How to build self-confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

Most artists want to sell their work.

Many famous artists, fail miserably in sales.

Vincent Van Gogh only sold 1 painting in his life.

Vincent VanGogh self portrait

Top quality local artists also struggle to get the attention they deserve.

Ending up in jobs making them terribly unhappy.

Common Problem: Creative individuals often ignore the development of an important part of themselves…. Self Confidence.

The creative personality is remarkably shy.

Often very introverted.

Some artists struggle to gather the confidence to show artwork to family. Let alone exhibit in public.

Like Vincent Van Gogh, artists are often highly sensitive people, more comfortable being alone, rather than telling the world how great they are.

It’s vitally important artists build self-confidence and interact with society. Because the public need fresh ideas. They need creative vision.

Point 1. An artist’s visionary ability is extremely valuable to non-creative people.

Proud Pelican drawing by Simon Brushfield How to build self confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

‘Proud Pelican’ by Simon Brushfield Charcoal, acrylic & linseed oil on paper 70cm x 60cm (Private Acquisition)

Yesterday, I got my haircut.

Through the mirror, I could tell my hairdresser was brilliant. Very creative. She had a vision for my hair. I observed an artist at work.

So I gave her a compliment.

Lacking confidence, she blushed and found it very difficult to accept the comment. Artists lack confidence in different areas of life.

Especially when selling their creative work.

Point 2. One of the biggest fears for artists is talking about money to prospective customers.

Ok, if you’ve ever thought any of these self-limiting beliefs below, realize you are not alone. We all experience silly thinking sometimes. I have heard many creative people say things that defeat themselves without realizing it.

Here’s 10 Confidence Killers that could really ruin any creative ability you may have…

1. “I’m afraid to talk about money and put a price on my art.”
2. “I mustn’t show people the ‘real me’ it will be embarrassing.”
3. “I’m not worthy or I don’t deserve my dreams coming true.”
4. “I must do things perfectly before I show anyone else.”
5. “I’m always competing with other artists. Life is a competition”
6. “I always compare myself to others. They’re better than me”
7. “I must beat that other person.”
8. “I don’t want to draw attention to myself or stand out too much”
9. “I expect the people I love to support everything I do.”
10. “I will do whatever the person wants because he/she has the money.”

But we need to stop those thoughts quickly, before they become subconscious self-defeating habits.

So, how do we build confidence?

Anyone can be confident.

Point 3. Building confidence is about understanding the value we offer people.

It can be anything really.

Everyone has something unique to give. Every single person on this planet has something valuable to give the world.

Every day, I guarantee there will be someone in your life who wants something from you that is valuable to them.


One way to is to negotiate for that value. Selling the painting below was a negotiation process.

“The Angel” by Simon Brushfield, Acrylic on Paper 90cm x 70cm (Sold: Private Acquisition)

Then practice your craft often to increase confidence.

What’s important here is the negotiation process.

The process of building self-confidence relates to understanding the value we offer people.

Point 4. Don’t think you have nothing of value to offer. It’s a lie. We all have something valuable to give.

It’s how this world was set up.

When we understand the true value we offer – our confidence grows.

Once a small victory is achieved. This builds confidence for higher level negotiations.

Here’s 7 benefits of being confident in life…

1. Confidence helps you move towards taking important risks.
2. Confidence provides hope to make dreams become real.
3. Confidence helps people grow and establish you as an expert.
4. Confidence helps people experience greater levels of freedom.
5. Confidence acts as armor in the battle against opposition.
6. Confidence brings success and respect to an artist’s creative ability.
7. Ultimately, being confident gives people control over their own life.

When finishing a painting. I need to love it.

This feeling builds my confidence. Then my art becomes more valuable.

I really need that confidence to negotiate and sell the artwork.

Point 4. In a humble way, I wholeheartedly believe my art is valuable. It’s very special to me.

Each artwork, for different reasons, is valuable.

Like my drawing below titled ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

The soft sensitivity of the line work captures a peaceful mood, which brings value to the drawing. I love the gentle quietness.

