1. It’s a challenge, and that challenge has always driven me and DRIVES me now; hard. Painting is one of those things that you can always improve upon. There is always more to learn. I was talking to my dad today about how much better I am at things like painting skin and getting a likeness, than I was even a month ago. In a month from now, I’ll be exponentially better than I am today.
The amazing thing about painting is how much you grow in every way through the process of learning to paint better. It’s not just about painting better, it’s about color harmony, composition, line work, tonal values, emotional depth and on and on and on. The more you learn the deeper you discover you can go. It’s a constant growth and evolution process.
In the past, I challenged myself to learn the basics. Now, I challenge myself to become a master, and when I’m a master I will challenge myself to become a better master.
2. I’ve been doing it (and loving doing it) since I was a teeny little weeny. If you go back to your childhood, you’ll find what your soul calls you to do. Children just want to experience the joy of life, this gives them the freedom of doing what they love. My soul (and your soul) has been essentially the same since birth. What you loved to do as a child will be similar to what you love to do now. My favorite thing in the world throughout my entire childhood, was drawing and coloring.
3. I can see from the mountaintop that all has not always been wonderful, and it probably won’t always be wonderful from this moment on, and that’s totally okay, because perfect safety isn’t the reason I love what I do. I watched a video about a month ago, (I wish I could give credit, but I can’t remember what the video was) and girl in it was an artist. I thought she put it perfectly. She said that so many people discouraged her from being an artist because they were afraid she wouldn’t make money. She said that she’d rather live in her car and spend her money on art supplies than spend her time doing anything else. I can relate.
There will be ups and downs, but the safety of a “real job” feels like slow death to me. No thank you, I’ll stick with the lovely uncertainty.
4. I don’t give a shit about what the President thinks (or anyone else for that matter). It would take nothing short of God coming down and telling me that he/she/it didn’t like what I was doing for me to start caring about outside opinions. Every time I talk to people about what I do, there’s a discomfort. Sometimes they come right out and say something like, “That’s nice, but how do you make money?” OR, they assume that I suck. They don’t usually say that out loud, but I can feel it. I used to feel devastated for days after someone said something like that to me. Now, the smile doesn’t fade even a little from my face. It’s kind of like if someone told me that my child was bratty and I should give him away. I feel like, “Mmmmhmmmm… okay buddy. I’m so sorry you’re having problems in your life.” I don’t internalize it at all anymore because I am doing what is right for me. Are they going to be able to tell me what my soul work truly is? I don’t think so.
5. I want everyone to know that they can do what I do. I want them to love creating beautiful art too. I don’t believe in scarcity of talent or time to practice is a real thing. Actually, part of my mission in life is to dispel the myth that artists are crazy savants who can’t really function in real life but have the one saving grace of having been able to paint since birth. Maybe there is a propensity, but anyone can improve their artistic skills, and most people love being creative more than they’ll ever admit.
6. I’m fully committed to mastery. This is my ultimate goal, and my truest intention, and it will never be fulfilled. Mastery is such a mix of things. It’s daily practice with the intention of improving, but it’s also experimentation, stretching and learning new skills that will improve the main skill.
More than anything though, the most important key factor to mastering anything (in my opinion and in the opinion of many experts) is getting into a state of flow. For further explanation, see #9.
Part of mastery is allowing the old and outworn to die. I am aware that my business and I will outgrow certain things, and when we do, we’ll happily move upward and onward. This is exciting and keeps things interesting.
7. I feel like I never want to stop, and I mean I don’t want to put my paintbrushes down at the end of the day, but I also mean I’ve been doing this forever and nothing captures my interest the way that this does. You know that song: “I’ve been everywhere man”? That describes my work life. I’ve tried making money in so many other ways, I’ve lost count. I’ve been a dog trainer, a hairdresser, a waitress, a cashier, an assistant teacher and I even published a book. I did all of these things because I believed that art would never make me money. I came back to it every single time though. There are only two things that when I’m doing, I can’t honestly say “I’d rather be painting”: having good sex is number one and the second one is winning the lottery. I don’t play the lottery, so that second one doesn’t happen for me.
8. I could talk anyone into wanting to quit their day job and become an artist. How? Passion baby, that shit’s contagious. People can feel when you’re passionate. I think that truly passionate people are like shining stars, everyone wants to bask in their glow.
9. The entire process, from choosing a subject and planning the composition, to the very last brushstroke I apply, just flows. Don’t get me wrong, I do experience boredom at times, frustration at other times and sometimes I even find myself avoiding painting. However, that’s not the norm. Often, I experience flow. The state of flow is described as : “In positive psychology, flow, also known as zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”
I tell my friends that I know that I’m having a good painting day when I get so into painting that I drool. It feels like I’m not doing anything anymore, like I’m watching my hands move paint around. It’s exhilarating. I kind of watch myself paint, or more like I wake up from an altered state with a complete painting, like productive, moving meditation.
My theory on flow is that the more powerful subconscious mind takes over, but that’s a subject I could write books about.
10. I feel unlimited, and I refuse to pay attention to limitations others try to impose on me. This is important because humans need to feel that we are growing, that we are making progress. We also place very high value on freedom. I love that my career can go in any direction I want it to. I control the direction of it, and the expansion of it. Other people give me lots of should’s and shouldn’t’s, but I’m just not interested in what they have to say. There have been people who have overcome amazing odds with less resources than I have. I can make anything I want of this.
Categories: Art Business