By Diana Miller
Sharing beauty with the world through my art is what drives me. I thrive on connecting with others through this medium and to inspire them to live their own life doing the things that bring them a sense of fulfilment.
My name is Diana Miller, and I have joined the creative collective to adorn the world with beautiful paintings and art products that express who I am. But it’s more than just about me. It’s about us. You and me. True happiness is when I am able to give some of my own goodness to others and help them to feel the joy too. My greatest desire? To infuse my work with emotion, passion, movement and energy. The result? A unique artwork that offers every observer their own interpretation and feeling - peace, beauty, exploration, love, joy.
"A picture really is worth a thousand words”
A year ago I was living in Brisbane, I had a small studio where I painted from but no career path and little self belief. Today I am represented by Art Piece Gallery in Mullimbimby and Fenton & Fenton in Melbourne and I am resident artist at the Newrybar Merchants in Newrybar in the Byron Bay hinterland. And I am living my perfect life.
How did I make this shift in the short space of a year? You may have heard the poetic words of Claire Bowditch in her song ‘Amazing Life’. ‘You want an amazing life, but you can’t decide. You don’t have to do just one thing, but you have to start something.’
And start I did. But only after the whirlwind that I call my previous life. Here’s my journey from hobby painter to full time artist. Since immigrating to Australia with my Toowoomba-born builder husband 13 years ago we have ridden the waves of life together – (and my life mirrors the layered tapestry of my paintings) filled with change, upheaval, unexpected twists and turns with 22 house moves and as many property deals. Blessed with the highest of highs – 2 beautiful children, incredible friends, opportunities, and returning to my art practise, and the lowest of lows –homesickness, health challenges, losing our life savings and shortly after that losing our house in the Brisbane floods, my life reflects typical ebbs and flows that have informed all I have created so far.
In December 2014 I found myself in a pretty dark and unhappy place. My husband and I had just been featured on Grand Designs for the container home he created. We were enjoying the fruits of that labour by living in it. For various reasons (not exciting enough to mention here), we sold that property and downscaled to a small, dark and hot little rental home while planning our next move. That was the beginning of a period of unrest for me, personally and with regards to the direction I would take with my art making. Not unlike a squirrel scampering around for forage, I was feeling frantic looking after everyone else in my family, running here, running there but forgetting to look after my own needs. My tank was running on empty.
Painting and creativity had become second priority even though it was always the thing that would give me my lease on life each day. In those moments of feeling empty I would yearn to paint, and even more, make something of my art, perhaps a commercial career, but I felt ill equipped and lacking in the knowledge I felt I needed to “make a go of it”. Funnily enough, I had been told by a clairvoyant 14 months prior that I had a brilliant business brain and that I was going to be a successful business owner. I laughed that off believing my own story that I was not capable of that. Lucky for me though fate stepped in and I was able to undo those unhelpful beliefs that I later realized were keeping me chained.
Knowing that my art was essential to my emotional and mental wellbeing and that not making art was not an option, I began to ask myself how I could rekindle my painting habit AND turn my hobby into a business. A real business.
Enter the Universe…. I saw an ad on facebook for the Conquer Club (an online international business course for female entrepreneurs), and it immediately appealed to me. Before I knew it I was chatting on a webinar with Kylie Patchett and Natalie McNeil (the founder of She Takes on the World and the Conquer Club) and before I could say no to myself, I had signed up to both the Inner Circle of the Conquer Club and the Mind Money Mojo course with Kylie.
It was a big financial commitment, but I KNEW I had to do something extraordinary for ME. It was time. Despite the fear of the unknown and the even bigger fear of having to put myself out there I knew I had committed myself to the thing that gave me purpose – my art.
I can wholeheartedly say that without those 2 courses there is no way I would have achieved everything I did in 2015 or seen the growth and opportunities arising so far in 2016.
You would think that partaking in a business course would only enlighten you to the pragmatics of the business world – financials, systems, marketing. What I didn’t bargain for was that I was also getting the foundational learning that ultimately determines your success in anything you do. Mindset. Through the mindset work of Kylie Patchett, I was taken on a confronting AND freeing journey to unravel and release emotional blockages that were impacting on my beliefs and thinking patterns. I went from self-limiting beliefs of not being good enough as an artist or business person to transformative patterns of not just thinking, but knowing ‘I can do this.’
With all things good, it was not easy. It took commitment on my part to be honest with myself, to acknowledge my hurts, apply the tools taught to me to move through them and then create what it was that I did want in my life. One statement really stood out for me during the course work and it was this: “The success of a business is directly linked to the emotional wellbeing of it’s owner.”
Akin to a magic spell, things started to fall into place as I experienced these positive shifts in my mindset. I created a vision board with my hopes and dreams for the year, got clear on my goals and wrote them up big and bold for the universe to see. Within 3 months of doing that, the “move to Bangalow” became a step closer as we secured a block of land there. My work started selling more, even though I’d put my prices up, I got invited and accepted into art shows, held my solo show and almost sold out. Opportunities came knocking on my door as I ventured into an activewear and swimwear collaboration and my first range of art cushions. And then the greatest thing of all happened… my husband and another business owner from the area facilitated the creation of the “Newrybar Merchants” in Newrybar, 5 minutes from Bangalow. This was to be my new work space complete with my own studio and gallery space to display my work. Early December saw us make the sea change to the idylic location of Bangalow and I soon got representation with Art Piece Gallery in Mullumbimby. To add to the magic happening all around me, Fenton & Fenton approached me to be one of their artists and I am now represented by them! And all of those opportunities came to me just by me doing what I love to do… paint!
To say I’m stoked is an understatement. I always thought it was a load of nonsense when mentors made it all sound so simple – that all you had to do was do that thing that you were so intensely passionate about. Yet, I am experiencing now the truth of that concept. It is a subtle but powerful shift from thinking you can do it to BELIEVING with utter resolve that what you are doing is worth it. I think the confusion comes when people think you think good thoughts and then sit and wait for good things to happen. No you don’t. You get up each and every morning and work on that thing you love without fail. Just like you feed your body each day. And it’s the work you put in because of the love of what you do that brings more of what you want to you.
In summary, I’d like to share a few key things that I have learnt in my journey from hobby to professional artist, in the hope that it might inspire someone out there to go and grab the life they deserve.
1. You have one life to give your dreams a crack. What are you waiting for?
2. Failure is always a stepping stone to something greater.
3. I believe you need a clear vision or statement that you live by in the forefront of your mind. I live by the motto on my fridge “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life” Anthony Robbins.
4. Beliefs are created in childhood and can cause emotional blockages in the body. Find yourself a great kinesiologist or a form of therapy that works for you and go and get help to clear them out. It can take a bit of time but you will feel a whole lot lighter when that work is done!
5. Self care is essential to everything! So meditate, do yoga or whatever it is that makes you happy and keeps you centred and at peace. It’s imperative if you want to create an aligned and healthy business.
6. Its okay to put yourself out there. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Its all part of the learning and the journey.
7. Its okay to put yourself first.
8. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen? More often than not you will laugh at how silly the answer is ☺
9. The stuff your parents told you wasn’t necessarily true. I was told “you will never make a living as an artist”, and so I studied Graphic Design instead of Fine Art. I don’t regret any of it… my path to becoming a full time artist has probably been a lot more interesting than if I had studied art! But that belief that “I won’t make it as an artist” certainly got embedded in me and has taken a long time to shift…
10. Be proud of your achievements and celebrate them. Always celebrate the achievements of others around you. You duplicate the wonderful energy that way.