Nude female sleeping by Simon Brushfield 1024x821 How to build self confidence and avoid mistakes that destroy creativity

‘Sleeping Beauty’ by Simon Brushfield Conte pencil on paper. approx 70cm x 60cm (For Sale: $750)

Below are some practical steps artists need to consider when selling original art in a professional gallery.

These 5 considerations will help build confidence to become a successful professional artist

1. Artwork needs to be aligned to local market prices
2. Gallery should be reasonably well respected and nicely positioned
3. Artwork should be made from quality long lasting products
4. The artist needs to love the artwork and wholeheartedly believe the work is valuable. (Even if nobody else does)
5. Artists sometimes need a mentor to provide genuine support.

How did you get your first break into the professional world? Do you have any confidence issues? I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below… If you liked this article and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

I would love to hear your responses about the abstract painting above and Lincolns thoughts in the comments box… If you liked this post and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

What does the Australian identity mean today?

The Australian identity has always been unique. We have a very special culture.

During October 2012 the Melbourne festival brings the international art community to Australia to celebrate our iconic culture.

Popular Australian artist Tom Roberts lived in the bush in the early 1900′s and captured the pioneering Aussie spirit.

Celebrating the rural lifestyle he wrote, ‘being in the bush and feeling the delight and fascination of the great pastoral life and work, I have tried to express it.’

Tom Roberts Shearing the Rams Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Shearing the Rams’ (1890) by Tom Roberts. Oil on canvas on composition board
122.4 x 183.3 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Felton Bequest, 1932

The artistic images that represent Australia are deeply embedded in our collective unconscious and stem from a rich bush heritage and the courageous pioneers who shaped our country.

Ranging from the rugged bush to the beautiful coastlines, the Australian identity has always been at the heart of the unique artwork we produce.

Banjo Patterson, Henry Lawson wrote poetry romanticising the bush lifestyle, whilst Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton produced cherished paintings of sunlit landscapes and the bushman’s spirit.

Tom Robert’s artwork above expresses a common phrase in Australian folklore. Stating the country ‘was built on the sheep’s back’. Arthur Streeton’s painting below, depicts an Australian landscape which helped build the wool industry.

Wide open spaces characterise our rough and rugged special countryside.

Arthur Streeton The golden fleece Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Land of the Golden Fleece’ (1926) by Arthur Streeton. Oil on canvas, 50.7 x 75.5 cm. National Gallery of Australia, the Oscar Paul Collection, gift of Henriette van Dallwitz

Much of the abstract art I produce and sell to international customers purposefully has an Australian identity underpinning the work. My painting below was sold through the Convent Gallery.

This series has been very popular with customers.

Described as ‘one of Australia’s most beautiful galleries’ it’s located within a small country town of Daylesford and epitomises the Australian country scene.

International visitors appreciate my large abstract paintings because within the context of a country gallery they capture a unique essence of Australia and our cultural identity derived from native gum trees.

The painting below is one of many in my ‘Eucalypt’ series.

Eucalypt painting by Simon Brushfield Melbourne festival promotes the Australian identity in art

‘Eucalypt’ (2001) by Simon Brushfield Oil & Acrylic on Canvas 1.8m x 1.4m (Sold: Private Acquisition)

The Melbourne Festival will be holding talks on the topic of the Australian identity. Famous cultural commentators will present lectures at The Wheeler Centre during October 2012. For more information call the Arts Centre Melbourne 1300 182 183 or visit the website
I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below… If you liked this post and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

Shakespeare’s definition of real friendship – Accompanied Original Art $1200

Friends painting by Simon Brushfield Friends Quote 1024x791 Shakespeares definition of real friendship   Accompanied Original Art $1200

‘Friends Together’ by Simon Brushfield Original Art, Acrylic on paper 80cm x 60cm
Unframed abstract painting available for sale.

For a limited time this original painting is on sale for $1200. If you think this abstract art would look great on your wall at home or the office, just fill out the contact form below and contact Simon to arrange delivery of this beautiful piece of original art.

