We’ve awakened to a new world these past few months, and every week this reality has sharper edges. The hubby loves to do the grocery shopping, so we’ve changed a lot of our habits to doorstep deliveries, but some things require venturing out. While picking up a prescription, I was amazed that the grocery store was fully stocked, except for the paper products aisle (no Viva paper towels, eep!). Despite all of this, I realize today I am one of the fortunate ones, an artist who already has a healthy online teaching business. This makes me want to drop to my knees and thank the angels. I’m watching art friends whose survival depends on teaching and gallery sales suddenly searching for new ways to pay the bills. And I know this is just the tip of the iceberg for what is happening to scores of other professions out there.
This is not the first time the world has dropped out from under my feet as an artist, however. About 4 years ago, after launching my first online class, I was elated with the results. Over 400 artists from around the world signed up, and the students were very happy with the class. A few weeks afterward, while teaching a class in France, I received a startling email. The Web developer for the class decided to drop our contract. The funds that had been sent to the Web developer were substantial (think about buying a car, or two, and then finding out you’re allowed to drive it a few more months, but then must park it for good, while it still had the new car smell!).
I was devastated. I remember sitting on the edge of a bed in a 300 year old convent after reading the email, and feeling like I had fallen down a deep hole. We had invested all of our savings in paying the developer for her work. My husband had just given his notice at his company 2 weeks earlier, to work with me full-time. We were fairly certain we finally had an art business that could survive on its own, and perhaps even grow in the future. And now we were facing the prospect of starting over from scratch, and trying to build everything again. It felt like the end.
The angels were watching over me, however. My virtual assistant, Jude Rush, was in touch within minutes. She said not to worry. She and I had already survived several amazing highs and lows together in navigating the uncharted waters of online teaching, and our “Thelma and Louise” track record was solid. Jude said to me, I know a Web developer who is absolute gold. And that’s when Rachel Vane became part of our team.
These two young women have been the backbone of our art company through thick and thin. I read years ago that, if you give a busy woman something to do, rest assured it will be done, and it will be done well. Thanks to Rachel and Jude, I became one of the first oil painters to launch a monthly online membership class three years ago, an affordable way for artists to be able to access full-length painting lessons with lots more beautiful bells and whistles to boot. (You can read more about The Joyful Brush here).
I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: If it feels like the world has dropped from under your feet and the end is near, take a deep breath. There are helpers out there, and angels are watching over us. Artists are amazing, giving people, and the good energy they submit to the universe every single day does result in echoes and ripples, in goodness and joy, that return to reward you. Keep your heart light, keep creating and sharing beauty. Your gift means more now to the world than it ever did before, so don’t give up, and don’t be afraid. You’re part of a family, and we’re in this together, sweet friend.
All new online lessons are blooming!
Start painting with me right away in The Joyful Brush, my monthly online class. Find out why hundreds of students from around the world have already joined the flower family, with weekly live videos, live paintings, and a library filled with full-length lessons. Get all the color you love, and a beautiful place to grow through all the seasons of your art journey.