Selling your fine art by shifting your energy.

Selling your fine art by shifting your energy.


Artist Paul du Coudray
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ann Rea: (00:01)
So, alright we’re live. My name is Ann Rea. I’m a fine artist and a mentor to artists from, I don’t know, 23 countries and counting now since 2005. And Paul is one of my students, and I wanted to have a chat with him. So thanks for your time, Paul. I appreciate you coming and sharing your experience. What I’d love to know, start by just introducing yourself and telling us where you live and what inspired you to join Making Art Making Money™.

Paul du Coudray: (00:33)
Yes. I am a fine artist. I live in Santa Fe, in New Mexico, which is in the United States. Some people don’t know where the state is. And yeah, I joined the program because I started really considering returning to art about three or four years ago. And I did know that I would need an art business. And so, I don’t remember how I found the program. I must have been searching for certain terms. And then this program caught my eye because of the difference in quality of what it was offering. I wasn’t as attracted to general strategies and they all felt like hacks. And my whole life has been a hack. So, you know, like, “How do I make money doing this or this, or this, or this or this?” And so I think the language probably stuck out. 

Ann Rea: (01:36)
Okay. That’s great to hear! So before you joined, you must have been struggling with a couple of things, right? So what do you think were your top your biggest challenges before you joined the program? 

Paul du Coudray: (01:51)
I mean, in general, I knew what I wanted to do. 

Ann Rea: (01:57)

Paul du Coudray: (01:58)
I’ve known since I was five. I wanted to be an artist, and I wanted to be able to make art and sell it for a living. So my top challenge was like, how do I get there?

Ann Rea: (02:12)

Paul du Coudray: (02:13)
Really in a practical way. I didn’t struggle with making art. I felt like actually for me, personally, my confidence had grown throughout my life. I was successful in other things, and through other jobs that I had and other projects and other life experiences. I’d actually grown more in that area. And I felt like, “Man, I’m capable of doing all these things, but I really want to be making art.” So what’s the deal?

Ann Rea: (02:49)
Right? Yes. If you can do this, then you can probably do this. You just need to know what the roadmap is to do this. Right? 

Paul du Coudray: (02:56)

Ann Rea: (02:57)
So you just didn’t know how to make money, with this particular endeavor. Was there any other thing you were challenged with when it came to selling your art before you joined? 

Paul du Coudray: (03:09)
For sure. I mean, just the specific. You know, I have a studio. It’s a nice space. I have never sold art. So there was, there was really something specific of like, I don’t even know the first thing about–

Ann Rea: (03:23)
You didn’t know where to start. 

Paul du Coudray: (03:25)

Ann Rea: (03:26)

Paul du Coudray: (02:46)
Even if someone walks in the door, nowhere, you know, nowhere to begin. 

Ann Rea: (03:30)
Right, right. Okay. Yes. And that’s a big thing, like, yeah, exactly. Where do you start? That’s probably the most challenging thing. Where is it? Where do you start? So, okay. So those were your challenges. Now you’ve been in the program and you probably learned something or accomplished something. So why don’t you share with us? What do you feel like are your two biggest lessons learned or accomplishments or breakthroughs since you’ve joined us? What’s changed?

Paul du Coudray: (04:00)
The first is really the core of the course, I believe is,  find, what I would say is like finding that my personal foundation to build an art business on. 

Ann Rea: (04:19)

Paul du Coudray: (04:20)
Which would be why I make art, what I hope to offer in addition to art, and how to communicate that to the world around me and attract the right crowd to what I’m doing. So that’s the first. I don’t even know if I’ve gotten to the second yet because I haven’t finished the course. 

Ann Rea: (04:44)
Well, that’s a big deal. T

Paul du Coudray: (04:46)
But it’s a huge deal.

Ann Rea: (04:47)
Huge deal, right? So, you know your mission. Is that right? Can I safely assume?

Paul du Coudray: (04:51)

Ann Rea: (04:52)
So a lot of– so for those who are listening, we don’t do artist statements. Artist statements are just as difficult to read as they are to write. They’re just so cringey. I can’t stand them. I don’t know anybody who really enjoys their artist statement. So we do something very different and much more authentic and aligned with the individual. My students determine their purpose not as an artist, but as a person. And then that shapes their mission. And so Paul knows his mission. So let me just ask you, Paul. How does that feel to know your purpose and know your mission?

