Lemonade or Art?

"Unsung Artist" by Joyce Wycoff

What does a book about death and loss have to do with knowing how to market our art? There is a connection, but I have to back up a bit…

I love reading artist statements, where it seems as if most artists came out of the womb waving a paint brush. It didn’t happen that way for me. While we did art in my four-room elementary school, in a tiny farming community in Kansas, I don’t ever remember anyone being particularly impressed by my efforts.

And, it wasn’t until my late 20s that I met someone who called herself an artist. Fortunately, she took my hand and led me into an art store where I found what I thought was my only talent: buying art supplies.

That started an off-and-on flirtation with art over the next thirty years. However, never in all those years did anyone suggest that I give up my day job for art.

Then, in 2006, the Universe began stripping away almost everything I called my life, and left me drifting aimlessly. I still don’t remember how it happened, but I wound up in a small fishing village just south of Puerto Vallarta thinking I was taking a digital collage class when I was actually reinventing my life.

Over the next four years, even as one loss followed another, art healed my wounds and led me into a new life. When my friends began to suggest that I write my story, I resisted. I did not want to write a book of loss and grief. I did not want to be a “poor widow.” Life had opened up in new and joyful ways and I wanted to celebrate that.

But—finally, we get to the art marketing part—when the Universe gave me lemons, it also gave me art. I soon realized that this story might help others who were going through challenges. I decided to write the book to make it clear that I was a professional artist and that my art was for sale

I wrote my book for the iPad because the digital reproductions look stunning on it (they also look fine on the downloadable PDF that non-iPad folks can buy). While the story of each image is connected to a specific part of my journey, I’ve also included where readers can find that image for sale.

The results are not in yet. The book is just now out, and I don’t know if it will result in the sale of any of my artwork. But I believe that the principle of marketing our art, in an organic way that grows out of our lives, is a powerful one.

Old saying:
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

New saying:
When life hands you lemons, make art.

So, the question for you is: Where are the lemons in your life that might turn into art … and into art sales?


Joyce Wycoff was a participant in the smARTist Telesummit 2012, and as an alumni has the privilege of submitting both guest blog posts, and for Tuesday’s Bragging Rights.

You can find out more about Joyce and her book, Joy After The Fire, by clicking here.

Joy After The Fir, by clicking here.

3 Responses to “Lemonade or Art?”

  1. Sari Grove says:

    I am a moron…So I am going to ask this really dumb question…Is the article by Ariane or Joyce because it says by Ariane Goodwin at the top of the article…

    • Ariane says:

      Hey Sari,
      Leave it to you to find that darn fly in the ointment :-) My VA said she’d fixed this (ha!), but clearly not. It’s not one of those easy things to figure out – changing the name on a post even though you would think it basic blogging, huh?

      This post is by Joyce, and hopefully it will indicated that soon…

  2. Hi Ariane and Joyce,

    Thank you Ariane for this opportunity for Joyce to guest blog.

    Her story touches and inspires me. As down through the years my art has lifted me up, given me peace and direction.

    As Joyce states, “Life had opened up in new and joyful ways and I wanted to celebrate that.” Even when life seems to be at it’s hardest point, I can always find my art and joyful ways to celebrate!

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