Friday, July 8, 2011

{the question}

new work started this morning
It's perhaps more a series of questions that I'm sitting with at the moment.
  • Will I ever make a sustainable living from my art?
  • How will I do that?  Over the last 6 months I've realised that my passion when it comes to painting is to create original works of art.  I don't want to spend my time and energy on prints and reproductions, and building a business based on products.  It's just not where my heart is.  It's not what drives me.  Am I cutting my nose off to spite my face thinking this way?  Or am I simply listening to my truest voice?
  • How do I follow my own path, but also remain open to opportunity?
  • What exactly is my path?
  • How can I make writing a part of how I make a living?
  • Will I ever stop believing that it has to be one passion or another?  Will I start to see my life and my livelihood as a series of activities that weave together to form a whole?
  • Will I ever find the motivation and confidence to push through to making a living from my creativity?  Is it actually an issue of motivation and confidence?  Or is it something else?  Timing perhaps?
  • How much do I surrender and how much do I push?
  • Do I want to teach?  I know there are things that I can share with others.  Painting, blogging, writing, storytelling.  But I never seem to reach a place of feeling ready or convinced.  Is it just fear?  Lack of confidence?  Or is it again a case of feeling like that's something I should do because I see everyone else doing it?  Do I want to teach?
  • How do I sort through all the different questions, thoughts, and feelings?  The external influences also?  How do I tap into to my truest self and listen to the answers that are buried deep within?


  1. Hi Cathy, I'm involved in a local community run gallery and the questions you raise are so common amongst our artists. They are all very talented and produce beautiful works, just like yourself. In maybe our 60 plus membership , less than a handful can live off their art. But having said that, your work is original and truly inspiring and if its what makes you happy , persistance and a belief in yourself is what will get you to where you want to be.

  2. I totally get what you're saying Cathy. I give up on the whole business thing. I really don't want to do the whole products/numbers/momentum/sel sell sell sell thing. I just want my art to carry a voice - to touch people. I have fun having an etsy store and I love it when someone sees something in my paintings that talks to them so much they buy it... don't get me wrong... but my focus is slowly but surely becoming focused on the creating rather than .. will this sell.. will they like it...

    And by the way, you write beautifully!! I often think that.

  3. Those are all valuable questions to be thinking of and you don't need to have all the answers all at once...hard as it is, the answers WILL reveal themselves to you as time passes. I've been trying to figure out those answers for a few decades now and I'm only just starting to get a handle on them!! =-\

    As for Question #6: it doesn't have to be one passion or another! I've seen other artists integrate various passions into a whole lifestyle that works beautifully for them and I hope to interview them some day!

  4. Even before reading Trudi's comment, I was bluntly going to say the same thing: How many people in the world want to be a professional (ie sustainable income) artist? How many have actually achieved it? It'd be nice, but capitalist society simply isn't set up in a way that artisans can have a financially viable career. I feel mean saying that, but what I want to say is that not "making it" doesn't mean you're not good.

    Not getting there, even in the next fifty years, isn't failure. Every time you have an exhibition or sell a painting or get a commission enquiry or even pick up a brush is a success.

  5. yep.... them's the questions so many of us ask....

    these days however I question the whole workings of the art market: from the commodification of creativity to the environmental sustainability of art materials and processes.... and I've realised I don't want to make a living at the expense of the planet... I don't want to partake in an economic structure that is built on inequality...

    so I'm interested in how I can still be a creative person and not be a partner in arty crimes

    its a journey I'm finding needs to be undertaken with humility and gratitude, mindfulness and thoughtfulness, generosity of spirit and truth to self.... things I've noticed are generally lacking in those building 'An Art Career'....

    (just a couple of thoughts)

  6. Your path IS the opportunity.
    Look at your life from the inside because that is where you are.
    You're in it . Up to you neck in it.
    Those "buried deep within" answers are really present.
    They are your answers (solutions);you say it yourself.
    Write them out and have a close look at them.