Tag: painting

Write it. Paint it. Scribble on a wall. March enters like a lion. #amwriting #ampainting http://mefuller.com


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Is there an art to it?

I do not have my artwork in a gallery.  I’m still slogging away on my first novel. Until that is in the hands of beta readers, it consumes my every day, and I don’t have free time enough to begin developing a basic concept for a show. But I’ve made a few tentative inquiries and I’ll share here, the little I know. Maybe we’ll get some gallery owners to share their insights with us.


Last week I detoured into the realm of possibilities. No matter what we’re focused on, it’s so important to remember that all of everything exists first, as a possibility. It’s true with objects and relationships, feelings and thoughts. I recommend a daily dose of meditation on possibilities. Ohm.

What are galleries looking for?

Galleries are not only looking to support talent, they’re looking to stay in business. That means they need an inventory of work that will sell. As creative artists, we like to be free to create and not be bound by formula or consistencies in concept. We don’t generally aim to be production artists, producing the same thing in the same style, over and over. That’s fine if you don’t want to exhibit in a gallery. You can sell your work online, in gift shops, and to interior design studios. There are lots of outlets for art sales.

But, if you want to exhibit in a gallery, and grow a following for your work as a known and respected artist, then you need to be identifiable as THAT artist – the one whose work we do know and recognize. For that, here’s what you’ll need to do.

Eddie Hamilton artwork

There’s no mistaking Eddie Hamilton artwork

Presenting the work.

  1. Create a body of work – at minimum, 20 gallery-ready pieces – that is consistent in
    1. use of media
    2. technique
    3. style
    4. theme
    5. presentation

And be prepared to show a concept portfolio of your “next in the series” work in process.

  1. Presentation to the gallery for consideration

Regardless of the format you use for your presentation – digital or tangible representation (photo) – each of the 20 or so pieces you are proposing for an exhibit must include:

Title   /    Media   /    Size   /    Price

Put a well-designed, but brief, bio at the end, supported by any news clippings about you as an artist or the work (limit to 2). Don’t overwhelm. If the gallery wants more information, they’ll ask you for it. If you have sold any of the series pieces, include that information along with at least one image of an installed piece if you’ve got one.

Do not overlook the value of a well-presented body of work. If you need help covering the costs of framing or containers or stands or what-have-you to present your work in the best way possible, contact you local arts organizations about available grants to cover these costs.


Now you have a portfolio, who are you going to show it to? Research galleries who consistently represent artists with themes or styles that are similar to yours. They wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t know their buying audience, so find galleries that appear to be a good fit with your work. Look online. Here’s a terrific resource to get you started: http://art-collecting.com/index.htm and also check in your town, city, region, and state directories. Oh, and don’t forget to contact your local arts organizations. They may have gallery space for members. It’s a great way to get your foot – er, artwork – in a gallery door.

The approach.

Know the gallery’s guidelines for proposals before even thinking about making a personal visit.  Every gallery will have its own artist selection process for exhibitions and there are many artists, equally talented, in line for consideration, ahead of you.

Don’t be discouraged.

Gallery exhibit schedules can be 2 or 3 years out, so keep your eye on the prize and not on the calendar. Also, keep a record of who you’ve approached and which portfolio of work you presented. If you get that call, you’re going to want to know, right away, which series they want.

Just a few other resources.




Creative prompt.

My body of work is…

Next week’s topic:  Art presentation.  See you back here next Sunday night!

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Write it. Paint it. Scribble it on a wall. What is freedom for you, for others, for the environment, for anything or anyone? Please post your freedoms. #amwriting #ampainting #freedom http://mefuller.com

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Possibilities. We need them!

This week I was going to talk about how to reach out to galleries with your work, but I’m going to shift gears. I had an experience earlier in the week that so completely altered my mental and emotional direction, that I want to share the payload with you.


The purpose of this year-long blog series was to share with others my first year as a full time creative person. It was a year of possibilities. I leapt out of my employee cage and roared forth with ferocity. I did not sit back and doodle or look for writing prompts and encouragement. I went to work. I went after what I wanted. I got tired. I kept at it.

