Artist Q&A: Do you paint in your sleep?

In this continuing series, I'm going to answer an important question that is more about the sub conscience mind of an artist, rather than practical facts of how-to be an artist. Hope you enjoy a peek into my mind!

Question: Do you paint in your sleep?

I think about art a lot. It might be a bit of an obsession. I’m beginning to think that I have allowed it to replace most of my conscience thinking hours. I’m not sure if this is healthy, but at least I know I don’t have room to obsess over unhealthy ideas. So in a way, painting in my sleep has replaced hypochondria or the need for a perfect home or the worry about what tomorrow might bring. Hmmm...some trade off there!

I don’t stop at brush to canvas. I think about the business of art. I think about writing about art. I think about all the masters living and past that have brought art into this world. I think about my children’s laughing as big strokes of colors. I think about how old buildings with paint peeling are really just art. I think about memories and ideas and how they relate to art. I think about using something discarded on the side of the road as art...in fact just yesterday as I was driving home from Baltimore I noticed all the plastic bags stuck in the bare branches of bushes along the median of the highway and thought it was art in the most unexpected form.

I wasn’t born with synesthesia, but I think after years of training my heart and mind I have begun to connect everything back to art. Every memory, every sound, every sunset, every bug that walks the earth...they all become a correlation to the art that’s on continual play in my mind. Sounds become colors and stories become textures. In one way or another everything, absolutely everything, becomes an idea for another work of art, even if I only create it in my head.

So, do I paint in my sleep? Probably. Probably.

Do you paint in your sleep?
XO, Kellee


Challenge Accepted: The {100} Artworks Challenge

I am so excited that so many people have decided to jump on board and Join the Challenge! We have people from all over the world accepting the challenge! Many questions have been asked about how to do the {100} Artworks Challenge and what guidelines to follow.

I'd really like for you to think about this challenge as developing one idea into a body of work to push you to grow as an artist. I know most of us love to try everything and it's hard to ignore one aspect of our talent for another. But when we do one thing 100 times we learn about who we are and what our art is about in a way that a class or a book can never do. And at the end of 100...we start again. This is not my idea, but one that has been suggested by many of the masters, to include my great uncle who was my first inspiration to do 100 artworks (and he said after that to do 1000!).

Acrylic Painting, working in a series by Kellee Wynne Conrad

For this challenge I have suggested to do small works because I want it to feel manageable, something that could be seen through to the end. Pick a set a of parameters for yourself - one substrate, one subject, one set of materials. For example: My first set of 100 was soft pastel on special pastel paper, size 3x4 and all landscapes. If you try to tackle oil painting, and found object and watercolor...you will be all over the place. So focus in on the one thing you want to learn about yourself and your art for this {100} Artworks Challenge. There will be plenty of time for more of everything else later!

A simple example of small works in a series by Kellee Wynne Conrad

I have not set a deadline to finish because I think we are more likely to quit when we fall too far behind. You can do one artwork a day, or five on Saturday, or one one a week...just keep working and don't quit. Share your work with our Private Facebook Group or with the world and tell people that you are taking on this challenge. Write about it in your blogs or on social media and when you put it out to the world what you are doing, you will find yourself to be more accountable. And a strange thing will happen, people will be looking forward to each new work you post in the series.

So recap:
One size (small works or large if you dare!)
One substrate (paper, canvas, etc)
One subject (landscape, still life, imaginary, abstract, sculpture, etc)
One set of materials (printmaking, acrylic, mixed media, etc.)
Work every week, but without a deadline
Share your work

You will be amazed at what you have accomplished by the time you have finished 100 works of art! And I am so grateful that you have joined me and are allowing me to start an amazing art movement filled with talented and inspirational artists! Thank you...now let's do the work!

Do you need more help and ideas? Sign up for Creative Launch for Artists and get additional information in your inbox.

*Final Disclaimer* Only you know what you truly need as an artist and what it will take you to get to the end of 100 artworks. If you have a different idea that you need to fulfill, go for it, you are still welcome here! As with anything, once you know the rules, you can break them.

Enjoy the Journey!


The Art of Creative Marketing: The Basics

We are Artists. Art is meant to be shared. 
Let’s do it Right.

Being a successful Artist means mastering the art of telling your story. You are always telling your story when you are in the public eye, whether in the physical world or online. I’ve heard it called branding, marketing, public relations….it’s all the same. It’s all about you and your image and all that you are creating. What do you want to tell the world when you stand in front of them?

