...might not be as urgent when viewed within the larger picture.
Artists who begin at a later age often feel disadvantaged: they've lost too much time and need to catch up. I felt that way, worrying about the time I didn't have and the paintings I needed to produce before I started to get "good at it."
But an intense need to catch up creatively can often get in the way of what you want to achieve. There is no race toward recognition, because many brilliant artists continue to work for decades without ever being recognized in the way we often imagine. Letting go of the idea that validation from others is the only measure of your artistic success is the first step toward developing a sense of balance and personal accomplishment as you follow your artistic path. While recognition does occur in the form of show acceptances, sales, awards, reputations and associations with fellow artists, these events will not dominate your experience.
There are actions we can take to help keep things in perspective, become more efficient with our time, and achieve reasonable goals. Here are a few that I use regularly:
Work in the studio when fully rested. When I'm mentally or physically tired, I read art magazines, watch teaching DVDs, or go out looking for effective reference photos.
Negotiate Studio Time. Ask for three hours of uninterrupted time in return for mutual time that can include chores, entertainment, or going to the dog park (harder to negotiate).
Paint small studies with a 20 or 30 minute time limit. Learn your pigments, how to manipulate your tools, and composition skills.
Complete larger work over the course of several days or weeks. If you are always painting wet-in-wet, practice building up your painting over dry layers. This can include sanding down the previous day's work and painting on top, using dry brush techniques, or finding new ways to achieve the painterly effects you want no matter what the conditions.
Spend time identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and focus specifically on where you are weak. We automatically paint to our strengths, then wonder why the work never improves.
While there should always be a sense of urgency to get back into the studio, do so with the idea that your goal for that day, that hour, or even those fifteen minutes, is to work on your craft, to explore your creativity, and to allow the creative flow to manifest through your experience.
Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art
San Antonio, TX
"I just purchased and read your book. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the info and will be following up on your blog. I turned 50 this year. I started my art career 3 years ago. I read as many art business and marketing books as I can but yours is the first I have found addressing starting out at 50." ~ RT, OregonAncient Wisdom Emerging Artist: the business plan (not just) for the mature artist