TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 211 What We Can Learn from the Old Masters


Speaker 1:
It’s The Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to The Inspiration Place podcast, an art world insider podcast for artists, by an artist, where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. Now, your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman:
Well, hey there, my friend, it’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration, and I’m bringing you a roundup from the Artpreneur Flash Briefings for the week.

This week, I’m sharing how poetry and art can help us with the bad news, how to overcome imposter syndrome, how to get started teaching online art classes, from what kind, of course, to create to your tech setup. Finally, we’re going to pause to look back on what has changed for women over the last 100 years.

But before we get there, I wanted to share a quick story about my farmhouse. When I go up there, I love spotting wildlife. Deer on my walks or ground hogs, porcupines, wild turkeys, and yeah, like most farmhouse, we sometimes have mice in the basement and bats in the attic. I’ve even spotted bears on our road. That was three times since we’ve lived there, we’ve seen a bear and they were definitely three different bears.

For this story, I just want to share that I was bringing… One of the routines we do, I like to go for a walk right away so I can go see nature. But before I did that last weekend, I had my usual routine. I was bringing the cushions out to the deck and my husband was shaking out the umbrella over the table in the back deck, and a big black moth flew in over my head. But I looked around, I didn’t see it. When I duck, I must have scared it off. I didn’t see the moth again, no big deal.

Well, until we went to bed that night. As soon as my husband turned off the light, we heard and saw the unmistakable sound of flapping wings. It wasn’t a moth. I guess that black thing that flew in was a bat. Maybe it was hiding under the umbrella. What did we do? Well, I hid under my pillow and my husband chased it into the bathroom. I refused to get out of bed and my husband duct-taped the pocket door closed. It was a sliding pocket door, and he put duct tape all the way around all four sides. We decided we would deal with this problem in the morning.

What did we do the next day? We dressed from head to toe, all covered up. I had a hoodie on over my head, and I held a broom across my chest. That was our plan. And my husband was armed with a box. Slowly, he peeled the silver tape off and we slid open the door, and there in the bathroom was nothing. Nothing. No sign of the bat anywhere, no droppings, no bat. We assume he crawled through a crack, maybe in the pocket door, and was up either in the attic or in the space between the ceiling.

What’s the moral here? Well, more amazing than the story of the bat, which turned out to be kind of a nothing, has been people’s responses to it. I think that says a lot about how we, as people, deal with fear and deal with problems. For example, my husband’s project manager said she would’ve just gotten in her car in the middle of the night and driven home. My sister, on the other hand, said she would’ve taken her entire family to the emergency room for a complete round of vaccines for rabies. Me, the whole story just made me think of my late mother-in-law who always used to say, “We spend half our lives worrying about things that never happen.” All right, my friend, I hope you like that story, and now let’s get on to today’s show.

We’ve had a crazy few years. How do you deal with the pain in the world and still carry on? We love to think that this time is special or different than ages past, and though it’s true there’s more chaos right now than in recent memory, I like to think of Billy Joel’s song We Didn’t Start the Fire. Meaning, there has always been pain and chaos in the world, always.

Recently, I stumbled upon an article in The New York Times. Well, by stumble, I didn’t really stumble upon it. This is one of those situations where my mother clips out a New York Times article and either calls me about it or puts it in the mail. In this New York Times article, the war correspondent and her name, I believe, is Alissa Rubin. She talks about how she uses poetry to manage the heartache of war. She says she actually carries poetry books with her when she goes on the front line. She reports on Afghanistan and really war-torn places. She carries poetry with her by Yeats and Auden and even the Iliad.

In this article, one poem in particular struck me as relevant to, not only this moment, but relevant to you as an artist, and I thought you would like to hear it. The Painting is by Auden. It alludes to a painting by Pieter Brueghel called Landscape and Fall of Icarus. Icarus is from the Greek myth. He’s the one who made wings of wax because he wanted to fly, but he got too close to the sun and it melted his wings. In the painting, you actually don’t see Icarus in the sky. You look for Icarus, he’s not in the sky. The first thing I did was look up. There’s actually no sky. You see the whole perspective is from the sky looking down. You see it’s must be a gorgeous day, very sunny.

The water of the ocean looks clear blue, so it must be a beautiful day. The first thing you’ll notice is just people going about their business. A merchant, somebody looking up in the sky. Nobody seems to be paying attention to a man’s legs that are disappearing in the water. When you feel down about something, you too may want to turn to poetry for comfort, so this one is about going on with your life in spite of bad things happening in the world. Here it is:

Musee des Beaux Arts
W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position: how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.