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© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Friends Painting

I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below. If you liked this post and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

Australian Academy Group Exhibition featuring ‘Happy Couple’ and ‘Lighthouse’ abstract paintings

Clement Meadmore Gallery at the Academy in Melbourne, Australia

I’m currrently showing some work in a group exhibition at the Australian Academy of Design in Melbourne Australia. This painting below is called “Happy Couple” and it’s about lovers integrating their unique and sometimes fractured personalities successfully together.

Happy Couple AAD Australian Academy Group Exhibition featuring Happy Couple and Lighthouse abstract paintings

‘Happy Couple’ by Simon Brushfield Oil & Acrylic on canvas 90cm x 90cm painting exhibited at the Australian Academy of Design group exhibition

Another piece of my artwork on show in a group exhibition at the Australian Academy in Melbourne Australia. I love lighthouses. They shine light in the dark and help people navigate. At the bottom of the painting, is the lighthouse keepers site residence where, in days gone by, he would permanently live.

Aireys Lighthouse AAD Australian Academy Group Exhibition featuring Happy Couple and Lighthouse abstract paintings

‘Aireys Inlet Lighthouse’ by Simon Brushfield Charcoal, Oil & Acrylic on canvas 90cm x 60cm exhibited at the Australian Academy of Design group exhibition

I would love to hear your responses in the comments box below… If you liked this post and want more, just leave your email address in the sign up form below.

Andy Warhol’s secret to selling paintings for $37million

The creative spirit is uncontrollable.

And mysterious.

Andy Warhol had an unpredictable creative spirit.

Warhol self portrait 1022x1024 Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings for $37million

Andy Warhol. Self-Portrait. 1986. Mugrabi Collection. ©2010 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso were both mysterious, and amazingly powerful creative artists.

When ask by a journalist about his intriguing personality Warhol simply replied,

“I’d like to be a machine, wouldn’t you?”

Ironically, both Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso were brilliant at controlling the media and their own creative universe.

Their unique creative power gave followers security and enabled them to sell original art for incredible prices.

Through out the history of mankind outspoken passionate artists have led and challenged society, with their mysterious ways.

Point 1. Andy Warhol realized it pays extremely well to create an element of mystery around your original art.

Powerful creative visionaries like Picasso and Warhol challenged society by their indomitable creative strength. Their creative spirit sought freedom and refused to be controlled.

Wisdom painting by Simon Brushfield Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings for $37million

‘Wise Old Man’ (1998) by Simon Brushfield. Charcoal & Acrylic on Card 50cm x 35cm Unframed

Andy Warhol was a man of powerful creative vision.

Strong willed and mysterious. He was a very competent businessman adept at brand building and social media networking for his time.

Andy Warhol’s contemporary art created great excitement and incredible media attention.

People didn’t understand him. But they desperately tried.

Point 2: Andy Warhol manufactured a personality and style of art that promoted the mysterious. He was a master at creating intrigue.

Warhol was different. People tried to corner him, but failed every time.

His paintings of celebrities were insightful and propelled him to high status.

andy warhol painting of Elvis Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings for $37million

‘Double Elvis [Ferus Type]‘ by Andy Warhol (1963) Silkscreen

An uncontrollable nature pays handsomely.

The silkscreen painting above was sold in May 2012 for $37 million.

Warhol’s artwork and physical presence at events created electricity.

The mysterious nature of creativity produced unprecedented success for Andy Warhol.

So what makes some visionary figures so incredibly powerful?

Final Point: Behind the glamorous high profile worldly image, Andy enjoyed a devoted and extremely private spiritual life.

Warhol grew up a faithful Catholic. He maintained a strong commitment to Jesus Christ which gave him wisdom, strength and personal inspiration.

His faith most certainly helped Andy keep important balance in the high profile glamorous world of pop art.

Very few people knew this about Andy.

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Andy Warhols secret to selling paintings

Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

Buying art can be tricky. This post outlines the most important considerations when choosing a painting for your home. And some mistakes people make when buying art.

Hanging original paintings can dramatically enhance a room. Bad art can horribly destroy a space.