Winter just before spring.

We often hear the rah-rah speeches about “You can do it!” and “Dream it and you can be it.” The action part of the encouragements is where most of us fail. We stall. We forget how to access the possibilities.


The stall.

For many of us, on both sides of the political and social diatribes that are erupting everywhere on the planet, this is a great time to stall. What’s the point to your work if everything you’ve known to be a certain way is changing and changing FAST?

And so we wait a day or two or a week or a month. We’re stuck. What should I write about? What should I paint? When an artist’s inner world is in turmoil, he either stops creating or madly creates, hoping to be part of some change that the artist recognizes as emerging possibility.

Watercolors in process

The vision.

Close your eyes. Still your heart. Silence the noise in your head. Breathe. What do you see, feel, sense? That is the essence of your creative vision. Keep living with it. Give it space every day – even every hour if you need to do that. Find the vision. Feed the vision. Tell its story.

The possibilities.

I’m one week – seven days – away from completing my manuscript for “Saving the Ghost.” I was one week away, three weeks ago. I stalled. Who will care about this in these turbulent times? My inner language was far more colorful but brought about the same result – I stalled, I had no vision for the work, I had forgotten about possibilities.

We do not know the future nor do we fully understand the moment we’re living, so there’s no point in trying to tie a future to our work. Our work is every possibility until it is defined by a publisher, a reader, a gallery, an art lover. We simply create, we do not define. Our creative process allows us to engage with possibilities and see where they take us. That’s all we need to know.

Everything is possible.

Creative prompt.

Contemplate and express possibilities.

Next week’s topic:   How to approach a gallery.  See you back here next Sunday night!

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Good grief! It’s week 14!

…and nearly February 14 which has been set aside as a day for love. Spring fever is sneaking up behind the faltering frigid temperatures up here in the northern lakes country. I can feel it. More, I can believe it! This week, love of your creative spirit and your works must play a leading role as you approach the building of your resume.

"Comfort," M E Fuller, 2015

“Comfort,” M E Fuller, 2015


I hope you took some time to gather information on residencies and retreats that might help you escape the day-to-day distractions from your creative work. Please share your retreats and residency experiences with us. Thanks!

What can I do to make my resume/Curriculum Vitae work for me?

If you’re resurrecting an established artistic practice, then constructing a resume, or Curriculum Vitae, should be fairly easy for you. However, if you, like me, were not able to earn a living as an artist or writer earlier on, you may not have a lot of direct education or work experience to catch the eye of a potential buyer or client. What to do?

First, know the difference between the two. Here’s a helpful website resource: https://www.thebalance.com/cv-vs-resume-2058495

For creating your artist resume, I’m going to refer to another helpful blog: http://blog.creative-capital.org/2013/03/page-from-our-handbook-artist-resume/

Resume Basics: An artist’s resume is a listing of your professional experiences, achievements and credentials, organized into categories for easy scanning by the reader. A resume lists the facts that place you in your discipline and reflects where you have already received support.

Read through the page for quick and concise information on what to include. Make notes on your own background and compare.

"Big Love," M E Fuller 2016

“Big Love,” M E Fuller 2016

If you feel that you don’t have enough experience to reference, here are some other suggestions:

  1. Be honest! Provide an opening paragraph that explains your background in a nutshell then close with a statement about what you are doing now and your most recent work.
  2. Locate a writer’s or artist’s group near you and learn from members what free or low-cost classes and workshops are available near you.
  3. Take as many classes and workshops as you can. List them on your resume.
  4. If you have been published anywhere, even a local magazine or newspaper, be sure to list and credit the publication.
  5. Start a blog and add fresh content no less than weekly. Show examples of your work or talk about your creative process. This gives potential clients proof that you are actively working at your craft.
  6. I recommend using WordPress. (You can get a free blog if you don’t purchase a domain name. With a domain name, you’ll want your blog to be hosted – in other words, you’ll pay a fee to host your blog on a commercial server that will use your domain name, not theirs, as the url.)
  7. Use Social Media and be active! Make reference to your social media accounts on your blog.

