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3 empowering habits of successful artists


Across the modern world, millions of people enjoy making art in their leisure time. Most don't need, or want, any advice from someone like me. If you're the exception – the one who has the heart of a true artist – then you have the artist's gut-deep need to show your work, share it with an audience. It means going professional but just how to do that? Let me offer some help...

Confidence is a powerful gift. Only you can give it to yourself. Do treasure the memory of the day you commit to Art. In some private place, you tell yourself, 'I am an artist.'

It's already true, you've only confirmed a fact you secretly know.

Now, you need to convince the world. Start with those around you, family and close friends. They'll be your support team while you make yourself ready to approach galleries. You'll need some loving support, because there's something you can't be expected to know at the start of this journey to professionalism.

  • No matter how long a career may be ahead for you, no matter how successful that career may be, days will come when you'll feel self-doubt so strong it will tempt you to give up the struggle. Please don't. Just remember the surge of confidence you felt on the day you declared, 'I am an Artist.' Follow these 3 empowering habits of successful artists:

1.Don't wait for Opportunity

The old adage says, 'Opportunity only knocks once.'  You'll make yourself ready to open the door by
getting a body of artwork done - paintings or drawings suitable for a portfolio to show gallery directors. You might keep some of your preparatory sketches, even notes on why you chose the medium and the subject matter you prefer. Keep updating your portfolio as your skills progress.

2.Don't wait for Inspiration

Professional artists don't wait around for inspiration to strike. They're in the habit of being ready. So, for them, inspiration is everywhere, all the time. Let me illustrate what that means...

  • A  Composer walks along a busy city street. His ears are assailed by the screech of traffic, the blare of car horns, the buzz from workers and shoppers who crowd the sidewalk. What he hears is 'A Beautiful Noise.' 
  • A Painter reads about the prodigal son who abandoned the family farm and his ageing parents, returning only after the inheritance was squandered. What the painter creates is an image of unfailing parental love and forgiveness.
  • A Poet sees an urn, a vase of stone, engraved with figures from ancient Greek mythology. What he writes is an Ode, a lyrical examination of how much can be represented by Art about the tragedy at the heart of humankind: the knowledge of our own mortality.

3.Work at least 2 hours every day

For perhaps a majority of people,  'work' is the proverbial four-letter word. For artists, like elite athletes, their work is what others perceive as 'play.' Canadian author Margaret Atwood, on a  recent visit to Australia, suggested we need a new word that combines work and play. She nominated 'plork' as the solution. So, 'PLORK' every day in your studio.

When I started out, most of what happened to further my career was a matter of trying this and that, failing at some points, stumbling upon the things that worked. I'd have given a lot for a handbook to show me the way. I understand much of what you are facing now and I'm glad to have a chance to help ease your path. Next time, I'll share tips on setting up a studio in your home.©Dorothy Gauvin

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