I have a few thoughts on this. Here's a few things I've come to learn on my art journey and what's shaped my philosophy as an artist.
You don't have to monetize your happiness.
There's this perception out there that if you're good at something, you should sell it. While I agree making some side money is a great thing, it's hardly worth it if that is sucking the joy out of an activity that you once did to relax. Granted, there are a lot of people out there that can create and also run a business with it. In my humble opinion, they are the minority.
Interrupting the natural path of your own creativity to meet deadlines, be "more productive", and create consistent works of art, takes the joy out of creating. Our creative process doesn't have a schedule. It has a natural ebb and flow, we are constantly learning, trying new techniques, seeing what works and what doesn't. Not every piece will be a masterpiece. Stifling that process with expectations just causes us to be hard on ourselves.
All that to say, be kind to yourselves. Create for you, first. If you see an opportunity for a side hustle, by all means do it! I'll cheer you on! Just don't rush yourself because that is where we can get some negative self-talk and this pressure for perfection creeps in.
2. Make the kind of art you want to see in the world.
This doesn't have to be traditional painting or drawing, etc. When I first made my art account about 6 years ago, I focused solely on calligraphy, hence, the name of my website. I was self-taught, and I was good at it. A few years in though, I was sick of it. There are many calligraphy artists out there that I still admire and I do enjoy writing it from time to time but nothing like I used to. My hobbies changed from drawing, calligraphy, linocut printing, graphic design, to painting.
What you create doesn't have to all fit together and be aesthetically pleasing. We can appreciate different styles. Feed your soul, create what you want to create. Try new things! When we first start out, it takes awhile to figure out what our taste and style is. Which, by the way, our styles change over time just like we do and that's ok! Once you've made a few pieces you may see a common theme emerge that you hadn't intended.
3. Know when to take a step back.
I know myself well enough to know when I need to take a step back. For me, when I'm feeling stuck in the middle of a painting or just having artist block, I don't force it. I go outside. Being outside, whether it's walking on the nature trail by my place or out on a hike, I can return refreshed the next time I sit down to paint. Nothing good ever came from me forcing myself to finish a painting because I just wanted to get it over with. Good things take time. :)
4. Keep learning always.
Keep trying new things! Try out a limited palette. Teach yourself color theory. Test out how different shaped brushes make all sorts of different strokes. Try new styles of painting. Do you paint realistically? Try a timed exercise with a limited amount of strokes on your canvas. You never know what kind of inspiration you can gain from practicing and exercising your craft. If we aren't learning something, we're regressing. Success comes from trial and error.
So there you have it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Do you agree or not agree?
Leave a comment below.