Of course, we all want our homes to look fabulous. But some homeowners really struggle to get the art right when refurbishing, renovating or building their new home. Choosing the right painting for your home is an important decision.

Point 1. This post will help when buying art and help you avoid experiencing any visual awkwardness. It will help you walk into your home, look on the walls and have a pleasant feeling of satisfaction.

“Raw Beauty” painting by Simon Brushfield (2004) Oil & Acrylic on Canvas. Private Acquisition

But some homeowners think they might save on costs by making their own abstract art. I have seen this cheap solution work well. But, I have also seen some horrid artwork hanging on home walls.

Warning: An awful piece of abstract art has the potential to bring a home down to a very low level of aesthetic appeal. It often creates visual awkwardness for inhabitants and visitors alike.

So, if you want to cut corners and go the cheap and nasty route for the walls in your home, then this article is not for you.

But if you want to do things with excellence and purchase the right piece for your wall, then read on.

The following are a list of some common mistakes people make when buying art and furnishing their walls.

  1. Some people think about abstract art, “ Oh, my child could do that ”. So they buy a cheap canvas and paint it themselves. Abstract art created by amateurs has the potential to ruin a room.
  2. Too many cheap option art prints on the walls can make a home look like a poster shop.
  3. Too many ‘happy snap’ photos all different sizes and shapes in no particular order, creates a disorganised messy home.
  4. Some walls are so cluttered with all sorts of kitch artefacts visitors feel visually assaulted, dazed and confused.
  5. Some walls are too bare making the house feel soulless and empty.
  6. Some walls lack visual balance depicting no thought or careful planning.

Point 2. The key to your success in hanging the right painting is firstly, being clear on what art you like. Then figuring out how it can best be displayed in your unique home.

Described as one of the most beautiful galleries in Australia, the Convent Gallery in Daylesford has sold many conceptual paintings of mine to customers with beautiful modern architecturally designed homes. By conceptual paintings, I am referring to an example below titled ‘Red Wine’.

Red Wine 1.4x1 1024x748 Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

‘Red Wine’ by Simon Brushfield (2009) Oil & Acrylic on Canvas 1.8m x 1.4m (Sold Private Acquisition)

These conceptual paintings have been very popular in the past.

Probably because the idea underpinning the art communicates very specific emotions associated with the soulful feelings of drinking red wine. It’s rich character. Symbolic of the deep satisfaction a nice red can give.

Point 3. When buying art, it’s important to align the owner’s character with the character of an original painting and the room.

CASE STUDY: Recently, I completed a large commission for a painting to go into a tennis museum in Tasmania, Australia. The customer had very clear intentions. The personal character of my customer was focussed upon sport. In particular tennis.

During the initial briefing I was told, “Simon, the painting must compliment the cushions in the room”. This was great guidance because it provided a clear direction for the art piece. The finished product not only suited the cushions, but the entire room and museum. The customers were very happy with the final painting (pictured below) because it captured the character of the owners personality, but also the cushions.  In the customers mind, the cushions where people sit, were a major feature of the room.

Final Tennis Museum painting by Simon Brushfield 1024x416 Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

“Tennis in the Skyline” painting by Simon Brushfield (2012) Public Acquisition for Tuckers Tennis Museum, Tasmania Australia

Another example of complimenting the visual décor of a room or architectural space is in my painting below. These abstract works are titled my ‘Eucalypt’ series.

Post-Purchase Tip: Spotlights or track lighting turned onto a painting lifts the room and enhances a piece of art dramatically.

Again, people connect to the concept of my “Eucalypt” paintings. Not only does the colour suit a modern architectural building with polished floorboards, but it also expresses a very unique characteristic of Australia.

Australian Eucalypt II 1024x668 Buying Art: How to choose the right painting for your home

‘Australian Eucalypt II’ by Simon Brushfield (2009) Oil & Acrylic on canvas 1.9m x 1.4m (For Sale $7,000)

When buying art, how do you choose a painting for your home? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments box below. If you liked this post, leave your email address in the box below and get them delivered directly to your inbox for free.