Imposter syndrome. I’ve been there, it’s when you think, “Who am I to?” Or, “I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s only a matter of time before they find out.” That’s the one that plagued me while I was writing my book, Artpreneur, who am I to write a book? But then I learned to replace that with, I don’t know what I’m doing, but it’s only a matter of time before I figure this out. The one that I also love, I don’t know what I’m doing, but none of us do, we’re all just making it up.

Now, if you’re struggling to call yourself an artist, I have a remedy for you. Here’s what I want you to do. Declare your identity as an artist, tell everyone you meet you’re an artist, a writer, a musician, a poet, a playwright or whatever form of artist moniker suits you. You’ll do this from a place of sharing, service and connection, without trying to sell them anything. Sharing your artistic identity is connection. Hiding your identity isn’t. Practice showing up in the world as an artist, repeatedly telling everyone that you’re an artist is how you begin to rewrite your story.

This is key for two reasons, it will strengthen belief in your identity. And at the same time, you’ll develop the skill of articulating what you do and why. These are essential skills for all artpreneurs. Now, the book isn’t even coming out until next year. So, until then, I wanted to give you a little gift to help you manage your imposter syndrome and manage your mind. Every chapter in the book, every chapter’s title in the book is also an affirmation that you need to embody for artpreneur success. You can get a list of all 12 of the affirmations to use, whether it’s in your art journal, your morning pages, or just as a reminder. To get them, all you have to do is go to It’s completely free. For a limited time, you can also grab another free resource. This bonus is a 15-minute visualization audio from my friend, Amy Porterfield. There’s nothing more powerful to reset your mind than combining the written and the spoken word. Again, to get your hands on these resources, go to

When you’re starting out in the digital course world, it can feel overwhelming. What should you teach? How do you get that information across to people online? And how much should you charge? Now, as we always say here, keep it simple. There are three options for your digital course. You can do a starter course, a spotlight course, or a signature course. The best part, each course can build the foundation for your next course. This ensures that your students can stay connected and move through your courses from starter to signature. This is the exact framework I use to turn my art career into a six-figure business.
A starter course is like my class Watercolor Secrets, which teaches the foundations of watercolor painting. A spotlight course teaches one specific thing, an example of that would be my class Spirited Sunflowers. So, it’s not exactly the basics, but there’s really only one thing taught. Finally, there’s this signature course, an example of a signature course is my class Watercolor Portrait Academy, which teaches how to paint portraits.

Now, if you’ve been considering dipping your toes into teaching your own online class, or perhaps you’ve done it in the past and want to do it even better, I’ve got some great resources just for you. It’s my Course Creator Starter Kit. This PDF guide will help get you started. You can download it absolutely free, get it at And for a limited time, you can also get training from the queen of online classes herself, Amy Porterfield. Next week and through the end of August, she’s hosting a five-day bootcamp, which will help you nail down your course topic, show you how to attract the perfect audience and, most importantly, gain the confidence you need to show up and claim the success you deserve. Trust me when I say there’s nothing that will recession proof your art business more than an online class. Again, to get started, grab my free guide over at

When I first started creating art video tutorials, I had no idea what video equipment or software I needed. I was so overwhelmed by all the options, because I didn’t want to waste my time and money on the wrong stuff. So, what I did was I actually asked a tech-savvy teenager to teach me what to do. He found me an affordable, yet quality video camera that got professional level results without me needing to hire a film crew or an editor or go to film school.

So, with the right camera, a few accessories and simple software, I created videos that my students love to watch and learn from because they’re high quality and professional without being boring. Now, after almost 10 years, I’ve streamlined the process and found the perfect tools to create amazing and binge worthy art videos in less time. I’ve had thousands of students go through my classes, like Watercolor Portrait Academy, Watercolor Secrets, Mixed Media Madness, and many more.

I want to show you how you can create your own beautiful videos to showcase your art and technique. I still use the same video camera I bought all those years ago and yes, you can still get that one or a similar one. What I want to do is share with you all the different tools I use and that I’m going to provide you with a link where you can download that PDF absolutely free.
The first thing I recommend you get is actually a digital camcorder with a rotating viewfinder. The one I use is a Canon. It allows you to see what you’re filming. It takes a memory card. So, I’m linking to you both the camera, as well as the memory card, you will get much better results with this than you will on a phone. And also a tripod, the tripod I’m recommending has a multi-angle rotation as well. That allows me to film on my table.

