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How did Xanadu Gallery’s Mentorship Impact You?

by Jason Horejs on April 8, 2014 · 41 comments

Though my mentorship with Carolee Clark will be ongoing, it’s time to begin a new Mentorship for the 2014-2015 season.

When we developed the mentorship program, I had no way of knowing how it would work out. I wanted to work one-on-one with an artist to help work through the challenges an artist faces in dealing with the business side of their art career. I had no idea how effective this kind of interaction could be. We decided to make the mentorship broadcasts public so that other artists could follow along – again, I had no idea how  well the broadcast aspect of the program would work.

In short, the entire experience went better than I could have possibly imagined. Not only was it great working with Carolee Clark, but a community sprang up around the mentorship where the artists who were following along were able to interact with me, with Carolee, and with one another. I’ve had great feedback from participating artists, and our opening for Carolee was a great success.

Now, I would like to ask those of you who participated to share what you thought of the experience. I would love to hear the impact Xanadu’s mentorship had on you and your art business, and what you thought of the experience.

Please leave your thoughts, comments and testimonials in the comments section below. Please note that I may quote you in promoting the next Mentorship. Thanks in advance for your feedback on the Xanadu Mentorship program!

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Carolee Clark Opening | April 2014

Early-Bird sign-up for the 2014-2015 Mentorship

If you would like to apply for the upcoming mentorship, please navigate to: www.xanadugallery.com/mentorship/ . The Mentorship application process will officially open on Monday, May 12, but as a previous participant, you can register early.

 

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About 

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia Coulter May 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm

This mentorship was a win-win for all of us! We got to see the stages that lead up to Carolee’s successful show! I especially liked seeing her biography shape into such a great communication tool. She was encouraged to paint larger and she was successful with that! I was impressed with how down to earth both Jason and Carolee were. I didn’t feel they were hiding any secrets from us and we were all along for the ride! Thanks for sharing this learning experience with all of us!

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Tina Huston May 8, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I cannot express how much I have learned and the realities that are sinking in through watching Jason mentor Carolee. This is a good thing, and I am feeling good that I am heading in the right direction. Because I have an existing business that will continue to be a part of my world (my day job), I have had to sit down and think about an implementation strategy/marketing plan for my existing equestrian business and the addition of a lucrative art career. I have been focusing on website optimization, which was badly needed, as many essentials were inadvertently missing. I am also adding social media. I have researched Artsala and plan to use it for keeping my work organized. Having gotten much of this in order is a weight off my shoulders, I feel more freed up to produce art and the marketing makes more sense. I’ll be able to let both businesses enhance each other. With time and persistence, this is going to work out great. I am hoping that Jason will consider mentoring an artist that is not as far along as Carolee, but has the talent and determination to get there. Thank you for this incredible experience, Jason.

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Judy Dunn May 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

I loved the transparency of the experience. There are many aspects of the arts business that can seem shrouded in mystery when you are beginning to navigate the various aspects of it. I found this very helpful in getting a better understanding of things like pricing, and the nature of the gallery relationship. I joined in late, but was able to quickly get up to speed through the video logs and emails that were shared with the group. It was definitely worth my time to join in.

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Denise Cunniff May 8, 2014 at 7:58 pm

The transparency of the entire process was invaluable and I think we all gained more than we could have possibly anticipated. It was the next best thing to sitting in Carolee’s chair. Among other things, I especially appreciate all the encouragement you gave Carolee to paint larger and raise her prices. In other words, face the fears while overcoming obstacles that prevent us from making a comfortable living as artists. I’m glad to say that as a result, Carolee is not the only one who’s now painting larger and charging more.

