How to be an Artist (with a capital A)


I listened to a podcast from The Savvy Painter yesterday regarding selling artwork professionally and making the leap from ‘day job’ to full time professional artist.  They discussed imagining what you want your life to look like, and actually writing it down-  For example, what does ‘successful artist’ mean to you- Not someone else’s idea of it.  I had found similar thoughts in the book “The Artist’s Way”- visualizing what it is to be an artist.

Here’s what I thought it was:  You grind your way thru an art school, living on alcohol and sIMG_0510craps of food you find so you can afford your art supplies.  Graduate (or if you are really an artist, drop out to prove you don’t need the establishment to tell you how to paint); after graduation, move to New York, work a handful of odd ball jobs, live on a friend’s floor or a bench if necessary and paint when you can.  Default on student loans if you have them.  Critique everyone else’s art, complaining the entire time that the artist ‘got lucky’ ‘knew someone’ or ‘is sleeping with someone’ to get the gallery exposure.

I won’t admit to which on that list I have done.  I will tell you that I did not default on my loans- Because after college and a brief stint in New York, I chickened out, listened to my fears and the ones of those around me, and got a “real job” in sales.

To this day, I make every excuse not to paint.  I don’t even have a ‘real job’ anymore, and I still find myself surfing Facebook, drinking one more cup of coffee, do a few loads of laundry– even though my new studio is set up and ready to go.

What the hell am I afraid of? Maybe actually selling a painting? I can barely bring myself to tell people that my job is “Artist”- I stumble on the words and mutter something about being a stay at home Mommy until I figure out what I want to do.

I- Am- An- Artist.  Time to get over it, get the paints and canvas out and put them together- come what may.

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