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Searchie Spotlight | Canvas To Course: How A Struggling Artist Transformed Her Craft Into a Thriving Online Business

Watch Kristy's full Spotlight interview here!

How many creatives were told when they were children that their dream wasn’t possible and they needed to pick something more practical for their future? The same goes for Kristy Gordon, who is now a proud full-time artist who paints every single day and teaches her students to find their voice and not give up on the part of them that loves to create art.  

Kristy shares her simple process for getting through creative blocks, navigating moments when you aren’t inspired, and how to find your clear voice as a creator. Hint: it’s something she does every day and she credits her greatest success with this simple daily habit.

If you’re wondering if it’s possible for you to make your passion a career and exactly how to love the business side and the artistic side of being a creative entrepreneur, this is the interview for you!

During This Interview, We Cover: 

  • What all creatives should be doing for 25 minutes every day
  • How to get inspired to create (it’s not what you think!)
  • Why you should start, even if you don’t know what the end looks like
  • Why Searchie makes Kristy’s students gush as soon as they join her community
  • And SO MUCH more!

    Spotlighter Bio

    Name: Kristy Gordon

    Business: Down2Art

    Niche: Kristy Gordon is the founder of Down2Art and the creator of the Visionary Artist Master Program (VAMP) that assists artists in finding their artistic voice. Kristy received a BFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design and an MFA from The New York Academy of Art. In addition to her business endeavors, Kristy is a full-time artist, and adjunct professor at New York Academy of Art. Her paintings have hung in more than 600 collections worldwide. Kristy hosts a podcast, teaches free mini classes, painting workshops, and more. She will never tell you that your dream of being an artist isn’t practical. To find out more about Kristy and her work, follow her on Instagram @kristygordonart or visit her website at





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Let’s Dive In With Kristy Gordon!

Kristy’s success in the art world was not a straightforward path. Her determination led her to venture into animation, and explore her creative abilities before finding her way back to her true calling with painting. This led her to become not just an artist, but a teacher, sharing her love of art with others. Kristy’s story isn’t just about painting, it’s a lesson for all of us who dream of turning our interests into a thriving online business. Ultimately, her success can be traced back to a simple framework of habits she’s developed, refined, and uses personally every single day. She reminds us to “do it anyway” even if it’s not perfect and even if we can’t see the end from the beginning.

Paulina at Searchie: Could we start this interview with you telling us a little bit about who you are, what you do, and who you serve?

Kristy: Well, I'm a full-time artist. I've always wanted to be an artist ever since I was a kid, but when I was a kid I was told that “that wasn't really an option”. So I went into animation first and then found my way through the back door, I like to say, into showing in galleries and I started to make a living that way.

Eventually, I went to art school, got my MFA and my BFA and I've just been pursuing painting – then teaching just evolved naturally. I really enjoyed the stuff that I was learning and so I started to teach some of that type of stuff back in my hometown, bringing the stuff that I was learning, say in New York or overseas, back to my hometown to Ottawa. 

And I serve people that are basically like I was – just really eager to learn more about painting and just fascinated and transfixed as they learn some of the techniques that I now teach.

Finding Your Artistic Voice

Paulina at Searchie: That's amazing. Because everyone is different in terms of their artistic style and in terms of their approach to teaching and sharing their craft. I wanted to ask you specifically about your artistic style and how you found your voice and your approach to art?

Kristy: Yeah, this is actually something that I'm so passionate about, probably because it was actually so hard for me for some reason.

Like I always wanted to be an artist ever since I was a kid, as I mentioned. And then I started to take classes and I got pretty good, technically I could pick things up and it was so exciting for me, so satisfying. And then I became a full-time artist at 24 and so, I was like, I can't believe my life, I'm actually doing it!

And then I went and got my BFA and my MFA, but strangely I never felt like I found my voice and I saw other people around me find their voice and like rise to art fame. And I was definitely learning a lot, but I never really felt like I found my voice and it just was actually such a point of pain for me.

I felt like such a failure. 

I had done everything that there is out there and I couldn't seem to find my voice and here it is, it's the only thing I ever wanted to do is be an artist. So it was actually like this moment of –well– a long moment of just a total depression. I just felt at a complete loss and it was in one of these moments, it honestly felt like it came to me magically, but for some strange reason I was like, okay, I'm gonna figure this out. 

And it came to me, this five-step framework that I wrote down, I called it my Daily Miracle Actions list – a plan that I would do every day. And I put it beside my bed and made sure for every single day that I did all of these things, like doing intuitive paintings, doing thumbnails, doing morning pages, all these various things that somehow I just knew would actually help me find my voice. And so that was really life changing for me.

The other most important one of all was to paint 25 minutes a day. So really bare minimum, little teeny, teeny little steps, you know, that I could just take teeny little increments every single day. I was totally blocked as an artist at the time, so doing 25 minutes a day was a lot, if you can believe it.

But it pulled me out of my block and helped me find my voice. 