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Sharon Lynn Williams May 8, 2014 at 8:46 pm

I really enjoyed the process and being able to see it all come together. As a result, I have a totally new website (please check it out, I would appreciate your opinion!) and ideas to make a completely new biography. I am wondering what it was about Carollee that you chose to give her the mentorship -was it because she had a very original and distinctive style? I am wondering how to implement the things I have learned, here in Canada, which has a much smaller population and gallery base. It would be wonderful to have you working to get me into some big galleries here, so I hope you share the process you will use with Carollee, to see if it can be implemented without a big sponsor in my corner. I was delighted to meet you this February when I was visiting Scottsdale, as I felt I already knew you. I am looking forward to watching a new mentorship, and hope that you will chose an artist that is not as distinctive in style and not as far along in their career. Thanks for taking us along for the ride!!!

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Kathryn Weisberg May 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm

I found the whole experience a dual whammy as I am now fully entrenched in the creative process coming off a career in the Corporate world where every business aspect discussed throughout the Mentorship had been at the core of my life. The biggest takeaway for me at this stage is the branding message. It is easy to get lead away by compelling new ideas and experiment with new styles and techniques. It is difficult to land on something that works and stick with it religiously until you become a “household name”. Quality has never been a problem…consistency and volume of production is where you have guided me for this year.

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Terrye J Philley May 9, 2014 at 5:19 am

It has been a delightful experience. Carolee was refreshingly candid and modest. You were encouraging as well as straight forward. I appreciate being able to see things from a galleries’ point of view. It will help me better prepare my work for the time when I am ready to begin approaching galleries-now I have a game plan that will help me move forward. As for other direct impact: putting in my time at local art festivals to learn selling skills and practice talking about my art; began teaching art lessons for local art leagues and school to give me a little more confidence and exposure as a professional artist; for about the same price, transferring my website over to ARTsala for a professional look to showcase my art. Being apart of the mentorship community has been most pleasant and encouraging.

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Laurie G. Miller May 9, 2014 at 6:04 am

I found the process to be fascinating and learned a great deal. Writing a compelling biography, optimizing a website, shipping large paintings, pricing dilemmas, etc. were all informative and I picked up valuable tidbits with each session. Also, to hear Jason’s perspective as a gallery owner along with Carolee’s as the artist was very interesting. They both share a common goal but are working from opposite sides. Great stuff!

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Marny Lawton May 9, 2014 at 6:54 am

It is one thing to read about the process of being an artist full time, but another thing completely to be part of an entire community of artists striving for the same thing. You have lifted the veil of mystery and presented it as any business – hard work, patience, and perseverance. There isn’t as much difference as I thought, and as another artist mentioned, to the careers I’ve had outside of art. I have found this to be tremendously helpful and continue to work on integrating your ideas, and Carolee’s, into my efforts. Thanks for your all your innovative work with and for artists and the art community.

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Marsha Clements May 9, 2014 at 7:47 am

I felt a little like a fly on the wall listening and watching to Carolee and Jason work their way to the show. I would have loved to have been there and seen those paintings in person. I know that I could have gotten even more out of the experience had I been live with the discussion. I had to listen later many times. But I tried to work through the same type of activities as Carolee went through the experience–thinking about my prices, cleaning up my biography, etc. I think the process has taken me to a place where I’ve got to push myself out of my comfort zone–to seek representation by a gallery outside my region and continue to paint and keep those galleries full of my work. Thanks so much to Carolee and Jason for sharing this project!

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Lorna Strotz May 9, 2014 at 7:59 am

The supportive relationship Jason has offered to all of us artists is remarkable and unprecedented! I’ve been a “voyeur” throughout the mentorship experience and feel like I gained as much as Carolee. My needs are different but were well-covered. I feel much more confident about how I can improve my art business. Thanks so much.

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April Rimpo May 9, 2014 at 8:13 am

I was grateful for the recorded sessions since I often didn’t make the live session. The transparency of the process and the wealth of information regarding working with a gallery was tremendously helpful. Although I’ve always been good about adding work to my website, I did reorganize it to make it clearer as a result of the website discussion. You thoughts also made me think more about how to get my art out to more people since I had been focused on entering national shows and needed to beef up the selling part of my business. I finally finished my biographical sketch and made several subtle changes to how I operated. Bottom line: following along with Carolee’s mentorship was of great benefit to me.

