Creative Insights: Lesley Riley

Creating Art in the Midst of Everyday: Real Information for Real People.

The title of my column sums up my life. I have created a career in the arts by snatching, scrounging, begging, borrowing and stealing time and space from my busy, family centered life. I have not one or two, but six children (two still at home), six granddaughters. I am the primary caretaker for my blind 89-year-old Dad who lives with us. My self-employed husband’s office is in our home.

Typical of most moms (and grandmas) I’m last in line when it comes to time and space. Yet in the last 12 years I’ve created a very successful life as an artist, with four books, three DVDs, worldwide teaching, numerous book and magazine contributions, a radio show, juried shows, AND I completed the BA degree I started back in 1970 (magna cum laude, to boot). Up until five years ago I was also a partner in my husband’s business. I’m not telling you all of this to impress you, but to press upon you that I’ve been there, done that—and if I can do it, well, I see no reason why you can’t do it.

Time and space are not the only problems an artist runs into. There’s fatigue from a long day at work, mom drain, motivation to GOYA (get off your @&%), fear of failure, bright shiny object syndrome…the list goes on. These monsters are no longer hiding under the bed. They’re sitting right next to you in the studio. They can appear even when you do have all the space and time you need. Let’s face it, being an artist is not all that easy. There are traps and troubles, problems and pitfalls, highs and lows, yeses and nos. Yet we have an innate urge to create. It’s the joy of making and the way it makes us feel that keeps us going. The rewards far outweigh the struggles. Yet the struggles persist. So what’s the solution? That’s exactly what I’ll be sharing with you here at Create Mixed Media.

I know how art changed my life, so it is important to me to do whatever it takes to ensure your success as an artist. In this column, I will share the nuts and bolts of how you too can overcome your struggles and turn your art dreams into reality. Let’s start right now. It begins with making a choice. Are you going to wait until everything is “just right” before you start, or are you willing to make it work? One of my favorite quotes by John Assaraf is “If you are interested, you will do what’s convenient. If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes.” Are ya ready to commit?

Lesley Riley is an internationally known artist, teacher and author with a passion for spreading the magic of art. Though her company, Artist Success, Lesley provides resources, coaching and mentoring to artists, enabling them to achieve their vision of success. For more information and resources, visit

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One Response to Creative Insights: Lesley Riley

  1. EllasEdge says:

    I love your view; I think sharing gives hope to others, who are struggling. It is not an easy journey to take, but one the soul directs. I tucked my dreams away, so many obstacles, in my past. I am sure footed and back where I wanted to be. The journey of being me. Thank you; Loved GOYA!