would you like to take your art career to the next level?
then read on....
The 2020 Artist Development Programme is now open for registration.
limited to three individual places ... so if you are interested, get in touch asap!
I'm Helen Elliott.
I am a professional artist, founder of The Artist Mentoring Group and The Artist Development Programme, and author of 'Creative Me, Keys to Creativity' (Graffeg 2017). I am also an artist-educator for Golden Artists Paints.
I have been a successful selling artist for over 25 years, and have been teaching workshops for over 10 years.
I have illustrated books, book covers, written for art journals and magazines, I show and sell through galleries, art fairs and events at home and abroad. I have a range of licensed products that are sold worldwide. I also run my own studio and gallery in West Wales.
I am thriving as an artist in today's amazing, many-faceted and competitive art world.
I love the paintings I make and I make the life I love.
But it's not always been this way and it's not always been easy. I always loved painting, but certainly, I am not inherently gifted or talented; in fact I was asked to leave the art class at school, and told I couldn't draw.
So making art and selling the art I make has not always been easy for me.
I spent a lot of years, with many trials and errors, finding what worked for me in business. I built up skills and confidence around communicating about the art I loved. I had no formal art education and a lot of opportunities were barred to me. I was turned down by many galleries, experienced rejection often and even once an art shop refused to sell me fine art paper as I was 'not a proper artist'.
But I had a passion for art and I kept on.
I need to stress - it's not that I was very good, or gifted, or talented. I just did what I loved, and developed skills around that.
I have that experience and knowledge to share personally with you, to save you years of frustration, trial, and error in reaching your goals.
let's talk business
The Artist Development Programme (ADP) launched in autumn 2019 with an initial 10 participants. All artists, who were at the point in their lives
and careers where they were ready for the next big step, but they weren’t sure about how to start or which direction to take.
They were all 'emerging artists’, in that they already had quite a strong creative output, some had a cohesive body of work and style, others were producing experimental work,
finding their niche; but all were ready to transform their art into their business.
They all had a keenness, that "almost readiness”, and felt something more that they could achieve with the creative careers. Some were retiring, some, like myself 15 years ago,
were taking redundancy, and some were following the call that they had heard for a while and wanted their art to be more central in their lives and to provide an income for them.
The past 15 years of my art career have been so rewarding. I’ve been blown away by the response people have had to me and my work. But I am not special, extra talented or unusual. I had luck, I had commitment and I had the help of good teachers and mentors. Over this time I’ve met many artists who want for themselves a successful art career. I get that - it’s such a fabulous thing to be able to do, to be creative and have your creativity acknowledged in the world and rewarded.
The hardest step for me, and for many others I have worked with is that first tentative step to ‘yes’. Yes to acknowledging that your creativity is valuable, unique, special. Yes to owning the title ‘artist’. And yes to really acknowledging that we can, and deserve to, succeed in our artistic endeavors.
And Yes to this being financially rewarding too.
Artists were talking to me, asking me how I made a successful career.
And I started to think about the sheer complexity of all the detail that goes into a successful art career and I realised that I had a lot, in terms of real-world experience, to offer other artists. To help them find the joy and freedom that living in alignment with their creative selves - and thriving as a result of this, could bring.
For example, artists have asked me: How do I get my prints done? how do I approach a gallery? how do I know what to charge? how do I attract buyers? how do I find people who are interested in my work? How do I develop relationships with them? you name it…. In my art career, I have done it.
Being a thriving, creative artist is not just about the painting - although that is a massive pleasurable part of it, but equally important and pleasurable is the business of art, the selling of art. What a joy when someone loves what you create so much that the will spend hard earned cash on it. Selling art can seem like a dirty word to some, almost as if it devalues their art in some way. I decided long ago that I wanted creativity to be central to my life, and that I also wanted to pay bills, eat, and indeed to thrive.
So selling my art became important to me. I don’t mean selling in a hard-nosed way, oh no. In fact, I think there’s nothing less likely to achieve sales than to sell with a capital S. This is where ADP comes in.