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Barbara Peterson May 9, 2014 at 8:25 am

The biggest impact of the mentorship for me was getting an insider’s view of working with a gallery (well, gallery owner — but you know what I mean). It pinpointed how different the thinking and strategy are for gallery promotion and self-marketing.

Self-marketing leads to direct promotion of my art — and direct interaction with clients. The mentorship has taught me to make decisions, primarily regarding sizing and pricing, that are best for the gallery.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jason and Carolee work through the process of raising prices for gallery work, deciding to make a smaller number of larger pieces, discussing her website and branding, crafting her bio, designing her catalog, and seeing the paintings hung in the show.

Thank you both Jason and Carolee for being transparent and taking the time to do this.

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Alison Philpotts May 9, 2014 at 9:10 am

I am so grateful for this broadcast, as it challenged me and taught me so much. It made me realize, that I have much more to do, to achieve my dream of being internationally recognized and to be even more successful and prosperous.
Thank you Jason!

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Brian Billings May 9, 2014 at 9:22 am

It was a great experience. Most of it was common sense, but stuff we need to be reminded of. What I look forward to is see what she does afterwards. I would like to see how she approaches galleries now that she has had a solo show. Does she stay local or try to go bigger and expand further out?

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Cathy Carey May 9, 2014 at 10:07 am

It’s hard to express all the things both material and psychological I got from your mentorship program. But I will try because it was fantastic!
1. I followed along and did the assignment each week, and rewrote my resume and artist statement. Doing that made me more aware of what I am doing in the studio, and also caused me to focus in on what I am doing in a few words, so it is specific and can be related to a buyer by a gallery. I did a biographical sketch, collected testimonials, that I now show in my portfolio, plus a running tally of recent sales.
2. I worked on my web page, got in more time on social media like Pinterest, my Wordpress Blog and Facebook and worked on my SEO. Amazingly – I sold a painting from Pinterest and shipped it to Colorado, sold a painting off Facebook and shipped it to Austin. It was well worth my time!
3. Next I looked at my studio procedures and even though I spent more time on social media I streamlined the way I did my work and felt I had more time in the studio at the times of day I was at my best. I made a determination to produce 4 -5 large paintings a month no matter what, and have been able to do that.
4. The biggest thing I did was to spend time going back and making an inventory of all my work, and keeping good records. This is an ongoing process!
5. I standardized my pricing, and on my website listed my price list so all galleries and buyers are on the same page with prices.
6. I partnered up with a local charity, the Escondido Humane Society, to benefit from my twice yearly studio tour and raised over the course of 3 shows over $3000. The people who came from their mailing list purchased paintings and I was able to reach a new audience.
7. I also took to heart the suggestion to do square paintings and my new sizes of 30 x 30 and 36 x 36 have been popular. 8. During the time of the program I got into 2 new galleries who sold 12 paintings from Aug to April.
It’s been great and I know I will benefit as many times as I follow the program. Thanks Jason for sharing your expertise with working artists, it’s made a huge difference, I know my work reached a new level of professionalism and quality.

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David M. Kessler May 9, 2014 at 10:39 am

Jason, thanks so much for the mentorship experience. Even though I am an established artist, the information presented was very helpful. It was fun to watch you and Carolee interact with each other, and fun to watch her move through the process. I can only imagine that it was a career defining process for her and I wish her and you Jason, much success moving forward. I look forward to the next mentorship experience!

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Sharon Guy May 9, 2014 at 11:28 am

Completing the mentorship application helped me get my creative ideas organized and I was able to be more objective about my art and what I need to do. I enjoyed listening to the broadcasts and found them very helpful. My knowledge of the art business is much greater and I have accomplished some of the things I had planned while writing the application and learning about art marketing.

