Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Gratitude for Paintings sold in 2016

For 2017, I am choosing to focus on "gratitude." So as part of this gratitude practice I am going to begin by expressing gratitude for all the art that was collected during 2016. In this blog post, I am documenting all the art that was collected and expressing my thanks to the universe for uniting my art with collectors.

Each artwork collected has a story... why they fell in love. Why they couldn't live without it. Often, the art was chosen as a gift for a loved one who had a special connection to the subject matter. Others collected art for themselves to celebrate beauty in their lives.

The artwork collected came from four new collections created in 2016 as well as a few miscellaneous whimsical pieces that I created in years prior.

Animal Poetry

I have always felt a strong connection with animal spirits and built a collection of artwork around these soulful animals. Here are four original paintings chosen by collectors this year. 

The pigs were collected by a music teacher who spotted the art the annual boutique that I do in conjunction with a her music school. She purchased the painting for her niece who loves pigs. This was a big investment piece but this collector wanted to be the kind of Aunt who gives original artwork and her niece will grow to appreciate its value over time.

fox painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.com
pig painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.compenguin art by miriam schulman | http://schulmanart.com

Musical Memories

I also create a collection of musical artwork based on instruments and musicians.

  • a professional composer and trumpeter couldn't resist the trumpet and collected it the day it hit my webste
  •  a tubist married to a retired elementary music teacher snatched up the tuba painting
  • The Harp painting went to a seventeen year old daughter who is studying the harp for her birthday present
  • the piano painting, a gift to a granddaughter. 

 click here to see more from the musical art collection
trumpet painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.com
word art | harp painting | musician art | inspirational painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.compiano painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.com

Earth laughs in flowers. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is it about flowers that draws me to them again and again? I think it is the challenge to paint them in new and unconventional ways.

Like these floral collages. From a distance they look like conventional flower paintings. It is only when you draw near that you see they are made of bits of magazines, piano music and empherma.

  • The sunflowers were purchased by a mother as a Veterinarian school graduation gift to her daughter. 
  • The pink peonies will adorn a music room.
  • a friend, who just sold her company, chose the red poppies to grace her new executive office.
  • Repeat collectors who also own my fruit collage of lemons and limes added the sunflower bouquet to their art collection

Discover flower art that speaks to you
sunflower painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.comflower painting | peony painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.com
flower painting | poppy painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.comsunflower painting by miriam schulman | http://schulmanart.com

My Muse made me do it

These whimsical creations were also part of collections, most of which have already gone on to other homes. There are more Day of the dead art, and flag art to be found on my website.
american flag art by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.com

chipmunk painting by miriam schulman | http://www.schulmanart.comFinally, this watercolor chipmunk crawled into the heart of a collector and she had to bring him home. I love woodland creatures, don't you?

About the Artist (Miriam Schulman)

Miriam Schulman, founder of The Inspiration Place
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and Im the founder of The Inspiration Place  where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired. See the art I create at schulmanArt.com or learn how to paint with me at TheInspirationPlace.net

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Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Art Goals

2017 art goals http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2017/01/2017-art-goals.html

This year, my family started a new tradition of writing our goals down together and sharing them. Even my son is on the bandwagon as he started a journal for his goals and a planner to track them. My daughter uses her planner as both an art journal and a goal keeping tool. I am not sure what cockamamie system my husband has, I just know that he has one and I have a few systems going on at once.

One exercise I find invaluable is reviewing the goals of the previous year and documenting how I did with each one as I plan my goals for the following year. I also have been documenting this annual ritual on my blog as writing goals down and keeping them visible holds me accountable.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I would love to hear from you in the comments about how you set goals for the year.

Year in Review

Here is a list of the goals I made for 2016 and how I did with each of them.

See blog post The Art of Goal Setting for a deep dive into my 2016 goals
One error I made last year was too many goals. Early on in the year I saw this problem and intentionally cut out a few of my business goals so that I could focus on my motherhood and my spirituality.

