Saturday, January 14

On Being a Professional Painter

It Only Takes Time
According to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour-rule, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient at something, and that doesn’t necessarily even mean that you would be considered a professional.

It does mean you would have to do something for 40 hours a week, which is considered “full-time” work. That’s 168 hours a month or 2016 hours a year.

As I painter, that means you (or I) will have to paint “full-time” for at least five years to become proficient.

So that’s the problem. I do not paint “full-time,” and I don’t want to. I do not (want to) think of my painting as a “full-time” job. Where’s the pleasure in that?

For one, I don’t think of painting as a job, full-time or otherwise. It’s a need.

It’s hard for me to imagine that anyone would consider becoming a painter for the sole purpose of making a living. It’s way more likely to be the other way around; that is, one who paints may think, “OK, I have to make a living--maybe I can make my living as a painter.”

Not  to burst your bubble, but unlikely.

 Unless one either teaches or perhaps paints public murals or maybe portraits, which could conceivably be called a regular job, it’s not likely. Even then, they would have to be very good murals and very good portraits to make a go of it.

Of course, we’re all aware of the relatively few painters who have somehow managed to become well-known and, yes, even make a living wage while they are still living. But not many.

As I said, it’s a need. The painter paints because that’s simply what he or she must do. The number of hours it takes to do it doesn’t matter.

Well, that’s good, because the way I figure it, I’ve got 7984 more hours to go.

Keep On Painting   

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