There is no right answer. This is your story. You are finding your voice as an artist and at the same time you are presenting that to your audience. It may come as second nature to some artists, but for many they are in a world of their own. Ah, the the quiet, introvert world of the artist. But it’s time to call yourself an ARTIST and own your dreams! You are ready to shake things up, so let’s get started with some basics. (If you’ve already started, how about some reminders?)

**You are your own brand everyday. Being an artist means you are in the public eye.  You represent yourself and your art. Words and actions mean something. What do you want to say? You don’t have to change who you are, but you do need to be mindful of how you come across to everyone you meet in real life and online. You are an ambassador to your own art career. Be ready to share your work, talk about your work, and listen to the feedback.

**Own your name. Go buy your own web domain right now. Seriously. Open another tab and go.  Even if you are not ready to use it, you need to own it. It’s best to use your name (or your artist name) as your web address. If it’s taken add an identifier like “art” or “artist”. After you own a domain, make sure you sign up for all the major social media sites, even if you aren't ready to use them. You’ll want to have already owned this before you become a superstar. You must be ready for success and in today’s world, success needs an online identity. If you are not online, you don’t exist.

**Make your story cohesive. This applies to more than just your art. Your art should speak for itself, but so should your online profile. Pick one identity for every social media platform with which you participate. Try to keep the same name, same avatar, same mini bio, etc. What pictures do you share on social media. You can and should post different pictures on different sites, but are they all still telling the story of you. There’s a pattern that people will come to expect and identify as being uniquely you. People want to know it’s you when they have found you!

**Presentation is everything. Every thing that has your name on it should be finished to the highest standards possible. When you show your art it should always be opening night on Broadway. People only remember what they saw last. Is it your “A” work? Did you finish it, frame it, and wire it with quality materials? How is your marketing material? You need neat, clean business cards or postcards with one image and direct information on how to find you. Are you shipping with quality packing material? Is your website easy to navigate with readable font and clear images? I could go on, but I think you get the idea - YOUR NAME = YOUR REPUTATION!

**Be gracious. You didn't get here alone. Acknowledge those who have helped you. Say thank you when paid a compliment. Be kind in your words because people are watching. Do your own work instead of riding the coat tails of your colleagues. Volunteer to the community that has helped you on your path. Don’t be petty or rude in a public forum. When in doubt, don’t post it. I guess the basic Golden Rule applies to your image as an artist.

Kellee Wynne Conrad, Thrive Gallery Show at Jordan Faye Contemporary

The story is always growing and evolving as the years go on. You may not know exactly what you want to say yet, but you should start with the first word now. If you wait until you know who you are, you may wait forever! This is just the beginning.

I hope this information gives you a good start to tell your own story. Watch for regular posts to help you learn how to tell your own story and follow your dreams.

Sign up for Creative Launch for Artists for exclusive information in your inbox. 

Ok, now go do the work!
And Enjoy the Journey,


Steal Like an Artist (I Even Stole this Title)

Are you still trying to FIND YOUR VOICE AS AN ARTIST? Maybe you've even joined THE{100} ARTWORK CHALLENGE?  But you are stuck. There are so many great artists out there, how can you compete? Where in the world will you ever come up with an original idea? 

By now you must have heard that nothing under the sun is new. We take from what we know, have seen and heard, and all that has seeped into our subconscious and turn it into what we call “original.” We creative types especially suffer from stealing from one another without even realizing it. I don’t think I have said anything new in the nine years I have been writing blog posts. In fact, I may have begun to repeat myself. But I know one thing: whatever I have managed to soak in and spit back out, I’m doing it on my own terms and in my own voice with the intent to connect with you and hopefully share a little bit of something wonderful about life in the process.
Also, I’ll admit, I’m stealing a bit from the “Original Thief,” Austin Kleon, who wrote the book Steal Like an Artist. It’s simple, but powerful enough to help anyone make their next creative step. Come to think of it, this isn't the first time I have “stolen” from him. Remember when I wrote THIS blog post when I decided I would just “fake it until I make it?” Yep, saw it first in Austin’s book. Also, of the ten ways shared in the book about being creative, I would like to point out number two: “Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.” I’d probably die waiting, so I am grateful for this reminder. It's a great book and I think you should pick up a copy for yourself so you can get going on following your dreams already! 

Ok, go out a steal something today, but make it your own. And then share your creations with others. Now let's get to work!

Enjoy the journey!


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