It's a question that has plagued diversified creatives for as long as the internet has been a thing. And given the time, effort, and expense of setting up, tweaking, and maintaining just one effective website, when, if ever, should an artist consider having more than one website as a part of their overall marketing and communication strategy?
A Tale of Two Artists
One of my podcast listeners, Lorraine, recently reached out for a little wisdom on this very topic. Lorraine is a two-genre painter, creating both flower paintings as well as custom pet portraits. As she was in the process of putting her website together, she kept running into issues of fitting both sides of what she does creatively under one "roof" on the internet.
Again, it's a great problem, and one I've been asked about many times by the members of my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. My rule of thumb on this is simple. If an artist is doing two or more creative things related to their career as an artist, I encourage them to have just one website to showcase and market their artistic endeavors.
In Lorraine's case, both of her creative genres are complementary. A good number of her pet portrait clients may likely be interested in her floral art, while a good number of her floral clients will have a beloved pet or two they may want to be memorialized through one of her custom pet portraits.
So, when should you have two websites? Well, that's simple. When your second business, venture, or hobby isn't closely related to what you do as an artist. In situations like this, you may want to consider having two separate websites. I'll use myself as an example of when to do this.
I have an artist website, where I showcase my baskets, woven sculpture, commissioned artwork, and the classes that I teach for other aspiring basket weavers. All of this information and my public persona as an artist lives under one roof at matttommey.com.
I also have a separate website that talks about my life and work as a mentor to artists. MattTommeyMentoring.com is the online portal where I talk about my books, conferences, and my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. My mentoring website also houses this blog and all the episodes of my twice-weekly The Thriving Christian Artist Podcast.
I found out early on that very few of my basketry classes or woven sculpture clients were interested in what I did as an artist mentor and even fewer of my mentoring clients were interested in one of my commissioned wall pieces. The two sides of what I do creatively and as a mentor don't necessarily complement each other or connect with the same set of potential clients.
Making One Website Work For Everything You Do
It all starts with your home page. A good home page will evoke a connection, inspire, and make your visitors curious enough to click and continue the journey through other pages on your website. A great home page will speak to the visitor's aspirational desires, bringing needs to the surface that you can solve through your skills and talents as an artist.
So, in the case of someone like Lorraine who creates fine artwork, like her floral paintings as well as custom commissioned pet portraits, I always recommend having a couple of different “doors” on your homepage so that people can quickly see the full range of what you offer creatively.
Redundant Intuitive Doors Get Opened
Now these "doors" into the different sides of your artistic expressions should be both intuitive and redundant. The secret here is to make navigating your website easy for everyone, no matter how they like to journey through a website.
So, for an artist website, that means giving your visitors access to the various sides of your artistic personality via text-based navigational links in your menu and through graphic links that clearly communicate the scope and variety of your abilities through amazing images of your work.
Optimize Your Genre Specific Pages
Once you've created that great home page that highlights everything you do creatively, now you need to turn your attention to the genre-specific pages your site visitors will be visiting. So using our friend Lorraine as an example again, she'll want to have a page devoted to her custom pet portraits and one focused upon her fine floral art.
On the pet portrait page, I would encourage her to include past work examples that tell the story of her process. I would suggest she show examples of her source materials, like the photos she used in painting a portrait, show a picture of that custom portrait in process, and then finally a final shot or two of the finished piece, including one in situ if possible. I would finish out that page with information on the commissioning process and how a client can connect with her to get a portrait project started.
Now since her floral art pieces are most likely ready to purchase, I would recommend that this page include pieces of currently available work, along with the prices, as well as examples of few sold pieces in their final homes when possible. Again, I would make sure visitors to this page on her site can easily learn how to purchase originals and prints of her art, as well as how to connect with her for a commissioned floral creation.
Finally, creating genre-specific pages with unique pictures and descriptions greatly enhances your site's ability to be found on the internet. These become anchor pages for those topics and genres on your website, making them easier for your clients to find when searching for "custom pet portraits," for example.
