I have found myself thinking about this quite a lot, in a roundabout sort of way, and this evening it felt like it distilled down into some kind of essence, so I wanted to write about it. I have also been meaning to get back to writing this blog, so this seemed like a good place to start.
I am middle-aged. A lot of artists online seem to be in their 20s, so I think it’s important to preface my ramblings by acknowledging that I’m 47 (at time of writing). Which means my art and I have been through quite a lot.
I love art. I love making it, I love selling it, I love sharing it, I love looking at it.
Many people online (and off!) say you shouldn’t try to make your passion your career. That you’ll fall out of love with it. And I worried about that when I decided to try to make art my career, because I’ve always painted, I’ve always drawn. Since before I can remember. What if I “ruin it”? What if it became tedious, if I hated it?
That, along with the seeming impossibility of actually having a career built on my art put me off trying for a long time. I tried lots of other things, some of which were just as impossible (film making), some of which seemed really interesting but became tedious (fingerprint expert), and some which just didn’t work because I wasn’t passionate about them (jewellery making, soap making, perfume making, bag making…. do you see a theme there? Be creative but don’t do the main creative thing!). I tried all those crafts because the idea that you can’t make a living as an artist doesn’t apply to crafts for some reason.
I first took work to a gallery to be sold in 2017, as part of a group show. It was a fairly impulsive decision, I just did it to see if I would be accepted, and if anything would sell. Since then I’ve ebbed and flowed, gone through phases of doing a lot of painting, and then breaks where I wasn’t doing a lot. The second half of this year (2023) marks the longest stint of conscious “hard work” I’ve ever put in to my art – I’ve been painting near-continuously. And you know what I’ve found?
I love it.
I love it even more – which I didn’t think I could.
I have so many ideas for paintings and series of work that I want to try.
I love going to galleries and museums and looking at art and absorbing it as much as I can.
And I want to sell so much more; I love the idea of people loving my work as much as I do, and I want this to be my income (I want to switch off the part of my brain that is always looking for other potential income sources).
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t skip to my painting table every morning singing! Sometimes it’s hard; some days I find myself doing other things to put off painting something that’s potentially going to be difficult. And some days I’m just not in the mood. But I always try and do some. And some days I do a lot. And I’ll go back the next day. And after supper. And when I said I would be taking a day off!
If you have bought one of my pieces in the past, whether it was a print, an original, a calendar, an NFT, from a gallery or directly from me, I appreciate you more than you know. Because every sale, big or small, helps me keep doing this, and it encourages me to keep pushing. Yes, I could just “paint for me”, but then I would need another job, and those tend to suck my soul out and it’s hard to paint when your soul’s gone missing. And what would happen to the paintings? They would just sit sadly stacked up in the corner of the room. When you buy something, you help me put food in my fridge, petrol in my car, a roof over our heads, and you give my paintings their purpose – to brighten and inspire and mean something to someone else.
So hopefully the foothold I feel I’ve achieved in 2023 will lead to another, and I will stop feeling like what I’m attempting is some super-difficult freeclimbing ascent, and more like a nice hike! (The above photo is not me, a hike is the limit of my abilities in reality!) I feel such a sense of satisfaction when I complete a painting, and when I know it’s found a home too. I feel like I could do this forever 😊
Thanks for reading! Did you find this interesting? I enjoyed writing it, and I’m going to make more effort to write in the future, because I’m starting to realise I have some interesting things to write about, which don’t work as well in an email, or a social media post! If you want to get in touch please drop me an email at isobel @ isobelhamilton . com (remove the spaces obviously!).