Sunday, December 27, 2009

Do What You Love!

As many artists have, I read the article about Carmen Herrera "At 94, She’s the Hot New Thing in Painting," by Deborah Sontag on December 19, 2009 in NY Times. It's wonderful that this artist finally has found recognition for her work!

Since reading the article, I've read some thought provoking responses I wanted to share:

In his blog post "Want to Become a Successful Artist? A Case Study in Best Practices," on December 21, 2009. Edward Winkleman says four things in his summary of "career advice points that Herrera' story illustrates," which is near the end of his post. They are valuable things to think about:

"1 - Keep at what you're passionate about. ... 2 - Discuss your work on the terms in which you think about it. ... 3 - Your best "in" will always, always be your friends in the art network! ... 4 - Nothing...I repeat nothing...replaces hard work if your goal for your art is true recognition and lasting importance. ..." Read more.

Then read "Portrait of an artist as an old woman: Do what you love" by Beverly Beckham in the Boston Globe on December 27, 2009. This really really hit home for me:

"Been painting for 50-plus years and still no sale? “How’s that working for you?” Dr. Phil would have asked Herrera. Work without reward, without a paycheck or recognition, isn’t something our culture values."

... and ...

"It must have been difficult for Herrera many, many times to listen to her heart and not the world. But she did. She didn’t stop drawing her geometric shapes to conform to the style of the day. She didn’t look around at what was selling and imitate that. She did what she loved and loved what she did, and now the whole world is taking a look. ..."

... and ...

"She paints because she loves the process. She paints because it brings her joy. “I do it because I have to do it; it’s a compulsion that also gives me pleasure.”" Read more.

I am reminded that sales are something our culture values every time anyone asks me if I sell my work.

When it feels hard to keep going as an artist, I'm going to remind myself that I am doing what I love to do. That's what matters the most.