It's All About the People
So whether you end up with one website or two for what you do, always keep your visitor, the prospective client's experience in mind. Your site should peak curiosity, showcase your talents, inspire and inform your visitor all while providing a clear, simple pathway for them to connect to you and the art you create.
I hope this has helped. Thanks for reading.
I talk a lot about journaling. It’s true. Journaling has been a big part of my spiritual life and my artistic life for years. Many people have asked me about journaling over the years, but most recently, Myra, one of my podcast listeners, reached out to me, looking for some guidance as she embarks on her own journaling journey.
What is a Journal, and why should I have one?
Unlike a mere diary, which is usually a record of events that have happened, a journal is a powerful tool for exploring new ideas that are still taking shape. It’s the physical manifestation of your creative headspace. It’s where your next big idea will be born, grow, and played with before it makes the leap off the page and onto your workbench or canvas.
It’s also a safe place. A judgment-free zone where you can push the boundaries of your creative process before committing your time and resources to flesh it out. For visual artists, this may be sketches, for poets, prose lines, for songwriters, lyrics. Not all of the ideas and notions committed to your journal will see the light of day, but that’s not the point.
Finally, for so many creatives, an art journal is a vault for stewarding creative ideas. The concepts you’re exploring in your journal today are the seeds of inspiration that will bear fruit in the days, weeks, months, and even years to come.
What do I put in my journal?
The easy answer is “Whatever you want.” After all, it’s your journal, your tool for doodling with intent. I started journaling as a part of my spiritual processing with the Lord. It started with me writing and recording my prayers, and the dreams I felt came from God. That quickly evolved to include inspiring ideas, scripture verses, prophetic words, and quotes that meant a lot to me.
I realized pretty quickly that the only rule of journaling is that there are no rules. Today, my journal lets me capture the creative interactions that take place between my spirit and the Holy Spirit during my quiet time with the Lord in the mornings and sometimes before I go to bed.
Over the years, I got into the habit of dating every entry to track how these ideas, inspirations, and promises from God played out over time. Just this past month, I reached a major membership milestone inside my Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. We were in the middle of our latest membership launch when I realized that one of these God-given dreams had just come to pass.
Back in January of 2017, while spending time with the Lord, dreaming His dreams, and receiving His vision for the Mentoring Program, I wrote down the following divinely inspired goal…
Now while it took a few years longer for that original vision to come to pass, the point is it did! We’ve linked arms with over 2000 Kingdom-minded artists from all around the world, and we’ve been blessed with the tools and the team that made this dream a reality. And having the ability to pull an old journal off the shelf and see the faithfulness of God in action was an affirming faith-building moment I’ll always remember.
Do I need separate journals for my creative and spiritual journeys?
This is a great question, and in the end, the answer is just a matter of personal preference. I actually keep two journals at any given time. I have a journal that stays with me in the studio. This volume is more of a traditional artist’s sketchbook where I work through ideas, concepts, colors, sizes, and connections for my current and future projects.
At home, I keep what I would call a prayer journal. I continue the regular practice of recording the prayers, dreams, ideas, and visions I feel come from the Lord in this book. I’ve even developed my own set of marker codes to help me quickly find the goals I’ve set for myself and remember the inspired gems the Lord speaks to me in those early morning hours. It’s not anything fancy, just some rudimentary lines, scratches, and dots that help the important things stand out to me.
Now without fail, I’m sitting at home in the morning with my prayer journal when artistic inspiration strikes. Instead of regretting that my sketchbook is at the studio, I simply record that initial Holy Spirit inspired stream of consciousness there at home and transfer it later when I’m back in the studio. That seems to be the most natural process for me and allows me to get the thought out and record it when the inspiration strikes.
I’m ready to begin my journaling journey. How do I start?
Listen, if there is one practice in my life that has made the biggest difference in my relationship with the Lord and my ability to stay moving forward, it has been journaling. And now that you are ready to embark upon your own journaling odyssey, I encourage you to go out and get a great one.
A journal can be as simple as a $1 composition book from an office supply store or as fancy as a leather-bound journal from your local art store. I have a local artist fashion me a few hand-made journals each year. I love them because they are beautiful and they all match. At $60 to $70 a piece, these journals may seem like an indulgent splurge to some. But in reality, I see them as an annual investment in something that yields immense returns in my creative and spiritual life.
