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Celebrities who Failed and Lived to Tell the Tale: Part 1

Why I haven’t been Blogging

Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t been blogging much recently and have wondered whether I had fallen off the planet, or have given up on blogging entirely or making art for that matter. It has been a month of life-altering changes since my husband and I bought our first home this past March. I have struggled to make time for art, much less write about it with all the additional responsibilities which have been added to my plate that come with being a homeowner. For example, the house is a fixer-upper, and my apartment needs to get ready for the move as well. I am sorry to say that despite my daily efforts, I still don’t feel prepared, even though the move is only one week away. My husband and I both work, and we’re spending nights and weekends trying to get our home move in ready. It’s been a lot of physical work too, and it’s been draining, exhausting work. Somehow, blogging has fallen through the cracks. In the middle of all this, I have been trying to complete a custom art portrait before the move, and to get to my sketchbook to draw and paint at least 1x a week. Furthermore, I want to present you with quality material and writing doesn’t come naturally to me. So, that’s why I have taken a break from blogging until I found a subject which really resonates with me. This brings me to my next point.

Failure: A topic with which many can relate

I’ve been thinking in depth about blog topics for a while now and trying to figure out what to write about. During this time, I have wondered, what kinds of topics would appeal to both artists and non-artists alike? After considering several topics, I decided that I wanted to write about “famous failures” which were written about by Sid Savara, in his article, “(Sivara, Sid. Famous Failures: Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, and J.K. Rowling. https://sidsavara.com/famous-failures-michael-jordan-abrahma-lincoln-andjk-rowling/.Accessed 29 March 2018.  In my personal life, this topic feels increasingly relevant.  I have been dealing with several challenges in my art career, such as struggling to find consistent income from art sales. In truth, there have been a lot of ups and downs with my art sales over the years and I’m not sure what I can do to tweak my approach toward selling my artwork. At times, I honestly just feel like just giving up on the business aspect of art, and pursuing it as a hobby instead. There are so many aspects involved with being an artist-entrepreneur and I do not know if I have the drive, intelligence and patience to run that type of marathon, or the ability to learn skills so outside of my skill set, like marketing. It is a constant juggling act between the business side of being an artist and actually making time to make art.

My Personal Failure: Why Isn’t My Art Selling?

One of the setbacks I have been dealing with is inconsistent art sales. I’m asking myself, why isn’t my artwork selling? Could it be that I am not using the right marketing strategies or that I don’t post often enough on Facebook, and Instagram? Do I need to work more on my presentation of my artwork through my photography on my website, and commerce sites by purchasing a new and more professional camera and learning new photography techniques? Or, is there some other reason I haven’t figured out yet? Is it my medium, price point, style, or subject matter? Do I need more of a range of prices to attract more customers to my Etsy shop, Red Bubble shop or art shows? In the meantime, while I consider these questions, I am drawing inspiration from “famous failures” to learn how other people have successfully dealt with personal setbacks.

 

Abraham Lincoln: Famous Failure example 1

One of my favorite famous failures is Abraham Lincoln. To begin my discussion of this topic, I would like to start with a quote from Michael Jordan who stated: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is how I succeed.” ( Sivara, Sid. Famous Failures: Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln, and J.K. Rowling. This quotation originates from a Nike Commercial by Michael Jordan, entitled, “Failure”.)

In a similar way, to Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln also faced many failures and setbacks on his journey to becoming the 16th President of the United States and one of the best we’ve ever had in my opinion. According to Savara, some of Lincoln’s failure’s included: being unemployed in 1832, being beaten for the legislature in 1832, failing in business in 1833, and rejected for Speaker in 1838. It was not until 1860, that he reached his greatest achievement when he was elected President of the United States. (ibid)

How did Lincoln going despite his countless challenging life circumstances and personal tragedies and probably clinical depression? I’m not sure what the answer to that is at the moment, but from one of his quotes, I would deduce that he was not content with failure and would not let it define him. In the words of Lincoln: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” To look at this question in more depth, I have done additional research about his strengths as a leader and some of his personal coping strategies, such as writing letters to people he was angry with and not sending them, which he called, “hot letters,” telling jokes to ease his melancholy, having good self-awareness  about  his weak points. Some other strengths he possessed include:  constantly learning and adding to his knowledge base, such as his intense study of military strategy, so he could play an active role as commander-in-chief, during the Civil war and talk directly to military leaders about their military strategies, and finally, listening to the opinions of others, whose opinions differed from his own, (Sources: Shenk, Joshua Wolf. Lincoln’s Great Depression. The Atlantic Monthly, October 2005 Issue, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/10/lincolns-great-depression/304247/ Accessed 19 April 2018, Coutu, Diane. Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln. The Harvard Business Review, April 2009, https://hbr.org/2009/04/leadership-lessons-from-abraham-lincoln. Accessed 19 April 2018, Moreton, Catherine L.10 Qualities that Made Abraham Lincoln a Great Leader, June 25, 2008, https://hr.blr.com/whitepapers/staffing-training/leadership/10-qualities-that-made-abraham-lincoln-a-great-lea. Accessed 19 April 2018.

