Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Do You Need A Style As A Painter?

I get asked a lot how I developed my own 'style' and why it is important to have one as an artist so I am sharing my own take on how I feel about that from two points of view: One from a Creative view and the other from a Working Artist View. 

Exploration is a deeply important part of the creative process. Many humans thrive from the journey that trying ideas out, combinations out, or theories out gives them. For 15 years I have been a painter but I didn't land on a 'style' until about 5 years ago. There are reasons for that I will share in a bit. What is important to share first though is that for the first 10 years or so, I was fully engaged in the exploratory process of being a painter and finding my way, and studying to become the best painter I could be. I was not relying on my painting practice to pay the bills, feed my family, or pay my rent. I sold pieces, but selling was not my motivation during that time, finding myself as an artist was.

The creative process of freedom and trying many things fed my soul and during those years, I laid the foundation for a much different practice that was ahead, even without knowing it. Many beginning artists jump right out of the gate wanting to sell without building their skill sets or actually learning how to paint in a way that their spirit longs for. There is nothing wrong with either, as we are all free to create and do exactly what we want with our talents. With that said, the minute one chooses to make a living as a working artist, to depend on that income solely for their livelihood, much of that changes. Exploration has to become bed partners with devotion to craft, strong business skills, and a visual language that becomes consistent from piece to piece. 

All of these options depend on one important thing - INTENTION. 

If your intention is to paint and create and enjoy the creative process and journey without a strong connection to making money, then you are free to explore and try umpteen different things and ways of creating. There is so much freedom in that. 

If your intention is to sell what you make, especially to sell what you make as your main source of income, you must begin to understand that there is a market and industry with guidelines and expectations that you have to meander through at times. Having your own visual language or style is one of those expectations that is an important part of that for most artists. 

A strong visual style helps you show commitment to craft over time, and investors or customers buy in to that as a professional practice. 

A strong visual style helps you convey your specific point of view as an artist. Truly understanding why you paint the way you paint, gives you a dialogue to articulate that point of view to an audience, and it builds confidence in your investors and customers. 

A strong visual style helps galleries or licensing manufacturers market your work as an established, serious artist. They are in the business to make money and your product having a cohesive visual language helps them sell your work. When an artist is all over the place artistically, it conveys to some buyers or markets that the artist is still learning or in an amateur phase. (No judgement there, just the reality of the market.)

A strong visual style helps you stand out among a really tough, competitive market. There are tons and tons of painters in our world. Many who are successful may not have as much training or skill as you, but I can bet they paint a lot, they market the hell out of their work, and they convey a devotion to craft and process. That devotion resonates with a huge amount of people and their devotion to craft helps their visual style become confident.

A strong visual style helps you convey your brand to a market, and yes, branding matters. There will always be family and friends who support you and buy your work up to a point, but when you saturate that market, you better have a long term business plan and action steps for growth or your success will fizzle. Developing your style helps your brain and heart connect to create in a way that is confident and strong. That confidences builds success over time. 

Do you have to have a 'style' to be successful as an artist, not, not really. But most every successful artist that I know who is making a beautiful living as a working artist has one, and a strong plan for their business. The combination is crucial to long term success. 

I work with professional artists and artists choosing to move from exploratory to professional quite a bit and we pick apart all of these concepts above because they are truly important to be aware of. Decide what your intention is as a Creative, then choose how you want that to look as an artist. If making a living as an artist is what you are longing for, start asking yourself what are you willing to do to develop your visual language and give yourself time for it to evolve while you paint your way into knowing. 

Would love to know your thoughts on this! My experience has been my own and there are many more aspects of this that I will share over the coming months. What is your take around the importance of developing a visual style?  

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Tuscany Visual Art Journaling Workshop with Ardith Goodwin

The countdown is on to this amazing workshop in August of 2018! 

Tuscany Visual Art Journal Experience will be a 6 night stay at la Bagnaia Golf and Spa Resort near Sienna, after flying in to Florence. The week will be filled with culinary experiences, winery visits, curated museum tours, and daily art journaling with sketching and altered books. 

One of the beautiful things about travel, especially to a place so full of cultural inspiration like Tuscany, is the chance to breathe, observe, and engage on the simple act of moving the line and living well. This week long experience will do just that. 

Lodging, breakfast, transportation, airfare to and from the U.S. , art journal, and venue fees ARE ALL INCLUDED for $2900! 

This workshop is currently full but you can message me at to get on the waiting list.

Così eccitato!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Paint A Snowman Kids Class

I am so excited to finally teach a kids class in my new Land of Ardithian art studio this season! 

Because the holidays are upon us, snowmen are something that I love and adore, not that we get to build many in these parts. From 9-12 on December 18th, I will teach kids between 8-13 how to paint their very own tar paper snowman. No two paintings will be alike as we use our imaginations to create unique, one of a kind pieces using juicy tidbits, the elements of art, and creative painting tools (including glitter)! These would make great gifts too!

Cost for the class is $40

We will have a Christmas treat and each student will leave with a 12" by 24" painting, ready to hang! 
All supplies are included and class is limited to 16 so register soon! 