I sure hope this has been helpful. So if you are a long-time journaler or just starting on this journey, I’d love to see what your journal looks like. Post a picture of your journal, or journals, on Instagram, and tag me @TheThrivingChristianArtist.
Thanks for reading.
One of the things that makes art sales a lot of fun and a lot easier is having a unique, creative voice. It’s that recognizable style and aesthetic that makes people go, “Wow!” when they see a piece of your art. It’s the thing that lets them instantly recognize that work as yours when they see it at a store, in a gallery, or online.
My unique artistic voice helped me develop my reputation as a fine artist and become known in the marketplace. It has allowed me to stand out in a unique, profitable, and very fulfilling way.
So, how do you do this? How do you find your unique creative voice?
I don’t believe that your unique voice is something you find as much as I think that it emerges over time. It comes out as you’re in the studio, as you are doing the work, filling your creative well, and cultivating and nurturing your creative talents.
Over the years, I’ve found that artists journey through four phases on their path towards uncovering their unique creative style.
Emulation - We All Start Here
All of us start our artistic journeys in a place of emulation. We look at Pinterest, take classes, and find art and artists that inspire us. This process is as true for painters and potters as it is for sculptors and basket makers.
In this phase of your quest, you learn some initial techniques and start creating works inspired by what you’ve learned from a specific artist, class, book, or online video. And you stay here a while honing your skills, but then something begins to itch inside creatively speaking and you begin to take things a little further.
Exploration – Having a Look Around
Standing on the foundation of confidence and experience you’ve built up emulating others, you, like so many other creatives, begin to yearn for more. It begins with a single step out of your artistic comfort zone as you start exploring different artists, techniques, tools, and materials.
You move from the relative safety of copying others into an era of fearlessly exploring and pushing past your creative bounds. And as you do, you begin to discover and develop a cohesive expression of who you are as an artist that expresses itself through your creations. Your art’s tone and nature start to mature as you create beautiful, unique works that resonate with who you are as an artist.
Once I mastered several different basketry skills, I got bored. That began a quest to find that something more, that missing piece that would take my art to the next level. I explored different materials, treatments, surface designs, positioning, and shapes to incorporate into my baskets.
Even if I didn’t know it at the time, this creative quest’s goal was a unique creative aesthetic that told the world who I was as an artist and resonated with buyers out in the marketplace.
Maturing – It's Gonna Take Some Time
Now I’d like to tell you that the exploration phase of my journey was a safe, quick, and uneventful trip. It wasn’t. It took several years of working, testing, and pushing the boundaries of all that I had known artistically. Sure, I was turning out some beautiful pieces, but I made a lot of ugly ones along the way. The key was that I was always pushing, always exploring, always honing my skills, and cultivating the talents God gave me.
You have to understand that your journey of artistic exploration will, at times, be uncomfortable. You’ll spend as much time, energy, and resources discovering what you don’t like, don’t excel at, and are not called to do as you do finding what you do like, excel at, and are called to do. The secret is not to stop and not shortcut the process of growing, learning, and discovery on the way towards defining yourself and your artistic voice.
Autonomy – The Promised Land
But eventually, you move through emulation, complete your artistic exploration, mature creatively, and then you arrive at a place I call autonomy. Here is where your uniqueness begins to emerge. Everything starts to fall into place.
The techniques, materials, and inspiration you’ve worked with for so long just begin to click and work together. Suddenly, you start to recognize and embrace your unique creative voice, and so do your clients and potential clients in the marketplace. Your artistic individuality springs forth, and a maturity of skill and vision emerges in your work. That’s really how you find your unique artistic voice and style.
Trust the Process
I know this journey intimately. For me, it started back in the mid-90s when I started making baskets at 19 years old. I did that for 15 years just as a hobby, playing around with traditional patterns and materials until 2009 when I started exploring ways to create something unique and special.
