10 Things I've Learned as a Professional Artist: Part 1
I've been a professional artist for 30 years. In case you're trying to add that up, I sold my first painting when I was only 5. (Not really, but I wouldn't want to give away my age would I?)
In all those years there were times of abundance as well as lean times. I've learned a few things, make a huge number of mistakes, and I have tried somethings that worked well. I thought I'd share them with you here. Following are my Top Ten lessons learned as a professional artist:
10. Isolation is not a good thing. While it may be tempting to spend all your time in the studio painting away, this isn't a good idea. Eventually you'll run out of ideas. You need to get out, meet people, see the world around you and experience life. This will lead to better art. I promise.
9. Artists are good people. They aren't necessarily competition. Some of the very best friends I've made over the years have been with other artists, very talented artists. Learn to celebrate the success of other artists!
8. The only way to get better at your art is to practice, practice, practice. B O R I N G, I know but absolutely true. Put in the time and effort needed to improve your skills and techniques. You will make mistakes, and create some real duds. Don't be discouraged. Just start the next work of art and keep going. The single biggest mistake you can make is to settle for less than your best. Do you see something that can be corrected? Correct it! Don't let your artwork find a home without the peace of mind that accompanies effort and working conscience.
7. Drawing is critical. Most experienced painters can tell when a painter lacks this fundamental. It is the foundation for painting and there is no shortcut to that. It is important to hone your drawing skills so you not only get the initial drawing correct, but to learn observation skills and teach yourself through experience how to see form. There are drawing classes available in every city and some excellent online resources as well. Consider taking a drawing course at a community college or university. It will be worth your time and effort to learn this crucial skill.
6. Technology is your friend. I know, I know. I can see you rolling your eyes already. But this is really true. In this day and age you must have a website and keep it current. Bite the bullet and make yourself a good website or hire someone to do it for you. Also, social media can be a great tool for getting your name recognized as well as networking with other artists. These things will pay off for you in the long run. Finally, the single best thing I did was to learn Photoshop well. It has saved me countless hours, dependency on others and tons of money.
In the next post we'll finish the list, so be sure to check back. I'm interested to hear what you have learned also. Leave a comment with some tips, hints and tricks you've learned over the years. If you have any questions, I'd love to hear those too. Until next time...
Welcome! I'm so glad you are here and I hope you find some of the information I have shared helpful.
Interested in taking a workshop? Click here for a listing of where I am heading and join me for the fun!