1) New online art classes.. 

I planned on launching 4 new art classes in 2016: an art journal class which became Painting with Words, a watercolor class which became Farm Animal Spirits, a Handcrafted Holidays course as well as a creative marketing class.  In actuality, I did launch 3 new art classes plus a private coaching series to see if I could build that into a course for those wanting to market their art. Since I had bitten off more than I could chew, instead of choking on too much I really only developed three of the four courses. Two of them did exceptionally well and the Handcrafted Holidays course was not as successful ( in terms of profitability) as I had hoped.

Outdoor art show... lots of compliments.. but less sales than online

2) Outdoor Art Fairs. 

My goal was to do 3-4 outdoor shows. I actually only did two which was fine as they are very time consuming and difficult on my back. Not even sure why this was a goal.. One of them was very successful and the other venue I will not be going back to.

Traveled across the country (for the first time) to Portland, Oregon 

3) Travel

I traveled to Portland, Oregon to see friends and family and also down to North Carolina for an art retreat. 

painting sold in 2016 (50% supported charity)

4) Solo Art Shows

I had a successful solo art show in May 2016 and cancelled a planned show in November when I realized I had too much on my plate. ( good decision!!) In 2017, I plan on 1-2 open studios
painting sold in 2016

5) 50 New Paintings

I don't think I came even close to this number.. Unfortunately, I didn't create a good tracking system for myself so I can't say how many paintings I produced in 2016. I will change that for 2017 and actually track how many new artworks I create.

6) 6 Figure Art business

I did not hit this goal but my net revenue was up 20% in 2016 over 2015.

Goals for 2017

For 2017, I have broken down my goals into three categories: personal development, business and new skills. (although you could say that the new skills are also personal development)

Personal Development

1) Meditation

Although it wasn't a specific goal in 2016, I began meditation. I also downloaded the "Calm" app which helped me track my progress. Since I downloaded the app in June, I meditated 215 times with the help of their guided meditations. 

I introduced meditation to my children and my daughter has started meditating as well. She found it helps her relax before her cello sessions. My son has also started meditating as a sleep aid, although he likes the app "Headspace."

I want to continue to meditate daily as I found it has both short term and long term benefits for my emotional well being and concentration. My specific goal is to meditate more in 2017 than I did in 2016.

2) Journaling

In 2016, I worked sporadically in my art journal, experimented with the "5 minute journal" app as well as flirted with the practice of morning pages. In 2017, I want to maintain a practice of daily journaling to keep my goals in mind and express gratitude. Specifically, I want to make sure I take the time every month to review and reflect on my month to adjust course.

3) Move my body

I actually have no weight loss goal in mind. My specific goal is simply to make sure I get some form of exercise every day, preferably in the morning. (since if it doesn't happen then, I know it never happens)

A page from my 2016 art journal on Gratitude... 
4) Express Gratitude

This is actually part of the journaling and meditation process, as I want to make to create a daily gratitude practice. Gratitude is also my word for 2017.

Business Goals

1) Upgrade the Inspiration Place

I am investing time and money into the Inspiration Place software platform in order to create a smoother and faster experience for my students. Although they are happy with the old one, students who have been testing the new platform absolutely love it and I want to have a site that represents a high end experience.

This painting, that I completed during my North Carolina Art retreat will be the basis of my next series of paintings.

2) Create 4 new art collections

I plan on creating a new art collection each season. More on this in future blog posts.

3) 6 Figure Art Business.

Yep, it's back on my goal list. I think if I keep my expenses down and release new and popular art classes regularly I will finally hit this milestone.

This painting is also on the easel and in development... can't wait to share the finished painting with you. This is the type of art I will teach in "Mixed Media Masterpieces"

4) New Art Classes

This year I am revamping several of my popular art classes to make them better as well as creating a few new ones. You can anticipate a new watercolor class in Woodland Creatures as well as a mixed media course tentatively titled your Mixed Media Masterpiece.
My husband HATES this purple lipstick, but it makes me feel like a powerful artist... so I wear it.

