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7 Sure and Steady Ways to Change from 'Sunday Painter' into Professional Artist

Aussie artist Gauvin


More people than ever before in the history of the world have the leisure to dabble in painting. Some of them hold a secret dream to become a professional artist. One fine day. If this is your dream, I'd like to help you to achieve it. With 38 years of hard-won experience, I can pass on the 7 sure ways that I and many others like me, used to change ourselves from the state of hobbyist to living – and making an income – as successful, professional artists.

The first step we all must take along this journey is the most important. As always with the first step into new and un-charted territory, it does take courage. I won't try to deny that. Lucky for us, though, it's something you can do, all by yourself.

If you reach into your true heart, you'll find the courage that is there. Has always been there. Waiting for you to use it.
Commitment is the vital first step

  • 1. Go to a private place and say out loud these words. 'I am an artist.'

From the moment you say it and believe it, you'll start acting like a real, professional artist. What's more, those around you will start believing it, too.

  • 2.Find a place in your home that can become your studio.

Identify a spot where you can work undisturbed for at least 2 hours. At this stage it doesn't matter how small it may be. 

  • 3.Schedule your time for working on your art.

Spend time setting up a daily schedule for time in your studio. 

  • 4. Stick to your art schedule, within limits.

You need to fit in with the plans of family and friends, so your schedule needs flexibility built in. Haphazard stabs at painting 'when I feel like it' put you right back in the hobbyist category.

  • 5.Get the technical training you need.

Going to Art College is not necessary, it may well be counter-productive. Many other resources are available for learning all you need to know on techniques,and materials to make art, rather than teach Art History.

  • 6. Train your eye for what is 'good' Art.

Seeing lots of art is the best way to discover how and what you, personally, do not want to paint. It helps define your own goals.

  • 7.Learn what galleries expect of artists they exhibit.

Yes, it's early to discuss this part of the journey you're on. It's also the best time you'll ever have to pick up on the ways of gallery folk, free from the pressures of trying to impress them. While you're in training, practising and developing your own unique style, make regular visits to galleries – both the private and public type – within your area. Enlist a patient friend to hang out with you while you keep one eye and both ears on the behaviour and jargon of the gallery's staffers and the artists who exhibit there. Later on, the information you garnered this way, as if by osmosis, will aid you when you prepare for your first professional interview with a gallery director.
The articles I'll be writing next will expand on each of these pointers to becoming a professional artist. In the meantime, here's a bonus tip.

  • TIP_Don't succumb to 'Costume.'

Nothing more announces 'amateur' or 'wannabe' than paint-splattered clothes, visible tattoos, weird make-up or hairdos. Keep your everyday clothes clean beneath a dust coat or a butcher's apron. When visitors – in time, clients as well – arrive at your studio, they'll meet a professional who needs no gimmicks to 'sell' them on your art itself.

What I intend for my next few posts, is to expand on each of the 7 Steps in more detail.  Like to add your own Tips? or ask a question? Your input will appreciated, so please leave a comment in the box. ©Dorothy Gauvin

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