Entries Tagged as: business

The Right Brain Business Plan and a Giveaway!

March 1st, 2011, Comments (59)

I'm thrilled to share this interview with Jennifer Lee, author of the recently published The Right Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. Jenn is a friend of mine and I've loved seeing the process of this book go from a spark of an idea, to proposal, to draft, to finish product. I'm so proud of you, Jenn!

The book is awesome and I'm so excited to be giving away a copy! With all the creative folks who stop by here, I know many of you would benefit from this work. I'll have more details about the giveaway at the end of this post. I also want to be sure you've heard about the free Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit that's taking place this week. Check it out, there's loads of great information being shared.

On to the interview!

Jenn, how did you come up with the idea for the Right Brain Business Plan?

Funny you should ask, Leah, because the first Right-Brain Business Plan was born when I did your fabulous Art Every Day Month challenge for the first time back in 2007! So thanks for creating a space to help the idea blossom. During the last two days of the challenge, I was also working on my business plan and decided that I would use the opportunity to do something creative with it since I had to make art for the day anyway. I collaged my big vision for 2008 and beyond on one side of an accordion book and then the next day I put details such as my marketing plan, products and services, financial goals, and action plan on fun cards on the back. The plan helped me reach my goals the next year and became the inspiration for the e-book, workshops, e-Course, and now the book. Just goes to show you how having a regular creative practice like AEDM can spark fresh new ideas!

What advice do you have for creatives out there looking to start their own business?

You don’t have to go it alone. It can be scary to start your own business and put yourself out there, so make sure you have a circle of support – I like to call them your creative cohorts – who you can lean on and learn from. In fact, Leah, you and I connected through our blogs several years ago and have been great sources of support and encouragement to each other even since.

What is the first step to crafting a Right Brain Business Plan?

Start with getting clear about your vision for your business (and your life). What are you passionate about? What do you and your company stand for? What values are you honoring in your business? What does your success look and feel like? This will serve as the foundation for the rest of your plan.

How do you recommend creative people deal with the overwhelm and fear that can come with putting a business plan together?

Find ways to make it fun. Use colorful markers and sticky notes on fun paper instead of forcing yourself to go straight into a spreadsheet to crunch numbers. Pick one piece of the plan to work on and then jump to another part if you get stuck. Don’t feel like you need to have everything ironed out before moving on to the next piece. Give yourself healthy doses of what I call Left-Brain Chill Pills to quiet your judging mind.

What are the benefits of crafting your business plan in this way?

People who have unsuccessfully tried to do a traditional business plan have actually completed a Right-Brain Business Plan because they had fun with it. So actually finishing a plan (and a plan that you’re totally jazzed about and that you look at again and again) is a huge benefit. This RBBP approach allows you to think outside the box and make your plan in any format that tickles your fancy (I’ve seen a bracelet, a paper plate mobile, and even a plan in a paint bucket decorated with a feather boa!).

Above is the fabulous leather cuff bracelet created by Bevla Reeves of Hair Conspiracy.

What are some of your favorite creative business planning tools and resources?

So many. Basic things like sticky notes and colorful markers (Mr. Sketch and Staedtler triplus fineliner are my faves). I’ve been using the Levenger Circa notebooks for more than a decade – it’s an amazing cross between a spiral notebook and three-ring binder. I also love Levenger’s Oasis Concept Pad for brainstorming ideas. My friend Lisa Sonora Beam’s book The Creative Entrepreneur is also one of my favorite creative business planning resources.

How do you stay creatively inspired in your business?

I like to connect with other creative entrepreneurs and see what they’re up to. I work with a coach who helps me innovate and try new things. I look for ways to blend my various interests to form new ideas. I practice self-care Fridays so that I refuel my creative spirit. I love to read.

Where can we get more information about you and your book?

You can find out more about the book at http://www.rightbrainbusinessplan.com. You can also visit http://rightbrainersinbusiness.com to learn about the Right-Brainers in Business Summit started this week.


To win a copy of Jenn's book, leave a comment on the post below by Friday, March 4th at 12 pm EST. If you'd like, leave a comment about how you think the book could be helpful for you!

