7 Truths to Accept in Order to Become a Better Artist

To improve as an artist you need to be open-minded.

It is important to accept certain truths in life, no matter how difficult they are to swallow, if you wish to be a better artist. The art world is not easy to navigate, especially for artists who are trying to establish their careers.

It may be blissful to remain ignorant, but preparing for the reality of life will give you inner strength. Plan your journey to better prepare you for the rough road ahead.

You may already be aware of some truths. You may find that some truths are an opportunity to grow as you push yourself into uncomfortable territory. You may disagree with some of them. They may not be your cup of tea, but they will hopefully spark new thoughts that will help you on your journey as an artist.

Seven truths you need to accept if you want to be the best artist possible.

You won’t become a master overnight

When you first start, there will be a difference between what you expect and your actual skills. You can also try something new when you have been established.

It’s unlikely that you will master your art within a day, or even in a year. And it is highly unlikely that you will in five years. Concentrate on mastering the current project. Focus on the project you are working on. Keep doing this day after day, until you become a master of your craft.

When your abilities don’t match up to your vision, it’s important that you not get discouraged. Accepting the gap between expectations and realities is a wise thing to do. There’s wisdom in accepting that you may fail, but that those failures can lead to success.

You won’t survive as an artist for a day unless you can remain positive even when you fail.

Preparing for the tough road is better than hoping it won’t happen or thinking that you’ll never have to travel that road. Everyone does.

Even if you create the most amazing piece of art, collectors may not want to display it in their gallery. Even if you attend the most exciting art fairs, there may not be any sales. Even when we put in the effort, life doesn’t always turn out as we would like.

After we have stopped feeling sorry for yourself, we can decide to move on. We can choose to keep going when we stop feeling sorry for ourselves. Nothing is impossible. Confidence in our ability to handle anything that comes our way. Finding the positive in failure. This is real positivity.

You don’t get any easier but you do get more resilient

Many artists think that if they work hard and have enough time, things will eventually fall into place. They think that if they achieve a certain amount of success, all their problems will disappear. What have they not realized? Success brings new problems. There’s also always more work to be done to keep up with newfound success.

You will be tested by life, even if you have a career in art that you are very happy with. You will face problems you never saw coming. They may be a natural disaster, illness, divorce, or a death within the family.

It’s a tricky life. You never know when it will sneak up on you.

We are so focused on how things “should be” that we lose sight of how they really are. It’s a lie, a justification, that we tell ourselves, because we know the truth. It’s huge, scary and unfair. We can’t hide from the problems. The world isn’t perfect. The world will never be perfect. If you wait forever for the situation to change, it will never happen.

You can accept these truths and overcome challenges by accepting them. As an artist you will face difficult situations, but because you are strong you will overcome them.

Never give up. It’s worth it, no matter how small. Looking back, you can be proud of how well you dealt with the challenges. Knowing that you will be able to do it again.

You can never start at the perfect time.

You may have told yourself, like many other artists, that you were too busy, too sad, too tired, or needed by your family too much to go to the studio.

We get it. You feel more confident about your chances of success if you wait until everything is perfect before you start.

What’s the catch? You’ll always find a reason not to start.

Remember how life loves to throw you problems? The grind is never ending? How the world will never be perfect?

You are afraid to start because you fear failure. All successful artists face the same problem.

They start at the same time.

The frame of “not enough” is not used. There’s never enough money, time, or confidence to create what is needed to become a successful artist.

They do some research and create a plan if they are unsure of where to begin. Because they know that it is the only way for things to get started, they complete even the smallest tasks. If something doesn’t work, they give themselves the permission to change direction. It’s only failure if you fail to learn.

Perfection can be the enemy of progress. Accept where you are with your work. When you start (or at any point), it can be hard to accept where you are now and where you would like to be. Your skills aren’t bringing you to your vision. Without consistent practice and effort, talent and ambition are nothing.

It’s for a good reason that they say the first steps are the most difficult. Do not spend too much time on a particular problem.

External validation cannot bring you true satisfaction in your work

Have you ever noticed that the things we strive for in life are so fleeting? Fame, money, Instagram followers and sales, or a large gallery show.

These things are certainly useful and can bring us joy. There’s no harm in wanting something and working hard to get it.

It’s funny how, once we no longer have these things, our joy is replaced by a desire to obtain them as quickly as possible. External things, like validation — things that depend on others — don’t last forever. True contentment and happiness must come from within. You can also find satisfaction in your work.

Happiness comes from the inside, it’s confidence in what will happen no matter what. As an artist, you need to have a strong resilience as well as a humble satisfaction in yourself and your work.

There’s magic when you start to believe in your work and vision. It creates the feeling that it is just a bad job, and not a bad day.

There is no “right” way for an artist

Break up with the stereotypes of what an artist is. No backsliding.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of books, TV shows and movies that romanticize an artist’s lifestyle. Artists’ lives are idealized with the right mix of fame and struggle. It can be tempting to want the full package.

How many people actually set out to make the work? How many people would continue to make work, day after day, despite all the awards and esteem?

If you want to produce meaningful work, then this will be a necessary drive. You need to be motivated to create because the days are long, the obstacles are many and the rewards are not enough to achieve long-term success.

Break the stereotype of the genius artist who is scattered. You must be organized in order to realize your vision.

Intention is the key to achieving real, meaningful work that people are interested in.

Blame game only gets you so far

It’s tempting to blame others for our problems. If only the art world was more valued by society. If only the customer knew about original art prices. If only the juror had looked at my work a second or third time. If only the gallery had promoted me more. Art school shouldn’t be so expensive. If I only had more time and money to spend on supplies, my studio, etc. etc.

We look for any circumstance that will allow us to justify our current position. You can always make money when the truth is revealed. You might not make the exact you would like to, but at least it’s something.

Do you have the right to be upset about these hardships? Maybe. The world is unfair and hard. Should you just give up and accept it? It is much easier to admit that you should be working harder and taking more chances than it is to tell yourself. It can be hard to accept that you are often the only person standing in your way.

No one can change your situation, not even you. Successful artists do not let their present circumstances dictate what they want to achieve in life. Accepting this truth is difficult, but it can change your life.

You are the artist. You are the only one who can make things happen. You will have to take risks if you wish to succeed as an artist. It’s sometimes the only way you can find the happiness or success that you desire. You will have to learn to embrace risk at some point.

Consider the risks of doing nothing. Do you feel comfortable with your current career, or is it a source of anxiety?

It’s not selfish to invest in yourself

Investing in yourself – your happiness, passions and skills, as well as your education and business – is the best thing you can ever do.

This thing we call life is a one-shot deal.

At work or at home, it’s easy to become absorbed in making other people happy. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make other people happy, at work or at home.

It’s never too early for you to chase your dreams. You would say that to a family member or friend if asked, wouldn’t you? It’s about time you started listening to yourself.

Start by investing time in yourself.

It’s time to create and to practice self-care. Learn more about the business of art. You can take a course, read a novel, apply for a scholarship, or attend a workshop that you have secretly wanted to attend. It’s time to organize and make your art business profitable so that you can earn a living by doing what you enjoy.

Focusing on your own needs doesn’t mean that you are selfish.

You will make your biggest supporters proud if you take the reins to work towards your happiness.

At the end…

You should not let anything stop you from achieving your goals.

As the old saying goes, no one said it would easy. They only said that it would worth it. And art careers are on the list. It will be difficult to put many of these truths into practice. Some of these truths are difficult to accept, even as we write this.

We know that it’s important to consider these facts because they will help us navigate our way better.

We can see clearly when we let go of the excuses, the blame and the fear of failure.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself on the journey.

Posted in Art

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