5) Open Studio

I plan on hosting two open studios in 2017. The first one will be June 11th ( I think... waiting to hear when my mom's 70th birthday party is scheduled). So save the date!

New Skills

"New Skills" is a new category for me which my son came up with. My kids and I have sat down to write our goals & I was so inspired that my kids both made "new skills" a category on their goals list.

My sixteen year old son wrote that he wants to learn a new language & also learn how to drive.

My nineteen year old daughter also wrote that she wants to get her driving license. (finally! goodbye driving my kids around) & also wants to learn how to cook.
Here the new skills I want to focus on

1) Play Bridge
2) Study the Bible ( Torah, or old testament)

What about you? What kind of new skills do you want to learn this year?

how about learning portraits as your new 2017 skill? 

Read More »

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Is your instagram account safe?

I blame it on Mercury in retrograde.

I woke up one morning in early September to discover my Instagram account was hacked.
And there was no one to call for help.

Throughout September, while Mercury was in retrograde, I submitted numerous reports (multiple times a day) to Instagram officials, talked to IT experts and mourned what I felt was a sure loss of the more than 8,000 followers I had built on the platform.

The good news: This story has a happy ending, and I want to share my experience so you can avoid it!

What’s Mercury got to do with it?

Three to four times a year when the planet Mercury passes Earth in its orbit, it slows down and appears to stop. Since there is forward movement, the result is an optical illusion that makes it seem like the planet starts moving backward—or Mercury in retrograde.  

In astrology, Mercury rules technology, travel and communication. So, astrologers attribute tech, travel and communication snafus that occur during this time to the fact that the planet is in retrograde. Electronics go berserk, travel can be chaotic and it’s not unusual to hear from some random person from your past.

I wasn’t very superstitious prior to September, but since my Instagram account got hacked, I’m starting to believe in Mercury’s mysterious powers. I began to wonder: Was it just a coincidence that my Instagram account was down almost the entire time the planet was in retrograde?

Who knows? What I do know for sure is that I don’t want to have this happen EVER again!

Instagram security measures

So, how you can you avoid a similar fate? Protect yourself, and your Instagram account, with these tips:

  1. Pick a strong password
Don’t underestimate the power of a strong—and unique—password on all of your accounts. Since I salvaged my account from the Instagram gods, I started to use LastPass to create and store my passwords. This tool creates impossible to memorize passwords that utilize best practices for a strong password (combos of numbers, letters and punctuation) and allows me to memorize just one password to unlock a vault that stores all of my passwords.

  1. Update your password (and keep it secret)
Don’t be surprised if you receive a message from Instagram prompting you to change your password. If you receive this message, it is because Instagram found evidence that your password may have been compromised while doing its automated security checks. Even if not prompted, it’s good practice to update your passwords every six months to a year.

  1. Keep your email account secure
Turns out, my Yahoo email account was also compromised, so that was most likely how my Instagram account was taken over. Protecting your email account with a strong password is a sure way to protect your Instagram account.

What to do if your Instagram gets hacked

If you find yourself in the turmoil I was in when my Instagram got hacked, take a deep breath. It took me almost an entire month to regain access to the account, so you need your stamina.

  • You need access to your email or Facebook account to request a password reset. This was a problem for me since my Yahoo email account had also been impacted. Therefore, my only recourse was to submit a report to Instagram several times a day until I got a response. There is not a number to call to get a person on the other end of the line to provide support.
  • Instagram will request proof of ownership for the page. If you have a personal Instagram page, this won’t be as challenging as it was for me since you most likely have several documents that show your name as it is reflected on Instagram. If you have an Instagram page for your business, be sure you have the proper documentation to back up your ownership. I used my New York tax id document as proof of ownership, since then I have created an LLC to protect the "SchulmanArt" brand as I realized I had nothing documenting SchulmanArt as a legal entity.
  • Be diligent with your efforts to contact Instagram support. I was submitting reports multiple times a day for the entire month.

