How to become an Artist

15 June 2015 / Art

Hello and Welcome to my very first blog on my new website!

When I first tell a person I am a visual artist, I am often met with great interest shortly followed by “Are you a starving or a thriving artist?”

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

  • Vincent Van Gogh

There are many factors involved in leading an artistic life. There is the creative part that allows the art to “happen” and opens us up to all manner of possibility. There is also the business savvy part that understands the facts and numbers required to make it sustainable. Recognising the difference is important. However, recognising the similarities are essential. It is quite possible to be an artist and be financially successful. Attention to detail is the cornerstone of good business acumen. The same is said of being a great artist.


If your passion is to create art for artsake then I do believe you are on the right path. Following your purpose is a privilege that is both satisfying and a salvation. I don’t know an artist who hasn’t experienced the life-giving power of art at some point in their life. Yes, sometimes being creative can feel like groundhog day but a wise person once said to me that the difference between a dream and reality is very simply – a plan. Couple this with a little intuition and you become unstoppable!

Here are a few things I have learned so far:

  1. Art is as much about connection with self as it is about connecting with people.
  2. In trying to make art a sustainable, full time profession, we often forget to pursue it part time or even at all.
  3. Starting with a blank canvas can be a daunting exercise even when great ideas are swimming around in your head. Always break your projects down into smaller chunks to keep procrastination at bay!
  4. Persistence always beats resistance. Having a routine when creating your art helps keep you lined up with your goals and purpose. For me that is putting on my painting clothes, having my paints, brushes and canvas at the ready, turning up my favourite music, lighting a candle in gratitude and surrounding myself with a few quality references to inspire me. These could be as simple as a favourite colour or pattern on display to having a view out to the garden.
  5. Be spontaneous. I carry a small notebook with me wherever I go to sketch ideas or thoughts as they arise. Inspiration can come from anywhere and it is good to get them down quickly for easy reference later. This includes using my smart phone to record information and/or take a photo to support it.
  6. Distance helps. I like to have multiple pieces on the go for this reason. This way I can create distance between myself and a particular piece of work as your eyes get used to seeing a piece of work the same way. A great way to instantly gain another perspective is to hold your art in front of mirror and let the reflection inform your layout and symmetry.
  7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They are the building blocks of your success. There have been countless new techniques I’ve discovered by simply being bold and seeing where it takes me.
  8. Remember to Pause. Be patient with yourself and the art you are creating. There is a process within you unfolding and if you listen to the breath, feel your feet on the floor or your bottom in the seat you can centre yourself just long enough to adopt a new way of seeing.
  9. Have a good support system. This includes great people and family (including pets!) around to cheer you on when life gets busy. Having other interests or hobbies also helps to recharge your creative batteries and keep the creative juices flowing.

Be bold and appreciate the little steps you can make right now. If you wait for perfection, you will never start.

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