 

To conclude, I am going to divide this topic of Famous Failures, into sections so that the articles will be short and more readable. Each article will focus on a specific person

 

Abraham Lincoln Portrait with green, edit
Abraham Lincoln in Blue, Oil on Canvas, 9 x 12 inches, 2009, Jodie Schmidt.

 

Abraham Lincoln After portrait
Abe Lincoln, Oil on Canvas, 9 x 12 inches, 2018, Jodie Schmidt.
Abraham Lincoln in Pop Art Style
Pop Art Style Lincoln, Oil on Canvas, 11 x 14 inches, 2007, Jodie Schmidt.

with specific details about their stories. So next week, I will be writing about the life story of the author, J.K. Rowling. I hope that you enjoyed this post and that it brings light and encouragement to your day. Failure is inevitable but how we respond to it, is our choice.

 

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Art of Schmidt Newsletter

Hello Friends, Followers and Fans,

It has been a super busy season for me, managing the daily tasks of life, plus buying a new home, and various other things, so I haven’t posted as often as I would like. Meanwhile, I am researching articles that I think would inspire future blog posts that would be of interest both to artists and nonartists. While I am working on that, enjoy a peek behind the scenes into my latest pet portrait custom art order, which is inspired by a portrait of Elizabeth 1. Bandit, full portrait, color sketch 2800px-Elizabeth_I_in_coronation_robes (1)Art of Schmidt Newsletter, March 2018, page 1, final, final, flatArt of Schmidt, 2 March 2018, final, final_edited-3Art of Schmidt, 2 March 2018, page 3, final, final_edited-2Art of Schmidt, 2 March 2018, page 4, final, final, complete

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New Art work available on Etsy

Hey friends, followers, and family,

I just uploaded my new painting, Perfect Pair of Swans to my Etsy shop, so the original is now available for sale! The original painting is made with oil paints and canvas and measures 10 x 10 inches. The item is for sale at $250 and comes unframed.

Prints, mugs, and other reproductions of this work can be found on my Red Bubble Commerce site at https://www.redbubble.com/people/jsjschmidt2017/works/30920335-perfect-pair-of-mute-of-swans?asc=u&ref=recent-owner. Prices for I-phone cases start at $20.83. Many other items are for sale on this site also featuring these swans including canvas prints, mugs, clocks, and pillows.

Here are the links to my commerce shop if you are interested in taking a look at the original oil painting: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtofSchmidt.https://www.etsy.com/shop/artofschmidt If you have trouble with this link, go directly to my artist website: http://www.artofschmidt, and then click on buy art. Two links to my artwork on Etsy and Red Bubble should appear that are active. Perfect Pair of Swans_edited-1

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Artists and Self-Doubt: Part 2, How to Deal with Other’s opinions about your art

Last week I talked about self-doubt in the context of one’s own self-doubt and self-defeating self-talk such as, “I am not good enough.”, and this week I am switching gears and writing about how to deal with constructive feedback or, not so constructive feedback, as the case may be. This type of criticism may come from a variety of sources such as teachers, family, friends, “fellow artists,” strangers, etc. Bustamante, 2016). Sometimes it is helpful and other times it is not. At times, these people may be sincerely “trying to help you” while at other times, their motives may be less than beneficent. (Source: Gill Bustamante, “Overcoming Self-Doubt for Artists…Even When Your Art Goes Terribly Wrong,” www.emptyeasel.com09/05/2016.

