The Struggle

Most artists struggle. Either they can’t seem to get down their vision of what they want or they don’t know what they want, (they’ll know it, if they see it). I think this struggle is part of the process. Its too bad because of this constant push/ pull it sometimes seems not to be worth the effort. Its why some people give up doing their art. Also, I see people giving up their art because they don’t have enough buyers. Buyers equate “good artist”. No buyers (not counting family and friends) means not a good artist. This definitely is not the case.

We live in an age when people will buy a Persian rug for their dining area, cover their sofa in silks, and import tiles from Italy to decorate their home tastefully and expensively, yet these same people will have pictures of art rather original art on every wall in their house. They will pay more for a custom frame and mat then for an original piece of art. Go into any model home these days, same thing, prints everywhere. (Please, I have nothing against prints.. so don’t write me justifying your print purchases) Most from 18th and 19th century artists. I guess they feel pretty good or safe rather, that this art cannot be denied as good art. It has stood the test of time. The truth is… I think people don’t trust their own judgement when it comes to choosing art. They need someone to tell them what is good art. All they have to do is trust their inner voice that says “I love this” but they don’t trust that little voice so they listen to experts…But who? do you trust Gallery owners? Especially when they are getting 50% of the profits? Do you trust your own decorator who is going to choose a piece of art because it matches a sofa? You have to admit, even I may not pay some of the high prices for some art, especially when it appears to have been painted with a stick or a rag. People don’t like to be taken advantage of and they don’t like to admit they don’t “know” art. The other problem is a simple one, people don’t appreciate original art in the US as much as in many other cultures around the globe. Now as in the past, Art was OK as long as it was something to do as a hobby but not as a career. It isn’t real work. We have a very strong work ethic in this county and some parents often put creativity in the back seat while encouraging productive hard work, left brain thinking.

So, if we don’t buy original art and we encourage our kids to do anything but become artists, and we don’t support the arts in schools what we are we saying?

Its no wonder today’s artists may feel as though it isn’t worth the effort, that the struggle to produce good art is just that, a struggle. As an artist I’ll remind you, of a few important things.

1. Its takes a very long time to become proficient at something as complex as art.
In fact, if it were easy, would you still even want to do it?

2. Don’t take the advice from lay people. They won’t help you, even if they have good intentions.

3. Be a lifelong student, don’t plan to figure it all out right now. It really is about the journey not the destination. Its a journey for one, just you.

4. Do whatever you enjoy doing, even if no one buys it. Hey, its cheaper than therapy.


5 thoughts on “The Struggle

  1. Loved what you had to say here! An inspiration to hear this – although I know it – the struggle to sell sometimes takes away from the desire to create – it shifts the focus and then our creativity is strangled because our hearts are in the money not the creation.

  2. I totally loved what you said. I can so well relate. If it were not for the feeling of daily duty to work on my art on the blank canvas days I would have given up. I am fortunate right now to be in a great creative period but of course it will not last.

    The same goes ofr buyers – in some periods everything is going so well and we dare dream big. In other periods we feel that no one appreciates our work.

    I too am sometimes mystified by the fact that people are willing to pay more for a factory made “original oil painting” at the mall which you can see in 20 copies right there than a true original.

    I am sure that movements like daily painters do wonders in changing attitudes and by offering art experiences every day through the subscribers to people. We democratize art and meet those who are unsure. I believe we come out as approacheable.

  3. I congratulate you on your realization of the painting a day ideal and find your results very compelling. The sensuous outcomes I see here are inspirational indeed! I’m sure I’ll be trying watercolor on gessoed surfaces in direct response to your successes.

    Do you paint onto unprimed clay board, or do you acrylic gesso the board?

    Also, where can I see more of your work?


  4. I have read/seen some of your posts. I have seen the works of art you have displayed. I liked the same and would love to revisit your website.

    I write reviews of other friends’ literature and paintings, too. You can see one of the reviews of a pencil drawing here:

    If you want your work reviewed on my blogs, on friendly basis only, I would like to hear from you.

    Naval Langa

  5. Ouch! Can I ever relate! How often have I waited my turn at a major framing store (you know the one), while a clerk helps someone choose an outrageously elaborate and costly frame and matting for an on-sale out-of-the-bin reproduction, and realize that they could have had a wonderful and unique original for a fraction of what they were willing to pay. I think it’s true – they don’t trust their own judgement about what art is, and sadly, even what they might like. After all, if what they’re getting is good enough to hang in a few thousand other livingrooms, that means they must have good taste in art.


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