Sarah Rowan

One of Australia's Top Speed Painters & Speakers on Creativity 


Getting Paid to Paint Across Europe

Posted by Sarah Rowan Dahl on April 24, 2016 at 5:30 PM

I initially titled this blog, "Painting Across Europe", however, I realised a lot of artists do that...but few ever financlly break even, much less receive payment for their work...prior to picking up a paintbrush.  Please don't hate me.  I am merely writing this to inspire artists, whom, like me, dream and work their butts off in hopes that one day their work will be globally desired, valued, and appreciated.

In November 2015, the organiser behind Destination NSW tourism training events for Europe sat on his sofa with a glass of wine one evening thinking of an entertaining element for his tourism events the following year.  He came across my YouTube channel.  Oh the power of YouTube! Months of meetings and negotations followed as my agent (Apples & Pears Entertainment) made sure that I did not walk away from a great trip/ work experience empty handed.  

As artists we are often asked to work for less than other fields of industry in the name of "exposure".  Thankfully this was not the case.  If you find yourself bending over backwards just to make a sale and being walked over, remind yourself that "exposure" does not feed you or your family.  Oh how we would like to think that it will.  Some of the most amazing doors have opened over the years and I gladly took the opportunities at a greatly reduced pay rate, ever-so-confident that the audience would lead to greener pastures, and still returning to graze in the same old field.  After 12 years of performance painting, I have realised that these opportunities are only worth it, only if the platform of that one event is enough, but to never assume it will lead to greater events.  

Time and time again, I have made this error and it has cost my family...but now the grey hairs are starting to come in and I know better.  Chasing money is never satisfying or enduring, so please don't misread this ramble and think I'm money hungry.  Nor is this a blog about how to make more money as an artist.  When you are approached by a potential client it is important to carry yourself as an artist who values their self worth and values their work.  I am preaching to the choir and know that this can be a continual journey throughout the life of an artist, especially as these values can continue to increase over the years.

Primadonnas are not attractive.  When your dreams become reality, it is important to walk in love and humility; remembering there is always another artist out there with more talent and character than yourself.  Bring excellence to your craft!  Present your clients varnished, strong works on quality materials.  Document your journey.  Take good photographs of your work, keep good records over the years so that you know who your clients are and can visually see your progress.  Be present.  It is a trending topic these days, but it will always be one of my top priorities.  One of the most irritating aspect of our high tech lives is that we are living in multpile platforms and dimensions simultaneously, yet never fully alive in one space.  There are too many tabs open in our hearts and minds.  It is costing us our very lives and fractering relationships and families.  We are all guilty of this...some more so than others.  But we can all improve, and I for one am daily making this effort. 

How did a blog about Europe take this interesting turn?  Go figure.  Europe was remarkable.  3 and 4 star hotels...type of wonderful.  Champagne in the steam room and fancy robes...type of wonderful.  London to Manchester, Glasgow, Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Paris...type of wonderful.  I checked off locations that had been on my bucket list for two decades...type of wonderful.  Perfoming each night with my hero and husband on guitar and didgeridoo...type of wonderful.  We brought as much to each event as we possibly could and made every effort to be an asset to the team and not a weight.  This goes for emotions, energy, punctuality, and fulfilling our contract in every area.  When our client is considering entertainment for his events in the US, China, etc., we want to be his first consideration.

Cheers to all the artists out there with unique goals and wild imaginations.  Write down your dreams and place them in front of's only a matter of time before it's your turn.

PS - videos of trip are on my YouTube Channel and they are refusing to link without making a mess of letters and numbers on my blog.  Ugh.  So just type my full name into the search box and you will find it!  ;-)

Categories: Painting

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