What kind of artist do you want to be?

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of artist you want to be?

I think probably for many of us it’s not been a case of sitting down and literally thinking through that question; it’s more an evolution in a general – sometimes erratic – direction that feels like what we’d like to happen when it comes to our art.

But I do think there’s value in asking this, whether you started yesterday or have been making art for decades.

Why?

  • Because it’s always evolving.
  • Because it can very quickly show you where there might be some misalignment, and in particular limiting beliefs that are resulting in here and now frustrations.
  • Because the kind of artist you want to be will affect your actions, behaviours and beliefs, and so the likelihood of you reaching your goals.

Or put another way, if you’re not yet that artist, you can look at the actions, behaviours and beliefs you already have going and align them more consciously with where you want to go.

If you’re not really sure what I mean by this question, here’s some of the things that comprise the kind of artist I want to be:

I’d like to:

  • be a happy artist, where happy means – for me – creatively abundant, fulfilled and satisfied by my work, with a deep understanding of my own flows and patterns so I can work with them in ways that support me rather than damaging my self esteem, and help me to grow and evolve as an artist and human
  • express myself through my art in whatever ways feel meaningful to me, without restricting myself with perceived rules. That may include drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, poetry, or land art. At the moment it’s pretty much all mixed media painting, but I like that I have options. 😊
  • make recognisably ‘me’ art that people connect with and enjoy enough to hang it in their homes
  • make art that speaks to people at a visceral level, bringing them into the present through recognition of the sensory experiences my work expresses around immersing in water and wild nature
  • be a full time, consistently selling artist. I’d like to sell my work both directly and with the help of other people {galleries, stores, licensing with companies with whom I share values, etc}.
  • make a full time living from selling my art. {I have a lot of thoughts around this, and some skepticism, and some limiting beliefs I’m working on, but I include it because it’s what I’d like. No point hiding the truth from ourselves – that’s a great way to never get where you’d like to go!}
  • be selling enough work to be able to contribute significantly to causes that feel meaningful to me {any amount is good, of course, but I’d like to be in a position to contribute more substantially than I can right now}
  • be able to use my love of writing – almost as strong as my love of painting – to support my art. {Currently this looks like blog posts and emails for both aspects of my business – teaching, and selling my own work.}
  • be an artist who uses her experience to help others on their own artist path, specifically in terms of moving forward from the common crossroads of knowing how to make art but not being entirely clear on your own artist voice
  • an artist who doesn’t need social media to run her business effectively

Oh, and I’d like to paint a mural before I die. 😊

Most of these are already in place to some degree because obviously I’ve been thinking about this – and implementing it! – for a long time.

And when you run a business that significantly contributes to or comprises your livelihood like me, you have to look at these things in a way that isn’t so necessary {although I think still worth doing} if your art is solely for your own pleasure.

But some are either not yet quite in place, or not to the degree that I’d like or even need. That’s ok {and incredibly frustrating at times – let’s call a spade a spade!}.

This list will look different for every artist.

Some aren’t interested in making money from their work, so their list might be more focused on personal fulfillment, and who their art allows and supports them in being with family and friends and themselves.

Some are much more ambitious {or extroverted} than me and might add a raft of other things to how and where they want to sell their work.

Some may add courses or degrees they’d like to engage in.

Some may be after fame, or recognition at some level.

Some may have specific income numbers in mind, or specific things they’d like to use their earnings for, like contributing to the household outgoings, or a child’s college fund, or retirement, or a holiday.

There is no judgement on any of this, of course.

One of the cornerstones of my life and business, as I’ve come to see more and more clearly over the years, is that honouring our uniqueness is one of the most important things any of us can do for ourselves, our art, our nearest and dearest, and the planet we call home.

So there can be no judgement, because we are all unique, even as we are all connected and similar in so many ways.

I adore that uniqueness.

I find it so exciting that we each have this never-before-seen alchemy inside us, that can come forth in any number of ways, and – specifically for those of us who are artists – through our art.

I’d love to be able to foster and encourage that in my fellow artists who haven’t yet clarified their vision for themselves and their work.

It’s one of the key aspects of the Happy Artist Studio membership in fact, and one I’m always thinking about in terms of how I can make it even more robust and useful.

You can find out more about the Happy Artist Studio here, or by clicking the image below.

And if you’re feeling brave, I’d love to hear what kind of artist you want to be in the comments!

Join the Happy Artist Studio for discovering who you are as an artist