For instance, according to Bustamante, 2016, “Artists often find themselves targets of people who put them down with carefully worded barbed comments or “advice” that leads nowhere, or other thinly veiled criticisms that will discourage the artist on their efforts.” (ibid) In addition, according to Bustamante, it is very important to carefully weigh what others tell you about your artwork, to decide if their opinion is valid or not, taking their advice with a hefty grain of salt. (ibid) The litmus test seems to be, how you experience these people after spending time with them. (ibid) For instance, Bustamante, 2016, asks, do you feel better about yourself after you spend time with them or worse? (ibid) If you don’t enjoy spending time with them, then stay away from them. (ibid) However, if you can’t completely escape these people because they are co-workers or your spouse, “put up a shield “ to guard yourself against what they say. (ibid)

I’ve had my own share of experiences with really bad critiques from teachers, and insensitive comments from others over the years as an art student, and a professional artist. These sorts of comments make me want to give up and are usually too vague to be of any assistance in making improvements in my art. And I have also had the reverse experience; in fact, some of my best constructive feedback has come from art students, during class critiques where there are some ground rules about constructive feedback. These types of comments tend to be more positive, like a word sandwich, such as, I think what works in this painting is, (blank) however, if you changed the color, value, etc, here, it could be even better. The paradox is, if I can’t take any feedback about my artwork, I won’t grow as an artist because I am too close to my work and have tunnel vision, or too emotionally invested in it to see the flaws. On the other hand, if I am too strongly influenced by others I might give up too soon on drawing and painting, or start to pursue art styles that are not really part of my authentic voice, in an attempt to please others or make sales.

Meanwhile, I am trying to keep on keeping on with my weekly studio practice, working in my sketchbook at least on a weekly basis. My hope is that by keeping in practice with drawing it will remind me why I fell in love with making art in the first place. My themes from my sketchbook that I am showing you this week are animals and plants, kind of aproposfirst spring crocus, flatGerbera daisies, flatpeacock portrait, flatSnail and Ladybug, flatTiger portrait, flat since spring is supposed to be around the corner…They were drawn with pencil and Prismacolor Colored Pencils. Thank you for reading! I hope this speaks to someone out there who is struggling not to give up on their art.

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Closing Night for On and Off the Wall Art Show at The Artists’ Gallery in Frederick, MD

Hello Friends, Fans, and Family,

This weekend is your last chance to bid on my box, Solitude, which illustrates the poem, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. The last night to bid is Saturday, March 24 from 5 pm-9 pm. So if you wanted to grab my box, here is your last chance! A perfect gift for people who love poetry, illustration and art. The link to the art gallery is

Solitude front of box, with watermark
Solitude, Mixed Media, 2018, Jodie Schmidt.
Solitude side of box, with watermark_edited-1
Solitude, Mixed Media, 2018, Jodie Schmidt.
On and Off the wall flier,jpg_edited-1
Flyer for On and Off the Wall, The Artists’ Gallery, Frederick, MD

http://www.theartistsgalleryfrederick.com/. I hope to see you there since I am not scheduled to work. Happy Thursday!

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Painting of the Week

Here is a painting of two mute swans that I recently completed using oil paints, alkyd, and cotton duck canvas. Reproductions of this work are available on my Red Bubble website in the form of prints, i-phone cases, mugs, acrylic blocks, etc. Here is a link to the website; https://www.redbubble.com/people/jsjschmidt2017/works/30920335-perfect-pair-of-mute-of-swans?asc=u. I am working on getting the original post on my Etsy site, but it seems to be having technical difficulties today. I will try again tomorrow, and if it works, I will post a link here for anyone who is interested in purchasing it. Perfect Pair of Swans_edited-1

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Artists and Self-Doubt: A Perennial problem and what to do about it

What is Self-Doubt?

 In my last post, I talked about some marketing techniques for artists, such as: why artists need to create a portfolio, but this week, the topic that resonates most with me is self-doubt. I know it sounds kind of depressing; however, I am trying to be more authentic in what I write about on this blog and not just what seems popular or trendy. And I promise I will end this blog post on a positive note. I believe that having self-doubt as an artist can really create obstacles to making more artwork, or having the confidence to step out and show the world your art.  Sometimes it can cause an artist to stop making art altogether, whether it’s for a few days, weeks or sometimes even years. I know this from personal experience from several bouts of artist’s block and countless doubts about my abilities as an artist. Somehow, though if you want to get your artwork into public spaces and out of your studio, you have to find a way through this issue, because without artwork artists cannot promote themselves, period. In her own words, Alyson Stanfield states: “If you are not consistently producing art, then you have nothing to take out of the studio and market. Remember you are an artist first and foremost. Your career starts in the studio.”(Source: “Alyson Stanfield Shares Her Ten Best Art Marketing Tips,”Artwork Archive, https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/alyson-stanfield-shares-her-10-best-art-marketing-tips, retrieved, 03/15/18).