Paul du Coudray: (04:10)
It’s, it’s life-changing, I would say, in my approach to the art business. So having that grow as a real thing that is coming out in conversation with potential collectors, friends? Well, basically, anyone.

Ann Rea: (05:55)
Yes. anyone. 

Paul du Coudray: (05:56)
Anyone really at all is amazing because it’s making the process fun. 

Ann Rea: (06:06)
Yes! Isn’t it so much more fun because you’re like, “You just tell me. I don’t have to do anything.”

Paul du Coudray: (06:11)
Yes. I actually just steer conversations towards what I want to talk about, which feels very natural. 

Ann Rea: (06:19)
Yes. We do. We all do that anyway. But we’re just doing– we do, we all do that anyway. We all want to talk about what we want to talk about, but then this way, it’s very intentional. It’s very aligned. It’s very authentic. I don’t know a better way than to engage people in a real way. Right? Just to tell, to share your mission, which is really your soul’s truth. 

Paul du Coudray: (06:46)
Yes. Which is what you are interested in anyway.

Ann Rea: (06:49)
Right. And then have you noticed, like when you share your mission and you share your truth, it’s an invitation for other people to open up and share and connect? 

Paul du Coudray: (07:02)
Yes. Absolutely. 

Ann Rea: (07:04)

Paul du Coudray: (07:04)
I mean, I mean, I can tell you stories. Who wants stories?

Ann Rea: (07:09)
Yes! I want stories. That’s what we’re here for.

Paul du Coudray: (07:13)
So after I had completed the part about the mission and the Why, and I did feel it was this, it was just different. It landed in a way that didn’t feel like an idea again or a plan. Or, “Oh, gee, I can make money by doing this.” And, you know, and probably the next week, it was very fast. I went out to a bar with my friend and we sat there and he had to leave early. And I felt like even in that moment, there was something I was carrying with me that was different. 

Ann Rea: (07:58)

Paul du Coudray: (07:59)
And I stayed there for that reason. And within a few minutes, somebody came down and sat next to me and we started talking right away. And we went instantly into this territory. I told her what I did, but I wasn’t like, you know, the old conversations would be like, “Oh, I’m an artist. Oh yeah. Oh, it’s kind of abstract. Yes. I paint with oils. Yeah. Oh, on canvas.” You know, like, how boring is this going to get? 

Ann Rea: (08:29)

Paul du Coudray: (08:29)
I use paintbrushes. And I went just straight into it, which was no problem, because I don’t want to talk about paintbrushes.

Ann Rea: (08:41)
Thank you. That’s right! No one does.

Paul du Coudray: (08:45)
So I just– I went for it. And we talked for over two hours. 

Ann Rea: (08:53)
Damn. A complete stranger.

Paul du Coudray: (08:56)

Ann Rea: (08:56)
Probably became a friend. Right?

Paul du Coudray: (08:59)
She’s absolutely friend and she’s now a collector. Like, I didn’t know who she was, what her background was. Turns out she owns a restaurant in town, a series of them. She hadn’t even seen my art. 

Ann Rea: (09:14)

Paul du Coudray: (09:19)
And she said, “I’m a collector. I want to support what it is that you’re doing.”

Ann Rea: (09:22)

Paul du Coudray: (09:22)
I mean, you know, that you could kind of script it from there. She even hosted a dinner at her house. She organized a little studio visit. She came in. She walked right over to a piece, and she said, “That one. I want that one in my room.” And I mean, I didn’t, I didn’t sell anything. I don’t even know–  

Ann Rea: (09:42)
That’s what I’m trying to tell everyone. Like, right? Isn’t it just so– listen, everybody. Honesty is the best marketing strategy. Caring is the best sales strategy. It’s not complicated. You have to learn the process. But once you do, isn’t it so natural? 

Paul du Coudray: (10:02)
Yes. Because there really, you know, again, there really wasn’t anything to sell. And it didn’t really matter if she bought one or not. She facilitated conversations too with other friends. And I don’t, you know, I’ve always loved even in other, I would say businesses that I’ve worked in for my, that I’ve owned myself or something that I love not worrying about that. You know, like if you can just be of service, it’ll work itself out. 

Ann Rea: (10:37)

Paul du Coudray: (10:38)
But this is different because I actually care about, I care so much more about what I’m doing, so–

Ann Rea: (10:43)
Right. It has much more meaning, 

Paul du Coudray: (10:45)
It has more potent.

