It’s OK to Say “No”

Greetings Dear Friends,

A quote in one of the Painter’s Keys newsletters caught my eye. It’s attributed to billionaire Warren Buffett, and this is what he said:

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say “no” to almost everything.

Early in my art career I said “yes” to everything. I did juried shows, outdoor shows, trade shows, home shows, studio shows, and shows at alternative venues such as restaurants and hair salons. I joined a co-op gallery, did mailings to a huge number of art consultants and interior designers, researched and submitted to dozens of commercial galleries and shipped artwork all across the country. I went to networking groups, gave talks about my art at various meetings, donated art to many fundraising events, showed artwork on my website as well as several other large art websites, found a licensing agent and had my artwork scanned for prints. I gave public and private demonstrations, produced videos about my art, wrote and submitted articles about my art to print and online publications, and did large public events where people could create their own abstract art.

Whew! It was a lot, and it was exhausting, expensive, and mostly not worth the time and effort it took to do all of that.

Now I’m more selective about where I choose to show my art and which marketing opportunities I pursue. As Warren Buffett suggests, I say “no” to almost everything.

The interesting thing is that sales of my art are better now than when I was doing everything. It could be that my art is more seasoned and mature now, or maybe the art market is better. But I suspect that focusing on only a few activities and doing less is actually better than trying to do it all.

On the trash front, here are two new collage pieces I finished over the weekend using found trash. I decided to give the series a more catchy name — “Talking Trash!” Click on the images to see them in a browser.

This first piece is based on the concept of Jell-o cubes.

Cassandra Tondro collage

“Cubism,” 12 x 12 inches, collage on wood panel

Next up is a piece using Jiffy corn muffin mix boxes inspired by traditional Seminole patchwork designs.

Cassandra Tondro collage

“In a Jiffy,” 12 x 12 inches, collage on wood panel

Where have you found it beneficial to do less? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Fantastic points you made, I remember all that hard work you (and I) did. Ugh. Glad to know the key to success is to do less and be more selective. I love your new pieces–really fun and really powerful!

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