Fred Williams the master landscape painter of Australia

This post features one of Australia’s most famous landscape artists. Fred Williams became enormously successful by remaining faithful to what he loved.

His paintings were simple abstract works, but they sold for millions of dollars.

Australia’s most celebrated contemporary landscape painter was once a humble, hard working man.

Fred was born in Melbourne Australia in 1927 and died 55 years later of lung cancer. He was Australia’s most famous contemporary landscape painter who began his working career as a shopfitter and boxmaker.

Fred studied art at the National Gallery School in Melbourne and furthered his education in London. Upon returning to Australia he was inspired by the aesthetic beauty of the dry rugged bush landscape .

He faithfully followed this visual direction for the rest of his life.

Fred Williams Upwey Landscape 1965 oil on canvas Fred Williams the master landscape painter of Australia

‘Upwey landscape’ 1965 by Fred Williams Oil on canvas 147 x 183 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Felton Bequest © estate of Fred Williams

Point 1. Follow ones unique visual perspective and be faithful to that special direction.

However, he was isolated from his closest associates namely John Brack, Arthur Boyd and Charles Blackman because of his complete devotion to the unique form and style of his paintings.

Fred Williams developed a very deliberate, purposeful approach to his painting.

An approach opposite to his friend’s expressionist tendencies who pursued a more spontaneous and improvised style of painting. Expressionism was a popular modern art movement during Fred’s lifetime, in which artists sought the emotional experience, rather than a physical depiction of reality.

Point 2. Following your creative path often means you must let go of friends travelling in a different direction.

Fred Williams’ painting titled ‘Upwey Landscape’ completed in 1965 was sold for $1,987,700 at Christie’s during 2006. Then in 2007, another auction house broke their sales record with the Fred Williams’ painting titled ‘Water Ponds’ created in 1965 which sold for $1,860,000.

However, the most expensive artwork sold in Australia during 2009 was another Fred Williams landscape completed in 1965 titled ‘Evening Sky, Upwey’ which sold for $1.38 million.

Despite the record prices what I love most about Fred Williams is the richness he manages to achieve from such simple compositions. The textures he created are symbolic and meaningful to Australian art lovers.

Point 3. Williams creates dramatic contrasts between clean peaceful spaces and complex suggestive textures of earthy Australian colours .

Evening Sky Upwey by Fred Williams Fred Williams the master landscape painter of Australia

‘Evening Sky, Upway’ by Fred Williams 1965 oil on canvas 135 x 130 cm Private collection, Melbourne

The famous Australian artist and contemporary, John Brack, gave a touching eulogy at Williams’ funeral stating, “Fred brought us a new vision of Australia’s landscape…. He changed the way we see our country: an achievement which will live long after all of us are gone.”

Williams recognised that an Australian painter musn’t adopt a European mindset when in the bush landscape. English painters had tried before to paint the Australian landscape like it was England. Not surprisingly, they failed to capture in their paintings, the Australian outback spirit.

Point 4. Natives of the land understand and creatively interpret their homeland with most relevance and insight.

Fred Williams was adamant the Aussie landscape should not be compromised and needed a non-European artist to produce a distinctly Australian feel . He was successful in his purpose and sold paintings for record prices. Australians could resonate with his contemporary abstract interpretation of their landscape.

Another landscape artist James Gleeson believes Williams to be one of those ‘rare landscapists who, like Drysdale and Nolan, have so imposed their personal visions upon a generation that we tend to see reality through their eyes.’

Point 5. Great works of art create their own reality, first seen through the creator.

He discovered a visual language to express a beautifully unique and spacious landscape only found in Australia. Notably, Williams took inspiration from the native Aboriginals in their traditional colour palette and intimate understanding of the dry harsh motherland.

Do you have any thoughts on this important Australian landscape painter? Please leave a message in the comments box below. If you liked this article and would like to sign up for more, join my VIP list below.