Ardithian Arts Studio 
1260 Dauphin St.
Mobile, Al. 36604
Message me at if you have questions!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Christmas Open House

Save the date friends! December 9th between 9-4 pm, I am hosting a Christmas Open House along with the Christmas Makers Market here at Central Presbyterian! 

Most of the 14 working artists that call Central home will have their studios open and will be welcoming everyone in for the holidays. In Bellingrath Hall there will be a Makers Market with local fine craft artisans, live music, and culinary items for sale throughout the day. 

I am super excited to open the doors and share my studio with everyone as it has been a labor of love getting it set up and ready since Nov. There will be treats for the kids, gift items, and a visual delight of festive holiday artwork. Please join me in celebrating the launch of The Land of Ardithian Studios! 

1260 Dauphin St. Mobile, Al. 36604  
Message me at with questions

Looking Ahead to 2018! 
Huge changes are coming to The Land of Ardithian Studios! 

My studio serves several purposes. It is a working studio for my painting practice, a workshop space for my teaching, a meeting place for area artists, a gallery space for my shows, and an event space for private dinners and parties. 

One of the things I was passionate about when designing the space was creating a studio which would bring people together in many different ways. Being a full time working artist is a joy, but to me, the bigger picture is bringing people together around the beauty of art and lighting the way for experiences and memorable moments. 

Mobile is home to INCREDIBLE artists and I am looking forward to hosting events here around business, craft, and kinship. 

If you are interested in more info about the events to come, sign up for my newsletter or subscribe to my blog where I will keep you up to date on events.  

In this week of Thanksgiving, I lift you up my friends, my followers, and am beyond grateful for the simple connections you all share with me. Thank you for supporting me and cheering me on. Happy Thanksgiving from the Land of Ardithian!

The Land of Ardithian Studio

I have been so lucky to have worked hard and had doors open that led me to my own studio space after 13 years of not having one. My kitchen table, my son's room, even outdoors was where I created for the first long part of my creative journey and now, what a change in scenery. Last year I met an amazing group of humans at Central Presbyterian Church who were beginning the process of renting rooms out to artists and businesses. The only requirement besides rent was to be willing to give back and serve the community in some way. 

 For most of the year my 1700 sq. ft. space upstairs was glorious! The natural light was so lovely, the space was perfect, and I began to expand my business because I finally had space. The only draw back was the stairs in this older building, and with no elevator, my orthopedic issues revealed that the space was not a long term option for me. Once again, doors opened, literally, and the chapel and a smaller space came open downstairs. My heart broke at the thought of moving again, but I knew it was going to be just fine. 

One month ago I gained access to this space after the previous tenants moved, and my wheels started turning about the potential of the chapel. It is about half the size that I had upstairs, but I knew being a whole space would give me options I didn't have upstairs. Because multiple revenue streams are so important these days, I knew this room had to serve three options: gallery space, working space, and workshop space. I also added rental space because it is such a magical experience here, hosting dinners and small, intimate events connected with my desire to build a place for making memories, not simply making money. 

Because I am a colorist I knew my art would bring a huge amount of color. I didn't have a budget to change the floors, so I found really affordable rugs and tar paper which I could paint. I scoured yard sales for inexpensive chairs, got a lot of furniture donated from the church, and scored some huge deals on fabrics at discount "time to get rid of" prices. I also grabbed the china from a 'long' time ago that sits and never gets used, along with some discarded pieces I found through friends, and began to build my place settings for dinners. It was exciting and exhausting but I wouldn't have changed a thing. 

With my design sense going, I also had a short time frame, two weeks basically before my first week long workshop and 50th birthday. Yes, it was a bit nuts but the timing was essential for many reasons and with the help of so many friends and family, we go it done. 6 dear friends and artists flew in and spent a week with me, painting, laughing, learning, and celebrating a mid-century turning point for me! Thrive Catering fed us well every day and we were able to use the space as it was intended, to build experiences and memories. 

 Since opening, I have be blessed with having friends and family and strangers walk in my space and express an instant sense of joy and uplifting. This makes every single exhausting minute worth it. As a working artist, I have come to understand that long days and tireless effort are both part of making a beautiful living as business woman. I have also learned that all of the work and the spaces we create in can be so much more than simply 'work spaces.' They can be places of connection, of learning, of beautiful things, and spaces to share friendship. These are the reasons that make me most proud of this space. 

I am so looking forward to bringing groups together here, to building creative things that are beyond the ordinary, to teaching others how important their own marks are, and of helping other artists learn about the business of making a living as a creative. There is so much to learn, so much to share that we all hold dear. I have finally carved out a space to facilitate that. A bit of Alice goes to church but lives in The Land of Ardithian space.

Today I had a chance to sit in my space and just take it in a bit. It has been a monument task pulling this off, but my heart couldn't be more full. I love being a painter, creating things out of other things, and impacting the human hearts of those in front of me. This space gives me a home to do that in big ways and I couldn't be more proud of where I have come and what is to come. 

Open House is on December 9th from 9-4 pm at 1260 Dauphin St. I do hope to see many of you there as the amazing studios of the other artists at Central as well as a Christmas Maker's Market will be held as well. Ring the bells of a beautiful season friends!