Making a Living with Your Art!

by | Feb 7, 2017 | Blog | 2 comments


How to make money with art

Making art is my career. It pays my bills while also being very fulfilling. Lately I’ve been asked to talk on panels and seminars on the topic of making a living with your art. This 26 minute interview,  was part of an online series called Starving Artist No More hosted and produced by Heidi Easley.

Heidi interviewed many artists from around the world, gathering tips for artists on how to make a living with your art. The series was broadcast Feb 1, 2017.  




(1) Make the best paintings you can

Strive to make your work the best it can be. Put your best foot forward in all your efforts, not only with painting, but business aspects as well, such as your website, writing, your portfolio, showing up on time for appointments, following through with commitments, etc.


(2) Develop a clear vision

It’s important to clearly understand what you paint and why. Equally important is to envision how you want a career to relate to your painting. The book “The Answer” by John Assaraf, offers great ideas to create your vision.


(3) Stay open and positive

This is more work than it sounds. It takes a lot of effort to keep from whining, complaining, getting stressed and being negative. But once you create a habit of positive thinking, it releases an enormous amount of energy and adds confidence.


(4) Show your work

Online publishing sites allow you to create a small portable professional looking portfolio for very little cost. Carry it everywhere as you never know what opportunities will come up. Find ways to exhibit your work. Have an exhibition in your studio. Invite friends, and put a posting in the local paper. Ask at your local restaurants, banks and other public venues if you can hang your work on their walls. Donate work to public institutions like colleges and hospitals.


(5) Continually Seek New Venues

Always be on the lookout for better galleries, dealers, and agents to sell your work. Find artists whose work is compatible to yours online or in galleries you may visit, and read their bios to find out where they show. Research galleries, agents, grants and any other information you feel an affinity with to see if you can use these in your own search.


(6) Seek Advice From Experts 

To allow more time for you to paint, use specialists to do the work you don’t want.  Use coaches for guidance, financial advisors for budgets, photographers for professional shots of your work, lawyers for contracts, web and other tech experts to keep your website running, and social media teams for publicity assistance.


(7) Stay connected with your team

Stay in touch with anyone who helps you in your career, especially your venues and dealers. Make a list of all those who help you, both friends and business associates. This is your team. Stay in touch regularly. Online correspondence is not enough. Add occasional team get-togethers such as a cocktail party in your studio, or a fun night out.


(8) Protect your time.

Be aware and protective of how your time is spent. Eliminating one extra unnecessary activity in your day, such as watching television, can increase time for business tasks, or even more studio painting time.


More tips in Nancy’s book Create Perfect Paintings.

More information on this video series

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Hand painting pink wall with sponge.

Special Offer

Complete Painting Instruction

Learn everything you need from your first brushstroke to the finished painting. Acquire techniques and ground breaking concepts to shape your artistic vision.


  1. Gail Cardow

    Hi Nancy I love your books and DVD’s I look at them all the time and experiment.. I quiet often talk to you on Facebook re: problems I have with leaf I am always experimenting and hope some day to make a living out of my Art.. I would love some feedback from you, thank you Gail Cardow

    • Nancy Reyner

      Hi Gail,
      If you’d like more feedback on your artwork, may I suggest scheduling a private workshop at my Santa Fe studio? Or if you don’t want to travel I offer phone or FaceTime (Skype, Zoom) sessions as well. I think you would benefit much more with a one-on-one session instead of the typed replies I have done for you. Many artists schedule sessions, for a fee, periodically with me to view paintings or have discussions for clarity or improvement in art as well as creativity and career aspects. Also, I prefer to answer personal questions by email, instead of using public forums like my blog, website, and Facebook. I like to answer questions but do limit free advice to one or two typed replies. Thanks for your kind words about my books and DVDs. I am glad you are finding them helpful for your work.

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About Nancy

Professional fine artist Nancy Reyner’s blog about art, painting and creativity. Her career spans over 30 years. She lives in Santa Fe in the US. Subscribe below for free tips on art and painting.

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