Tybee Afternoon Light

Tybee Afternoon Light

Oil on panel
5 x 7”

$325.00 (unframed) + $10.00 shipping

The south end of Tybee Island gives wide open views of the ocean in one direction, and a row of barrier islands in the other. I painted here on a beautiful warm spring afternoon, perfect painting weather.


We Get to Choose Our Own Success Path in Art

We Get to Choose Our Own Success Path in Art

Hey there. You know what?

The old art world that we grew up with, those of us who went to school got degrees, BFA and MFA. That world is gone. The world they taught us about when we were in college, it doesn’t exist anymore.

You know the one where there’s  really only two ways you can make a living, a successful career out of art. Either you get in a gallery or you teach. Just those two choices.

The truth is that now there are more art worlds than just one. There are multiple art worlds and the gatekeepers are gone.

We don’t have to make that either-or decision anymore. In fact, we get to choose at this point.

I’ve chosen my own path. In fact, this is my office for the day. So this is the art world that I’ve chosen. This is the way I’ve defined success for myself.

What are you going to choose? What path are you going to take? Which art world are you going to participate in?

We all get to make our own decision and our own choices. There are lots of different choices out there at this point, so don’t wait around.

Don’t procrastinate. Start before you’re ready.

So I am out on Tybee island and going to spend the afternoon out here, painting in the sunshine and a beautiful, cool breeze. It’s gorgeous here in Savannah, on Tybee this afternoon.

So I hope that you can figure out what your idea of success is and that it fits you as well as mine fits me. Remember, each one of us can have a different choice, a different path that we want to take, but unless we choose, unless we make a conscious decision, we’re just wandering.

We can choose. There’s not a single person out there who can’t.

The best time to get started is right now. Start before you’re ready. You got it. That’s my mantra. Y’all need to start now. 

I don’t want to pretend that painting on the beach is not work as well. I’ve got a lot of that sunscreen too, but it is not the same thing as working in cubicle land or having a boss that tells me what I need to do from nine to five. I’m independent. I get to make my own decisions about when I start, when I stopped, what I paint, what I do, and I want that for each of y’all as well.

You want to be on that beach. Well, you can be. You have to figure out what the steps are that you need to take so that this could become your office as well. 

So get that plan going. Get it unfolding. Think about where you want to be and what you want to do. Don’t wait and don’t procrastinate.

Start before you’re ready.

You get to choose.

We get to choose our own success path.

Here’s what I’ve chosen.

My office for the afternoon.

What do you want to choose?

Get the tools and processes to map out your own painting career success path in THE PAINTER’S PATH.

What I Learned From My Mother

What I Learned From My Mother

Frances Siddall Gilkerson


Early Friday morning my mother, Frances, passed away in her sleep. At almost 95 she had lived a long and amazingly full life.

Yesterday my family gathered around and shared memories and stories that covered a span of almost 70 years. It was a glorious day full of love and laughter.

I learned so much from my mom – my love of painting, delight in the natural world, and the strong ties of family.

One of my earliest memories was of laying on the kitchen floor drawing while she fixed dinner. Her encouragement of my art making started way back then.

She was a creative herself, majoring in art back in the early 1940s at the University of South Carolina.

Her great love was of watercolor and illustration, and all of us got special drawings and stories for every major life event. Those drawings captured her sense of the magic at the heart of nature.

That life long love of nature led us on many family adventures into the swamps, woods, and marshes of South Carolina.

And it’s back to the island she loved that we’ll be taking her. Where she can delight in the light and color of the big sky, the calls of the birds, and the smell of the marsh.

And I’ll be thinking of her there, just like she was in one of my favorite photos of her, sitting on the front porch steps of our family’s home, enjoying the breeze off of the ocean.

Who do you need to thank for helping you give voice to your dreams?

3 Signs That It’s Time To Start A Daily Painting Practice

3 Signs That It’s Time To Start A Daily Painting Practice

There are 3 signs that I see over and over again that are a sure fire indicator that it’s time to start a daily painting practice.

The first is not making time to paint because of being overwhelmed by an already full schedule.

The second is feeling trapped in the details and the idea of perfection.

And the third is when an artist’s work looks like it’s been painted by 10 different people. There’s no consistent style.

So what’s the magic bullet?

The answer to all three lies in a relatively simple practice – painting every day.

Painting for 20-30 minutes a day can make a huge difference.

The rewards…

1. Your work improves

2. You stay motivated because ideas flow easily

3. Small daily steps move you closer to your goals

4. Muscle memory takes over and the difficult things become easier

5. You paint faster with more ease

6. You paint more intuitively and responsively rather than consciously

7. Your own personal style will develop without your even having to thing about it

Join my free ART+WORK+LIVING facebook group and get involved in our community of artists of all mediums, styles, and stages. This space provides a reflective and supportive space for all artists, including you! 

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What Artists REALLY Want

What Artists REALLY Want

I spent a week at one of my favorite conferences at the beginning of the month – a marketing conference but so much more.

One of the things that we were challenged to think about was how we define success…

And that got me thinking about how we as artists define success.

I don’t think it’s quite what people think.

So much more than just getting into a gallery or making money from painting…

You can narrow down the things most artists REALLY want to just three. And the main one is to make paintings they love.

I go over the other two as well in today’s video.

You know what!

The best way to make fantastic paintings is to paint regularly.

Forming the painting habit is so much easier when you’re surrounded by other artists who’re working towards the same goal!

When you’re an ART+WORK+LIVING Community member, community, support, training, and resources is exactly what you get. 

Becoming an ART+WORK+LIVING Community member is your access to me, Mary Gilkerson. You'll also gain access to an amazing community of artists, along with resources that my AWL team has designed to serve artists just like you. Our specialty is pushing artists to the next level of success in a positive and supportive environment. 

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