An artist cannot keep themselves cooped in their studio. It is simply not sustainable. Without connecting to the world the art becomes stale and uninspired, and the artist doesn’t get any feedback, good or bad. Most importantly, an artist cannot sell their art if no one know it exists. The artist must step out into the world and showcase themselves and their work.
And guess what? It’s really scary.
Speaking with galleries and submitting your art to them is a nerve-wracking experience, especially if your CV is a little sparse. Self-doubt creeps in: Will they like my work? Will they take me seriously? Do I really need a masters degree like all the other artists they showcase?
It’s tough to silence your biggest critic: Yourself. Eventually you just need to trust yourself and trust that your work is as spectacular as everyone else says it is (to your face, anyways).
So, I’m stepping out.
I’m sending out a few introductory e-mails to galleries who take e-mail submissions. I’m taking note of submission deadlines for other galleries and getting ready to submit via snail mail. In other words, I’m finally getting off my duff, and reaching out from my studio and into the world.
I know I won’t always be successful in my endeavors. Rejection letters will always sting, at least a little.
But you can’t score a goal if you never shoot the puck.
As an artist almost nothing is better than being really REALLY excited about a painting you are working on.
I often surprise myself with how a painting is turning out. I love when this happens! My technique involves a lot of pouring paint then walking away until it has dried. I can guess what colour the paint will dry pretty accurately (which is tough when working with acrylic glazes). But I can’t always predict how the layer I just poured will interact with the ones underneath. Again, I can hazard some educated guesses bases on past experiences and experiments. But sometimes I walk away from a painting to let it dry and magic happens.
I am super excited about one particular painting right now. I’ve had this painting in my head since May of last year, but haven’t been able to get it onto the canvas quite to my satisfaction, until now.
I will often pour paint while my son naps in the afternoon, then return to my studio after he’s in bed for the night. The other night I returned to my studio, saw how my paint had dried, and literally let out a “Squee!” with a happy dance.
I can be motivated fairly easily, whether by an upcoming show or event, or a commission that is due. But it is so much easier to get downstairs and put paint on canvas when I’m excited by what is happening. Painting is fun! That’s the whole reason I’m an artist.