UPDATE: Congrats to Sheri D. Maple who won a copy of Jenn's book!

Subway Stories Commission

May 15th, 2009, Comments (8)

Happy Friday, everyone! I've just finished up this Subway Stories painting commission. It was purchased as a wedding gift from wife to husband, to commemorate the way they met, on a train. Their wedding is this week and they will be married on a train too. So romantic!

subway stories commission

I started doing "Subway Stories" pieces a few years ago after I took a subway ride that inspired me. I was riding the T (the subway in Boston) and looking around at the people sitting near me and in the rushing cars that passed. I couldn't help but wonder about their stories, all these lives rushing by, all these souls filled with their own lives, their own tales, their own worries, and heads filled with thoughts.

I created the pieces with collages of subway maps, train schedules, and phone book pages. Over that I'd paint a subway scene. And in each of the figures, I wrote what they were thinking about.

subway stories commdetail

This commission was so special because it was a real Subway Story that I got to paint, the story of two people whose lives and stories have merged. I just met them and they were so lovely. Apparently, there's going to be a story about them and their wedding in the Globe tomorrow! I'll link to it when I see it. Oh, and they loved the piece. (Big yay!)

I've got a few original Subway Stories pieces at OAK, a shop in Boston, and there are also prints available for some of the Subway Stories pieces here. I've done a few commissions for this series, so if you're interested, let me know.

UPDATE: Here are links to the couple's love story written up in the Boston Globe and a video clip from the news. So sweet! Congrats, guys!

p.s. I'm working on the next Art Picnic date and thinking about doing a weekday evening this time around. What times work best for you for an evening teleclass?

p.p.s. My blog post, Diving Into Water Art, is featured on Five Star Friday today!

Spring Sale and Lovely Linkage

April 23rd, 2009, Comments (10)


Special Discount! On May 1st I will be raising prices on my framed prints and original artwork in my online shop, Blue Tree Art Gallery. I let my newsletter subscribers know a few weeks ago and gave them a coupon for 20% off any purchase through May 1st. (You can sign up for my art newsletter here and be entered into a monthly drawing for a free print! Sign up form is in the lower left corner.)

Well, I really wanted to extend a special thank you to my readers here, so I'm going to share the coupon code here too. Feel free to use it for 20% off anything in my art store from now until May 1st. If you've been thinking about grabbing something, now's the time to do it before I bump the prices up!

Here's the code! springsale09

Feel free to share the coupon or pass on a link to this post!!


Framed prints (in a 16"x20" wooden frame) are currently $100 and with the coupon code they're only $80! Total steal. Above, you can check out a couple examples of what a couple freshly framed prints look like. (Prints pictured above: Bring Love and Lighthouse.) And below, here's one of my newer prints, Key to Winter, framed and hanging on my studio wall.


Lovely Linkage

O.k., I've also got this build up of fabulous stuff to share, so let's just get to it, shall we?

*Rebecca at Difference a Year Makes posted a video of artist, Jonas Gerard that is so fabulous I just had to share it with you. I've seen his videos before and loved the joy with which he works, but I think his style also is a fabulous illustration of the kind of intuitive painting I'm doing in the class I'm taking and it also reminds me of the methods I use in the Art Picnic class. It's all about permission, freedom, and connecting with your intuition. And I also loves how it ties in with the color theme this month, both in how rich and gorgeous his use of color is and also in how he talks about how he chooses his colors and how colors each have their own "vibe." So true! So, do check it out and enjoy the music that goes along with it. And if you're interested in seeing more of Gerard's videos head over here.

* Sometime around the New Year, I stumbled upon the blog of Havi Brooks and quickly became a huge fan of her work. Her writing is honest, deep, and yet accessible. I love how she teaches about both the hard (business biggifying) and the soft (working on your patterns.) She combines this kind of work in a way that really resonates for me. Check out her blog and then check out all the fabulous resouces she offers on her site.

In a couple weeks Havi is teaching a class on how to get fantabulous testimonials without feeling icky about it. I'm going to be taking it! Check out all the details and sign up here.

* This Rounded Corner tool is super handy for making your images all rounded and purty!

