Let me show you my best painting secret!
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How do you picture an artist going about his or her business? Many images come to mind about an artist's day influenced by misconceptions and some romance too. A lot depends on how you see yourself and what it is you want to achieve through art. A full-time pro will have a schedule and approach totally different from the weekend painter. Perhaps your interest is more academic than practical. If you can answer the big questions: What do you want ? and Who are you? - then you can figure out the direction to follow.
Let us say that you do want to paint more and that you have an idea of selling your art. You have a dream of turning pro through a process of transition from regular day job to full time artist. Aside from technical issues I would like to focus on three valuable qualities that you may choose to follow.
1) Respect: Have respect for all other artists and also for yourself. Respect other artists irrespective of their ability. There will always be someone better than you and you will be better than others as far as technique is concerned. Respect keeps an artist humble and keeps professional jealousy at bay. These weaknesses of the ego are fatal to artists. It is one thing to have confidence, but it is another to be arrogant. It is useful to remember that every artist has her own path to follow and own burdens to carry. Try not to add negative energy through ego. Even better - express gratitude that there are many other artists to share this kinship with.
2) Work Joyfully: A creative life is a joyful one and there is much to be grateful for simply living in this manner. I am not sure if there is any better way to feel the rhythm of nature and the universe than to be engrossed in a creative task. There is a certain synchronisity involved when the soul is engaged. Time flies and happy coincidences seem to happen with regularity. The opposite condition is when you are out of synch with natural rhythms. You feel blocked and frustrated. You try to kill time and self-doubt creeps in as your mind fills you with distractions. If you find yourself shopping or watching too much TV to get over this feeling then you need to do something quickly. The solution is to start working.
The other benefit to work is that productivity increases. With this comes improved quality of work and growing skills. These qualities are due to regular and dedicated work. If you paint then get through miles of canvas. If you sculpt then tons of material needs to be chiseled away. Get the idea? Quantity counts and quality follows naturally. With regular, joyful work comes effortless creativity.
3) Steal like an artist: A famous quote goes along the lines of " Everything that is worth saying has already been said, but since nobody was paying attention, it bears repeating." We artists need to learn from those who have worked before us and those who strive alongside us. This is not copying or plagiarism. This about about taking what is good, assimilating it and producing something unique with your own interpretation. It was Picasso who referred to Cezanne as the father of abstract art and Picasso took the process further as was his chosen duty as an artist.
It is well known that renaissance masters learnt their skill by copying those masters who went before them. The student then produced his own unique works once his skills were up to standard. This process of learning and acquisition links up to respect and work. Stealing like an artist is not a shortcut. You will need to respect the information you acquire and work hard to produce your own unique work. Acknowledge your influences and be grateful for their work. In turn be generous with your own work as you carry on a tradition of learning. For an off-beat take on this topic visit
The three qualities go more to the character of an artist than technical skills, but all are linked and share in importance.