We’ve all been there. That moment when you realize you love doing this, you love creating and watching the gorgeous effects the paint make when they react to one another. You love picking out new paint colors, experimenting with new techniques, trying new color palettes.
Unfortunately, it seems like the rest of the world doesn’t love it, because they aren’t buying it.
And with the absence of money coming in to feed your artistic pursuits, you start to rethink yourself, your artwork. You can’t take on those ambitious new projects with the same artistic fervor you felt in the beginning, because everything seems like it’s just adding to your overall financial losses.
No one is buying your work, and as a result, your motivation to do it, the happiness that you feel when you’re creating, is dwindling away.
Money is an essential part of our lives, and unless you just won that mega millions jackpot, you don’t have enough to be able to do whatever you want with it without considering things like rent, electricity, student loan payments, etc.
Making your hobby at least partially self sustaining, therefore, is key to being able to continue doing it for long periods of time, especially with something that can get as expensive as painting.
So how do you stay motivated when things aren’t working out financially?
You keep working.
You keep working and you work twice as hard as before. Tailor your efforts to producing smaller quantities of work, but spend more time on the individual pieces. Make sure they’re absolutely perfect.
Master your product photography, update your website, grow your email list, apply for more galleries, publications, contests, find a professional artist who can serve as your mentor, learn new skills to grow your artistic practice, etc etc etc.
I haven’t sold a single painting in the last month. But I’ve still been working, I’ve been creating a new website and trying out new techniques and planning entire bodies of work to complete over the next year.
I hate waiting.
I hate having to depend on other people liking my work in order to be successful. But if I keep working, I’m not waiting around, I’m actively creating new opportunities for myself in the artistic community.
No one is ever going to hand you success, success is self made, self created. You have to fight for success, you have to keep working and you have to be so good that people cannot undermine you, cannot doubt your accomplishments.
Take some advice from Henry David Thoreau, who once said; “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it”.
Kelsey Rodriguez is an emerging artist and Political Science undergraduate student in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She just recently opened her small business selling her original artwork, Poured Planets, in the spring of 2018. She has exhibited at several cafes around the Twin Cities and has ongoing consignment relationships with galleries and art consulting agencies around Minnesota.