Ann Rea: (10:48)
Isn’t what you’re doing with your art have so much more meaning now? Don’t you feel more inspired to create and to connect?

Paul du Coudray: (10:55)
Yes. And especially the connection part because I don’t, you know, that’s sort of a, I think it’s a myth. Artists talk themself into– I’ve always been inspired to create, but I’ve always created inside this world that, you know, there’s some grand mystery of how to connect with the people that would buy that. And then this wall kind of builds up.

Ann Rea: (11:24)

Paul du Coudray: (11:25)
Oh God, you know, I have to figure out how to do the sales thing and whatever. Oh, I’m not good at that. I don’t know what that entails, blah, blah, blah.  

Ann Rea: (11:35)
But now, you know. I’m sure that’s just one of many stories and it’s going to be one of many, many, many stories as you move forward.Let me ask you this, I’m going to ask you to fill in the blank– if you can fill in the blank. “I almost didn’t join the Making Art Making Money™ School of Business, because ___”? Did you have a because-I-almost-did’t-join?

Paul du Coudray: (12:03)
It was too good to be true.

Ann Rea: (12:05)
Ah, yes. Yes. So is it good? 

Paul du Coudray: (12:13)
Yeah, it’s good already.

Ann Rea: (12:15)
And you’re not even done, you’re just really getting started.

Paul du Coudray: (12:18)
No, I haven’t finished the course. I’m really getting started and I’m enjoying the process. I’m not worried about– because I know it’s going to work, honestly. 

Ann Rea: (12:33)
It’s working. Alright.

Paul du Coudray: (12:36)
Yes. It’s already working. And I am attracted to this kind of life. And I feel like investments in this direction and operating a business in this is going to take the rest of my life. But if I enjoy it, it’s not a problem. And all that investment all comes back to me. This is what was difficult with, I actually did sell. Well, here’s another interesting story if we have time. 

Ann Rea: (13:10)

Paul du Coudray: (13:11)
I started in the process of signing up for the course and just being in the process of it changed something intrinsically.

Ann Rea: (13:22)
Oh, all time. I hear this all the time. Just signing up, you haven’t even entered and stuff starts to shift. People start to sell stuff. 

Paul du Coudray: (13:29)
Yes. And I had a gallery show probably that was my first. I had things 20 years ago, but, something changed. I actually went up the morning to the gallery the day I signed up. And I felt something different. And I showed up and I said to the gallery owner, “Well, I’m going to take these pieces back and I’m going to do something different. But for the ones that are here, we should erase the price.” And he got all excited. There was a good vibe is what I’m saying. 

Ann Rea: (14:12)

Paul du Coudray: (14:13)
Even in my relationship with this person– we’re total friends, the gallery owner, he’s a great guy. He and this person that was interested in pieces came back in randomly. 

Ann Rea: (14:26)
Not randomly.

Paul du Coudray: (14:28)
Yeah. Right. 

Ann Rea: (14:29)
There’s no accident.

Paul du Coudray: (14:31)
Yes. I was excited. I put them up on the wall. She bought all of them. 

Ann Rea: (14:37)
Wow! This is before you even started? 

Paul du Coudray: (14:39)
I had a moment there. Yes. 

Ann Rea: (14:41)
You just, your energy shifted.

Paul du Coudray: (14:43)
I signed, I came back, and yeah. I came back and signed up that afternoon. So we had a moment. They were on the wall and we had a conversation. And I could realize at that moment what a failure that moment was of me talking. 

Ann Rea: (15:03)
Oh, okay.

Paul du Coudray: (15:06)
Because I blew it in a good way, you know. I’m like, “I don’t want to ever do this again.” And I want to own the relationships, not the gallery to own them. And I don’t want to ever be in this position again where I was like, “Well, I don’t know. I use paper and ink. And so,” but it was a pretty interesting experience because it had already, like, it had already started the wheels and I could see how the energy was different. And I wasn’t outsourcing that to the gallery.  

Ann Rea: (15:39)
I think what interesting is like as soon as someone is accepted into the program, and they enroll, they invest in their tuition. I just hear these stories all the time like, “I suddenly sold something.” I’m like, “You don’t, you don’t think there’s a correlation?” There’s an absolute correlation between your decision to invest in yourself and your future and having the confidence and the faith to do that. It shifts things around and people see. It’s really interesting to see how things can shift very quickly like it did for you. So let me 

Paul du Coudray: (16:15)
And I would’ve actually paid for my whole tuition in that sale, but it didn’t count ’cause I didn’t sign up. I signed up when I came home.  