And then what's interesting about this, is now I'm actually teaching on my Searchie Hub. I developed a program teaching other artists how to find their voice using the same five-step framework and I'm writing a book about it now.

Sometimes it seems like we get some kind of barrier in life so that we figure it out and then we can share it with other people.

I just felt at a complete loss and it was in one of these moments, it honestly felt like it came to me magicallythis five-step framework that I wrote down, I called it my Daily Miracle Actions list – a plan that I would do every day.”

Spotlight- Thumbnail- Kristy

Paulina at Searchie: I love that, especially how it seems like it really came full circle where you're taking exactly what you learned and found within yourself and sharing that with other people so that they can find it with themselves as well.

Kristy: Totally. It still helps me. There's so many things to do as an artist, there's actually very few artists that have that much time to paint, or draw, whatever their medium is. Almost none of them have a lot of time. So weeks can go by without doing anything if you're not kind of doing some teeny little doable tidbit every day and it's amazing what you can get done with just teeny little increments every single day.

The Power of 25 Minutes: Overcoming Creative Blocks

Paulina at Searchie: What would you say helps you on your days where maybe you don't feel like painting or as you're saying, a lot of artists can't find the time? The reason I'm asking is that we work with a lot of content creators who are really scared of taking the first step and sometimes they hide behind learning where, they're convinced that they have to learn all the perfect techniques before they start applying it. 

And what it really ends up doing is it ends up paralyzing a lot of people from taking action.

So have you found any specific tips and tricks that have really helped you commit to your challenge of making sure that you do at least 25 minutes every single day?

Kristy: Really it is the 25 minutes, which is the tool. It would be like – with this painting behind me – it was actually a painting that I couldn't do when I started it. It was actually beyond me to accomplish such a thing. It's very complicated. It's also like a five-foot by nine-foot painting. 

So when I would look at the whole thing, it would be like, well this is hopeless. Like there's no way, but, it was actually on this very painting behind me, that I developed the 25-minute-a-day framework where, all I would need to do is just turn on a podcast or something like that, sit in front of my easel and paint like a flower for 25 minutes.

I didn't know every element of the painting. Like there's this mystical creature behind me here. I had no idea what I was gonna do with him, but I might know what to do on a flower or I might know like, okay, I think I can paint the sun.

So I would just every day do 25 minutes no matter what. Even on a day that I moved, I did 25 minutes. You develop the habit too, so it becomes natural, there would always be something that I could do on the painting for 25 minutes each day.

Then what I discovered is that, that also left room for epiphanies to occur where suddenly I would get an idea and I'd be like, I think I know what to do with this weird mystical creature. Like let's try that. It gave room for the painting to kind of evolve intuitively in my mind in the areas that there were questions. But the more you stay engaged in it, the more you get these kinds of epiphanies. 

So I used to think that I needed to be inspired to paint, but then I never painted! It turns out I needed to be painting to be inspired. So it's not like I'm painting in a state of inspiration all the time, but if I paint every day for 25 minutes, then the inspiration flows and then I get the ideas that are even more exciting and I can do the mundane grunt work –which there's a lot of it – for 25 minutes, every day. 

And I do little things… I'm an oil painter, so I put my palate all made up in the freezer every day, I don't even wash my brushes, I stick it all in the freezer every night, pull it out so it's all ready to go and I can just immediately start painting for 25 minutes and stick it all back in the freezer. So there's no big setup, it's not like a big production. 

So those are kind of the tips that I discovered for myself. But I think everyone has to figure out how to make it work for them. The most important thing is to do it every day for 25 minutes.

“I used to think that I needed to be inspired to paint, but then I never painted! It turns out I needed to be painting to be inspired.”

Paulina at Searchie: What would you say helps you on your days where maybe you don't feel like painting or as you're saying, a lot of artists can't find the time?

Kristy: Really it is the 25 minutes, which is the tool. It would be like – with this painting behind me – it was actually a painting that I couldn't do when I started it.

Paulina at Searchie: That's incredible. And I'm stuck on what you said there in terms of the inspiration because it's so true that when you sometimes even force yourself to just go into that space to start creating that it naturally leads to more ideas, more inspiration and more creation as well.

Kristy: Yeah, exactly.

Navigating Creative Entrepreneurship: Balancing Art And Business

Paulina at Searchie: What have you done specifically to make sure that you're still carving out space to be creative when you're also running an online business? Because sometimes with an online business, especially as you're getting started, you can get really overwhelmed by all of the tech processes and learning all the different tools.

Kristy: For me they work hand in hand. Definitely the 25 minutes a day is the thing that keeps me always painting and keeps me moving forward with my paintings. But also the interesting thing is, like I mentioned, I started to teach this framework in my Visionary Artist Master Program, which the Hub is on Searchie and it looks so cute. I love it there. Everyone's so happy with it. 