Even though I started from a place of traditional basketry, my artistic autonomy began to emerge as I embraced unique materials, techniques, and shapes for my work. It took a couple of years, but all of that inspiration, exploration, and studio time began to pay off.
So to anyone ready to embark upon this epic quest, I would say this: Trust the Process.
But most of all, I think, just listen. Listen to your heart, listen to your materials, listen to the results of what you are creating, listen to the market and other artists that you respect. Give them all permission to speak into your work. Over time, as you do this, your unique voice will emerge.
This Will Help You Get Started on Your Journey
I’ve put together a great mini-course called “Developing Your Unique Creative Voice.”
In this 6 part series, I teach you how to:
Normally, only the members of my Creative To Thrive Artist Mentoring Program would have access to this teaching, but you can have lifetime access to this series that has helped so many for just $39. Click Here To Learn More
I pray that this has been an encouragement to you as you set out to discover and find your unique artistic style.
I don’t know about you, but I get way too overwhelmed with Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Clubhouse, Linked In, and all of the different social media platforms out there. Part of me thinks they are wonderful because we have this incredible opportunity to share our ideas, our art, and to reach out to clients and friends while building community.
The other part is that it can sometimes feel gross, overwhelming, and even demeaning when the comments start rolling in. So as Kingdom artists, how do we find the balance between the real community we create online versus those random unhinged comments that pop up on your social media feeds?
What is Real Community?
There are several characteristics of authentic community. Number one, is real intimacy. Being vulnerable, transparent, and knowing each other’s heart is a huge part of the ground that real relationship is built upon. While this is best built face to face, this isn’t always possible or feasible. But given the technology we have available, real relational intimacy with people online is possible.
Secondly, real community is marked by an opportunity and openness to give and receive. We have all been in a one-sided relationship before where either it was us receiving something that somebody was trying to give that we didn’t necessarily want to hear, or vice versa. A healthy relationship needs a balance of both giving and receiving, sharing and taking equally so that one person isn’t being dominated by the other.
Thirdly, in a real community, people are invested in each other for the long term. These are people that you want to walk with and have chosen to share your time, energy, attention, and resources. These are the people you have chosen to focus on in your life because they are important to you, and hopefully, they feel the same way about you.
The real question is, how does real community differ from the comment driven “relationships” we all have on social media?
Who Are These People?
First of all, you really don’t know WHO most of those people are. We all have Facebook “friends” we barely know or have never even met in real life. When you think about it, you don’t know that much about them at all. You only see the happy high-points of their life and the stuff they choose to share in their posts.
These are not people you’re invested in. So many of your online interactions are based on algorithms and not on authentic connection. These are people that are like leaves; they blow in and out of your life, they are here for a moment, here for only a short season. For the most part, these are not the folks you have chosen to invest your time and energy into.
When you look at the Biblical concept of community, we are called into relationship with others so that we can complete one another. I am here to sharpen you, and you are here to do the same for me. Just like in a healthy body, a healthy community supports the members, supplying them with the support, comfort, and care they need. Again, this is a very different concept than the reality we face in our social media post-driven world.
A Healthy Community Supports Your Godly Identity
Diving in a little deeper, take a moment to answer these questions honestly. How do you define yourself, and who are you allowing to shape your identity? Of course, you can be defined by anything you want to be defined by, but from a Kingdom perspective, God’s best for us is that our identity comes from who Jesus says we are. Our identity is meant to come from the Word of God.
That’s the gold standard God intended for each of us. A healthy identity that comes from the Lord is designed to be reinforced and encouraged through a healthy community. The relationships you build inside a safe, supporting, and caring community are there to build you up in the Lord and equip you to be all that God has created you to be.
But those relationships, just like everything good in the Kingdom, have to be cultivated. It’s yet another case of reaping back what you’ve sowed. As you walk together with others in a life-giving community, your healthy, godly identity matures when you’re helping others do the same.
So, take a moment and ask yourself these questions?
As you continue to travel through this social media-driven landscape, it’s vital that you learn to temper your reactions to posts and comments based on the level of authentic connection you have with the commentator. When the relationship isn’t genuine, then take the feedback, whether good or bad, with a grain of salt.