Ann Rea: (16:22)
Well, we’ll count it as extra credit. So what Paul’s referring to is that my students officially graduate from the program by selling enough of their art to cover their tuition investment at an absolute minimum. Minimum. Like that’s deep. And that was actually featured in Inc. Magazine as an innovation in higher education. And can you imagine if you went to college, you went to university and you sold your homework, you know, and you, that’s how you paid your tuition. So that’s what my students do. They basically sell their homework. They do their homework. Like sharing your mission is a homework exercise and it results in sales or it doesn’t, but you find out why it did and you find out why it didn’t. So let me ask you one last question, Paul. If someone was like sitting on the fence and they weren’t sure about even applying to enroll in this program, and what would you honestly say to them?

Paul du Coudray: (17:20)
I would suggest they do this course because if you really want to be an artist, I don’t think it matter. I mean, I don’t, I don’t know what you think about this answer, but to me, it doesn’t matter what you do with your art business. This is going to, this is going to make it the difference in your life or how you approach it. I would say, again, I don’t know if you’d like this, but even if you end up selling with galleries in the future or doing projects or making decisions, you’re making them from a different point. 

Ann Rea: (17:56)
A hundred percent. Yes. Yes. Yeah. And you’re coming from–

Paul du Coudray: (18:00)
And that’ll make all the difference. 

Ann Rea: (18:02)
And even if you decide you want to work with representatives, your representatives are going to be so much more empowered because they’ll know your mission. And that’s going to be very different than reading some boring artist stiff made-up artist statement that’s printed out. 

Paul du Coudray : (18:19)
Then I would say you’re, you’re going to have a different relationship with the owners of that gallery. 

Ann Rea: (18:23)

Paul du Coudray : (18:24)
And those representatives or whoever they are, will, I mean, your whole work is going to be changed by the different energy you bring to that plus I wanted, I don’t, I would never want to work with a gallery in the future where I thought, “Gosh, you know, what would I do if they didn’t sell my paintings?” I don’t want that relationship with representatives. 

Ann Rea: (18:50)
Right. Yes. This is wonderful. I’m so proud of you, Paul. Look at you. You even sold before you even started. That’s so cool. That’s extra credit for sure. As if we’re giving out report cards. No, the point is to make art and make money and to sell your homework along the way as you learn. And Paul, you did that, so congratulations! And I know you’re just really getting started. You’re not even done with the program. So you’re going to smash it. And I think it’s great. I love hearing these stories. It makes me really happy to hear, you know, where people were and what they– what my students accomplished in a relatively short amount of time. You did something so life-changing in such a short amount of time. Do you see that? 

Paul du Coudray : (19:40)
Yes. That experience. You know, I could say I started in October. I mean, that experience is one of my favorite experiences of my life. 

Ann Rea: (19:49)

Paul du Coudray : (19:50)
And like I said, I haven’t finished the course. 

Ann Rea: (19:53)
Yes. So buckle your seatbelt. We’re not done. We’re just getting started. 

Paul du Coudray : (19:56)
Yes, I bet.

Ann Rea: (19:58)
Alright. Well, Paul, I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to share your experience because I think it helps artists so much to hear from somebody other than me about what the program’s about, what’s it like to be inside of it and what’s it, what was like before you joined. And so thank you very much for being generous with your time. It’s really, I think it’s really important that other artists hear from artists like you. So thank you. 

Paul du Coudray : (20:24)
Yes. Thanks for having me. 

Ann Rea: (20:25)
Alright. Have a good one. We’ll see you in the class. 

Paul du Coudray : (20:27)

Ann Rea: (20:28)
Alright, bye.

Ann Rea

Ann Rea, Fine Artist & Mentor

Ann Rea is a San Francisco-based fine artist. She created Making Art Making Money, the leading and most reputable business program for fine artists since 2005. Rea’s art and business savvy have been featured on ABC, HGTV, Creative Live, The Good Life Project, in the book Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields, the San Francisco Chronicle, Art Business News, Fortune, and Inc. Magazines. Rea’s artistic talent was commended by her mentor, art icon Wayne Thiebaud. 

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