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Norma Moore May 9, 2014 at 1:30 pm

I frequently was unable to participate in the live sessions but found the recordings available to view afterwards. I found the information useful since I have very little knowledge of the business of art.

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Douglas Fischer May 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I just started watching about a week ago and have been trying to watch one broadcast a day. I’ve just completed broadcast #6. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the process and find it highly insightful and inspiring. I was feeling pretty comfortable with the concepts of your book, as well as your open mindedness from listening to all your podcasts with Barney Davey, but this is such a personal journey. It is great fun experiencing Carolee’s journey first hand. I must say you both are wonderful examples of open communication, goal building, mentoring and inspiring others to work at and succeed with their goals and creative endeavors. Thank you so very much for making the continued effort to share.

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Barbara Lipkin May 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm

I loved being part of the mentorship. It gave me insight into what a gallery owner needs to look for when considering whether to represent an artist. Previously, I had thought that if my art was good enough, I could get into a good gallery. I did get accepted by several galleries, but they all went out of business rather quickly. I wasn’t able to get in to a well-established gallery. I now realize that I needed to establish a better track record of sales, so that I had something to offer a gallery in addition to my paintings. Accordingly, I have now completely revamped my website, started a blog, eliminated from my portfolio work that doesn’t support my focus of abstracted landscapes& still life’s, and prepared to start selling on-line. I think I’ve become much more focused in my work, and have positioned myself better for success. Whether this proves to be true or not remains to be seen. But I am grateful to Jason and to my fellow mentorees for showing me a way to proceed.

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Yvette Lantz May 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Thank you, Jason, for including all of us in the process of your mentorship with Carolee. I found it most informative and certainly received many very good tips which I am hopefully going to be able to put to good use. The one thing that I will do before the year is out is to develop a new website of my own. Sometimes life gets in the way and putting out an increasingly larger body of work can be a daunting. You certainly have inspired me to try to rise to the challenge.

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Valerie McMullen May 9, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Thank you Jason and Carolee for allowing us to be a part of the process and mentorship program! It was wonderful to follow along as Carolee worked hard to meet each deadline and see the final outcome. I am so glad I was able to attend the opening and meet both you and Carolee! She was both delightful and encouraging and her artwork was even more beautiful in person. As a beginning artist, I feel I learned a great deal from both the gallery perspective and the artist’s. From packaging, shipping, writing the biography, etc. I learned a great deal and will take what I learned with me as I follow my own path. Thank you Jason for reaching beyond the gallery walls and seeking to help artists find their way! It truly says a great deal about you and your gallery! I look forward to the next mentorship where I know I will continue to learn more about the business or art.

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Sharon Sieben May 9, 2014 at 11:29 pm

The opportunity to follow along provided the rest of us with tools to apply “lessons learned” to our own marketing strategies and methods along the way and Carolee was the perfect choice. It was personally inspirational and an awesome idea , Jason. I can’t thank you enough!

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Victoria May 10, 2014 at 8:43 am

As a late blooming artist coming into the mysterious business of creating, marketing, tracking, selling and organizing my art, I am grateful to have found Xanadu gallery, and especially Jason’s generosity of spirit. Jason, you are the gift that keeps on giving – thank you. This mentorship journey has been fabulous (I never missed a session and each one was packed with helpful information and the opportunity to witness the blossoming of a unique professional relationship between the two of you). I have learned so much about the multi-dimensional process involved in flourishing in the highly competitive world of art. Carolee and you provided a forum for a bird’s eye view of a process that simply reading about just doesn’t quite fulfill. You took a risk and everyone benefited! I was most astounded to learn the volume of artwork it takes to be represented by numerous high level galleries and have great admiration for the artists that can produce this amount of art. Carolee you amaze me! Kudos to you both.

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Diana Tripp May 10, 2014 at 9:06 am

This membership program was extremely informative, inspiring and choked full of ideas that i have started implementing for my own career. Both Jason and Carolee were open, informative and willing to tackle whatever came to the forefront. I was so impressed that I signed up for an individual mentorship with Jason. It’s been the most powerful tool I’ve had thus far in my career.