I hope this has been an encouragement to you. I, for one, am glad that you are a part of my community.
So many artists lead paralyzed lives because they are too scared to step out and do something they have never done. No matter the cause, whether it’s fear, self-doubt, or isolation, it’s like a wave builds up to push them back to block them from being the Thriving Christian Artist they were called and created to be.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re in good company. I struggled with this very same thing in my life until God began to show me some simple strategies that gave me the confidence to step out.
Defeat Fear With Faith
You know, all of us, if we are honest, have struggled with the fear of stepping out into the new. I know that a root cause of this in my life stems from growing up in a situation that wasn’t the greatest emotionally or relationally. I ended up retreating in self-protection so much that I didn’t do anything unless I was fairly certain of what the outcome was going to be.
In some ways, this led to some early successes in my life, especially those areas that played into my strengths. But most of the time, this fear kept me from stepping out of my comfort zone and into new experiences because I never wanted to try anything new where the outcome was uncertain.
Whether it was from a fear of failure, fear of ridicule, or even the fear of success, fear kept me from trying anything new. Maybe you can identify with what I’m saying here. The enemy loves to use our past, our fear, or even our woundedness to drive a wedge between the promise of what God has for us and the reality of where we are right now.
The one thing God showed me that set me free from this fear-based paralysis is this: Change only happens when my faith and my willingness to step into the promises of God become bigger and more powerful than the fear of the unknown.
Think about that for a second. Transformation will only happen in your life when your faith in all that God has for you becomes bigger than the fears that are holding you back.
Embrace Your Identity
The second area that I had to grow in was in the area of identity. My fear of stepping out was also a result of my unwillingness and inability to accept, believe, receive, and fully embrace my identity as a Son of God and as an artist in His Kingdom. My own self-doubts and anxieties about “not being enough” kept me from even dreaming that I was meant for more.
I learned, through times of healing and revelation, that having an identity that is rooted and grounded in Christ sets the stage for everything else in life. And I want to encourage you to do the same.
As you begin to grow in confidence and start to embrace who God has called you to be, things start to change. You’ll find yourself in position to receive the strategies, knowledge, and guidance that God has had for you all along.
Don’t Go It Alone
Finally, like so many creative believers, I fell into the trap of isolation. Believing the lie that I was the only one going through this particular struggle or dealing with this specific challenge, feeling alone led to a hopelessness that kept me from stepping out.
Over the years, I’ve learned that artists who try to thrive on their own rarely ever do. Why? It’s simple. We simply weren’t designed to just “white knuckle it” through life’s challenges all on our own, looking for external solutions to internal problems.
As believers, we are called and created to do life together. As Kingdom Creatives, we are meant to walk together in a mutually supportive community with other artists and other believers that are on the same journey.
As you receive fully by faith the promises and provisions that God has for you while embracing your identity as an artist in His Kingdom in the context of a loving, supportive community, life begins to change. Your confidence builds, your vision clarifies, faith grows, and acceleration starts happening.
I sure hope this article has been an encouragement to you. If it has, please share it with others on the journey as you kick fear to the curb and embrace the fullness of who God has called you to be this week.
What Does the "Renewing of the Mind" Look Like for Christians?
That’s the question most Christians struggle with and have had very little teaching on during their life as believers. Consequently, they are left feeling unfulfilled, frustrated and confused when it comes to actually living the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10 NLT where he said “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” That rich and satisfying life manifests in the life of believers through one simple, life-changing strategy: the renewing of the mind.
What Does Renewing of Your Mind Mean in the Bible?
Simply stated, renewing your mind according to Romans 12:2 means interpreting life through the lens of God’s Word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rather than through the lens of your experience, woundedness, trauma, preferences or the opinions of others. It’s a fundamental shift toward seeing the world, yourself, others, God and especially what’s possible from a Kingdom perspective. It’s making a daily, moment by moment choice to choose the Mind of Christ which lives inside of us as new creations rather than operating from our soulish mind the way we did before we were saved.
Why Do Christians Need to Renew Their Minds?
