Deborah Nell is an acrylic artist who has been a part of Created to Thrive for over 9 months. This is her story.
What was your life as an artist like before becoming a member of the Artist Mentoring Program? What was your biggest roadblock?
I was doing OK as an artist but in a way I was treading water. I wasn't going backwards, but I wasn't going forward. Pretty much maintaining what I had accomplished. I knew God had more for me but I didn't know how to get to the next level of growth as an artist. I've been selling my art since 2007.
What prompted you to become a part of the Artist Mentoring Program? Specifically, what were you looking for?
Out of fear of not having enough finances I took a part-time job and it was a total disaster. I realized I'm at a point in my life that I cannot work for someone else. I need to focus on my art business. It was at that time that I saw Matt's post on fb about his mentoring group. I knew I had to give it a try. I knew I was going to be leaving my part-time job and wanted my time to be used wisely. Matt's group seemed like the answer.
Since becoming a member, how has your life changed? How have you experienced breakthrough?
My confidence as an artist has really grown since I've become a member. It's an inward work that didn't happen overnight but is definitely manifested by the increase in my prices, by the increase of invitations to exhibit I'm receiving. I'm putting into practice the many practices Matt teaches us. They are 90 day planning, visualizing my goals, daily prayer time, daily studio time, learning to network to name a few. Today alone I finished 4 miniature paintings to submit to an art show, met with 3 other artists to plan an art event in a nearby city where our work will be showcased, received a commission, sold a print on Fine Art America. I feel as though I'm in harvest season! I am very excited about all the plans ahead that God has for me and my art.
What's been your biggest "Aha Moment" that was a real gamechanger for you while in the program?
Although there are many, I would have to say the biggest "Aha Moment" has been that as I believe what God shows me... I begin to see those things come to pass in reality. I'm no longer chasing after things... opportunities are coming to me. People are trusting me to do things I've never done before, like create a personalized prophetic acrylic pour painting. I can't tell you the number of times in the last few weeks that people have said they trust my wisdom and my creative instinct. I think it's because I'm now trusting it. I am trusting God for everything I need. I'm believing for more than I can imagine. I recently saw the movie "The Greatest Showman". God was speaking to me about taking risks and believing in others and myself. There are several scenes where the outcasts that PT Barnum brings together are afraid that people will laugh at them. He tells them they will not laugh at them, they will see them as beautiful. I found my heart literally swelling during this movie. God was affirming the calling on my life to bring beauty into the world and see the beauty in others. To have the eyes to see and then express that beauty in my art. I know that being a member of Matt's group has sensitized my heart to see in a new way the opportunities that are available to me. This group has given me the courage to say "yes", I want to go all out and am willing to give this art calling my all.
What would you say to encourage other artists who are currently in the Artist Mentoring Program along their journey? To artists considering becoming members?
When you say yes to the step in front of you it prepares you for the next step. The journey of an artist begins with that one step. You may not know how you are going to get to where you want to go... or even know where you want to go. But God does know the way and He uses this group to bring others alongside you and Matt to guide you. You can live the life you dream of. God gave you those dreams and wants you to work with Him to fulfill them.
What's on your horizon? What are you dreaming of and moving toward in this next season?
I have an art reception coming up where 21 of my new acrylic pour paintings I created in January are on display at a local church. I will be speaking and giving out my greeting cards to all who attend. I will also be selling my greeting cards of the works that are for sale. I will be part of a studio tour in October. I'm one of four prophetic artists that will display and speak about our work as well as give a workshop at an art even in April. I'm planning on giving a 2 day acrylic pour workshop this year. Have applied for 3 new larger art festivals in August. Might be speaking about my art in San Clemente, CA when I visit my parents and family in August. I even submitted my work to be featured on a billboard in Los Angeles. If it is chosen... that's incredible exposure! I'm anticipating my sales to almost double in this coming year as we enter into the busy Spring and Summer season. I just keep seeing it happen.
For more about Deborah and her work, visit www.etsy.com/shop/deborahnellart
These case studies are based on the stories of artists who are members of the Created to Thrive Artist Mentoring Program. They have shared their own stories in their own words.