Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change - it can not only move us, it makes us move. - Ossie Davis



At the time of this recording & blog we are in the middle of a pandemic. 

Locally and globally we are all coming to terms with the effect of this raging outbreak.

Just this week I watched in disbelief as the Dutch Prime Minister announced drastic sanctions needed to get a grip on the rapid spreading Coronavirus. 

My heart went out to all the artists scrambling for their phones to cancel scheduled concerts, art openings and planned meetings.



As museums, theaters and public spaces close their doors, many artists are left in confusion and disoriented, unable to oversee the effect of these extraordinary times.

When a dutch comedian was asked about the effects these restrictions would have on his art business, he confidently replied: ‘I am not afraid of going bankrupt, what I am afraid of is that they take away my art. When I am no longer able to tell my jokes, make people laugh, bring joy and hope. Then I have truly lost everything.

I am so touched by the resilience and incredible resourcefulness found in the creative community. 

In a matter of days there are all kinds of groups forming, online art events scheduled and living room concerts being streamed, helping others feel connected, laugh and stay engaged.



Your art and your creativity can be a lifeline to people. Something familiar at times of uncertainty and when personal contact and connections with communities may not be possible or no longer an option.

Your art, your painting, your poems may become more important than ever in helping people feel connected. Whether you are providing inspiration, information or entertainment, each of you can be a lifeline for those affected in the different parts of the world.

I just got goosebumps watching as YouTube movie of people in Italy, who are in complete lockdown, singing to each other from their balconies to show solidarity and community.

As we are only starting to navigate these bizarre times I want to encourage, and challenge you, to think about what you can do to take your art and use it as a tool of connection, hope and inspiration.


Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change - it can not only move us, it makes us move. - Ossie Davis


This episode is part of a series of podcasts and blogs where I have a look at why some artists just seem to be so successful. What are these artists getting right?

Are there universal, recurring factors that we can embrace and apply to our own art life?

So stay tuned or even better subscribe to this podcast so that you will be notified when the next episode is live so that you don’t miss any of these valuable insights.

This episode also comes with a valuable resource that you can download. In this resource I highlight some of these success factors and it also includes a worksheet so that you can find out what you need to do to grow in your art and art career.


To give this episode some context, we need to define what artist success looks like to you.

Take some time this week to sit down and write down what artistic success looks like for you?

Is it the:

  • process of creation,
  • or the joy of a finished work,
  • or the reactions when somebody encounters your work,
  • or the freedom to do what you love and get paid for it?


Success looks different to all of us and it is good to know why you are doing what you do and what motivates it!



As an artist and art coach, art & art success for me is all about CONNECTION. Art gives me a framework in which I can meet, converse and relate with creative minds and hearts. Art is all about stories and connection. A universal story people across culture, beliefs and time can relate to. This is why I do what I do.....My podcasts, coaching and courses are here to facilitate this art connection.


'I get so excited and inspired if I get to hear how an episode has helped an artist or how seminar has given somebody tools to grow their business.'


This is what Art Success looks like to me!!!! When I am able to connect and help artists. This drives and motivates me.

What drives and motivates you and to what end?

Now that you know I love CONNECTING please share what success looks like to you in a DM @sonjasmalheer


When your success factor becomes clear you will be able to set out a path towards it and prepare for it.



Have you ever wondered why some artists just seem to have such success? You see on tv, you read about them in the art magazines. They seem to come out of nowhere and be an overnight success.

Did they get a lucky break? Were they just in the right place and the right time? Did they just draw the right cards and have all the luck?

I hear artists say this all the time. ‘If only I had a big break? If only I was so lucky’. 

Sure sometimes circumstances work in our favour but generally we need to just show up and get to work for it.

It is a myth that only that big break, having that exposure or meeting the right person will catapult from obscurity and into the shining art light.


There are many examples of artists that seem to come out of know where but they have been secretly making and creating for years. 


Their success is preceded by many years of hard work, failed attempts and persistence.

Don’t underestimate the power in just showing up and doing your art consistently.


'The sum of all the little things you do during your day far outweigh the chances of a big break or lucky strike to come your way.'


So instead of waiting for your lucky break or for some lightning bolt it is far more effective to make a plan and get to work.

Artists that have reached or are reaching their creative goals have all set up an art routine. They see their art as work and have found a way to make art consistently.



Pablo Picasso is one of these success artists. Even when he was alive his art was greatly sought after and internationally applauded. His secret was that he worked every day. Rain or shine, war or peace, Picasso showed up and worked on his art. He took himself seriously and mastered his craft, becoming one of the most prolific artists of our time. He produced an astounding 50,000 artworks, including 1,885 paintings, 1,228 sculptures, 2,880 pieces of ceramics, 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints and numerous tapestries and rugs.



Picasso and many other successful artists got into the habit of working on their art and art careers. It is not just a matter of getting out your brushes, dance shoes or guitar when you feel like it or get inspired. Commit to building up consistent working habits until they become as natural as breathing. This could mean getting up earlier, sketching every day after work or practicing at a set time every week.


So why it so hard to adopt healthy consistent working habits? 



Have you ever wondered why people have an inherent resistance to change? We fight it, we avoid it and go out of our way to keep things the way they were. The reason is simple: our body’s primal survival mechanism is to conserve energy.

FACT: Our bodies drive us to only undertake activities that consume little energy. This makes change tricky, as it requires an enormous amount of energy.



But there is something you can do about this: adopt habits. When you turn activities into routines, they require less energy. This is something your brain loves; it quickly starts producing happy art routine juices.

There are lessons to be learned here if you are pursuing a career as an artist. Successful artists adopt a consistent work routine. They do not sit around and wait for inspiration, they get to work and create!


‘People don’t decide their futures, but they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.’ - F.M. Alexander


What habits do you need to change or adopt to take your art up a notch? What can you do today that will catapult you toward the life of the artist you aspire to?





Many artists find it difficult to get to work because they feel guilty. They feel that can't validate their time spent in their workplace. ' Shouldn't they be getting a real job? Or helping humanity. ' It is time to see the value of what you are doing and give yourself permission to allocate time for your job!!!!



A goal without a plan is just a wish! Just wishing that you are an artists and are anting to make your art is not going to get you there. You need to make a planner. Download an online planner or purchase wall planner and write down clearly when you are going to your studio. Tell friend and family that you won't be available at these times. There are times that you need to fight for your right to be an artist.



Having a studio is not what makes you an artist. An artist is somebody who loves working creatively and takes this seriously and gets to work. Whether they are working in a fully kitted studio, on the kitchen table or out of a shoebox. Find a place where you can work. A sacred place that you designate for your art and creative development.



When you set about your workday be clear and intentional about what you are going to do. Having a clear goal in mind will help you keep your focus and give you that feeling of fulfilment that you have achieved what you set out to do. 



Building up an artist routine takes time and persistence. You are setting up a routine that will last you your entire art career. Getting into a healthy routine, one that suits your lifestyle and personality is crucial if you are wanting to achieve that artistic success you so long for.


Tip: The best time to start a new painting, project or song is the minute you finish your last one. Keep the momentum going. A moving object is far easier to manoeuvre than a stationary one. They generally just fall over. First focus on producing quantity, which in turn will develop the quality of your art.


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