A few days ago, a local artist gave me a ring ~ with a question that I gladly answered. This got me thinking about the artists that I have called on in my days, and as I asked this artist to keep in touch, I started to think of those who have influenced, supported and inspired me over the years:

When I first entered Community College, I was taking every 2D art class I could find – I was new and young and that was where my friend Shirley, one of the first women I met in my first art classes there, inspired me with her warm friendship ~ we would get together and draw each other and I loved seeing her past work and hearing her stories.

Mary Engelbreit was the first professional/commercial artist that provided inspiration – knowing that as a child she used her parents closet as a studio simply because she needed a space to work helped me to keep my fire burning in the early years as my bedroom floor was my studio and later when my kitchen table served this purpose until an AHA! moment got me wondering why the laundry deserved its own room in the house and my art didn’t?

The laundry room became a darling little “studio” for me, complete with a sink.

I had needed a place to spread out – a place where I could leave wet (and bigger) paintings out – where little fingers could not play in paint. Where I could close the door and tool away with my music and my silence.

Mary Engelbreit inspired me in many ways – although my pieces never urged to be as sweet as hers ~ her book The Art and The Artist gave me several insights into her life.

Someday I will have a book with a similar title, that I can only hope will inspire other artists.

Funny, at an art fair several years ago, a buyer at my table out-of-the-blue blurted “M.E. has NOTHING on you!” (Mary Engelbreit signs her pieces as ME)

Patience Brewster offers information for artists on her sit and I have adored following her career since my friend introduced me to her work in Olympia, Washington many years ago. Patience and others, long ago, inspired the whimsy that I love so much to instill in selected paintings.

Susan Mrosek of Pondering Pool is an amazing artist and gracious woman with a depth of mind, humor, and writing worth pining for. Her pieces may draw you in, make you think, laugh, wonder, ponder, then let you out again – with a humorous, changed perspective on those tiny moments in life.

I’ve loved following Susan’s work and had a couple inspiring chats with her when I was just introducing my 8×10 prints – I like to think she held my hand verbally while I hatched the idea and let it out into the world. She was there to answer questions and offer advice.

Jody Bergsma has also mentored me, although she may not realize. Her giving, nurturing, loving nature shows in her work, her correspondence and connections with her followers, and her writing. She has a well-deserved clan of fans that have followed her for over 20 years. Jody gave me some advice over the phone years ago (I’ve never been afraid to pick up the phone and ask for advice!), and in the last month emailed me with a very sweet quote – about sharing my love with the world through my art and BLASTED! Would you know I misplaced that sweet quote and have yet to find it on my computer system. Too many conversations swirling around me, I guess.

A special recognition goes to Julia Marrocco, who planted the seeds of business in me over 10 years ago as I worked along side her as her assistant in Real Estate – I could not have asked for a better education. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of the tidbits she taught me – just through the way she interacted with her clients, her files and with me. When I analyze my business today, I find that over 50% of what I do is somehow connected (although altered over the years and shaped for the art world) to Julia. She is one of the most dear and knowledgeable humans I’ve met.

Over the last several years, I have received countless emails asking for advice, and I’ve answered them all (except that one from Alex that disappeared from my email box and I couldn’t find it to save my life – sorry, Alex!). And I usually send a long a bit of kudos, too, to the student ~ just for asking.

Marie Wise is my friend and was my partner in the Kalama Artist Association a couple years ago – the association dwindled, and when all others went away, Marie and I chose to stay – having tiny meetings to discuss marketing, materials and art.

Then of course, my down-to-earth, zen-inspiring brother, Kevin Conrad, who I have the luck of sharing the passion of art and art business with. He is a painter in Swedenand we communicate and share long distance. I am looking forward to visiting him in February – Sweden always inspires me in a deep unimaginable way.

With these giving and purposeful people deep in my roots, I feel steadier than I have felt in my entire career. Not to mention the inspiration and support garnered from an ever-growing list of collectors, fans and friends and fellow artists. It is they (you) that keep me pushing, night after night as the moon is high and the tea drains low – as the babies sleep and the night closes in around me.

Thank you ALL.

Artists: to find information & inspiration in ways you didn’t know existed, I highly recommend Alan Bamberger with ArtBusiness.com. Alan continues to delight and educate with his writing style that dissolves whining and excuses – an hour consultation with him helped to set me straight and square away fine details of my business. I forever appreciate his sarcastic wit and sharp skills.

Also, Ariane Goodwin is incredibly inspiring and intuitive; Alyson Stanfield with Art Biz Coach demolishes artists’ excuses; and Marty Rudolph is very much worth studying.

Some folks I also like are: Stuart at Creativity Pro and Empty Easel

Don’t forget, today is Free Cards Friday – comment on this post anytime between now and Monday and be in the running to win!

Above Images: how Veva hung her new painting with just some of her 8x8s!

I am so thankful for the ways painting has allowed me to connect with amazing people all over the globe…

Have a great weekend!

Love & Sincerely,Katie