* I'm so loving Brene Brown's read through of her book I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't). She's been doing a weekly podcast around the topic of shame with loads of great links and projects. Very powerful stuff.

* Celebrating crafting failures, the blog CraftFail cracked me up and made me feel a whole lot better about my many crafting blunders.

* The super sweet, Kathryn Antyr (Collage Diva) has a fabulous new blog called True North, which explores finding your direction through art-making. Love it! She's created a really cool Personal Map Making contest with loads of cool prizes. Check out all the details here.

* Janice at Postcards from Wildwood has posted a fantastic Photoshop tutorial that fits so well with the color theme.

Oh, there are so many treasures to explore, but that's probably more than enough for one day! So, enjoy and have a beautifully creative day.

Building Your Blog

March 31st, 2009, Comments (4)

I recently did a call with a group of coaches (including the lovely Jennifer Lee, Jamie Ridler and Cynthia Morris) about blogging. I've been blogging for nearly 8 years now and I loved talking about the process and inspiration I've found through having a blog as well as the way blogging has helped support my business. 


Even though I have some scattered technological knowledge, it is not my specialty. Fortunately, there are people like Mynde and Wendy who are offering great services like their 6 Week class on Creating Your Own Web Presence (and the business behind it.) The class includes 6 hours of lecture and q&a (in audio and video formats, so you can participate live or listen later), handouts, and unlimited email support. Check out all the details and sign up here. The class starts on the 1st!

 If you already have an art blog up and running, but it's in desperate need of medical attention, check out Alyson Stanfield and Cynthia Morris's Blog Triage class here. (I love the name of this class!) I've taken an online workshop with Alyson before and found it helpful.

There a number of Creative Every Day Challenge participants who do not have a blog, which is totally fine! Blogging is not for everyone. However, if you're hesitating out of fear, starting a blog is fairly easy if you're just wanting to dip your toes in and try it out. Buidling my own blog has been such a slow and organic process and it continues to grow and shift as I do. Remember it doesn't have to be perfect right off the bat.

And be sure to ask for help where you need it. Ask a friend who blogs for advice, take a class like the ones above, or hire something to help you get started. There's no need to tear your hair out in the process.

Is there anything you're itching to know about blogging? Anything that you find hard or something that holds you back? Let me know in the comments or email and I may write about it in a future post.

Moon Collector

March 24th, 2009, Comments (12)

moon collector
Moon Collector, 9"x12", acrylic on paper

More moon art and more blue. Two of my favorite things at the moment. This piece, Moon Collector, came together intuitively. I was about to add the red strings attaching the moons to the bucket, but found myself hesitating. After stepping back from it a bit, I got the sense that it was about something rather personal and I wasn't sure I wanted to reveal it in the paint, but I went ahead and put them in there.

So what's up with the moons here? Can you guess? Perhaps you could make up your own story about what they mean.

I think my internal dialogue about becoming a mother sometime in the near future is coming out here. The moons with their red strings make me think of ovaries. Not all my art is so deeply personal, but letting your intuition guide you, often leads to artwork that expresses what's going on underneath all the layers. It can be scary sometimes, but it's always fascinating when approached with a bit of curiosity.

One of the places I first learned to play with my intuition is through Art Picnics. Feel free to join me on my first Virtual Art Picnic this Thursday from 1 - 3 p.m. Eastern time for $25! We'll be talking about how to get playful in your art, how this playful attitude can help connect you to your intuition, and we'll be spending a whole hour creating joyfully! You can sign up for the class or get on the Virtual Art Picnic mailing list here. I plan on doing a Saturday workshop next month for those who can't make it on a weekday. And I'm planning to offer an Art-Picnic-To-Go kit in the near future!

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing what the totally optional monthly theme will be for the Creative Every Day Challenge in April! Wee! I love sharing these themes with you and I think you'll love this one!

Upcoming Virtual Art Picnics

March 19th, 2009, Comments (4)


The Virtual Art Picnic Intro call went great today! I hope that if you were listening in or if you got the recording that you enjoyed it. I loved talking about the process, although, I definitely need to watch ums. Um, oy! Lesson learned.