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Deborah Kommalan May 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm

This mentorship has been beneficial for me since, quite simply, it was about the business of art, which is generally something artists know very little about. Although I must work full time, I never missed a webcast although I often had to watch them after the fact. I didn’t often have time to respond. I may have seemed like a “silent partner”, nevertheless, I am grateful for the information and for getting to know you and Carolee.
I have put the information in the last program to very good use, mainly upgrading my website, narrowing my choice of style, creating an inventory system, and turning out as much work as possible. I think that now I understand the concepts of branding and marketing as well as understanding the need to be prolific and to demand the highest quality from myself. I have noticed an increase in sales this year.
In the next mentorship I would like to see you work with someone like me, who cannot give up her day job (mortgage must be paid). I think there are many artists who, likewise, create for the joy and because of the drive and work in the studio as many hours as possible, which, like me, may be 10 – 15 hours a week.
Jason, this was a terrific idea! I have already signed up for the next program and have passed it on to artist friends. Keep up the good work! (Silly isn’t it! I know you will, you can’t help it!)

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Cinda Sue Dow May 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

It was so helpful to see all the steps presented in your book actually applied. I have been working on each step for a couple of years and at times have “labored in the dark”. With Carolee you just whipped though all the small things that seem to me to be a brick wall. As the program progressed, I continued to make progress in my own efforts. My new biography really took some time and watching Carolee’s open up was great help in finishing mine. Thanks so much. I continue to push myself and look forward to the next mentorship.

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Christofer Aven May 12, 2014 at 9:15 am

I appreciated the tight structure of the sessions and the excitement leading up to Carolee’s successful show. I felt as if I was right there with her, enjoying it just as much as she did.
I learned about the behind the scenes issues I need to address as an artist, from studio productivity to shipping–all extremely valuable information.
I was grateful for this opportunity and send my best wishes to Carolee for her continued success!

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Connie Rodriguez May 12, 2014 at 9:23 am

This was just what I needed to take my work to the next level! I have implemented everything that you discussed with Carolee. I could see exactly why and what I needed make improvements in my own work which I am still working on. I could see why you selected Carolee and her art to represent her. She does beautiful work and has had the sales that backed her work as well. I also appreciated how gentle but candid you were with her throughout the process. Jason, I am amazed at how you operate your gallery – and – have the time to interact with so many people. What a gift you are to those of us wanting to bring our art into a ‘fine art business’. Thank you so much for crafting this program that benefits so many of us. And special thanks to Carolee who ‘bared her soul’ to the crowd of us watching. I am so glad you decided to do another year. Thank you again.

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Deborah Kommalan May 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm

Well said, Connie, I agree.

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Constance Patterson May 12, 2014 at 4:42 pm

What a great experience this was. In between the introspection and self examination, (caused by trying to keep up with events), I found myself once more, enthusiastic about painting.
Carolee was a great choice to mentor, as she had the artistic chops, but also the zeal to work toward her goal.
There isn’t much that I can add to what others have said, but I would like to reemphasize that I know of no other venue that offers an artist such a clear picture of the gallery experience and all that leads up to gaining gallery representation.
Jason, many thanks. It is with pleasure that I look forward to the next mentorship program. And I am really enjoying the individual mentorship program that I just started.

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Guenevere Schwien May 13, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I enjoyed watching the broadcasts. Most of the information itself wasn’t new, I had already taken one of Jason’s seminars. I still enjoyed the build up to the show. I think I would, however, like to see Jason help an artist get into a gallery other than his own. Obviously by choosing Carolee he has already accepted her into his gallery. This is really the hardest part in my opinion. I also don’t think that all galleries are this helpful. I have been in a couple and there was no concern for my bio or identity as an artist. I think that Xanadu is a unique gallery in that Jason does enjoy training artist, and I think this makes him and his gallery more successful for it. I wish there were more out there like his.