© Copyright Simon Brushfield – Fred Williams master landscape painter of Australia

CSGallery Melbourne Solo Exhibition by Simon Brushfield: Selected Contemporary Australian Art

CSGallery in Caroline Springs holding Simon Brushfield’s June 2012 art exhibition

I am currently showing my latest abstract artwork on paper and canvas at CS Gallery in Melbourne. The title of the exhibition is ‘Selected Contemporary Australian Art’ and works in the show feature inspiration from my recent travels around the world. I have just returned after 4 years abroad exhibiting, teaching and selling my fine art.

Simon Brushfield’s artwork titled ‘Patience’ acrylic on paper 60cm x 80cm

The local community website “Carloine Springs online” write about the show…

“Residents interested in vibrant and imaginative mixed-media paintings are encouraged to visit CS Gallery, Caroline Springs, to explore an exciting contemporary art exhibition by renowned artist, Simon Brushfield, from 1 – 30 June 2012.” To read comments from the Mayor,

Simon Brushfield’s artwork on exhibition (red painting in the foreground) titled ‘Australia’ acrylic on canvas 1m x 1m

CS Gallery newspaper article about Selected Contemporary Australian Art exhibition in Melbourne

Arthur Streeton: How to create art that appeals to large audiences

Arthur Streeton offers 8 ways to improve the level of desire for original art by appealing to large audiences.

The post includes time-tested, proven successful, creative ideas for todays artists.

Even after 100′s of years, Arthur Streeton is still one of Australia’s most well known and successful painters. He has a high public appeal to both Australian and international art lovers.

So how did he accomplish this?

Lesson 1. The artist held a strong and clear vision regarding the purpose of his life and art.

“Fire’s on” by Arthur Streeton. 1891 oil on canvas 183.8 x 122.5 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney Purchased, 1893

Streeton lived from 1867-1943 and focussed primarily on local landscapes which often depict a love affair with all things Australian. His artwork has enormous appeal to the Australian public, consistently selling his original paintings to wealthy individuals and organisations.

He held a deeply romantic vision of nature.

Lesson 2. The artist increased the saturation and intensity of colour in his paintings, in line with the native environment.

In this famous Aussie painting titled “Fires On” Streeton at age 24 perfected the flood of hot summer sunlight as masculine labourers excavate a railway tunnel in the heat and dusty outback of Australia. The sky is a rich heavenly blue, the rocks are beautiful sandstone and the Australian gums stand tall as bronze green pillars.

Streeton loved Australia.

Lesson 3. The artist held a deep and passionate love affair with the subject matter

Around the same period, the European Impressionists would describe this new style of working outside the studio as ‘plein air’ painting. Whilst creating this masterpiece, Arhtur Streeton was sitting in the Australian bush and he writes, “I felt near the gates of paradise”

Lesson 4. Aware of current trends in Europe, the painter followed popular artistic techniques of the time.

Streetons landscapes are deceptively simple.  But subtley brilliant. He kept his creative process simple and uncluttered, using perspective to perfection, leading the viewer’s eye in a premeditated direction.

Lesson 5. Perspective is used effectively to lead people into the painting.

His judgment of tonal colour values captivated large audiences in the 1800’s as he captured the brilliant light of Australian summer days. But also the changing characteristics and moods of natural light as the day came to a close.

Lesson 6. The artists simple but effective compositions, allowed for complexity and brilliance of results.

Like many of the 1800’s Australian paintings, popular artists of the time captured the wild and dangerous elements early pioneers faced building the country. Painters like Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Charles Conder depict a romantic vision of nation building, whereby rugged outback hardships were mostly glorified.

Lesson 7. The artists, their art and indeed the nation, flouorished under hardship creating a visual romance on the canvas

The early Australian painters were a passionate rugged bunch. It’s clear they were strongly patriotic. A new era was beckoning and they captured it on canvas. Life was hard as a pioneer. But the rough Australian outback has a certain appeal and these painters loved their time.

At exhibitions, large audiences flocked to Arthur Streeton shows.

The artists love for Australian bush life and their tough romantic identity resonated with the Australian public during the 1800’s. And still does today.

Lesson 8. Love is infectious. If an audience is touched by a strong feeling, they’ll pay handsomely for it.