The first actual Virtual Art Picnic will take place next Thursday, March 26th from 1 - 3 p.m. EST. And you can sign up for that here.

I think I'll do another intro call next month before the Saturday, April 25th Virtual Art Picnic teleclass. If you'd like to be on the mailing list for that, go on over to the Virtual At Picnic info page and fill out the form at the bottom. I know weekdays don't work for everyone, so do let me know (in the comments or by email) what days and times work best for you. Next month's call is on a Saturday and I plan on doing an evening class in the future as well.

Chatting about it with the hubster last night, I realized I'd really like to put together some kind of Art Picnic to-go package that you could buy and download from the site. Something with an audio component (mp3 recording) and a pdf ebook. And possibly also an Art Picnic basket that you could buy and hold in your hands that would include a cd and mini book.

I love it when ideas are flowing. I hope your creativity is flowing wherever you are. I'll be checking in again tomorrow. Until then, sweet dreams!

Foliovision and the New Design at Creative Every Day

February 18th, 2009, Comments (14)

I've been getting some amazing feedback on the new look here and I have to agree, I absolutely adore the new design at Creative Every Day! I'd been wanting to transfer the blog from Typepad to Wordpress for awhile now, but was anxious about trying to figure it all out by myself. In my research on how to do this, I found that it wasn't going to be a simple process if I wanted to keep my permalinks and comments attached, and my head was pounding just thinking about figuring it all out.

Fortunately for me, I stumbled upon Foliovision, a web design company that offers Typepad to Wordpress conversion as a service. As I'd much rather be spending my time working on the Creative Every Day Challenge and doing my own art, it was an easy decision to hire them to do the transfer for me. I worked with Foliovision's Creative Director, Alec Kinnear throughout the process and he was incredibly helpful, creative, and easy to communicate with.

Alec also worked with me to develop the gorgeous new look here at Creative Every Day using one my paintings, At Sea, as the background. I couldn't be more thrilled with the way it turned out.

I highly recommend Foliovision for Typepad to Wordpress conversion and custom design.

Special Bonus!

Alec has been kind enough to offer a $200 discount on custom design services to anyone who mentions Creative Every Day. Foliovision can also help you with custom programming and/or weblog rescue and repair. You can contact them here.

Playing with Words in Art

February 3rd, 2009, Comments (13)

sketchbook swap blah I decided to play with words in art last night as I watched some of the Super Bowl with the hubster.

I used a moleskine that I'm drawing in as part of a sketchbook swap and drew in a few pages just to see what might come up if I drew. The first drawing was inspired by the slouchy pose my husband was making at one point in the evening. I imagined the buzz of thoughts running through his head, all leaking out and landing neatly in a nearby fishbowl.

I sometimes enjoy writing what I imagine the figures are thinking about in my art, like I did in my "Subway Stories" paintings, in which I collaged Subway maps and train schedules, painted a subway scene over that in acrylic and then within the figures I drew what I imagined they were thinking about. "Subway Stories: Green Line" is below. (The original is sold, but you can buy prints of it here.) I'm doing a commissioned Subway Stories painting for someone who met their soon to be husband on the train. So sweet. I usually think of art as a way to express what I can't say verbally. I suppose words in art are just another way to tell the story.

subway stories green line

Another page from my sketchbook swap moleskine. More words, this time just the action itself, "jump!" I seem to have a thing for striped tights at the moment.

sketchbook swap jump

Looking for more word inspiration? Well, I've got loads of it!