I also recommend that you get a camcord, a webcam, for your computer. This is different than what you might have already built into your laptop. It’s going to give much better picture quality. So, if you’re teaching any kind of classes on Zoom, whether that is the way you’re delivering your course or just promoting it, you’re going to want to use that. That’s what I use for all of mine. It’s a wide angle lens. I use a Logitech HD webcam. Again, I will link that in the PDF that I’m going to provide to you for free.

For the microphone, I’ve gone through a lot of microphones over the years. Currently, I’m using one that you need, a mixer 4, but we will link to one. You do not need a mixer 4, like a USB microphone. So the Blue Yeti is a good price one that allows you just to plug and play. I also recommend you get really good lighting. Now, this was less critical when I was still living in the suburbs and I had lots of window lights. So, if you are blessed with lots of window light, you may not need this, but if you live in the city like I do now, I have two windows in my studio, but they both face a brick wall. So, I have broken out, again, my Diva Ring Light. This light is very good for your face, because it’s circular. It’s very flattering for any time you want to go face the camera, but you can use any other kind of light you want for lighting your artwork. The Diva Ring Super Nova is what I recommend and that again is linked in the PDF.

Like I mentioned before, I’m also linking up my memory card and then video editing software. I still use CyberLink. It is very affordable, very easy to use and my whole team uses it and love it. I’m going to link that for you as well. That is not an affiliate link. Then the online business platform for delivering the online class is Kajabi. That one as well, I recommend, and you can use my link. I believe you get a percentage off if you’re new for Kajabi. It is definitely one of the more premium of online class platforms. But I do believe in investing in the best experience for my students. So, when you invest in quality software for your students, they will have a better experience.

Okay. Finally, I don’t think I need to tell you this, after the last few years of us being on Zoom, but Zoom is something that you’re going to want to get your hands on. All right. To get started building your pro quality art videos, the list is absolutely free, got that PDF all organized for you. Just go to, T-E-C-H.

Over 100 years ago today, in the United States, they signed the 19th Amendment. It’s the women’s right to vote from 1920. This weekend also marks the anniversary of Martin Luther King I Have a Dream Speech. So, it’s time for us to pause and think about what that means for us in 2022. Yes, so much has changed since then. Women can now get credit cards. My mother couldn’t get one without a husband until the Fair Credit Opportunity Act. So, it took 16 years before women were finally granted the legal right to open a credit card.

My grandmother and my ancestors never could have dreamed about having their own online business like I do. There’s so many artists that I want to point out, women artists that I want to point out as examples, I’m going to rattle off just a bunch of names. I’m just coming up with this off the top of my head. Cindy Sherman, Alice Neel, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Berthe Morisot, Mary Cassatt, Julie Mehretu, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan. And there are many more, so many others, which is why I was so disappointed when I read that, in 2002, less than 10% of the art in the MoMA was done by women artists. 20 years later, that number hasn’t really budged. So, out of the 1,444 artworks at the MoMA, only 336 are done by women artists. It’s not just the MoMA, reporting by ARTnews shared that across the US women make up only 11% of new art acquired by institutions.

What does that mean for us if you’re a woman artist? Well, I want you to know, you do not have to be a statistic. People, the rate of getting into medical school is pretty low as well. I think it’s like 40%. But we still have doctors. Now, perhaps your dream isn’t to be in a museum, so that particular statistic doesn’t affect you. Most of the artists I coach just want to make a living from the art. And being a woman doesn’t need to be a handicap. You don’t have to be a statistic. You have two choices. You can listen to this news and it can discourage you and you can give up, or you can fight. Whatever your dream is on this anniversary of Martin Luther King I Have a Dream, I want you to know that I believe in you and I believe in your art, and I say, fight.

All right, well, that’s it for the week. I want to give you a quick recap of all the free resources I’ve shared with you. First of all, there was the 12 Artpreneur Affirmations. You can get that at There’s also the Course Creator Starter Kit. Go get that at Finally, the art video tech setup, you can get that list at Now you can find all the links we talked about today, including my art classes, Watercolor Portrait Academy, and some others. You can go find that at, all right, my friend. Well, that’s it until next time. Until then, stay inspired.

Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening to The Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at, on Instagram, @schulmanart. And of course, on



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