Unless a Christian learns to renew their mind, they will continue to walk in defeat, struggle and confusion as they desire to experience a Spirit-led life yet have no understanding how or tools with which to see that life manifest. This is the predicament of most believers who live lives of religious obedience and obligation yet void of any real Spirit-led power. Without renewing your mind, the only two options are to wait, hope and beg God to change you or to work, sweat and strive on your own to achieve the results you so long to experience. Neither is God’s best.
Renewing your mind aligns your mind with the truth of God’s Word by learning to recognize the lies of the enemy, replace them with the truth of God’s Word and then reinforce that truth every time the enemy comes at them with those same lies. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV, God’s Word teaches us that “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” Taking a thought captive literally means to capture or conquer that thought as you identify it and compare it to God’s Word. Does this thought agree with God’s promises over my life or not? If not then I cast it away – rejecting it’s influence in my life – and I plant in its place one of God’s promises from His Word.
In 2 Peter 1:3-4, the Bible says “3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Did you get that? It’s through God’s precious promises that we participate in the divine nature.
Renewed thoughts resulting in new beliefs help you engage with God’s plan for your life because thoughts fuel your beliefs. Godly Kingdom-Focused thoughts are great fuel for your godly beliefs, while ungodly, fear-driven lies and half-truths fuel ungodly beliefs.
Renewing your mind is not just a spiritual process, but a physiological one as well. When you intentionally change the way you think to align with God’s Word, it literally creates new connections and pathways in your brain to make that process easier and more preferred over time. Through the process of neuroplasticity, your brain can literally be reconfigured to align with the truth of God’s Word and thus create the solutions, strategies and opportunities that best align with God’s plan for your life. Remember, in Proverbs 23:7 KJV “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Your thoughts (which ultimately create your beliefs resulting in your actions) literally create the boundaries of your life. If you want to experience a different life – the abundant life Jesus promised – you must learn to intentionally renew your mind.
5 Ways to Renew Your Mind Today
You can absolutely live the abundant life Jesus promised if you master the process of renewing your mind including recognizing the lies of the enemy, intentionally replacing them with the truth of God’s Word and reinforcing that truth through visualization and affirmations. As you do, you’ll be amazed at the double doors of favor that seem to instantaneously appear in your life simply because you came into agreement with God’s design for your life, rather than trying to make it happen all on your own.
People ask me all the time, “Matt, how do I know that I am on the right track? How do I know that I am following God’s best for my life?” It’s a great question and one that I’ve asked myself many times as I’ve journeyed through life. Over the years, I’ve learned two keys that have helped me find and stay on the path God has for my life and my art.
Start By Following the Favor
One of the things that I have done over the years that has served me well is what I call “Follow the Favor.” It’s easy. Look around in your life and pay attention to see where God is moving. Pay special attention to:
All of these are clues that point to your divine design and purpose. And as you continue saying “Yes” to the opportunities and open doors, faithfully using the natural talents you’ve been given, your confidence will begin to grow. As you are faithful to use the opportunities, open doors, and skills He’s trusted you with; God will continue to show up in your life in huge ways.
Find Your People
Surrounding yourself with other Kingdom-minded artists is one of the best ways to confirm you’re on the right track. Why? Well, it’s simple. The enemy loves to isolate and separate God’s kids. He loves to get us on our own and fill our heads with lies and fill us full of fear and doubt. Lies like:
But when you surround yourself with others that are in your “tribe,” your people, all of a sudden, you begin to see yourself and your journey in a whole new light. You begin to realize, “Hey, I am not as weird as I thought I was,” especially when you start to connect with other artists who are called to serve the Kingdom of God with their gifts and talents.
And in that place of connectedness, there is an incredible grace that gets released. When you stop trying to do life and art on your own and start walking with others on the same journey, faith, momentum, acceleration, and breakthrough become your new normal.
This Might Be Just What You’re Looking For
Now, I can’t think of a better way to surround yourself with other artists in the Kingdom than to be a part of my Artist Rise Up Masterclass + Art Challenge that is going on right now. We kicked things off on Monday, January 18th, but there is still plenty of time for you to grab a seat at this world-wide event if you haven’t already signed up.
