There is a myth about the artist’s life that involves an extravagant personality, lots of partying, working at random hours in the night and not working very hard. I believe this is very far from the truth and being successful as an artist involves a lot of hard work, consistency, persistence and organisation as well as many other skills. It is not easy and there can be pressure to be prolific and competitive especially if you are trying to make a living off your Art.
Persistence is particularly important as it takes a very long time to master the skills you need to be satisfied with your own work. That is why it is important to keep the process fun so making Art doesn’t become too frustrating.
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Here are a few tips to enjoy more the process of making Art:
This is maybe the most important idea. Try to focus on enjoying the process and not on the end result. The result is not always the main point of making Art. The point can be to spend a good time, expressing yourself or to learn something new. If you don’t like the result, at least you’ve learned what not to do the next time and this can be a very valuable lesson.
Remember that no Artist has a 100% success rate.
2-Take your time
No one is born a genius Artist, and acquiring skills can take a very long time. You don’t want to spend this time suffering and torturing yourself with how bad an Artist you think you are. If you want to keep making Art in the long term you need to give yourself the time to improve. Painting is no different than anything else, like playing music or writing, you have to expect hard work and time investment to get the results you want.
3-Start over as many times as needed
You can restart the same project many times until you get it right. John Singer Sargent is a good example of that, he is well known to have re-worked his paintings many times over and over, by scraping off the paint with a painting knife and starting over, as much as 8 to 12 times for the same painting.
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent (Source: Wikimedia)
This particular painting took two summers to finish and was restarted many times.
4-You are the only person you have to please
Of course some type of Art will be more popular and easy to sell than other but no Artist makes an universal consensus. Anyways the appreciation of Art is very subjective and linked to education and culture. I see that clearly when I am traveling. Depending on the country, what is considered good taste or cutting edge is very different.
So it is a waste of time to try to make everyone like your Art. Your Art is probably speaking to a certain part of the population but there will always be people who don’t like it, so in the end you are the one who has to be pleased with what you do.
5-Experiment with different styles
I see very often beginner painters trying to paint in a very literal and realistic way and be discouraged by the results. I have nothing against realism but it might not be the easiest way to start because we all know intuitively what the result is supposed to look like. Any mistake, any error of perspective, any weird looking hand or face is very obvious. If you also experiment with other styles, taking a distance from realism, you might be less critical of the results.