FACING YOUR FEARS AS AN ARTIST

     Everyone has fears, it's part and parcel to being human. As artists who are struggling to succeed, we may face more fears than those who hold a "9-to-5" job with a regular paycheck. And we recognize that very few artists get rich from their art.  But, artists are small business owners, and as such we need to be organized.  Part of that is facing your fears and working through them.

     In order to do that, we must first recognize them by listing them.  So, put on your thinking cap, and grab your pen and paper or computer.  To help you get started, I have a short list below of some fears that we as artists may face.  Not all will apply to everyone but it can get you going.

1.  FEAR OF FAILURE:  Most have faced this fear at some point in their life.  It doesn't apply only to artists.  But it is a big fear that artists must face, especially if they want to it to become their full-time work.  You fear that your work is not good enough, or it doesn't meet expectations,  You may also fear that the public doesn't appreciate your vision or positively receive your work.  Trust me, there is always someone out there who likes your work.  You just have to find them.

2.  FEAR OF BEING CRITICIZED:  Do you worry that other artists think your work isn't as good as theirs?  That experts will say your work is lacking?  Believe me, we have all been harshly criticized at one or more times in our lives,  but we lived through it.  And we will most likely face it again in our life.  It is not fun to deal with, but it makes us stronger and it can serve to make us better at what we do.

3. FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN:  We cannot anticipate everything in life, it is impossible.  As you work to establish yourself, there may be many things that you don't understand right away.  It may take some time to work out your plan and put it into action.  There may be many questions in your mind that need to be answered such as Where do I go to get my art seen?  Who do I approach?  What is the best venue for my art?  Do I market myself or do I try to land a gallery?  How do I market to potential buyers or gallery owners?  Do I ship artwork if I sell?  If so, how?  and many more.  Write them down and do some research online, talk to other artists, your art associations, even gallery owners if possible.  These are all valuable sources of information.

4. UNCERTAINTY:  We all have decisions to make such as What direction do I want to go in with my art?  What if it turns out to be the wrong direction, a creative dead-end?  Then you simply turn and go another direction.  We have all made changes, we are not perfect.  There are always answers, don't let uncertainty stop you!

5. LACK OF SUPPORT:  This is probably one of the hardest things to deal with.  Well-meaning friends and family can stymy our creative spirit.  Tell them what it means to you.  My family was and is very supportive, but I know that is not true of everyone.  My father-in-law was a very good artist, but his family said "that's nice son, now go get a real job."  Or it may be a case of not understanding your style of art or your vision.  They may have your best interests at heart and want you to be stable financially. But they want you to be happy too.  They need to understand how important your art is to you.

     There are many more I could list, but this should get you started. Write down everything you can think of and work your way through them.  So go and face your fears!  If you know what you are dealing with then you are well on your way to defeating them.  Get to work, don't let your fears stop you from creating!  Be aware that very few, if any, artists become overnight sensations.  It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it will eventually pay off if you stick with it. You may never get rich, but you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing what you love.  Very few in life get that!

     Sit down and make a plan, a business plan.  It is necessary for someone going into business, and required to get a business loan.  It is good business, period.  Look at all the avenues of marketing available to you and decide which one, or if all, fit your needs.

     Do your research!  The more you know, the less you fear.  Learn as much as you can about the art field and marketing your art.  It will pay off.   Our fear can be based on just not knowing what to expect, so educate yourself.  Artists love to talk about art, so ask!

     Finally, build a support system!  Draw on the wisdom of others.  Go to art walks and talk to other artists!  Don't interrupt business, but if they aren't busy they are usually happy to help you and answer your questions. They can even refer you to others who can help you.  Hey, you may not be able to get away from the conversation, and that's a good thing.  But, be sure and take notes!

     One last suggestion is to read the book "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie.
He was a brilliant man who was highly successful in his business relationships.  We can all learn a few things from him!  He also wrote "How to Win Friends and Influence People" another book worth reading.

     Below are photos of my recently sold paintings, and some more of my "Oceans on Glass" series.
I'm really loving the glass paintings!  As always,  Thank you for looking and see you next week!

"A WALK IN THE RAIN"
9 x 12
acrylic on canvas panel

"GAMBOGE & ROSE"
'Oceans on Glass' series
6 x 28.5
mixed media on recycled glass
Float mounted on rough-cut red cedar

"SCARLET REFLECTION"
'Oceans on Glass' series
12.5 x 21.5
mixed media on recycled glass
Float mounted on reclaimed farm fence

"BLUSHING BEAUTY"
'Oceans on Glass' series
6 x 28.5
mixed media on recycled glass
Float mounted on rough-cut red cedar

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