her laptop. Then she uses iMovie to edit her videos for her online classes.
  11. Because Dina has done so many classes and made so much art over the years, she has piles of artwork in her studio. She’s going to sort through them and sell some as another source of income during this time. Go through your class samples and daily art making and see if you can do the same.
  12. She’s decided that if she puts out a lot of her art for sale, she will do it as a popup sale through Facebook and Instagram rather than taking the time to put them all on her website. That’s a much easier and faster way to sell some art.

#156 Kecia Deveney: Art Making in the Time of Isolation

Today I’m talking with artist Kecia Deveney. We spoke on April 2nd, when most states had shut down businesses and public areas. Kecia and her family self-quarantined before most people because they are caregivers for her son who would be extra vulnerable to the virus. She’s had to cancel her in person art classes and scale down her other art projects because the caregiving is full-time. She is still able to make art daily, and we talk about how she does that and how she manages this stressful time. Kecia lives in New Jersey, and she’s a prolific artist who makes art dolls, collage, and painting. If you’d like to go back and listen to my original interview with Kecia, we spoke in December, 2018 in Episode 61.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, CastBox, or Stitcher. 

Kecia Deveney

You can find Kecia’s artwork on her website keciadeveney.com

Her main social media account is Facebook, and she cross-posts to Instagram and Twitter.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Kecia has always had to keep a specific schedule for her home and family with the caregiving tasks that she does. As we have reduced our trips outdoors with our self-isolation, it’s even more important to keep things on a schedule. It’s easy to lose track of days, so if you’re still working your business, or homeschooling your kids, or providing care for family members, you should try to keep a daily routine.
  2. Kecia has always been a multi-tasker. She’s found that if she keeps her hands busy, that will keep her mind away from negative thoughts. She always has an art project close by that she can pick up when she has a moment. It may be some stitching or working on a collage or doing some painting.
  3. Kecia recently crashed her website, so she had to create a new one. She looked at other artists’ websites and their blogs to see what she liked. She contacted one of the artists to find out who did her website. That’s a great way to find an expert for something you need done.
  4. She advised Kecia to use her regular camera to take photos for her website rather than her phone. I know some phones can take fabulous photos, but you need to learn how to do that. So whether you have a really great camera for taking photos or you use your phone, you need to learn some photo basics, which include lighting and composition. Kecia worked with an expert; you can also find online classes as well as free videos that can help you take more professional photos.
  5. When Kecia does commission work, she usually asks for a deposit. She does tell us about one time that she didn’t and that was because the requestor wasn’t sure what they wanted so she just started playing around with ideas. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut on what you want to do, and be flexible about your usual rules.
  6. During this time where so many things are changed in our lives, accept that you can’t do everything that you’d like, and find an alternative to do instead. Kecia can’t film online classes right now, but she can do short live videos, so she will do those when she can.
  7. One of the things she does for Facebook Live videos, is she doesn’t interrupt what she’s doing to respond to people’s comments. She lets them know that she’ll answer all the questions at the end when she can give them her full attention.
  8. She’ll also sometimes do videos where she isn’t even talking. She’s just letting the video speak for itself.
  9. We also talked about how these times are stressful, and it’s ok to be stressed and have anxiety. Sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to be silent and not engaged until the stress passes.
  10. In this time where so many people are teaching their kids at home or caring for others, see if you can keep a little art making in your lap or on the table that you can work on when you get a moment.

#155 Caylee Grey: Providing a Virtual Community for Artists

Caylee Grey runs the Get Messy Art online art school. Caylee created a community of people from all over the world who enjoy the art instruction videos that she and other artists create for the group. They also meet virtually for lessons and art get togethers. She also offers meetups through Zoom as well as classes that people can buy even if they’re not a member of her community. We spoke on March 31, from Caylee’s home in Germany. At that time, we had partial shut downs of services and activities, but not a complete shut down like we have now. If you’d like to go back and listen to my original interview with Caylee, we spoke in October, 2019 in Episode 124. I especially loved that conversation – we laughed so much.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Caylee Grey

Caylee Grey’s website is cayleegrey.com and her Get Messy Art creative community is getmessyart.com.

Be sure and visit the Get Messy Art About page and FAQ page.

If you’d like to hear about her online get-togethers, you can sign up for her email notifications here.

She has two upcoming get togethers you may be interested in:

May 5 — Expressive Arts Workshop

May 14 — (journaling workshop) The Voice of This Moment

She also offers some classes that you can buy individually. You can see them here.

On Instagram, she is @cayleegrey and the community IG page is @getmessyartjournal. Members of the Get Messy Art community can use this hashtag to contribute to the group #getmessyartjournal.

