In thinking about my art career, I used to make a lot of mistakes running hither and yon, doing every event that came along, with little regard for whether it was a viable way to generate income directly or even indirectly. My calendar was full to the brim with paint outs, juried exhibits, meetings with other artists, and every other whacky idea. It makes me tired to even think about it.
I realized years ago I was doing it all wrong. I was one of the sheep in the art pen. I worried about whether other artists approved of my painting finesse. I wanted to fit in. I followed all of the so called successful painters. I joined all of the cool national organizations for painters. These organizations favor the elite few who are signature painters. The rest for the artists support the top tier, hanging on to their coattails by the virtue of being a member.
I have come a long way since those years. I am less dependent on others for my self esteem, and more interested in learning how to paint. Most of the time I spent in the art community is now spent at my easel, hopefully learning how to paint. I no longer worry about what other artists are doing, except to encourage them to excel in their own journey.
I’ve always thought that a reversal of the age of learning and knowledge would be a good idea. What could I have accomplished if I knew all of this at 25, instead of 69? I would not have so carelessly wasted all of those years chasing after the wrong things.
The most important thing I have learned in all these years is to turn my focus on the people who support me and my career. It is great to have a lot of artist friends, and I do appreciate them, but my collectors and other friends are so important to my self esteem. They don’t expect me to be perfect. They like me, flaws and all. They understand that art is never perfect. They like it anyway. My supporters mean everything to me and I enjoy their take on the world. They are liberal, conservative, independent, or anything they are comfortable being. I love them all. We have many common joys, outside of the world of politics. I learn all about science and other interests from my brilliant friends. They have interesting jobs and backgrounds. They don’t judge.
Life is wonderful for artists…..