( Via SeagateCreative)
I saw this on Facebook this week. Initially I read it and had a little giggle as to the ridiculous accuracy of these 10 points but found myself rereading it and pondering it more closely. Hmmm…somehow, it’s not so funny anymore. Some of these points are a little TOO truthful, that is for sure! Not just for artists…but for life.
CONSTANTLY COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHER ARTISTS – Comparison, the number one killer of all belief in your self. Looking at what other artists are doing, achieving or choosing to paint can put real, hard-core doubt into your head about whether you have what it takes to succeed. I have just about cured myself of this but it has not been easy. There are millions of amazing artists and creatives in this small world of ours. All unique, all different. Comparing does little more than stifle your own thoughts and allow self-doubt to creep in. GIVE COMPARISON THE BIG SHOVE!!
TALK TO YOUR FAMILY ABOUT WHAT YOU DO AND EXPECT THEM TO CHEER YOU ON – Talking to family…ahem…talking to husbands…and expecting the cheer squad to turn a few cartwheels. Nightmare. I will let you into a little bit of family politics right now…Dudie and I rarely argue…except when it comes to my art. Red rag to a stubborn bull. Art, like writing or like many creative fields is solitary, all-encompassing and contains just a teensy, weensy bit of your soul. Mix that with the logic and well-meant problem solving of the average financial plannerhusband and you are bound to get some very heated moments. He sees me ‘slave’ over my paintings for hours and hours, days and weeks, ignoring housework, social interactions and general living and then struggle to get paid for my efforts. I see personal achievement, goals being met and an enormous joy in doing what I love and therefore find the financial reward less of a reward and more of a bonus. It’s an artist thing. ONLY CHAT TO FELLOW ARTISTS OR GOD ABOUT YOUR ART.
BASE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR ENTIRE CAREER ON ONE PROJECT …I dont really have an issue with this one…I’m a little too fickle for this problem!! I do know that at one stage in my career I was focussing solely on Children’s illustration. To me it was the only thing that mattered. It was also the one thing that has made me come close to giving up. I made the change to oil painting as a little reprieve from the stress of trying to get my work published. I may someday try illustration again but for the moment oil painting is it and I am so grateful for the angst that made me rethink my focus solely of achieving in children’s illustration. ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR NEW IDEAS AND PROJECTS.
STICK WITH WHAT YOU KNOW – follows on from number three. Boring. This year alone I have painted 4 still life paintings, 1 landscape, 1 portrait, 3 life portraits that incorporate landscape into their backgrounds and a life/pet portrait. Artists are often told to find a theme and stick with it, but it can leave you open to mediocrity, to getting stuck in a rut. 4 years ago, I knew gouache and watercolour for illustration…I now know gouache and watercolour and oil painting and acrylics. One day I might know pastels or pencil or….cake decorating! Who knows! BE OPEN TO SUGGESTION, BE WILLING TO LEARN.
UNDERVALUE YOUR EXPERTISE – This is a huge area of personal down fall. I can sit for hours and hours trying to price an art piece…Price too high and its hard to sell; price too low and you run the risk of not being taken seriously. People want to feel that they have bought a treasure that will be passed down through the family …not that they have bought a bargain that they will get rid of sometime. If you continually search to improve your skills and talents than you will have what it takes to have a following and have expertise. Work hard, talent takes 10,000 hours to show its pretty face. Seriously! VALUE YOUR TALENTS.
LET MONEY DICTATE WHAT YOU DO – We all need it and yes, most of us all want it too. I know I have often let the money side of things dictate what I do…I am married to a financial planner after all. Money makes the world go round…it also makes art go pear-shaped. When my head goes first to selling and second to painting, I get extremely confused as to what to paint. Academically, I know ‘Landscapes’ sell best, but ‘landscapes’ are not my first love to paint. ‘Life portraits’ are my joy. My money head tells me to paint a beach, my heart tells me to paint a child on the beach…which one do you think I will do better? Yep. The kiddo will win every time. Will it sell? Who knows? But it will still be my better painting. LET YOUR JOY DICTATE WHAT YOU PAINT.
