Over the past two weeks I’ve shared six tips for expanding your repertoire. Here are the final four. Enjoy!

7. Stretch in a new direction

If you’re moving in a genuinely new direction, that movement is likely to feel risky as well as exciting. Remember that risky things actually feel risky in the body! Don’t be surprised if your stomach gets queasy or your palms sweat—and don’t use those feelings as excuses to stop what you’re attempting. Instead say, “Okay, I’m making myself anxious here—and that’s okay. Onward!” If you’ve been painting your whole life and now you’re starting to sculpt, isn’t it likely that that will feel like a stretch? Accept that reality.

8. Accept being a beginner

If you are trying something genuinely new, say for example moving from watercolors to acrylics or moving from studio visits only to gallery efforts, you must accept that you are a beginner and that you will stammer more than you would like, stub your toe more than you would like, and on some days feel completely lost at sea. Do not let these realities become the excuses you use to return to more familiar ways. Expect them, accept them, and persevere!

9. Accept the reality of learning curves

Not only may you be a genuine beginner at this new painting style or marketing technique, you will also have to endure the learning curve that comes with any new effort. Just picture the learning curve required to go from first piano lessons to playing Bach at Lincoln Center! Don’t let the fact that a learning curve is coming daunt you or deter you. Accept the reality, forgive yourself on those days when you make “too little” progress, and keep the payoff in mind—your growth and success as an artist.

10. Parlay what you already know

Even though you may be a beginner at some new painting technique, painting style, or marketing strategy, you are not a beginner at life. You can parlay all that you’ve learned over the years and make your current experience easier than it might otherwise have been if you had been a novice at life. If you remind yourself that you know a lot and that you intend to bring all that knowing to your current efforts, you will do a better job of maintaining your enthusiasm, optimism, and focus.


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