Now that I have regained access to my Instagram account, I would be so honored to have you follow my page at schulmanart. That would make my efforts battling the tech snafus of Mercury in retrograde worth it.

click HERE to follow me on instagram!

Other blog posts you might like

About Me (Miriam Schulman)

Miriam Schulman, founder of The Inspiration Place
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and Im the founder of The Inspiration Place  where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired. See the art I create at schulmanArt.com or learn how to paint with me at TheInspirationPlace.net
Read More »

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How to hang art (correctly)

how to hang and display art http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-hang-art-correctly.html

Whether you’ve been an art-lover all of your life or just recently fell in love, the step from the gallery to properly displaying a newly acquired piece in your home usually feels gargantuan and is filled with lots of questions.

How high should I hang it? 

Should it stand alone or be grouped with other artwork? 

Where should it be displayed? 

What do I use to hang it? 

How can I protect it?

Don’t fret. I’ve got you covered with some great ideas on how to display art in your home, how to hang pictures like a pro and some best practices to keep your art investment secure for years to come.

how to hang and display art http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-hang-art-correctly.html
Sultry Sunflowers, 20x60" is a great over the sofa artwork sure to please him or her

Display art in your home

I know you set out to find artwork to complement a certain room or to put the finishing touch on a remodel. However, just as often, you might just fall in love with a piece of art that you cannot live without. Whatever the route that brought you and your new artwork together, the next stop is to find the proper place in your home to display it.

Since I always get asked the best way to hang art, I have created a Pinterest board for you to use for inspiration and to get the creative juices flowing. While no one but you can tell you what works best in your home, there are a few rules for hanging pictures I wanted to share with you.

Seven  key rules for hanging pictures

1. Hang art at eye level

2. Leave 2-2 ½” between pictures to utilize wall space

3. Art reflects your personality; don’t settle for a just reflection (mirrors are not art!)

how to hang and display art http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-hang-art-correctly.html
Pin this infographic so you don't forget the rules

How to protect art in your home

Even though most of us can’t control our home environment to be as art-friendly as curators can in museums, there is still plenty we can do to protect art in our home. Here are the factors you need to consider to best protect your artwork:

4. Location is everything

Not every room in our home is art-friendly. Rooms with walls that are shared with the exterior of your home typically experience more temperature fluctuations—bad news for artwork. Interior walls are a better choice to hang artwork. For similar reasons, rooms with windows and doors are less stable for artwork. It’s also never a good idea to display artwork where it’s directly impacted by a heat source such as a fireplace or portable heater. Ideally, you want to keep your home around 70 degrees at all times, the optimum temp for artwork.

how to hang and display art http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-hang-art-correctly.html
It's easy to hang gallery wrapped canvas that doesn't require a frame, like this original floral painting depicting daffodils

5. Avoid Sun damage 

how to hang and display art http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-hang-art-correctly.html
Add the outdoors and modern color and texture with abstract tree art

Light can cause considerable damage to your artwork, but there are alternatives to living in darkness for the dedicated art collector who wants to preserve their collection. First, hang pictures where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight. Be sure to close blinds or curtains when the room is not in use. There are also options to install UV-blocking film to windows and skylights. To create optimum lighting for viewing artwork without overdoing it, use a dimmer switch to control incandescent low-wattage bulbs that have no UV. Picture lights designed to attach to frames should never be used. Light levels in a museums are controlled to 50 lux for art on paper up to 150 lux for paintings, while a piece in your home subjected to direct sunlight would experience 20,000 lux or more. It’s no wonder that controlling the light that directly hits your artwork is critical to its longevity.

how to hang and display art http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/11/how-to-hang-art-correctly.html
soft and lovely, protect delicate watercolors under glass
6. Frames are your friends

Frames not only complement your artwork and d├ęcor, the glass you choose can provide significant UV protection for your artwork. Museum-grade glass, although expensive, can block out 99% of harmful UV rays compared to the zero up to 50% protection you get with non-glare or regular glass from frames typically sold at craft stores.

