Developing Your Craft with Hayley Sheldon


Switching from Commission Based Work

When you take the plunge away from client-based work, it can be a little terrifying. You will have become savvy at constantly putting your spin on someone else’s needs. But now you have to ask yourself the question,

"If you could make anything what would you make, if there was no client what would you make?"

When stepping into this zone, one where you create your work without the guides from someones inspiration, it might be uncomfortable at first. You will find that it is a muscle, you need to practice. As you grow in comfortability it becomes easier to stretch yourself and your creativity.

Marinate in one avenue

It allows you to develop and hone your skill. Instead of dabbling in a zillion things, pick your lane and double down. Learn all you can, and once you have learned the basics expand. Allow your creativity to run free. You will begin to seek new experiences and styles within one skill set.

Dabble for a time, but delve into what you love.

You are not self-indigent. Client work is safe and secure, but when you make what you really truly NEED to make, the audience will come. Work on making your personal style louder and louder.

Client work allows you to pay the bills and fund your passion. As you grow and your business grows you can begin to pick and choose your projects.

Parenting and creativity

Motherhood forces you to analyze all your projects. If you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. You can begin to cut away the projects that do not light your fire.

Give yourself grace. It's not perfect, there will be frustrating days where your kids require more of you, but seek to teach them independent play so you can work along side of them.

We can adjust and be flexible in ways that someone who is without kids can not fathom. It’s amazing how much you can get done in a short amount of time. With 2 hours for a nap time we run our businesses.

Her inspiration

Twilight, Hayley loves the gentle powerful shifts that happen in the world. Trips she has taken and nature also inspire her work. The general feeling you get from a memory, with strong color associations. Motherhood is also a big inspiration, the soft and hard moments.

She used to think everything needed to be representational. But over time she has found that her strength is subtle expression of her work. The shapes she’s using taps into a universal language of communication.


You have certain insecurities that effect you everyday and your work. You do not have to only do client work. You do not have to take crazy huge risks to come into your own. It’s about making what you need to make.

ask yourself "What interests you, what are you passionate about?"

Make what you want to make, because when you make what others want you to make, the people viewing your work will think that is what you want to make, so then you will have to make more of that.

Take a baby-step-sized risk, buy that extra big canvas. It’s okay to be somewhat self indulgent. Hold yourself accountable to follow through with it.

You can do both.


It’s okay to quit, but you also do not want to quit too early. You really need to give what you are doing a fighting chance.

Be willing to evolve and hone your skills if you find something isn't working.

Day Tips

Be realistic with what you can get done during a day as a parent.

Write down a list of what you need to do that day. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure/frustration so be realistic.

Set honest deadlines, maybe give yourself a little more time that you think it will take.

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