By Sharon Teal-Coray
"There's no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there's no end to it."
After many years of being an instructor and artist I have many things that have helped me get where I am. I will now share some of them with you!
· First learn how to be your own toughest critic. Don’t settle for less than you can do!
· Sit down and write out your specific goals you want to achieve from the get-go.
· Set high standards for yourself. Look for the best artists out there to emulate, never settle for anything that is less than the best!
· Learn all the basics of painting! If not through a class then use books!
· Be passionate about your work. Make every painting the very best you can do in spite of the effort, expense or time spent on it!
· Acquire good work habits from the start of your career. Plan to work on your art regular hours, be orderly and organized and maintain an unswerving schedule. Just painting a few days here and there will never get you where you want to go.
· Be true to yourself, paint what you love not what others love. Find the techniques that you love if you paint tight then paint that way, if you paint loose then keep doing it. Never change your natural ability to suit others!
· Find the themes that really speak to you, try everything but in the end paint what really inspires you!
· Don’t be afraid to take chances, be a little daring. Always see the greatest possibilities in each situation.
· Base everything you paint on observation, especially in portrait work. Never leave anything to guesswork. Know all you can about your subject.
· Always be fair and honest in dealing with your clients.
· Keep good records; take photos of all your work. Record the name, dimensions and media plus the date they were created.
· Organize your studio so you have an orderly place to work.
· Learn all you can about marketing your artwork, the basics of selling your work is very important.
· Always have plenty of sales materials on hand to sell.
· Develop a thick skin; you are going to be criticized by other artists, judges for juried art shows and by gallery owners if you are headed for a professional career as an artist. Plus members of your family.
· Listen to what they have to say, if it has any merit then that is good advise if not just let it go……………
I have to interject a little story here, when I first started painting my husband would come into my very small room and look at my painting and he always found things that were not right. At first I got boiling mad…(Italian temper!) and didn’t listen to him, I even put a large sign on my door that said: “If I want your advice I will ask for it!”
Well eventually I learned that this man had a gift, he could see minute details that were not right, that I had missed. Since then he has been my best critic, I never finish a painting until he tells me it is ok! If you have someone in your life that can be this helpful, take his or her advice! and thank God they are in your life!
· Never let another artist or person make you feel like you have failed, many times they will try to make a comment about your art sound like a constructive criticism when in reality it is a put down, due to envy.
· Never lose your enthusiasm for your art…. always look for things to paint that inspire you no matter what they are or how old you are!
· Remember some of the greatest works of art have been done when the artist was in his golden years!