Once you’ve got your resume put together, remember to update it regularly. And, you can tailor the resume to the client’s needs.

Good luck!

First Kiss

First Kiss, M E Fuller, 2014

Next week’s topic: How to approach a gallery.

See you back here next Sunday night!

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The magical week 13.

I don’t know how magical it is, but it is the thirteenth week that we’ve been working together to reinvigorate your creative career and reignite your artistic spark. Since it’s only six weeks before spring begins, I’ll share some tulips with you to keep your spirit up!

"Red Tulips 2" M E Fuller 2015

“Red Tulips 2” M E Fuller 2015


I know the last two weeks have been less about the work and much more about how to get support for your work. I know, I know, the work is more fun and the outreach can feel like a chore. Still, if you want to build an artist career, then some of this work will have to be done.

What do I want?

This would be a good time to ask yourself, “What do I want out of my creative experiences?” If you want to create only and you are unconcerned about sharing your work through publication or in galleries, then I would suggest you stick to creative prompts each day. There are lots of opportunities on the internet to receive daily prompts and inspiration. If you haven’t signed up for a Pinterest account, I suggest you do it. Like-minded folks have done the research for you:


However, if you want to build a career, a name, a following, but mostly a serious practice, you’ll need support from creative groups and you may need financial support. To build a serious practice, one of the best ways is to try for an artist residency.

"Spring Tulips" M E Fuller 2008

“Spring Tulips” M E Fuller 2008

Artist in Residence.

From Wikipedia, an explanation of artist residency: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artist-in-residence

  • Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation and/or production. They also allow an individual to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture.
  • Some residency programs are incorporated within larger institutions. Other organisations exist solely to support residential exchange programs. Residencies can be a part of museums, universities, galleries, studio spaces, theaters, artist-run spaces, municipalities, governmental offices, and even festivals. They can be seasonal, ongoing, or tied to a particular one-time event. They exist in urban spaces, rural villages, container ships and deep in nature. Hundreds of such opportunities and organisations exist throughout the world.
  • There is no single model, and the expectations and requirements vary greatly. The relationship between the resident and the host is often an important aspect of a residency program. Sometimes residents become quite involved in a community – giving presentations, workshops, or collaborating with local artists or the general public. At other times, they are quite secluded, with ample time to focus and investigate their own practice.
  • Residency programs utilize a wide range of financial models. In some situations, residents must finance their own stay, finding funding and support from their own countries and networks. There are also residency programs that provide part or all of the required finances to invited guests.
  • The application processes also vary widely; not all programs organise an open call for applications. Some opportunities are by invitation only, or are offered through special partnerships with other institutions, funding bodies, or organisations.
  • Many times a residency experience is only the beginning of a longer relationship. Residents often return to complete a project they started, to begin a new collaboration, or participate in an exhibition, panel or workshop.


"Breakfast Tulips," M E Fuller 2015

“Breakfast Tulips,” M E Fuller 2015

 I have applied for a month-long writer’s residency in 2017. I learned so much this past year and a half about how to write a novel – I want to start the next one with that learning in mind and with as few distractions as possible. One month away from daily distractions, immersed in a community of other artists who are working on their next projects, sharing my work with the local community, should help me lay a solid foundation for the first draft of my next novel, “MOTHER.”  Wish me luck!

Artist Retreats.

Writer and artist retreats will come at a price. Before you invest in a retreat experience, be sure to fully understand the place, the accommodations, the opportunities that are offered by each facility. There are hundreds of opportunities available through a quick internet search. Don’t forget to explore Artist workshops and Conferences in your area as well.

The learning never ends!


Next week’s topic falls right in line: Building Your Resume.   

See you back here next Sunday night!

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You’re back!

I didn’t see a lot of activity last week. I hope that’s because you all got lost in the many learning opportunities shared here.


Since the beginning, Greyhairs Rising has been with you as an assist to jumpstart your creative career.  We’ve talked about how to get started, given suggestions on how to set up your work space, talked about tools, doubts, and support. Last week I shared a number of online resources for you to explore as writers and artists. This week, I’ll put up some links to grant sources that can help the serious creatives get to work on more ambitious projects.