Caylee has her own podcast called How to Be an Artist. You can find it here.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Artists all over the world are being very kind and generous with their content. In Caylee’s Get Messy Art Journal community, you can find art tutorials but also just art hangouts where you can make art with others and feel connected.
  2. During this time of isolation, you may find yourself at times very lonely. Reaching out to an artist community can help you with that.
  3. As many of you now know, Zoom is a great conferencing program that can be used for virtual meetups. Caylee offered a free meetup that was attended by over 80 people. One of the things you can do with Zoom is break people down to smaller groups. That makes it more manageable and intimate for people to interact with each other.
  4. When you are joining these online Zoom discussions or classes, you can also bring your kids with you. Just mute yourself so others can’t hear you. You may find that some art get togethers will be fun for your kids to do with you.
  5. Caylee offers her classes and lots of other great content through her membership in her community. She also offers classes that you can just purchase on your own. This is a great way to get people in who aren’t ready to commit to a membership.
#154 Faith Evans-Sills: The Time to Try Something New
Faith Evans-Sills

#154 Faith Evans-Sills: The Time to Try Something New

Faith Evans-Sills is a painter based in Charleston, South Carolina. She has both a BFA and an MFA, and she has taken her years of painting experience and built a thriving art business. Many of her art classes are built in partnership with Mati Rose McDonough, despite Mati living in California. You can hear my original interviews with Faith in Episode 102 and Mati in Episode 103. Today you’ll hear Faith talk about how she and Mati responded to the shutdown of travel and how it affected their live classes. She also tells us how she is engaging their community of artists with art challenges and new online classes.

Listen here or use a podcast app, such as Apple iTunes, Castbox, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Faith Evans-Sills

Faith with a few of her paintings.

Here are some of the things we discussed in this episode (click on the names to follow the links):

Faith’s website is faithevanssills.com and you can also find her on Instagram @faithevanssills

You can find all of her online classes on her website here. 

Through April 30, 2020, Faith is offering 50% off all of her online courses, including those that start after that but have already been announced for launching in May and June. Use the discount code UPLIFT to take advantage of this offer. 

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Faith teaches online classes and in person workshops with her art partner Mati Rose McDonough. Faith and Mati had a workshop in Costa Rica scheduled for the beginning of April. They had to really tap into the latest travel advisories and messages from the World Health Organization so that they could make a quick decision on whether they could still hold this workshop. Because they were proactive about the situation, they understand the enormity of the situation sooner than most, and they were able to act to change their workshop and inform their students. When you are hosting classes and distance workshops, it’s imperative that you keep up on what’s happening in the world and you keep your students in the loop.
  2. As you listen to these new episodes where I’m talking to artists who offer online classes, I’m asking each one which online platform they use to host their courses. I’m doing this so that you’ll know the many options that are out there. Faith uses Ruzuku to host her online classes. In Episode 153, when I talked with artist Jodi Ohl, and she told me that she uses Thinkific. In Episode 152, Luci Duclos told me she uses Skillshare. Check out all the options to determine which will be best for your business. You should consider how much it will cost you monthly to use their platform; if they will take a cut from each of your classes that is sold, and how much; whether they will market your classes to other potential students; and whether your classes will be hosted on your website or theirs.
  3. When you have to cancel something big like a retreat, you need to recognize how disappointed your students will be too. Faith and Mati wanted to give those students the sense of community that they were losing, so they quickly put together a 14-day class that those students could join right away.
  4. It was also important to Faith and Mati to offer something affordable for their students that they could even take with their kids. A lot of their classes are long, about six weeks or so, and they are a significant investment in your art practice. They decided this new offering would be just 14-days and they priced it at a lower more affordable level so that it would be open to many people.
  5. Faith recognizes that the virtual connection that you can get from online courses is needed more than ever now. She’s always seen how good that connection can be and she’s glad that others are seeing it now too as new people embrace online classes.
  6. Watercolors are a good option for painting because there’s less set up than with acrylic paints, less mess, and it’s very portable. It’s a great choice if you want to paint outside or at a park. Watercolors are also a nice thing that you’re kids can do with you or that you can add to an art lesson for their homeschooling.
  7. Faith pointed out that as we are all dealing with these sudden changes to our lives and our businesses, it is affecting us just as grief would affect us from the loss of a loved one. Give yourself space to grieve and go through the stages of mourning what your life was like before all these changes were forced upon us.
  8. We are all going through this process right now of accepting our changed lives and figuring out what we want our new lives to be. Faith and Mati have thought about how they can offer art making opportunities to others to help them through this process. You may want to look at your business too and see if you can offer anything to help others during this time, maybe something that is different than your usual offerings.
  9. Faith also expressed that because we are all going through these changes, and these changes are unprecedented, there is some freedom that goes along with that. The fears that you’ve held about trying new things don’t matter anymore, and we can look at this as an opportunity to try something new. Now is the time to give yourself permission to step into different arenas that may have been scary before.

Faith has collaborated with artist Mati Rose McDonough on a book, online classes, and retreats. You can listen to my interview with Mati on Episode #103 of the podcast.

Faith and Mati

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