Saturday, January 29


Before I dash off to complete my writing word goal for the morning, I wanted to share a few quick links.  These are all related to the art and the business of being an artist... but I think the advice applies to all creative fields.  The first one is especially good and repeats some fantastic advice I got at at last year's DragonCon from a wonderful artist, Marrus. 

I'm not going to repeat the whole thing (follow the link to read it, it's worth the ten minutes or so it will take to read), but I would like to repeat the points I find most salient.

  • Be passionate!  Be passionate about your work and about your medium*.  Marrus put it really well when she said that if you can do anything else for a living, you should do it, because being an artist is hard (but it's worth it, if you're passionate about it.)  In this case, "artist" applies to any sort of creative career.  Writer, dancer, actor, whatever.  The road will not be an easy one.  Know that up front.  Know also if this is going to be a hobby or a career (and there is nothing wrong with it being a hobby!!  You might find you enjoy it more if it is.)
  • Never stop learning.  Never stop writing, painting, dancing, acting, etc.  Never stop honing your craft and never be afraid to try new things.
  • Be positive -- AND surround yourself with people who are positive about you, your work and your goals.  This may mean walking away from people who can't be supportive. 
  • Network; talk to other artists.  These people are your competition but they are also your peers; most of the artists I've met have been very gracious. 
  • Be professional.  I personally can't stress that one enough.  It was a major turn off when an author showed up for a panel I attended wearing a black tutu and sparkly bowler hat... now we all know people who can carry that off just fine (but would look silly dressed in 'office casual').   The lady in question, however, did not the charisma to match her attire; I have no idea what was going through her head when she got dressed for the panel.  It's one thing to dress a little different if you make half your living at say, a Renaissance Festival (and have the personality to carry off you a ruffle shirt and leggings).  But whatever your profession is, dress accordingly when you are presenting yourself to the public.  First impressions DO count.  Don't forget that.
  • Criticism is just someone else's opinion; they're entitled to it.  You're entitled to ignore it.  (There is a difference between criticism and a good critique.  Do get critiques of your work; do not let criticism get you down.  Let's face it, there are people out there who are not going to like your work no matter what you do, but a good critique is really, really useful... and yeah, I have a hard time with that one, too.  My skin isn't always as thick as maybe it should be.)
  • Be true to yourself and your vision.  Stand up for your work.
  • Never sell something you're not proud of.  There's nothing wrong with having a reject bin... who knows, you might even learn something from those rejects! 
* Part of why I was poking around the Internet this morning was that I started to feel like I had to work in oil paints if I was ever going to really get noticed... I think the notion crept into my head before I had my first cup of coffee.  I've never really played with oils before; I've never wanted to.  When I was young and especially poor (as opposed to not so young and slightly less poor) I simply couldn't afford them.  I've played with acrylics and colored pencils (both high end and low end), conti, markers, pastel, pen and ink, oil crayons, charcoal, mixed media and even a little collage.  I discovered that my first love was my greatest: watercolor.  It is versatile (see my post from a couple of days ago!)  It's not hideously expensive.  It dries over night.  It's fun!  Yup, in my old age, I just don't feel like messing about with oil paint.  It's complicated (in that you need this and that and the other thing, where as with watercolor you need exactly four things: quality paper, quality paints, quality brushes and a jar of water.  You saw my studio space; that was after a tidy-up.  Imagine it if I had gesso and canvas stretchers and varnish and linseed oil and, and, and... urgh!  I think I need another cup of coffee!)

Anyway, here's that article I was more or less quoting from:

And here's another link:

"Don't mind criticism. 
If it is untrue, disregard it;
if unfair, keep from irritation;
if it is ignorant, smile;
if it is justified, it is not criticism, learn from it."


*  *  *  *

"To bear defeat with dignity,
to accept criticism with poise,
to receive honors with humility --
These are the marks of maturity and graciousness."

~William Arthur Ward

"Wanna play?"
Watercolor, 5x7, double matted, $15 (online price)
I'm starting to experiment with smaller paintins.

Watercolor 6x9, matted: $20 (online price)
(I wish the picture did her more justice;
there's a lot of raised detail the camera just doesn't pick up) 

"The Scholar"
Watercolor 12x16, matted.
$85 (online price)
Prints available
8x10, unmattedm signed, numbered: $25
Other size prints available, but no I don't know the prices off hand.
Contact me for more info.

I actually painted her last year, I just haven't had a chance to post her anywhere.

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