The ups and downs of life in art
Here I go wearing my heart right out on my sleeve again. Perhaps an artist should try to be more professional and keep these things to himself, perhaps he should just stick to painting pictures. Let the canvas do the talking. My problem here, and it's just a small problem, is that I was born a human being, complete with emotions, feelings, impressions, all that nasty stuff.
Today I struggle with motivation. I am writing this post early in the day because I want to demonstrate how to fix such a problem.
As a great artist writer once said, "I've never known a depression that couldn't be beat by a session of good painting" (Kenneth Harris 1958).
So today I woke up with the usual black cloud in the sky, if you are an artist you know the one. What if I never sell another painting again? What if it's all over? What if I was just dreaming all this time and this is not real? What if I'm just a two bit no good low down snake in the grass good for nothing freeloading artist wannabe? What if what if what if?
Si I am going to take my stiff coffee out to my studio and there I am going to set out to paint a painting.
My next post will be the result of it and let's see where it all leads too.
Looking back on where it all began.
30" x 40" oil on canvas
This was the first painting I ever sold as an artist in oil painting.
Feeling reflective this morning. Looking back on the last four years and where it all began. This was the first oil painting I ever sold. Untitled, 30"x40" oil on canvas, it was very airy and tranquil. I was really just getting the feel of the brushes flowing through the oil paint. I recall that while still woking at the bank I posted this on kijiji on the advice of Luisito, a co-worker. It sold in less than a week for 275.00. I was so surprised at the sale that I neglected to note down the buyers name! I regret that to this day. She was a nurse from Sarnia. She sent a friend all the way to my home in Whitby to pick it up and pay for it and then he drove all the way back on the same day! That was dedication to a painting. It changed my perspective on what art means to people forever.
I went on to posting another and another and another over the following weeks and continued to sell quickly.
There is no doubt that all artists have their own insecurities and I am no different. I wake up every single morning wondering if the last painting I sold was the LAST one I WILL ever sell. Call it an artists curse or whatever you choose but it is what keeps this artists feet planted firmly on the ground. I have never and never will assume that sales will continue, rather, I thank God from the bottom of my heart and I always pray with earnest that another one will sell today. I trust him for the rest.
I am grateful and sincerely appreciative deep deep in my heart for every single painting that is purchased. To date there have been well over 200. I lost count last year.
Will it continue? I don't know. I pray that it will. I love painting and I love seeing my work on the walls of homes and businesses all over Canada and some in the United States. There are even some in the UK.
My studio is currently jammed with new works and ready to be shown. You are more than welcome to visit and see them in person.
email@example.com to make your appointment.
Every week I am asked how it is possible to make a living as an artist. The myth out there is that artists are all starving and there is no hope this side of the grave. Anyone who knows me and my work are already well acquainted with the fact that I am living proof that the myth is just a myth. It is possible to generate not only a living but a very healthy living from your art.
To do so there are a number of basic rules which need to be followed. Each of these I have thoroughly broken and learned the hard way how important they are. Save yourself the pain, save yourself the long hard road I have travelled. Do it right! I am beginning a series here on my blog where I discuss my experiences in my career as an artist. Here is rule number ONE:
Stay out of debt!
Before I entered the world of full time painting I failed to ensure that I was free of credit obligations. I had credit card debt like most. According to the Globe and Mail, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/average-debt-for-canadians-25597/article2042922/
Canadians average about $26,000.00 in credit card debt. Happy to say that my obligation was well below that, however, having that debt really restricted my ability to purchase art materials as I needed them. It is crucial as an artist to have liquidity for supplies and travel. If you sell out of most of your inventory and have a huge credit card debt you will not have the ability to replenish your canvas supply or paints, etc. You are then effectively Stranded.
Another statistic about credit cards is that the credit card companies typically make about 200% profit on unpaid credit card balances (those balances you keep postponing paying off).
You need to keep painting. You need to have canvas, paper, paint, supplies, etc, etc, and nothing should get in your way from producing great paintings.
Make a serious but realistic plan to reduce and even eliminate your credit card debt, if possible keep painting while you still have a job so you can apply more money to paying off those debts. Then when they are paid you can make a wise decision to venture out into the world as a full time artist.
The Artists Journey
This is my blog page and it is where I get to be the opinionated man that I really am. The views are my own.
I invite your replies and comments, on my virtual welcome mat.
This sketch above became this finished painting below
The Pine Tree Painter.
How did I become known as the Pine Tree Painter? You could say I paint a lot of Pine Trees, that would be true. I paint a lot of other things too, but Pine Trees, Spruce Trees, Birch and others seem to be a continuous string in what i do. I just like the way they stand there like a custodian of the land. or a greeter to nature. So, I continue down the path with the Pine Tree Painter name on my head, It's ok.