Add  a pop of pink with a Playful Flamingo

7. Use Proper hanging technique

The proper materials and techniques should be used to hang your artwork to protect it and the furniture or other art that might get damaged if it falls. When in doubt or if you need to re-hang all of your artwork after a move, consider hiring a professional art hanger who will know based on the weight of the piece and the hanging surface, the right hardware to use.

If you’re on the hunt for a new piece of art to add to your collection, pop on over to my online gallery and we can collaborate on the best place to display it in your home.

About Me (Miriam Schulman)

Miriam Schulman, founder of The Inspiration Place
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and Im the founder of The Inspiration Place  where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired. See the art I create at schulmanArt.com or leran how to paint with me at TheInspirationPlace.net

Read More »

Thursday, November 3, 2016

My 5 Favorite Podcasts

5 favorite podcasts http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-5-favorite-podcasts.html

One of the biggest challenges I see with artists, myself included, is quieting the monkey mind and the inner critic in my head. So in order to not listen to those demonic voices, I like to listen to podcasts while I create. While my conscious mind listens to the entertaining podcasts, my subconscious mind is set free to create without the pesky inner critic constantly evaluating my process.

However, I love podcasts so much I also listen to them when I am not creating. I listen in the car when I am driving my non-driving teenage kids to sports practice and music lessons and that transforms a “must do” into a “get to do.” I also listen while I cook dinner or do other mindless chores and as a special treat I have even curled up in bed with a cup of hot tea at the end of the night to finish off an episode.

I love to read...but when I paint, I listen.
There has been an enormous benefit to my happiness as well as my art as a result of active listening. To create your most original work, you have got to refuel the creative well - and although visiting museums is another way I do that- reading and listening is another.

When you're an artist, you have to refuel your mind with fresh thoughts and ideas, so that you are inspired to paint.

So, while the latest episodes of the Real Housewives of New York City or even watching Project Runway may be a great way for me to unplug and decompress, they’re maybe not directly feeding my artistic soul.

That is why, in addition to going to museums regularly, I make sure to listen to podcasts.

I’m listing my top five favorite podcasts below — and if I missed your favorite, tag me (@schulmanArt) on instagram!

My Personal Podcast Process

Podcasts are a fantastic way to fit education and inspiration into the “in-between” times in your day. Most of the podcasts I like are about 30 minutes But just like your handy DVR, you can pause and come back to them in the middle.

Become friends with the 15 sec fast forward and rewind buttons. I use both regularly. Some podcasters put commercials in the middle and 4 taps on the fast forward will have you skipping past those. The rewind button is also great when you found that you have stopped paying attention to the podcast and became lost in your own thoughts but want to repeat a juicy part.

If you have an iPhone, you already have a podcast app and can search iTunes and subscribe to your favorites but you can get podcast apps for other kinds of devices or listen to podcasts from your desktop through iTunes.

Like I said, I like to listen to podcasts while I’m in my studio but I also love them for those in between times or while running annoying errands in the car. They’re perfect to fit into your day at any point when you are doing a task that doesn’t require your full attention, such as cooking, supervising homework (my favorite- because my eyes are on my son while I listen), or just walking.

If I have an aha moment I will use the microphone app on my phone to dictate a note for myself.

What I Look For In a Good Podcast

For me, a great podcast has to do at least one of the following.
  • Makes me laugh 
  • Inspires action 
  • Gives me something to talk about 
I’ve chosen my top podcasts based on how loyal I have been to them plus i included a few more that I thought deserved a shout out. If I missed your favorite podcast, please leave a comment below or tag @SchulmanArt on social media with a link to your favorite.

