Color the Emotion

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Honest Talk About Being Artist

When people talk about an artist, they think of someone who paints ecstatically for days on end.

Starting a new painting, painting in progress. About being an artist.

“Get a real job,” say some. “Get a job that is work and not just art.”

Work + Art = Artist

But really, art is work and besides that, it is also art. The difficulty of this work is that it has to be developed like any work, i.e. as routines and processes, but it still has to be art as well.

It has to be art that expresses living and experiencing in such a way that breaks boundaries and habits.

Painting abstract art. A brush on canvas.

It has to be art that appreciates play as much as work.

Being a playful artist. Hand-drawn dolls from the online art course Doll World.

And it has to be art that takes all of you but receives criticism without being crushed.

Photographing a finished oil painting.

Being a Working Artist

I have painted a big series all spring. At the same time, I have written emails, social media messages, blog posts, and exhibition descriptions. I have edited the videos recorded in the fall for the course Doll World. I have applied for a new grant for the new paintings and luckily got it. I have participated in an artist training program that lasted the whole spring. I have varnished, packed, and taken paintings to exhibitions. I have handled financial matters. Fortunately, my husband helps me with the transport of paintings and accounting.

Paintings packed for transport. Being an artists includes all kinds of tasks.

These are just a part of all the tasks other than painting or getting ideas for paintings.

Now in July, I have been a bit tired. It’s been a lot of work and on top of that, there’s this art part.

Dreams, Goals, and Reality

Many of my art books were purchased when I dreamed of becoming an artist. These books describe art as a fun game and show a colorful life. I look at those books with completely different eyes than before. Being an artist is much more than that, at least if you want to move forward.

Paintings that are freshly varnished. Being an artist requires performing all kinds of tasks.
Freshly varnished paintings in my little studio

My goal has been to make art that I love and that others love so much that a few pieces outlive me. When I set the goal, I didn’t think about what would happen after that. I achieved the goal a couple of years ago. I am pretty satisfied with many paintings and I know people who also genuinely like the pieces they have purchased from me.

It’s surprising that after that, something new and desirable has regularly come up, just like in any job.

Being an artist is pretty much like any job.

Magic of Imagination

I would like to always write about being an artist authentically like this, and on the other hand, I don’t want to bring it all to the table all the time.

I feel that it’s natural and important for humans to express themselves creatively. I want to inspire everybody for it in this blog and in my courses.

Imagination through art. From the online drawing course Doll World. Getting playful with colored pencils.
From the course Doll World

And especially, I want to inspire everyone to imagine, because it’s the imagination that breaks boundaries and habits. It’s the imagination that uses the skills to make art.

In that respect, being an artist is really not just any job. And that’s why I love this job even when I am a little tired.

What do you think?

17 thoughts on “Honest Talk About Being Artist

  1. When I hear someone say, “ Thsts a lot of money for just some paper and paint!” I want to ring their neck!!! It’s so much work for professional artist. I am very much an amateur, retired from teaching second grade. I could never make a living being an artist. The general public can be difficult to please! Live your beautiful work!!!

  2. I have enjoyed using my imagination to make magazine photo collages lately. Now I am wondering show to make this creation into a painting ! I am not ready quite yet but the idea is steeping and swirling! I love your writings!

    1. Thanks, Wendy! Maybe the process is as important as the result? Think how you can reproduce that – gathering ideas and forming a new kind of combination …

  3. I was a professional clay artist for many years. Closed up my ceramic studio about 9 years ago. While traveling, I took a portable watercolor paint set with me. I painted on watercolor postcard paper and sent them around to my friends. That way, I didn’t have to store anything as I already had big sculptures and some equipment I saved. Watercolor paints resemble underglazes so much I thought I could do that. Now I’m really into painting and enjoy this whole new medium.
    I hated the “marketing “ aspect of being professional in that business. I’ll never go back to that. Mostly I give my paintings and prints away to people I know and love and who really love the art. I do sell occasionally but no more marketing for me. That’s a whole different kind of job, isn’t it?

    1. Thanks for commenting, Adrienne! Yes, marketing is essential for working artist. I like to look at it as spreading the message and growing the impact of my art.

  4. You are so right. Im always reading art books and love watching movies about artist and you never see all the extra tasks. I only have a very romantic view on the live of an artist to be honest. Can now imagine that what you have done is a lot of work and planning. For a moment i thought you were going to announce that you have to save time and maybe stop the blog or the courses. I would really miss that (but would totally understand. Off course). Speaking about movies … did you ever see the movie Seraphine. If not and you can find it, great way to relax for a moment. Beautiful inspiration also for her flowers. Take care and thank you so so much for the blogs.
    Ps: loved Doll World.

    1. Thank you, Jacqueline, how wonderful that you enjoyed Doll World! I don’t think I have seen the movie, but I have seen the trailer. Your comment made me feel really good: that there are still romantics, it was lovely to read!

  5. Hi Paivi
    Even though not all artists are born artists and you can certainly learn and change along the way, I think it’s something that’s inside you that draws you to art in the first instance and then you are always going to be inclined towards art in some shape or form. It is art that gets me up in the morning and is the last thing I think about before dropping off to sleep and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Paivi, I think your paintings bring life to the canvas, they just look so alive.

    1. Thank you, Marilyn! What you said about artists is so true, I love how you put it. That’s exactly who I am too.

  6. Yes, being an artist and being a professional artist are two different things. People whose artistic nature is alive and well don’t often have the business skills to turn it into a money maker. Bravo that you did. I did that with jewelry making a long time ago so that I could be a stay at home single mom. I felt like learning the business side developed a different part of me, which though challenging, was good in the end.

    I hope you have some time to yourself now if that is what you wish. Lovely that your husband helps where he can.

  7. The ability to express oneself comes in many forms… The artist is extremely vulnerable to their environment, so the connection to the images, paints and outpouring of artistic expression onto the paper is very personal. It evolves deep within the soul, thus, to be able to juggle the marketing and business aspects alongside the creation takes an exceptional person. Sharing personal talents with friends and the outer world is a challenge which one must unselfishly choose. What a blessing to be able to enhance the lives of others with this special gift. Thankfully, through your blog and classes, we have been privy to your growth and sharing. Maybe one day, with your kind tutelage, we may evolve gracefully into our own state of being, as budding artists. Thank You for sharing your heartfelt journey. In the meantime, practise, practise, practise… I learn a lot from your blog and workshops Paivi. … Thank You

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