Click Here To Learn More about my FREE Artist Rise Up Masterclass
With two more art challenges, two more lessons, and two more incredible prizes left to give away (an Apple® Ipad and a Mac® Book Air), I encourage you to click the link above and join us on this journey if you are not already a part of the masterclass.
I hope this has been an encouragement, and I can’t wait to connect with you in Artist Rise Up.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hit the reset button after the year we just had. If you’re reaching for that button in your life, then I want to share with you four things that will absolutely help you get rebooted, reset, and ready for what God has in store for your life and art in 2021.
You know, the Bible says that without a vision, the people perish. Unless you have a clear view of who God has called you to be, what He has called you to do, where He is leading you, and what He has for you this year, then you may end up very frustrated.
If you find yourself adrift in a sea of doubt, fear, and uncertainty, then I encourage you to go get with Jesus. Take some time away, a few hours or maybe even a couple of days, to get alone with the Lord. Ask Him to show you what He has for you this year in your life, family, art, and business.
The clarity you get will form the seed of a vision that you can cultivate in your life. And as you are faithful to nurture this vision, it begins to release clear direction for everything going on in your life. Vision speeds you down the road when things are good and keeps you on the road when things are bad. Why? Because vision informs everything in our life.
What you believe deep in your heart is as important as what you see for your future. When you cultivate God-centric Kingdom-focused beliefs in your heart, they inform and shape all of your thoughts and actions. Why? Because what you believe deep in your heart is the fruit of the thoughts and ideas you meditate and focus on day in and day out.
Your beliefs are the faith-colored glasses through which you embrace and engage the vision God has established for your life. Vision gives you the path to follow while illuminating the Kingdom-focused truths and concepts you should be cultivating in your heart and mind.
Vision, coupled with a well-cultivated belief, also serves as an early warning system against spiritual attacks. When the enemy comes and throws crazy pictures, thoughts, and lies in your mind, you have a strong foundation from which to say, “NO! This lie does not align with God’s vision for my life or look anything like what He is showing me.
Renew Your Mind
A couple of scriptures that I love are Romans 12:2 and Proverbs 23:7. Romans teaches us to be transformed by renewing our minds, while Proverbs tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If vision informs your path and beliefs help you engage with God’s plan, thoughts fuel your beliefs. Godly Kingdom-Focused thoughts are great fuel for your godly beliefs, while ungodly, fear-driven lies and half-truths fuel ungodly beliefs.
The key to effectively renewing your mind can be summed up in three words:
If vision sets our path, belief helps us to engage with God’s plan, and thoughts fuel our journey of faith, then faithfulness is the oil that keeps things running smoothly. Faithfulness, simply put, is the practice of clearly executing every day the things you need to do as you grow into your calling as a thriving artist. Faithfulness for a creative could look like:
All this and more while learning to lean into His grace and not our strength, following God’s lead while avoiding the personal pitfall of striving. Faithfulness walked out over time leads to the “suddenlies” we all long to experience. Suddenly, as you’ve been faithful in the little things the Father has put into your hands, you “suddenly'' find yourself thriving in life, art, relationships, and maybe even business.
2021 is a year of great promise and great potential for creatives. This year we are all called to get serious about embracing vision, renewing our minds, cultivating godly beliefs, and faithfully walking out the plans God has for us. And as we do this in the context of a community of others doing the same, I promise you will have a reset and a reboot like no other.
Now, I can’t think of a better way to start 2021 than for you to be a part of a world-wide artistic reboot we’ll be kicking off on January 18, 2021. My Artist Rise Up Masterclass and Art Challenge will be a fantastic time of teaching, fellowship, and breakthrough.
I’ll be sharing on:
The Masterclass and Art Challenge are FREE, but registration is required. I encourage you to take a moment to learn how Artists Rise Up just might be the reset you’ve been looking for. Learn more by visiting www.ArtistRiseUp.com
I hope this has been an encouragement to you. I can’t wait to connect with you during Artist Rise Up.