BOW TO SOCIETAL PRESSURES –…Hmmm? Not sure about this one? What are societal pressures? If we bowed to what society throws at us we wouldn’t even consider being artists; certainly not a full-time artist, working art as a career! For an artist, being creative is not a hobby, it’s a way of life. It’s becoming harder and harder to make a career in art especially now that art values have dropped in our poor economic climate. Being facetious… maybe this means society thinks artists should be arty…red crazy hair? Nah…Unless you catch me in my paint splattered art clothes or look closely to see the paint under my finger nails, there is no outward sign that I am an artist. I am clean and neat and tidy…I wear pearl earrings and cardigans. Yet I am very arty and pretty wacky in my own head space! BE YOU IN ALL YOU DO.
ONLY DO WORK THAT YOUR FAMILY WOULD LOVE – This is a tough one for me…I love to paint my kids, they are always on call for posing for a new idea I may have and I’m always taking photos of them that often turn into my latest painting. I’m learning though, how to paint them but with a more universal appeal. As my photography skills improve, I am able to ‘set up’ a pose with the girls that conveys a feeling, a look, a scene – with only a side view or partial view of their faces. Certain people like certain forms of art. I have friends who only like abstract art. Others who prefer photographic work. Dudie doesn’t particularly like still life…he loves boats and beach scenes. My mum likes my portraits the best…my brother loves animals and African landscape. Given all these likes and dislikes just in my own family, you can see how important it is to paint what you love and not be swayed by what everyone else likes. PAINT WHAT YOUR HEART IS TELLING YOU TO PAINT.
DO WHATEVER THE CLIENT/CUSTOMER/GALLERY OWNER/INVESTOR ASKS – Well, this is tough. When I hand over a painting to a client I want them to absolutely LOVE it. I know when I haven’t quite done my best and you can be sure as hell a client will feel it too. I have adjusted areas of a painting when a client hasn’t been totally happy and surprisingly, I have felt happier with the painting too. I am open to solving problems with a painting, to pushing myself to a better result and to new ideas that I may not have thought about, but I would have all my love of painting destroyed if I was continually told what to paint and how to paint it. It is soul-destroying to have all of your creative license taken away. I can’t say how I would react to a gallery telling me what to do…because at this stage in my career I havent had the opportunity to exhibit with a gallery. If a gallery approached me tomorrow, I do think I would do ANYTHING they told me to do!!! I want it that bad!! I know though, that when I eventually get picked up by a gallery, I need to hold on tightly to my dream for my art, my style, my beliefs and to not sell out to what the gallery or investors wants. FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR CLIENTS.
SETTING UNACHIEVABLE/OVERWHELMING GOALS – TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY TOMORROW –Setting goals with unachievable time frames is completely and utterly overwhelming… I know. I have learnt to give my self a considerable amount of breathing space. Extra time to plan, to contemplate, and then to correct problems that may occur. As a Mum, life is always throwing itself in my way…I cant side step it. Being a mum is my priority and my kids and family come first. I have to deal with Mum things first then get back to being an artist. If you think a painting will take two weeks to finish…give yourself a month. Your paintings, your family and your stress levels will thank you for it. Set goals for sure but don’t make them so big and soooo consuming that you lose the belief in yourself. SET GOALS AND MAKE THEM ACHIEVABLE…IT NEVER GETS EASIER, YOU JUST GET BETTER.
Not only are these skills for art…but for life , no matter what you do, find your space, your beliefs, your desires.
to live by choice, not by chance;
to make changes, not excuses;
to be motivated, not manipulated;
to be useful, not used;
to excel, not compete;
I choose self-esteem, not self pity.
I choose to listen to my inner voice,
not the random opinion of others.
What are your thoughts on this? I’m always searching for new ways of following my dreams…