Grant sources.







Be sure to follow the guidelines for grant submissions that the funding organization provides. If you need help, contact the agency staff. They’ll be happy to support you in the grant application process. Make sure your project is well thought out. There can be stiff competition for this money.

Good luck!

Next week’s topic: Retreats and Residencies.   

See you back here next Sunday night!

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Happy to see you back this week!

I hope you have your support group in place, because now we’re going to take a look at online learning, which can overwhelm the inspired student. You’ll need somebody in your life to encourage you to take a break!


Last week we claimed our support group.  Did you find a local artist/writer group to join? Did you explore author or artist blogs? Do you have a favorite or two? Have you researched workshops in your budget and locale? Did you join our Greyhairs Rising Facebook group? Keeping your support group alive and growing is critical to your success. We all need feedback and we need encouragement.

Online learning. So many options. Not enough time.

If you’re anything like me, once you start online research, you become overwhelmed with all the information and you can easily lose track of what’s important to your current work or level.

How can you decide what to keep for now and save for later?

  1. Focus – what is the focus of your current work? What do you hope to accomplish? What’s your goal?
  2. Theme – what is the theme of your current work?
  3. Struggle – what are you struggling with in your current work? Stick to topics that can help you find your way through to success.
  4. Time – limit the amount of time you will spend on the research each day. Make sure you allow for creative time and exercise.
  5. Bookmark – keep a log of sites you want to revisit or save for later. You can use a notebook, Word document or spreadsheet for this.

Online resources for you to explore.


  1. https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/support/writingcenter/resourcesforwriters
  2. https://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-writers-2016/
  3. https://geediting.com/blog/the-120-most-helpful-websites-for-writers-in-2016/
  4. http://www.writersdigest.com/writersresources
  5. http://www.dailywritingtips.com/7-great-online-research-resources-for-writers/


  1. http://www.art.net/links/artref/resources.html
  2. http://thevirtualinstructor.com/blog/8-painting-websites-and-resources
  3. http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2015/07/20/fine-arts-programs-slowly-move-online
  4. http://www.jerrysartarama.com/free-art-instruction-videos
  5. http://www.artistsnetwork.com/free

And thousands more. Explore. Bookmark. Use.

Spend the week searching through these resources and see where they lead.

Prompt: Produce one piece from each resource and share your work with us.

Next week’s topic: Grants.   

See you back here next Sunday night!

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Happy to see you back this week!

We’ve covered some tough topics in the last few weeks. This week I want to talk to you about support – who supports you in your work and how to support yourself to keep the work going.


Last week we looked at value – how you value yourself as a creative person and how to value the work you produce. It seems that value and rejection bring more questions and cause more uncertainty than just about any other aspect of creativity.

The quickest way to resolve questions of value and rejection is to get positive feedback.

Your friends, family and the truth.

Are you lucky enough to have friends or family who will give their time to give you honest, useful feedback on your work and your process? When you’re just starting out and learning, feedback can be false flattery and a trap door leading to disappointment. And it can be hurtful when those closest to you show the least interest. How can you get at the truth about your creative efforts? And how can you find people who can help you improve by encouragement coupled with constructive critique?

My husband could not be more supportive of my efforts to launch a new artistic career in my retirement. He will build frames for my paintings, he will cut mats. He will listen to me read a new chapter of my novel in progress.

Would he ever sit down and read the finished book? That would never happen. If it was a book with dragons and dragon slayers and fictional kingdoms to conquer, he might take a peek. My intense literary drama is not his cup of tea.

Cover, Saving the Ghost, M E Fuller 2016

Cover, Saving the Ghost, M E Fuller 2016

Added to that, he couldn’t provide the kind of feedback I need anyway. He knows less about writing a novel than I do.

I have one friend who is willing to read my drafts and give me reader feedback. Given that the novel is now at 90,000 words (350 pages), it’s a bit much to expect someone to read it once, let alone twice, take notes, and offer an educated critique.