It is a brand-new year, and I genuinely believe that God has got some incredible things in store for us all in 2021. But guess what? There is something massive out there right now that is holding so many artists back. It’s NOT…
All of these molehills pale compared to this mountain so many creatives face: a lack of vision. No matter where you are, what kind of an artist you are, no matter how long you have been walking with the Lord, THIS is the number one thing that holds people back.
Vision Is Defined by What You Focus Upon
One of the critical truths I’ve learned about developing a vision for my life, art, and business is this: Vision is either based on what has been or on what is possible. You can’t have it both ways.
Far too many people allow their ability to see into the future be defined by what has happened in their past. In other words, they run every idea for the future through the lens of what has happened to them in the past. This is a recipe for self-sabotage.
Set Your Vision Higher
As you are stepping into 2021 with all the promise, opportunities, and thousands of hours yet to be filled with creativity, it is time to dream. It is time to set your vision higher and NOT on what has defined you in the past.
Now is not the time to focus on how good or bad 2020 was. It’s not time to worry about the lost opportunities and things you didn’t think you could get through. It is time to set your eyes on things above and to refocus as you establish a vision for your life and art in this new year.
Don’t Let the Year Define You –YOU Define the Year
It’s easy to blame your current situation on the year that we all just experienced. But for many artists I know, 2020 was their best year ever. They started last year focused on things above instead of their past failings and limitations. They were ready to pivot and take advantage of the opportunities a socially distanced, partially shut down society had to offer. In short, they had an incredible year – but do you know why?
Vision. They believed it was possible. They saw it in their imagination, they cooperated with the Holy Spirit on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, and with His help and guidance, they acted upon those ideas.
They didn’t allow fear from the past, the drama of the present, or what other people were saying to define what they thought was possible in 2020. They simply dreamed with God and agreed in their heart that the thing God was showing them, the thing that was burning inside of them, was their truth, their vision, for the year.
And as they agreed in their heart with the vision God was birthing in their spirits, praying and believing that they have received it, just like Mark 11:24 teaches us, things began to happen. The dream started to manifest in their life. And as a result, their lives, their art, and their businesses all thrived. That is how the Kingdom of God works.
Will This Be Your Year?
I want to encourage you this year can absolutely be your best year ever. Whether last year was your best year ever or your worst year ever, this year offers a brand-new start. And to help you start on the right foot, we’ll be kicking off our Artist Rise Up Masterclass + Art Challenge beginning on January 18, 2021.
I invite you to join thousands of artists from all over the world as I share about:
This is going to be an amazing time of teaching, fellowship, and breakthrough. I encourage you to take a moment to learn how Artist Rise Up can help you define what your 2021 will be. Learn more and register for this free event by visiting www.ArtistRiseUp.com.
I hope this has been an encouragement to you. Don’t let a lack of vision, any of the things that happened last year, or any past baggage define what is possible for you in 2021. I look forward to connecting with you during Artist Rise Up.
So you want to know how to actually make a living as an artist? You're in the right place! For the last 25 years, I've made my living using my creative expression and I'm going to share with you the top things I've learned so you can begin actually making a living from your art.
You Can't Have Business Dreams with Hobby Habits
A lot of artists "dream" of making a living from their art but few are actually willing to do what it takes. What does it take, you might ask? Things like:
Over the years as I've grown my own very successful art business (I'm a woven sculpture artist) and mentored literally thousands of Christian artists, I've found for an artist to really thrive, they have to cultivate 5 specific areas of their life: heart & mind, art, brand, business and life. Unless you are working on all these areas simultaneously, it's unlikely you'll be able to make a living as an artist.
See, making work that is masterfully created and unique is simply the starting point. That's a given. It's ground zero. Once you're making work that's uniquely beautiful you've got to go about cultivating an authentic connection with your potential audience.
For more on this subject, check out The Thriving Christian Artist Podcast. It's free and filled with hundreds of free episodes that will empower you on your creative journey toward actually making a living as an artist.
Need some more help starting to cultivate those 5 hey areas? Take my "Start Thriving Now" ecourse. It's free and will be a big encouragement to you.
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.