The one thing I know about selling art is it’s not about selling.
It’s about connecting to who you are as an artist - your genuine, beautiful, individual, unique, artistic voice - that’s what attracts your audience, that’s what entices people to want to know more about you and fall in love with your paintings. That and belief in yourself and 100% commitment to your business.
And this isn’t hard work, really it’s not.
It’s about flow and it’s about ease, and it’s about intention. Attracting and allowing the things that you want into your life and Realising where you put blocks in the way of this happening, and gently removing those.
It's also about the practicalities of art and selling art, as a business in the art world.
Everything from: where do I get my prints done? how should I wrap them? what is the limited edition certificate? what number edition should I use? what paper should I print on? how to market these? how should I store them? How should I post them? where should I sell them? How do I price and plan commissions? How do I negotiate a license fee? should I produce calendars? where should I get them printed? how would I market these? Should I have an exhibition? am I ready for an exhibition? how do I approach galleries? should I pay to join in art fair? how would I show my work in an art fair? what work would I need for art fair? how do I manage my mailing list? what is the mailing list? what do I say to people? why would they be interested? what opportunities are there for me? do I need a website? how would I set up a website? could I run a website? what about Instagram Pinterest Facebook? when will I get time to paint? how do I organise all these things? who can help me with it? ……I can!
Being an artist is challenging but we love that challenge - as artists it is what we thrive on.
Being an artist in businesses is another challenge, and one that with help, it is possible to thrive in. It blends creativity with practicality in a way that is similar to a painting. When you tune in, it works, it flows and there’s ease, and that’s what I want people to get to with their art careers.
In three months we will cover every topic that you’ll need to know about to become a successful selling artist.
The three months are designed so that you’d be able to launch your art business in that time, if you want to.
Having said that, it is not necessary that you plan for launch in that time if this is not your aim. But you will have all the skills, all the knowledge, all the advice and a whole load of detailed downloadable PDF‘s on all the subjects that are essential to start or to further develop your business, by the end of the programme.
Can I really become a selling artist?
This is a video of artist Sue Draper. Recently I attended the opening of her first solo show. A short video of Sue and I talking about how she went from a dream of being an artist to a solo show is available here. (coming soon!)
Sue is an alumni of mine, and credits her success to the teaching and support she experienced from our workshops together. I know it was only partly that - the rest was her showing up and doing the work!
Our dreams are often postponed. Art and creativity often take second, or third place in our priorities. Over time as dreams are shelved and confidence takes a back seat too. ADP, (the successor of Creative Me, Kickstart and The Master Class Series of artist workshops I have taught) puts into practice what is possible when an artist has that dream, is encouraged to set their direction, learns essential skills and is given ongoing support.
Is it too late?
No. You are exactly where you should be. You Are Not Late For Anything.
Did you ever think "It’s too late for me."
Did you ever think "I should have done this years ago"
Did you ever see other artists do well think "I wish that was me?"
Wait - what if you are not late for anything?
What if your best ideas, most joy, best paintings, best sales actually lay ahead of you?
What if you could just learn how to get out of your own way?
Just imagine what you could do......
Artist Development Programme ADP
Each week there will be two live meetings to learn about the business of art, an agreed plan for the week, and all the downloads, links and info you need to achieve your weekly goals.
And there's our 'always on' private facebook group and discussion, limited to other ADP current and past members.
Typical ADP week:
ADP lasts for an initial 3 months, and each week we'll meet - via zoom on:
Monday evening - 121 live call, planning session and Q&A
during the week - put into practice agreed on goals. You'll also receive regular emailed feedback, resources and encouragement.
Friday - live review and discussion.
All sessions are recorded and immediately downloadable for you to review.
What you'll gain from ADP
As well as having all your questions about the business of art answered, step by step agreed plan to achieive your business goals there's this lot too:
What drives you?
What is stopping you?
Why does community matter?
