Thursday, November 16, 2017

Real Artists Don't Starve [Book Review]

BookReal Artists Don't Starve.

Author: Jeff Goins

Info:  Copyright 2017: Nashville:  Nelson Books

Where acquired: Library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 stars):  ✮✭✭

What it's about:  Author Jeff Goins tackles the notion that a creative is only a "true" artist if he is constantly behind the eight-ball financially and must succumb to the image of the starving artist.  Through extensive research of both historical and contemporary examples, the author elevates the creative from starving to thriving. Woven through this volume are instructions and examples on changing one's mindset, marketing one's work, and dealing with money.

CategoryImpulse Read:  I was watching a video interview of the author on Michael Hyatt's Facebook page. I'd never heard of Jeff Goins before, but his description of he subject matter hit home and I was immediately curious.

Favorite Quotes:

"We must not only use our stubbornness to succeed,--we must harness it and apply it toward the right things, turning it into tenacity.  Otherwise, what helps us succeed can also be the source of our undoing.  p. 55

"When you're playing a game you can't seem to win, sometimes the best thing to do it not try harder.  None of us want to spend our lives playing by someone else's rules.  When the game is unfair, change the game you're playing.  Move to another city, create a new art form, get a different network.  If the group you want to be a part of doesn't want you, create your own."  p. 97

"Genius tends to happen in community, not isolation."  Michael Farrel, Quoted on page 111.

"Promotion isn't something an artist avoids; it's an essential part of the job." - p. 124

"Creative success is about getting to do your work without constraint.  Money is not the point, but it is part of the road we must walk to become professionals.  Charging brings dignity to our work.  It validates our offering to this world and allows us to keep working." - p. 139.

"The point is not to make a fortune or become famous, but to do the work.  We are all looking for a way to share our gift with the world without worrying about making a living.  That means building a life that allows us to keep creating." - p. 202

What I Liked:
  • Goins has an entire section of references.  In other words, he gives proof that he thoroughly researched the subject and didn't just make this up off the top of his head.
  • He doesn't advise quitting one's day job and just diving in.  That's usually the formula for the starving artist.
  • Though it was scholarly research, the author's writing style wasn't dry, but read more like a mentoring session.  He also shares examples from his own life.
  • Goins taught me a piece of Black History I never knew about; the Florida Highwaymen:  a group of painters of color who sold unique landscape oil paintings starting in the 1950's.  This group of creators sold art in a time and place where their actions defied cultural and racial norms.  I want to learn more about these fabulous trailblazers.

What I didn’t like: 
  • I would have preferred that the author not to refer to reaping inspiration from our influences "stealing."  I understand that he's not talking about plagiarism, or presenting someone else's artwork as one's own, but his wording makes it sound that way.


I relish books that give me solid information that leads to a complete paradigm shift in my thinking.  This book ranks right up there with how Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course changed my views on money and Dan Millers 48 Days to the Work You Love podcast shifted my attitudes and techniques on finding lucrative, meaningful work.  Like many others, I had also been taught the myth of the starving artist without knowing how this apocryphal story became an assumed fact.

This book revealed my mistakes as an artist while providing steps to avoid other pitfalls.  My attitude about my own artwork is changing; hopefully, my strategies for getting more of it out into the world will grow as well.  I plan to purchase a copy of Real Artists Don't Starve for future reference and inspiration.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2017 - 31: "Rest"

"Harvest of Friends" Crochet.

Psalm 18:19 - (KJV) He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Well, I had two goals this month, to finish the 31 days blog challenge and to get an apartment. As you can see, I'm finishing day 31 now.
As far the apartment goes, I'll know something  before the end of the week.  So, Lord willing, I'll be moving this weekend.
I spent this past Saturday plotting and planning out how I would like to decorate the place.  I looked at furniture, appliances, knickknacks, and craft supplies to create decorations.  There is so much to look forward to. 
Most of all, rest.  Real rest.
I waste two hours a day in travel, which zaps my energy.  For the most part, I sleep well, but living out of a suitcase isn't soothing or restful.
Now, don't think I'm being unthankful.  Far from it, but I'm ready for some real rest and relaxation.
It won't be long now.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the art pieces featured, please e-mail me at

Monday, October 30, 2017

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2017 - 30: "Refine"

"I Hear the Ocean" 8x10 acrylic on canvas

Malachi 3;2 - But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap.