  • Ms. Dawn Doran from The Knitting Gnome blog emailed to let me know about this cool art and writing collaboration called Spark, art from writing: writing from art. Here are the details from organizer, Amy Souza: The next artistic/literary exchange starts on Feb 13th; ends Feb 22nd. Again, pick 2 days (48 hours) in which to work. They don’t have to be contiguous. You send your inspiration piece to your partner (and Amy) by the 13th; send me finished work by the 22nd/23rd. The theme this time is “hope.” Not sure how it’ll work out, but if you have an inspiration piece that says “hope” to you, send that to your partner. If not, just send her whatever you want. But I’m asking everyone to look at their partner’s work through the lens of “hope.” Again, it’s so vague, you can define it how you want, and if nothing comes to you through that lens then forget it and just let the piece inspire you. You need to let Amy know if you're interested in participating by this Friday, February 6th, by contacting her at or get more info on her site here.
  • Blogger, Writer, and Massage Therapist, Heidi Fischbach is offering A Month of Living Curiously, a month of inspiration and guidance via email sure to spark your creativity through the wonder of words. Check out all the details here!
  • I loved reading the written responses to my painting at Pictures, Poetry, and Prose yesterday! Laura mentioned this in the comments, but I wanted to be sure that everyone knows that she is always accepting submissions from artists. What a wonderful way to collaborate and join the creative energies of visual art and the written word!

Leap and the Net Will Appear

January 23rd, 2009, Comments (20)

I'm loving re-reading Gail McMeekin's The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women. This week's chapter is all about taking risks. It made me think of the quote from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way,

Leap and the net will appear.

I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now and decided that with my year of leaping, now is the time! So....

I will be leading an online Artist's Way group this year, complete with a weekly teleclass and private blog. It would run for 12 weeks and I'd keep the groups fairly small, so that everyone would get plenty of personal attention. It will cost $300 for the 12 week session.

Artistsway The Artist's Way is a powerful, transformational book and it truly changed my life. I admit that it is intense, it can take you to dark places and push you to your limits, but it's definitely worth it.

Having a group to help you through it is so helpful. Years ago, when I was getting back in touch with my creative side, I found an ad for a Artist's Way group that was led by a local yoga teacher. We met every week in her living room and discussed one of the chapters, the exercises, and our experiences with them. And in that small group of 5 women, I made huge shifts in the way I approached my creativity.

I've gone through the book many times now and a few years ago I led a large group of about 100 bloggers through the book. I loved the online group and met so many wonderful people, but there were times when I wished the group was smaller because it was tough to keep up with everyone. I've been interested in leading a group through the book for awhile and I think the online and teleclass forum provides a wonderful opportunity for us to connect and share this work even if we can't meet in person.

I'm thinking about starting up a group in late February or early March. If you're interested in joining me in a safe, supportive, ultra-creativity-boosting adventure, leave a comment or pop me an email and let me know, so I can keep you up to date!

Playing with Not Knowing and Winter

January 19th, 2009, Comments (23)


O.k., it's winter in New England, so I shouldn't be surprised by the snow we're getting whopped with here. But here I am, feeling surprised by all this snow. Why do I live here, again? Anyways, from inside my warm apartment, where the hubster has made delicious blueberry pancakes, the snow does look oh so pretty. As long as I never have to go outside...

Well, tomorrow I need to get myself to the post office to send off some artwork and calendars, so pretending I'm a hibernating bear won't work much longer.

I do appreciate the seasons, the cycles we have here, and no matter how many times I've gone through them, it still feels a bit new every time.

So I decide to play with the fun parts of winter, the child-like sense of wonder that manages to creep in when the world turns white. I play with winter by drawing fun snowmen with cats on their hats, wrapping up in colorful scarves, drinking hot chocolate...and maybe I need to find a sled. :-)


In the Key to Winter painting, I worked out some of my feelings about the season. It seems like I work out so much of my innerworkings through my art. If I let myself just play, sketch, and wander with color, whatever is going on in my head eventually comes to the surface. (I just sent out the first print of this painting and I love the way it came out!)


I've drawn this image of smoke from upside-down houses a couple times now. One time the smoke seemed to come from the woman's heart and this time from her hair. What's that all about? Don't know. I might not ever know. It could be something I'm processing or something utterly absurd or a little of both. Heh.

Part of creating is embracing the not knowing.

While you're playing with your creativity this month, experiment with not knowing. You could try creating a piece of artwork with no plan, just taking pen to paper and see what happens. You could tear through some magazines and tear out any image that catches your eye (don't question, just tear). Perhaps put these images together in an art journal and then write a bit about what you see in the imagery.

Later this week, I'm going to write more about one of my favorite ways to play with not knowing...doodling! Til then, toodaloo!