Quality Time with the Art Biz Coach
Several years ago I read Alyson’s book I’d Rather be in the Studio from cover to cover. I gleaned a wealth of marketing knowledge that I immediately implemented, and still use to promote my art business today. I reached out to Alyson to thank her for her advice, and we have stayed in touch over the years. She’s featured me and my work on her blog and I’ve shared about her business on mine. Two years ago I came to Denver to teach for Art Makers, and Alyson wanted to meet me. This year I returned to Art Makers Denver and Alyson invited me to be her guest for three days between my teaching in Colorado and New York State.
Alyson invited me to be her houseguest in Golden, CO. We toured art galleries in Denver, unique shops in Boulder, restaurants in Golden, and hiked in Golden Gate Canyon State Park together. She baked me gluten free pumpkin scones for breakfast, we enjoyed a Nepalese dinner in town, we ate too many nachos in the State Park after hiking, and she made me wild salmon with an amazing dill sauce in her kitchen.
Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?
Thank you Alyson for your generosity and hospitality.
Now, I am not suggesting that you read her book and darken her door like I did (LOL). But if you are not familiar with the Art Biz Coach, and you are a working artist, you should look her up. Alyson’s specialty is helping artists with art business strategies–ultimately turning our passion into a successful business opportunity. Alyson is a mentor and a coach, she provides a great blog, podcasts, and an Art Biz Breakthrough Event every November in Golden, CO which always sells out.
We didn’t talk shop all that much, (really, we didnt!) but we did decide to record a pod cast together. Alyson wanted to interview me about teaching my Paper Paintings Collage Workshop. She wanted to share with her artists some of the ins and outs of workshop teaching formats, how I got started, how I keep it going, and where I’m going from here. I’m looking forward to hearing it myself! Stay tuned for more information on that.
Denver’s Art Scene
Alyson picked me up in Denver after my three days with Art Makers was over. As promised, she had a nice list of galleries for us to visit. I was inspired by the work that I saw at Walker Fine Art. Bobby, the owner was welcoming and friendly and her space was beautiful, I found several pieces that I connected with. After that we moved on to David B Smith Gallery where the current show was Sarah McKenzie’s White Walls solo exhibition. With this exhibition, McKenzie continues her exploration of architectural spaces, but enters into the austere walls of art world spaces: art fair tents, galleries, and museums–many of them Denver local.
We stopped at Tattered Cover Bookstore (Denver local) where I picked up a copy of Urban Watercolor Sketching: A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color by Felix Scheinberger. Fantastic!
Getting Some Steps In
Hiking in Golden Gate Canyon State Park proved to be amazingly beautiful. The Aspen trees were in full yellow glory, which looked amazing juxtaposed with the bright blue sky of a clear day. Alyson and I hiked the trail down and back up again, after winding our way up the mountain in her taxicab yellow Mini Cooper. The air was crisp and cool, the ground was dry and the trail was well marked. We stopped to marvel at textured tree bark and pieces of quartz on the ground. A feast for the senses!
Speaking of feasting, I was not happy at all to have to think about encountering or fighting with a lion. Especially since all the printed literature on the subject was GONE at the ranger’s station. Inside the building there was taxidermy of a baby lion and a full grown lion. I informed everyone who would listen that I was not interested in encountering either one of them up close and personal, even the baby looked menacing. And I AM BIG, I don’t have to try hard to look big. I was happy about the trout though, swimming in circles in the pond adjacent to the lodge, that distracted me from the bullet points about lions, tigers, and bears.
After all those steps we figured we earned some chicken nachos and made our way to Wondervu Cafe. There’s nothing like exploring new places with a local. Alyson and I were so full of chips and guacamole by the time we left, we never ate dinner!
Next Stop Chocolate
On the third day we explored Boulder together. We treated ourselves to chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies before lunch at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place where the entire menu is gluten free (and yummy). We liked it so much, Alyson bought the cookbook! (I think, if I’m lucky, she’s going to invite me back to prepare the sprouted quinoa taboule for me).
The flowers of Fawns Leap gave me inspiration for my current series of ladies with floral crowns. I took time to take some photos of unique shaped flowers and inspiring color combinations. I can’t wait to get back to the studio next month where I will explore more in this series. I always have my iPhone camera ready to take pictures which I refer back to for inspiration, color, details, notes, names, web addresses, etc. This is an invaluable note taking tool for me when I am on the go.
Speaking of inspirational photos, I took several photos of colorful dish ware and linens at Peppercorn kitchen supply store while we were exploring up and down the pedestrian mall in downtown Boulder. I had to walk away from the Le Crueset pans shaped like tomatoes with amazingly sculptured handles on their lids. Oh my, too heavy… even heavier than that copper pot I dragged home from Italy!
Enter, My Happy Place
Of course I saved the best for last, our trip to Two Hands Paperie. Oooooh, aaaahhhh. My goodness. Alyson sure has my number. There were sheets, and books, and envelopes, and classes and workshops, a newsletter, hand made papers, printed papers, embossed and embellished papers. There were journals and post cards and cards and ribbons. Gift wrap and tissue, glue and shipping tags. There were books about paper and paper about paper and …. I was in heaven. For a very long time.
Then I heard a far away voice… Elizabeth? Are you hungry yet? Alyson, being the voice of reason. And we both headed for the cash register to check out before we broke the bank. Elizabeth, you have to go home soon, you are making me spend too much money…
That’s the trouble with company.
All Good Things…
After our day exploring Boulder, we headed back to Alyson’s place in Golden to record our pod cast. Alyson set up the big microphone attached to her Mac laptop and put it right in front of me (slightly intimidating). She had jotted down some notes from my new book Painted Paper Art Workshop and was ready to go. I told Alyson that I did better without a script and that I would wing it as long as she asked all the right questions. I had come to the right place for all the right questions. Alyson asked me questions that would help working artists who might be interested in teaching their trade. We talked about the ins and outs of the business, the structure of teaching with art retreats, etc. I hope this pod cast will help other artists.
As soon as Alyson has the recording edited, we’ll hook you up with a link!
After all that shop talk, we were famished. Alyson prepared the most amazing meal and all she wanted me to do was keep her company while she cooked. When was the last time that has ever been my only job? Never.
After dinner we had to take a quick walk around the neighborhood (in the dark, I began to panic about mountain lions again) to achieve another day of 10,000 steps.
Darn that Fit Bit.
It was an amazing visit with the Art Biz Coach, I am forever grateful for her hospitality and her friendship. Alyson brought me back to Denver and right to the airport on Saturday morning, and I was off to the next workshop destination of Greenville, New York. Stay tuned for stories from the Hudson River Valley.
“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
― E.B. White,
for being a part of
My Art Journey,