I have been asked on a number of occasions if I still get enjoyment from my art since I turned professional. Has the pressure of deadlines and the need to secure an income taken away the ‘gloss’ of what had previously been a most fulfilling and enjoyable pastime?
Well, the answer to those two questions are;
“Yes I do” and “no it hasn’t” respectively.
I still derive a huge amount of satisfaction from the painting/drawing process and I don’t expect that will ever change, whether a piece of art is being produced ‘to order’, or for myself. Now however I also have the added potential encouragement of feedback from clients, whether they be private or commercial. I find a sense of accomplishment in meeting deadlines (especially the really tight ones!) and of course there is probably no greater confidence booster than if someone is prepared to part with some of their hard-earned cash to purchase the results of your efforts.
There is no doubt that transforming your ‘hobby’ into a ‘job’ requires a dramatic change in mind-set. The development of self-discipline is an absolute necessity, if you are to achieve the required level of output. Gone are the days when you could choose with impunity whether or not spend some time on the current creation.It ideally requires a daily ’9 to 5′ approach and often within a 7 day working week, but there major benefits to be accrued from even this demanding schedule. For most artists their hope and expectation with each new piece of art is that this will be better than every other that they have created. The ‘creative’ gene almost demands improvement from us and this is where the increased hours of hard graft can begin to reap rewards.
There is an old saying “Practice makes perfect”. Well, it may not necessarily make “perfect”, but it does create “progress”. There is no substitute for practice and when my painting sessions began to be measured in days, rather than brief hours, the potential for improvement and the resulting enjoyment for me quickly become evident.
Some friends warned me that I might lose this ‘enjoyment’ factor on turning professional and perhaps for some people that would indeed be the case, but thankfully for me it could not be further from the truth. It is now six years since I ‘took the plunge’ and I am enjoying every minute of it.