WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN ARTIST (Part Three)
"Untitled", charcoal on paper, 30" x 22" ©2013 David Limrite
This is the final installment, for now, of What It Takes To Be An Artist. In parts One and Two I discussed: desire, intention, motivation, passion, confidence, courage, conviction, honesty, persistence, discipline, endurance and acceptance. If you missed Part One or Part Two, check them out.
A big Thank You to everyone who emailed me with their comments and observations.
Here we go with Part Three:
This has to do with putting everything you've got into each and every painting so that viewers of your work "get" what you were going for and understand what you were trying to communicate. This is tricky. Paintings are easily misunderstood, as are artists intentions, as are artists. If your paintings are about love, it would be great to have the viewer feel the love (or anger, or sadness, etc.).If you are intimate with your work, viewers will at least have a chance of comprehending your feelings, thoughts and motives.
While you are painting, you must be present. "In the moment" (to use an overused phrase). You must devote all of your attention to what you are doing. You must be aware of every brushstroke and what that brushstroke is doing to the entire painting. It can't be any other way. If you are distracted by anything it will affect your painting. And it will show. And the work will not be as strong or as powerful or as beautiful as it could have been. You will have robbed it of its chance to be something truly special. Be alert, attentive and readily available for your painting.
Enjoy. Have fun. Love being an artist. Take great pleasure in creating. There is nothing quite like being a creator. We are all creative. No matter whether we are an artist, an accountant, a doctor, a housewife/househusband, a gardner, a teacher or shoe horses. Delight in making something out of nothing. Making art can be both serious and fun and you should try and strike a balance between the two. If you are not having fun; if you are not enjoying being an artist and creating, then it may be time for some re-evaluation. (A good artists coach may be able to help . Wink, wink).
This is a big one. Not only for artists, but for most people. "I can't find the time." "I don't have enough time." "There is not enough time in the day." I could write a book on time but that's already been done. So, I will just say: If it is important to you, if being an artist and painting matters to you, if you couldn't live if you could not paint, then the time will be there. You will make sure of it. You will make the time. If you are not currently painting on a regular basis, it may be because it is not important enough for you right now. If painting is one of the most important activities for you to be doing, then you will carve out the time to paint. And you will thank yourself and the universe for the opportunity.
I am talking about having a physical space in which to create. Having a space where you can go and be by yourself with your thoughts, ideas, concepts and imagery is so important. A place where your art supplies are all set up, ready and waiting for you. I am sorry, but if you are painting on the dining room table and have to clear it off every night for dinner, then you are not honoring yourself and your creativity. Creative spaces can be found almost everywhere. It could be a corner of a larger room, a closet, a spare bedroom, the basement or attic, the garage, a shed or guest house, etc. Look around. Be creative. Find a space and make it your own. You will be so glad that you did. I am fortunate, thankful and grateful that I have a 2-car garage to call my own and it makes a huge difference to my state of mind and to my art.
I used to think that encouragement and support from others was not important. I was going to be an artist regardless of what others might say, do or think. Or might not do. As I have gotten older, I now realize that support from others is incredibly important. In spite of my earlier attitude, I have been fortunate to have had support from my parents, my sister, my spouse, other family members, most of my teachers, all of my students and from people who have purchased my work, among others. Some artists are not so lucky. Take stock of your situation. If you are fortunate to have the support of others, acknowledge and thank those people and be grateful. If you do not have the kind of support that you need or would like to have, go find it. Arts organizations, teachers and fellow students, other artists, mentors and coaches are out there ready and willing to support and encourage you and your artistic endeavors.
I would really appreciate your comments and feedback on any of the 18 words I have discussed in this 3 part series. Which of these words or concepts resonate with you and why? Share in the comments below.