Tuesday, October 21

Painting is Not a Business

Beach Day
Acrylic on Watercolor Paper
9 x 12 in/22.9 x 30.5 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2014
(OK, it is a business if you're a gallery owner.)

But if you are a painter, it's not really a business, is it? It's a passion, or it should be; otherwise, are you really a painter? It's an unpleasant truth, maybe, or at least a conundrum.

What's a painter to do? You've got to eat, and you may have other mouths to feed as well. As you know, only a tiny fraction of a very, very few painters become rich and famous strictly from their paintings (or anything else) while they are still living.

There are painters who are able make a living by selling their paintings from a gallery or galleries and/or website. I wish you the greatest success. Often, however, painting is the step-child to an alternative way to make ends meets. Life is hard, as we all know, especially for painters.

What painters usually do is either teach art or hold (a lot of) workshops or some combination of those.

I hold art teachers in the highest esteem because they are about the only people around today who actually contribute anything relating to the arts to most students. To them I say, there is no higher calling.

For those who paint and also hold (a lot of) workshops, you fill a great niche for those who want to learn to paint or to improve their skills. Keep up the good work; may your classes and easels always be full.

Come to think of it, there are other painters. There are the true-believer, "starving artists" who somehow manage to paint full-time and not starve, May the force be with you. Then there are the dilettantes who really don't have to work, so they decide to paint. To you I say, really!?

Whatever station you fit into in the world of painting, remember it's not a business. It's a passion, or it should be.

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