What is an example of Self-Doubt?

 Here are a few examples of self-doubt, which I am citing from an article, entitled, “5 Fears that Can Destroy an Artist,” from the Skinny Artist website, https://skinnyartist.com/. For example, one common type of self-doubt that artists face is, “I’m not good enough.”(ibid)   In the interest of space, I am just going to focus on the first type of self-doubt, listed in the above-mentioned article. According to the author, Drew Kimble, the first type of self-doubt, describes an artist’s doubts in their craftsmanship and skill, and this is one of the most common types. (ibid) For example, as artists we are creating items that are not entirely essential, and that meets basic needs such as food, water, shelter, health, etc. (ibid) For instance, when times are tough and money is short, items that are not considered a necessity are often the first to be cut back from one’s budget. (ibid) Things like, “books, music, movies, art, performances,”are frequently considered to be an indulgence. (ibid)

What Causes Self-Doubt?

 You might ask what things can cause self-doubt for artists. This is a question that has many answers…Sometimes it may be a rejection form letter that comes in the mail for an art show, and it’s not the first one you’ve gotten. In fact, the number of rejections is beginning to grow. You will most likely get some sort of form letter stating something to the effect, Thank you for applying to this (blank) art show, but unfortunately, we were unable to select your work for this show. Please apply next time, etc. Or maybe, your cherished dream of getting into a graduate school program to study art did not work out, and it has made you wonder why you were not selected. Questions begin to swirl in your mind and you wonder, “Am I just not good enough?” or,” Why didn’t they choose my artwork, or why wasn’t I accepted to that particular art program?” The worst part about this type of situation is that you often can’t know why your art wasn’t selected unless you take the plunge and ask the art gallery director or dean for some feedback about your art. Sometimes, jurors or other decision makers might answer your question about why you didn’t get into the show, or the dean of the graduate school might give you some feedback about why you weren’t accepted into the graduate school program. If you can find out the reasons why for these types of rejections, especially if it’s in the form of constructive feedback, it can be very useful, to getting unblocked in your art practice, and start making progress toward your goals.

What can you do With Constructive Feedback about Your Art?

Maybe it means that your artwork didn’t fit with the style of that gallery, and you need to find a gallery that is a better fit. On the other hand, maybe you need to work on your portfolio some more and your artist statement to be sure that they both re-enforce each other. For example, I did get the chance to ask the admissions office of James Madison University why I wasn’t accepted into their painting program, and they were very gracious in their response with some specific guidelines about applying again. The dean suggested that I show my ideas and artwork to some art faculty members first, to get some feedback before re-applying for the art program. Ultimately, I decided not to re-apply for a number of reasons, but the feedback was helpful. So, what is an artist to do? Give in the feelings, press on anyway, take a break from painting and go on a vacation to Tahiti and avoid the whole problem until it hopefully, magically goes away?

What Can Artists Do to Alleviate Self-Doubt?

 Although this type of self-doubt may always be an issue for artists, there are some things that artists can do to challenge self-doubt, and re-evaluate how they think about their abilities. For instance, artists can complete a short-term art challenge, such as the Draw this Again meme, which was posted on the website, Deviant Art.com. This challenge charts the progress of several artists’ skills over time with photos of past and present artwork of the same subject, i.e. portraits. These artworks can be completed in whatever medium the artist wishes to work in, some of which include drawing and digital art. It is truly amazing to see what some time and practice can do when you look at the before and after photos. I’m going to try this challenge myself, between blogging, custom art orders, and building up a new portfolio in my “almost” daily sketchbook.  I’m hoping this challenge will help me to get out of my own pit of self-pity and passivity, and start picking up the brush more often, to see that change is possible and that growth in my skills as an artist is up to me. It’s been a week since I started writing this post, and I just completed a self-portrait painting to compare it to an older self-portrait that I painted as a student at McDaniel College in 2005, to do more own version of Deviant Art meme, Draw this Again. Next week, I will elaborate some more on other types of self-doubt that artists experience and hopefully, I can provide you with some helpful tips for overcoming these hurdles, especially the negative self-talk that seems to fuel the artist block and self-doubt.

self-portrait 2005, flat
Self-Portrait, oil on canvas, 2005, Jodie Schmidt.
self-portrait 2018m flat
Self-Portrait, oil on prepared paper, 2017, Jodie Schmidt.