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Jason Horejs May 13, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Stay tuned. We’re going to work on getting Carolee into more galleries!

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kathryn May 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm

What impacted me right off the bat was something you wrote me in an email (I believe) you said to get into a gallery you had to be a full time working artist…that reality really sunk in. After that, I just learned so much with each live session you had from packing artwork to pricing…it was all very beneficial information. Your easy going personality really helped put me at ease with the idea of eventually working with a gallery. And I am so excited that you’ve kept the mentorship sessions going afterwards…where we now get to see how Carolee figures out how to raise her prices, find new galleries and let go of her on-line sales…that will be just as interesting and informative! I so highly enjoyed the whole mentorship process I might just sign up for your next session to see how it is working with another completely different artist! Thank you for all your hard work in putting this together…I really got soo much out of it!!

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Lucy Dickens May 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to “sit in” on these mentorship sessions. I appreciated them being recorded so I could watch and learn later as I was rarely able to make a live one. How wonderful to have the opportunity to get to know Carolee and her wonderful work. I feel each topic and session was a great learning tool, including working on an artist statement and biography, discussing pricing, websites, quality of work, preparing for a show, etc. I found even the smaller nuggets to be very helpful, like guidance on shipping paintings and the link to your blog about this. I enjoyed learning about her creative process and the “story” behind her paintings. I am also very thankful I was able to attend the show in person and see her work for myself, how much more impressive in person it was! I loved meeting her and saying hello to you, John, and Elaine as well! Thank you for all of your time and efforts with this and for really having a heart for artists and their success.

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Jason Horejs May 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm

It was great seeing you at the show, Lucy!

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Jo Castillo May 14, 2014 at 6:50 am

Thank you, Jason and Carolee! The mentorship is a wonderful trip for those of us that cannot participate in person. Your information is helpful and inspiring. I’m looking forward to the finish of this workshop and on to the new mentorship. Even though I am 70+ and will not be searching out galleries your help has been very helpful in keeping up on my local scene and on-line. You are very much appreciated.

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Kelly Dombrowski May 15, 2014 at 6:59 am

I absolutely LOVED this transparent mentoring session with Carolee! I have been a fan of hers since my Daily Painting days over at Daily Paintworks. It was so interesting to see her go from small to large and what that entailed! I got in on this a bit late in January but I have been slowly implementing what it takes to up my game.

Also, at the risk of sounding like an amateur, I never looked at my particular style as something good and to be promoted. I was always trying to be better, newer and more awesome ;). This information has led to a switch back to my first love of Abstract work of which I have been consistent in for years. I’ll be starting at ground zero again but I have hope that I now have some really good direction on what needs to be done. The large canvases are purchased and the consistent time needs to be carved out since you have been very clear Jason about how often a successful artist needs to work.

And although much of this info was not new, it was put forth and packaged in a way that I was finally able to say “Eureka!” I get it! The swirling info of art biz was finally cohesive in my mind.

So thanks. I will definitely get in on the next one! And maybe apply for mentorship myself once I solidify my abstract work once again!

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Nina Baldwin May 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Hi Jason!
The mentorship program for me was a great opportunity to learn from the gallery owner’s perspective. What could be more valuable for an artist?! I appreciated your being candid and so approachable with us!
The phonecalls with you and Carolee were “goldmines” of information and inspiration!! Thank you for taking us artists on the “magical mystery tour” of the process that an artist takes in his career…all the way up to a gallery show! …it was all so valuable!
Thank you, Jason, for the gift of mentorship!

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April Howland June 13, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I very much enjoyed watching Carolee’s journey with you and seeing the show hung in person. It was fun and informative and helped point out areas I need to strengthen, like bio etc. I also couldn’t make the live sessions but watched after the fact. Thank you for putting this together and it was nice meeting you both at the show!

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