6 Myths About The Artist's Life
February 2016

Is the artist's life truly for you? This month's article takes a look at the reality of living as an artist.

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6 Myths About The Artist's Life

by Carrie Lewis

I've been drawing from the time I was old enough to clutch a crayon in a pudgy hand. There was never a doubt about what I'd be when I grew up; my dreams were clear and well-defined.

I would be an artist.

However. . . I've come to realize those youthful dreams about what it meant to be an artist were in error. Here are 6 of my early misconceptions:

1. The life of an artist is easy

All I had to do was make art, right? No nine-to-five job. No commute. Just stand (or sit) at an easel and paint things I loved to paint. How difficult is that?

Sure, when the juices are flowing and you're in the zone, making art is easy. But there are times when making art isn't easy. If you're a professional artist-if making art is how you make a living-you have to make art regardless of whether or not you're in the mood.

You have to finish difficult paintings. You have to accept commissions you'd rather not in order to meet expenses. And you have to paint even when the latest painting grows tiresome and due dates loom.

That's when the life of an artist is anything but easy. It is, in fact, just like the life of any working person. You do it because has to be done, plain and simple.

2. If I paint it, it will sell

This one makes me chuckle these days, but in my younger years, I believed anything I painted would sell. All I had to do was paint it.

Later on, I realized that people couldn't buy what they didn't know about, so I started going to shows. All I had to do was present my work. Once they saw it, they wouldn't be able to resist it.

I can now safely say that not only does an artist have to turn out the best work they can, they also have to create something that people want and get it in front of them at a time when they have the means to buy it.

All of that is an ongoing process. . . there's no "one-and-done" solution for artists.

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