So I was teaching the framework and a lot of the time it's like the case where you learn it and then you teach it, but then you're learning by teaching it. So as I would be teaching, you know, going deeper into these tools, I'd be like, oh yeah, that's a good idea. I should remember to do that in my practice. I forgot about that, you know? 

So then I kind of go back into my own practice and one of the tools I was doing intuitive paintings – I have a YouTube video about it if anyone wants to check it out –but where you just follow your very first impulse and then your next impulse, the very first thought that comes to mind and you let go entirely about making it look good. This painting behind me actually came out of doing an intuitive painting initially where the idea came to me in this intuitive way. 

And then I fleshed out into the larger painting, but I hadn't done intuitive paintings for a year or something like that. And then I taught about it in the class and I was like, oh, I forgot about that. That's a good idea. And you know, I started doing them again.

So it kind of revitalizes your practice, it keeps you just pushing yourself further as well. The other thing is it's creative for me to be like designing my online courses. And like we worked together designing my Hub on Searchie and that was really fun for me.

And it's dreaming, it's all dreaming. Making a painting is dreaming and building an online course and having a vision of my online courses on a cute little Hub that people find really fun to use. It's all dreaming. It's creative too. It's kind of like using a similar part of the brain. It's still fun for me! 

And I guess the other thing is that the more that I have dreams about the vision that I want to be as an artist, whether it's showing in galleries, or developing a more efficient system for my online courses or whatever’s giving me something to work towards as an artist, and that helps fuel my paintings as well.

The Community Connection

Paulina at Searchie: That's incredible. I know that you do release a lot of free micro training. You have a pretty big following on Instagram where you're constantly posting, tons of tips and tricks, really phenomenal free content. But I know that you also deliver paid content as well. And we talked a little bit about how that paid content is delivered on Searchie. So what specifically has having that paid content available for your students made possible for you?

Kristy: It's made it way easier for the people that are enrolled in my programs. And I keep saying it looks so cute, but it looks cute and fun and it's easy to use. And so I find that they enroll, they love it, you know, they're like, oh, this is cute and fun. So they sign up for one course and then they sign up for another. 

And actually the way we've got it designed, there's a few tabs at the top that have like a community tab which links to a Facebook group so they can all network there. And then there's a link to my podcast and a link to my vlog with various free content that I put out. So it's kind of creating a whole community, a whole network. I had someone recently write to me, they were like, “I joined Down2Art!” They can see it not just as like I signed up for one particular program, but as I'm joining the whole network. The whole world that I'm creating.

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Paulina at Searchie: I know the importance, especially for a creative community to have that space to feel like this is their place, these are their people and this is their opportunity to keep each other accountable to make sure that they continue progressing in that craft.

Kristy: Totally. And I just thought of one other thing. It's a better system than I used to have when I had WordPress and I was like manually emailing people – which is ridiculous. It's set up in such a way now that if say people sign up for the mouth class, I have an upsell, like would you like to also sign up for the features bundle? And they often do that and then very easily it's linked to Searchie so that they immediately have access to all four of them.

It's very streamlined. That's exactly what I wanted. That was the goal, something streamlined where I'm not manually emailing people anymore.

Paulina at Searchie: I think a lot of building an online business is finding those opportunities to keep things simple and keep it streamlined because it means that you're giving yourself time back in your day, but it also means that you're getting the content to your students much faster as well.

Kristy: Totally, yeah. Because they want instant access. They want it to be like they hit the button and they're like, oh my gosh, here we go. And that's what it's like now.

Advice For Beginning Artistic Entrepreneurs

Paulina at Searchie: This has been incredible and I wanted to wrap up this interview with one last question. What would you say to anyone who is just getting started? Who is just thinking about taking their art to a new dimension and a new level and kind of embracing that step into entrepreneurship?

Kristy: Yes, I would say just get it done. Do it kind of imperfectly at first. Just get something out there, and then you can start to refine it for the rest of your life, but just get something out there as soon as possible. Obviously try to make it good and take a little bit of time with it, but not too much time, because you're not ever going to be totally happy with it.

The first time I ever made something, it was definitely not as good, but I could have sat with it forever, you know what I mean? You could tweak it forever and ever. It's way better to get it out there and then just start refining your process and you'll get better at making videos. Actually, the first one I put out is still available. It wasn't that bad!

Paulina at Searchie: There you go. And I think that's really the secret here where it's like you don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going. Everyone has something valuable to put out there and it's just a matter of going through that first step quickly so that you can continue improving and refining exactly what it is that you offer. 

So this has been phenomenal. Thank you so much Kristy! I'll pass it to you for any final words to wrap us up for this interview.

Kristy: I always really love the idea, like don't drop back from anything you feel is important. If you're feeling called to do something, follow those intuitive impulses.

Paulina at Searchie: I love it. Cheers to you following those impulses and thank you again.

Kristy: Aw, thank you so much, Paulina.

Watch Kristy's full Searchie Spotlight interview here!

Thanks for watching!

Want to learn more about Down2Art? Head over to her website here.

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