How to use the subconscious and imagination to make change happen.
How to sell without selling.
How to overcome limiting beliefs.
How to see things as you want them to be, not as they are.
Why you should always start with the end in mind.
Mindfulness matters - where is our attention? Where does it need to be?
How to deal with a choice of urgent and important (aka how to get things done)
How to engage with your emotional states to make better business.
Why talking to yourself should be encouraged.
Why there are only ever two questions.
How to deal with success.
Why we find money difficult.
The importance of feeling as well as thinking in business.
Making social media work for you, on your terms.
Finding and keeping your ideal collectors.
ALL THE PRACTICAL STUFF - art fairs to printing, framing to copyright
You name it, I can help with it, and help you acheive the art business goals you desire.
A painting career is a business
There is a belief in artist circles that to make a living as a painter is unheard of, that it means selling out or somehow compromising 'artistic integrity'. I don't believe this.
What I do believe in is making your own luck, clarity of vision, persistence, an atomic work ethic, and good teachers. Making a living from art is not impossible
For artists, there are two kinds of living.
That of working each day, to pay the bills, in a 'secure' job, and that of having a painting business, and living in alignment with your inner most being.
I think the later is a wonderful way to live, which is why I'd love to share my skills and experience with you.
What about the money, honey?
This three month individual 'apprenticeship' is priced at an equivalent rate as one term at university (and you'll learn whole lot more), or the cost of the sale one medium painting (which you'll certainly be doing after working with me)
Three Month fee paid in advance £1595
Three Month fee paid in monthly installments £595 per month.
After the initial three months, you'll be able to join me in my mentoring group on a month by month basis for however long you'd like to, at a rate of £49 per month. There is also an annual discounted rate available, so you'll always have help at hand.
Fabulous! first, let's arrange to talk,
drop me a line and we'll set a date to discuss
Your Artist Career.
This was definitely the right course from me, when I signed up and Helen answered my call to confirm my basic queries about the course.
As a self-confessed Luddite I was worried about joining in the on-line meetings, keeping pace with the advice offered about social media etc. Firstly Helen has created a safe space for the likes of me! The meeting details were sent via email as well as posted onto the closed group on Facebook. Helen kept contact with all of us to encourage us to take part (though there is no pressure to do this). She has taken us through the various benefits and pitfalls of the best know Social Media platforms that can be an aid to selling ‘ourselves as artists’ and our work. She has also encouraged us with creating our own websites and her feedback and the groups has been very welcome. She has responded quickly to any technical issues and taken a very inclusive, active approach to ensuring we can all access the information we need.
Her meetings and her one to one sessions have been an invaluable, inspiring part of the course.
The atmosphere is one of encouragement but also honesty which I believe is essential if we are to grow as artists.
Though a course has to run to a timetable, Helen has been very astute in making sure the resources for the course (including recordings of on-line meetings) can be easily accessed.
and access extends beyond the initial weeks so that from the start, information can be obtained for up to 12 months by members.
I think it’s been one of the best investments I’ve made . Helen is keenly aware of the financial commitment her course members are making, in that she knows we are investing our hard-earned cash and to some extent taking a leap of faith. However, she has never taken this for granted. She has worked scrupulously to ensure that we have been given value for money. While she has provided on-line resources which are of value, I believe that the best resource we have all received from her is the time she has given to each and every one of us on this course.
Kerry Shearer, 2019 ADP
Bron Jones is also now a full time artist. A full time selling artist after starting out on her artistic journey with me four years ago. She says "What an absolutely brilliant; superb; inspirational; magical; creative; uncomfortable; positive; collaborative; supported; encouraging; challenging; refreshing; freeing; calming; energising; roller-coaster of emotions workshop ....LOVING IT.... LOVING IT!! And her comments 4 years later - Little did I know four years ago today, that a weekend with Helen Elliott was going to change the direction my life would take - and improve it beyond measure. Feeling really blessed that I am where I am right now."
Have a look at her website www.bronjonesart.com