One of the lessons I have to relearn repeatedly is to know when to call a project finished.  I have a bad habit of trying to correct every perceived flaw in my work.  Getting into a refining frenzy usually doesn't end well.  I usually wind up making worse mistakes, getting utterly frustrated, and either starting over again or chunking it altogether.

Minor changes are a fun part of the process of learning.  These aren't mere corrections, but a nearly OCD-level of repair.  This steals all the fun out of creativity and tempts me to hide all evidence I made the attempt.

That is no way to create.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the art pieces featured, please e-mail me at

Sunday, October 29, 2017

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2017 - 29: "Follow"

"Taste and See" 8x10 Acrylic on Canvas

I Peter 5:5 - (KJV) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.


After finally getting back to my reading quest, I'm about halfway through a book by Jeff Goins called Real Artists Don't Starve.  I'll go into more detail about it when I write the review, but one of the interesting steps in becoming a thriving artist rather than a starving one is to set yourself up as an apprentice.  The author understands that you can't always have a one-on-one arrangement with someone, but the trick is to be teachable.

So, who can I follow in apprenticeship?  Because of books and the internet, I've learned from some of the best painters, crochet artists, and quilters. Is there anyone who will allow me to pick their brain for specific answers?  I thought I might have found such a mentor, but they don't take my art seriously.  I do know that there is an artist's community in this area.  I may seek that out and see if I can find what I need there.

Whether I find my mentor of art or not, I won't stop learning wherever I can.  I won't stop creating whenever I can.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the art pieces featured, please e-mail me at

Saturday, October 28, 2017

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2017 - 28: "Connect"

Puzzle Baby Afghan:  Crochet
Psalm 35:18 -  I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.


Note:  Yes, I know we did this word earlier this year, but I don't pick the prompts.  This round finds me in a completely different place and state, so I could give a different take on it.  Enjoy.

A while back, Pastor Staples (First Baptist Jacksonville) preached a sermon about us finding our place not only in the body of Christ, but in our particular congregation.  For part of the sermon illustration, he handed out puzzle pieces as a reminder.

I wonder where my piece fits in this new congregation?  They have all the musicians they need (and, no, I haven't told them I could play ANYTHING), plus, quite frankly, I'm enjoying the break and the chance to serve in a different capacity.  Not only service, but where is my place in fellowship?  I met some wonderful ladies at the Tuesday morning Bible study I attended until I started working.  I stay in touch via text and e-mail, but we've not had a chance to meet in person yet.

As far as I know, I'm in Colorado for many, many years to come, so there's no need to rush it.  I'm just getting antsy to get settled so I can establish fellowship and find areas where I can serve.  I don't want to lose connection.  In fact, I'm ready to connect more.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the art pieces featured, please e-mail me at

Friday, October 27, 2017

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes 2017 - 27: "Overcome"

Mary Jane Baby Booties.  Crochet
Romans 8:36-37 (KJV) - As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.


I've never had to make the choice of life or death for another human being.

I've never had to overcome the fear and guilt of a pregnancy out of wedlock.

I've never had to overcome the anger and resentment after the birth of a child who's the product of rape or incest.

I've never had to overcome my own selfish nature to carry an inconvenient child.

I've never had to overcome the terror that the baby I carry is a danger to my own life.


God has given me opportunities to help someone else overcome those fears.  Though none of these women have ever seen my face, they've had a pair of my handmade baby booties placed lovingly in their hands by a volunteer at the crisis pregnancy center.  Those little booties remind her that she is carrying a little person with feet, not a wad of tissue nor an inconvenience.  They overcome because of the love and support they are shown.  I hope I can keep helping them overcome until Jesus comes, or they put me in the ground.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the art pieces featured, please e-mail me at

Thursday, October 26, 2017

31 Days of 5 Mintue Free Writes 2017 - 26: "Change"

"Steel Magnolia. v. 2.1"
Available as 4x6 greeting card.

Also available as 8x10 painting on rectangular or oval canvas.

Isaiah 43:19 - Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.


The great Mark Twain said, "The only one who likes change is a wet baby."  Boy is he right.

The weird part is, this statement holds true for positive changes as well as negative ones.  We get tired of the sameness, but we're so comfortable with it that putting up with it seems easier than making changes.  That, my friends, is a trap.

I know, I've been there too many times.

This year there have been more changes in my life than I've ever dealt with.  Nearly all of it is positive, and even the negative has worked out to my good (Romans 8:28).  Still, I fight the urge to bolt and run back to comfortable misery.

I need to keep changing for the better and not run from it.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the art pieces featured, please e-mail me at