Painting is a little different… visual arts are easier to deliver for critique. And depending on who your market is, it may not matter that the feedback amounts to no more than, “Oh, that’s pretty!”

How to find the creative support you need.

  1. Find a writing/artist group in your community. There may be more than one. Visit them, try them on, find one that fits.
  2. Visit author/artist blogs. Many writers/artists have blogs that offer direction and encouragement. Not all of them – like this one – are loaded with endless popups and subscription fees or hawk their how-to products.
  3. As you can afford to, participate in creative workshops. You’ll meet new people who share your creative drive and will want to encourage you.
  4. Join our Greyhairs Rising Facebook group and share your process and questions.

As you participate with others, you’ll learn more about the value of a constructive critique, you will feel supported in your efforts, and your work will improve.

I received notice of the 100 day project – a great idea – offered by the Grand Marais Artist Colony. You can find details at: http://www.grandmaraisartcolony.org/events.cfm

The 100 Day Project

This could provide a virtual support environment for you and maybe get that project off the ground that you’ve been thinking about for the last, how many years?

Please submit other online groups that you’ve found to be of value.

Next week’s topic falls right in line: Online Learning.   

See you back here next Sunday night!

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We’re Back.

It’s week 9 of Greyhairs Rising. I’m happy to see you’ve come back! This week we’ll examine value – your value as a creative person and the value of the work you do.


Last week was a tough one I’m sure. Rejection is never pleasant but we discovered that we can learn from rejections if we apply some self-reflection to the message.  I’d love to hear from you about how you work with rejection.


There are a lot of ways to talk about artistic value. For this lesson, we’ll focus on only two:  creative self-worth and marketplace value on creative arts.

I’ll admit that I’m struggling with how to propose a meaningful lesson on creative self-worth. You can find self-help, self-talk, rah-rah platitudes all over the internet. Every approach I take to this topic starts to sound empty and redundant.

We’ve been working on self-acceptance and self-reflection and for most of us, work or no, we can identify the urge to create that makes us artists. How do we add value to that? I’m opening this up for discussion. Please share with the rest of us what it means to you to value yourself as a creative person.

Two Pansies, M E Fuller 2016

Two Pansies, M E Fuller 2016

Market Value.

The easiest part of this lesson is how to value your work – what is its selling point? When do I give work away?

After years working as a freelancer in graphic design, I learned that your value is reflected in the amount of payment you receive. If you work for less, you’ll be paid less. If you work for more, you might not work.

The way to get the pay you deserve is to provide quality work worthy of the price paid. This means, that just because you like your tulip painting or your poem about waterfalls or your story about Harry the goat, does not mean that the quality of the work is on par with similar work in the marketplace.

If you put in the hours and are a flexible learner and you study the work of others and you listen to your fellow artists, you’ll become skilled and you’ll find a market niche.  You’ll also find appropriate price points, just by paying attention.

SOLD, Daylily sketch. M E Fuller 2016

SOLD, Daylily sketch. M E Fuller 2016

You never, ever, give your work away in trade for exposure. At the very least, charge a rental fee. If the exposure has value, then someone will see your work and offer to buy it outright. And always retain your copyrights.

If you visit my online shop and note the prices, I can tell you that they are in line with the quality and skill represented in the work. I’ve been told that my prices aren’t high enough, but I know my work and feel comfortable with their prices.

I have a couple of pieces that I will probably never sell because they are astonishingly good, would sell, and then I wouldn’t have them any longer.  I know the value of my creative-self by knowing that I cannot part with my very best work.

Roses, M E Fuller

Roses, M E Fuller

I hope you have a great week. I’m happy to answer questions. Please join our Facebook group and start a conversation.

Prompt for the week. 

Compare two pieces of your work. Find the highlights and the areas that can use some work. Re-write or re-paint or re-draw (whatever your medium) to create a third piece that surpasses the quality of the originals. Keep notes on what you noticed were areas for improvement and places that show you were at the top of your game!

Next week’s topic: Support.  

See you back here next Sunday night!

Would you like to keep up with the Greyhairs Rising community? Sign up for the latest updates.

Join our Greyhairs Rising Facebook group.






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