We all have our own personal goals and reasons for why we paint. Some of us like the idea of creating stunning masterpieces, others want to make supplemental money, and then there are those that are retired and just need a hobby.
In most cases I would say it all comes down to making quality artwork. That's the ultimate goal. Something we can be proud of and will symbolize achievement.
Here's the problem with finished art.
Making good art doesn't always come easy. It requires the right attitude and skillset. And no matter how experienced or talented you are bad art will happen. It's par for the course.
At times it seems creating inferior art is the new norm. Quality art is far and few between. You start to think that painting good art requires luck.
Eventually you back away from the idea of being the next van Gogh, or come to a conclusion that maybe you should just settle for mediocrity.
Art sessions get put aside for other activities and ultimately most of you will quit.
So, why do some artists excel while others fail?
It's probably not what you think like lack of good drawing skills, overpainting, or anything else of that nature.
The reason most fail is the 'why'! The main reason(s) why you're doing something in the first place.
As I mentioned earlier artists paint for a variety of reasons but in the end it's about finished art. And this is where it all goes wrong. The 'why' simply isn't good enough. Perhaps the 'why' will motivate some to get off the couch but that's about it. Once things become challenging chances are you will back away because you have no reason to push through the adversity.
If you want to persevere through the hard times you have to dig deeper. Reasons that will quickly erase any thought of quitting even when you're completely exhausted.
So, what's a good 'why'?
The best way to answer this is to share the two reasons why I paint. The 'why' behind my work.
I'm a husband to my lovely wife and father of two amazing children. I have a home studio and wake up early Monday - Friday at 5:30 AM to work. I dedicate two to three hours every morning to painting, then I turn my focus to creating new tutorials, courses and whatever else needs to be done for my teaching website.
I wake up early so that I can knock off around 2 PM. Sure, I could work longer but I prefer to spend time with the family. Art affords me a life where I can be present for my wife and children. That's huge to me and a big deal to them as well! Being an active parent means taking time to be part of their lives. To genuinely give them my attention and time.
Plus I enjoy hanging out with them. My daughter and I will occasionally do puzzles, my son likes to 'play rough' and so on. I also enjoy cooking dinner for everyone seven days a week. Every night I get to read a few books to the kids, share a story, tuck them in and put them to bed.
The fear of having to get a job outside of art. This means leaving the house five days a week to work for someone else. That would flat out suck! No way on earth will I ever do that again. It would consume all of my days and leave me with no time and energy for the family. I'm not going to be a parent that's MIA!
Did you notice what was left out?
Creating finished art. I don't worship the almighty masterpiece. It doesn't motivate me. Over time I have developed the confidence and skills I need to make it. Winners are put aside and sold. No biggie!
In other words I don't sit around basking in the memories of painting my last awesome landscape. Nor does my ego become inflated when my Instagram post gets 300 likes. These are meaningless to me.
The memories that stick out are the one's I have with my wife and children. I can take an hour to enjoy bike rides around the neighborhood and kick my feet up on rainy afternoon with the kids to watch a movie. Those are the things I cherish. Art affords me the opportunity to be the person I've always dreamt of becoming.
What's your why?
Why do you art? How do you persevere through the hard times? Is it to fill a void, make money, creating masterpieces?
If it's only creating masterpieces you will ultimately fail. You are only as good as your last painting. That's an emotional rollercoaster that will completely drain your energy and spirit. Taking a few days off will fix it, right? Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months...
If it's money then what will you do with it? Invest in your retirement? Save it for an awesome family vacation? Only focusing on making money isn't good enough. Put the money to good use and/or making memories!
The point here is to put some thought into how you can shift your 'why' into something more meaningful besides finished art. Let the 'why' give you a lifestyle you always wanted, a vacation to remember or amazing gifts for your loved ones.
There's a better meaning behind your work so find it!
Before you go
I hope you enjoyed to read. Be sure to check out my teaching website by using the link below. There you will find a wealth of knowledge designed to help artists like you that want to stay on track and paint extraordinary art.
Click here to learn more.