My 5 Favorite Podcasts

1. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

This weekly podcast features New York author Gretchen Rubin chatting with her sister, a tv writer and producer living in LA. Both women straddle my age and discuss seemingly minor issues as life problems. If you liked Seinfeld, then you will love this. What sets this podcast apart from all the others I have listened to is that they have a structure for each podcast with segments that helps you enjoy each one since you know what to expect.

Although the podcast is entertaining, Rubin brings research to the table while her sister deadpans one liners throughout the show so that Rubin’s quest for perfectionism is presented with a wink and a smile.

They also have a beautiful way of including their audience in the conversation through thoughtful questions and request for feedback which they often share through voicemail messages. Her podcast was named in iTunes’s lists of “Best Podcasts of 2015” and was named in the Academy of Podcasters “Best Podcasts of 2016.” The podcast consistently ranks in the iTunes Top Charts which is how I stumbled across it.

The best part is that my nineteen year old daughter also loves listening so we get to discuss the issues in the podcast.


I took Gretchen's quiz and I am a "questioner"...
which I questioned... so I took the quiz again
but changed a few answers.. and still got questioner
Favorite episode: Oh my goodness I love these. How to pick one? I think this series is best enjoyed listening to it in sequence beginning with number one since they will often reference past episodes. In the first episode, they introduce the idea of the “One Minute Rule” which I still use. The topics and discussions are very relatable for women and although on the surface may seem just humorous (like the episode on “the problem of switching bags”) I always walk away with a deeper understanding of human nature.

2. Online Marketing Made Easy

Topics include how to market using Facebook, blogging, keeping your email organized and more business related stuff.

If you are trying to sell your art (or anything else online), then this is a A-list podcast to listen to however, her later episodes do slant more to those selling digital programs which may not be your thing. However, I never miss an episode and eagerly await each new one. Her voice is very easy going and strong. Her energy is wholesome and you feel like she is your best friend who is sharing her marketing secrets just with you.

Great episode to try out: Media, Meditation and a little Motivation with Gabby Bernstein

This is the podcast I listen to because it makes me feel smarter and I have something to discuss with folks who do not market online nor watch real housewives of NYC. Malcolm Gladwell tackles social justice issues in this podcast. He is passionately opinionated with a beautiful voice and a master story teller.

Food for thought: Food Fight Which isn’t about food at all but social justice in the education system.

4. The Mind Your Business Podcast

Although this podcast is primarily directed at online entrepreneurs, it has a clear woo-woo definition. The podcast is at its best when James Wedmore is chatting with his co-host Phoebe Mroczek.

Topics include money mindset, meditation and manifesting.

Favorite episode: Improving Systems in your Business which features my question in their question of the week segment

5. The Tim Ferriss Show

When Tim Ferriss got into podcasting, he decided he would skip the pain of editing each one. Therefore there are many episodes that are up to 3 hours long. That can be good news or bad news. If Happier is the podcast I share with my daughter, Tim’s podcast is the one I share with my teenage son. Ferriss is every man’s fantasy about what it is like to be a millionaire bachelor and he proudly promotes this lifestyle of work little yet efficiently. Overall, he has a good message as he is constantly interviewing top performers from Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell to navy seals and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It was through this podcast that I have uncovered some of my other favorites such as Revisionist History and Tara Brach’s. The podcast is on the end of my five since I do not listen to every episode but the ones I find boring, like a deep dive into nutritional supplements, my son is crazy for.

Personal Favorite: Well since I love to laugh, I have to shout out my favorite was the episode he did with Comedy’s Dynamic Duo, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

Honorable mentions

These are podcasts that I have listened to a few episodes but haven’t fully committed to listening to every week.

  • Quiet
  • On Being
  • Tara Brach

Love a podcast I missed? Share it! Tag me @schulmanArt on social and let me know your favorites! (or leave a comment here... Either way, I’d love to hear from you!)

About Me (Miriam Schulman)

Miriam Schulman, founder of The Inspiration Place
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and Im the founder of The Inspiration Place  where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired. Check out my free resource section  for artists and art collectors

Read More »