We met Yvette in early 2023 and fell in love with her beautiful art and her charming personality. In addition to creating, she offers helpful courses, and sells her own custom paints!
This interview gives you a sampling of all that this Master has to offer.
What role does art play in your life?
Art is my livelihood. What started as a hobby my entire life led me to study and graduate with a BFA, then became a full-time career for me 20 years ago. It also has played an integral role in community outreach, education, and my mental health.
I have always been a creator at heart, with an appreciation for architecture and interior design. In 2003 I took a great leap for my passion and left my corporate career to pursue art full-time. My family thought I lost my mind, but I had the support of my husband who was in it for the ride. What did that mean? I had no clue at the time. However, this is when I first found out about art licensing, and publishing and I so badly wanted to get in on that world.
One of my prior jobs was in photography so I had some skills to make a living financially on the side, as I ventured into this passion of painting and creating art for the world to enjoy. But the reality was this: I felt very alone, even though I had support, no one had the knowledge to help me. I had no idea what I was doing, and was terrified of failure, not being good enough, or smart enough to pull it off. It was an industry I had no knowledge of and was totally intimidated by, so it was a huge learning curve and wake up call for me.
I spent a lot of time on my kitchen floor painting art that I hated because I was trying too hard to paint what I thought the industry wanted. I completely forgot about the things I loved to paint. I painted every day and submitted my work weekly, only to spend many more nights crying after every painting was rejected. Six months into doing this daily, I was mentally and emotional drained, and was ready to throw in the towel and give up completely on this endeavor. Imagine painting so much art that you hated, that you just didn’t want to do it anymore?
Fearful of this feeling I decided to take a break from submitting art to create a pair of paintings for myself to get that joy back. I’m a water baby, I love the lake, ocean, beach, tropics, warm weather, and sun. So, I went there with my art and let it inspire two very large, beautiful bird of paradise botanicals that I intended to put up on my walls. These paintings sat on my kitchen floor for about a month. I felt a little refreshed after that and wanted to get back and attempt more submissions. The pattern started again, more painting, more submissions, and a lot more rejections.
I called a friend in the industry with frustration who ended up coming over to talk with me and cheer me up. She saw the two tropical paintings on my floor and asked if I had submitted them, and I said “No, they wouldn’t want them.” She asked if she could pitch them to her design panel, and to be honest I was so exhausted and drained that I had no enthusiasm or care if she did or didn’t because I felt like it would just be another disappointing conclusion. Well, she left with those two paintings and my life took a dramatic turn from that moment on. Within hours of her leaving with those paintings I received a call that they were going to be published and licensed in the next release.
Needless to say, my devastating tears turned into happy ones and sparked an ah-ha moment in me. Those two paintings then inspired the largest collection of tropical images that kicked off my career and put me into the Top 10 selling artist within the company in my first year. It was this moment that drove me to dive deeper into educating and advocating for artists across the globe.
Fast forward to today, I’ve created a Brand with my art in Licensing, Online Art Courses, and my own Paints and art supplies. My art can be found in major décor stores across North America like Hobby Lobby, At Home, Kirkland, Pier 1, HomeSense, Winners, JC Penny, and many more. I collaborate with other Brands and business to spread creativity across the globe.
In January of 2022, I launched my online course platform paintingwithyvette.com teaching over 15,000 students globally, and this year I’ve launch my own quality acrylic paints, brushes, paint kits, and other supplies that are coming to local retailers soon.
It’s been a journey, and I’ve learned to embrace the peaks and valleys of the art business and use that to my advantage to learn and grow my creative business.
What inspires you? Where do you get your inspiration?
Nature, animals, interior design, my garden, my surroundings, and aspiring artists. You see, I’m not only inspired by subject and color for my art, but it’s the people who want to learn to create who inspires me to education both with technique, and art business, to help guide them to a successful and joyous relationship with art. I feel that’s what was lacking in the beginning of my career.
Being so alone and naïve with no one to educate me on the versatility of techniques, the art licensing world, or the art of business is what has inspired me to be the art influencer and creator that I am today.
What is your favorite part of the artistic process?
Being creative and painting collections, and developing products is definitely my happy place, but I also love connecting with students of mine who are learning and watching them develop and build their own style. This is so rewarding I can’t even explain how great that makes me feel. It’s like a proud momma moment to see my students achieve beautiful artwork and watch them build supplemental income from it. To be able to give them confidence and educate them on the business of art is something I never had, so I want to give others what I spent many years figuring out by myself.
I truly enjoy seeing the success of other creatives, and it makes me feel accomplished knowing that I’ve inspired someone to great things with their art.
What is your least favorite part of the process?
To be honest, keeping up with social media posts and threads. Unfortunately, it is the way of the world, but it is just another daunting task that as a business owner and influencer is part of the gig. It just comes with the territory, but it’s very time consuming and I would love to spend more time focusing on content and creating rather than posting about it.
With that said, not everything about business is fun, even when you are in a creative business; however, it’s still an important part that cannot be dismissed.
What advice would you give to new or up and coming artists?
Allow yourself to grow. You are not going to start off knowing everything about the medium, techniques, or industry. Creating is an evolution and if you get stuck doing the same thing forever, you will not grow as an artist. Mistakes are your best friend; they allow you to discover something new. Try anything once, even if you think you won’t enjoy it, try it because the result might surprise you.
Fear is natural, so let it fire you up instead of bringing you down. Surround yourself with support, friends, family, or even a community group. Embrace your work with all the little imperfections you see because that is how you develop your style and uniqueness in your art. Most important, create from your heart. Love what you paint and use different techniques to switch it up so that you can evolve as an artist.
Check out Yvette’s work for more ideas and inspiration:
FB Yvette St. Amant Fine Arts
Yvette developed a special course for our community: "DIY Boho Clock and Coaster Set."
She has given us a $10 discount which makes the cost of the course just $27! It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn a new technique and get inspired by one of the best!
You can access the course with the special offer here.