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Friday, May 18, 2012

The Ups and Downs in the Life of an Artist

'Among the Poppies'     8x10        oil on canvas     ©Karen Margulis purchase here $150
Being an artist is sometimes like riding a roller coaster.  One day you are up with a successful painting or perhaps a sale or some recognition for your work. The next day you are down....painting a dud, struggling with self doubt or rejection of some kind. I try not to let these ups and downs effect my attitude. I remind myself to look at the big picture and I keep plugging away at being the best artist I can be.

 This week was a typical week full of art related up and downs. I started the week on a high. I had sold an oil painting at the Anderson Creek Paintout and I was shipping 40 pastels to my agent for scanning. I was excited about the opening reception for the Southeastern Pastel Society's International show. I had a painting in the show and was very proud to have been accepted. I never go to an opening expecting to win anything. I remind myself that getting into the show is the reward. But I admit it that it is always nice to win a little something. Last night wasn't my time. It was a low but it was also a high since my good friend Barbara Jaenicke won Best in Show! I also was approached by several other artists who gave me great feedback on my blog and others interested in my classes. And today while feeling a bit low, I just got a wonderful email from a collector who just received one of my oil paintings and was thrilled with it. Ups and downs!

I'll let myself feel down for a few hours today but then I know I need to turn that energy into positive energy. I know that I will have to work even harder to become a better artist. I will start a new painting with the excitement of all that is possible. I won't allow a disappointment to slow me down. If negative thoughts try to creep in I will remind myself that I am doing what I love and I will continue to enjoy the ride!

Today's painting is an 8x10 oil on canvas. Photo courtesy of Renee Lammers. She does wonderful daily paintings on copper. Visit her blog HERE


Maria Hock said...

Great post...love the poppies and the sentiment.

Karen said...

Thanks Maria!

Jennifer Edwards said...

Hi Karen! I empathise with your post today. I think it was just this roller coaster ride that caused me to rethink why I even make art, and really what kind of art is it I want to make? This may not make any sense, but for me, I had to get off the roller coaster of the exhibiting, selling, painting for a gallery artist, and hop on a train of the create art of any kind, any way, any media or method, of any subject i desire.
this train has been a lovely ride without the angst of the roller coaster. One day, when my time opens up a bit more as kids grow older, I hope to reenter the exhibit, gallery, sell a few world....MAYBE. I just don't want to be on that roller coaster. Anyhoo, I applaud you for weathering the ups and downs so thoughtfully!

Karen said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for sharing your experience. 2 years ago i decided to become a full-time artist so the roller coaster is now a necessity. But I totally agree with your need to just create the kind of art you want to. My attitude is the same. I paint what I want to paint and how I want. If a painting finds a good home that is a bonus. This approach may not make me rich or well known but it works for me. I usually don't mind the ups and downs because I am painting what I want but every once in awhile it makes you pause. I am back on track though!
Thanks again for sharing!

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how much I needed to hear this. I have been an illustrator for a long time. Have been doing kids books over the past 8 years or so and most recently started dabbling in fine art. Lots of ups and downs and struggling with who I am as an artist and which medium I love the most. Thanks for your post!

robertsloan2art said...

Thanks for a great post, Karen. I love the poppies painting. That's so gorgeous. If you've won that show in the past, yours could have been set aside in the short listing stage of judging because many jurors do not like giving the prize to the same person again and again even if they love their current entry.

There's that stage in judging where you have several loves and have to start making an arbitrary decision because you'd love to be able to hand off four Best of Show prizes.

You're doing something fantastic with your oils now. Thank you for this inspirational post. I haven't done a serious painting since my successful plein air Iris Pond sold, and that put me in a slump. Perfectly good reasons for it, I've been doing other things besides painting - twice as many medical appointments, plus volunteered and did a massively physical bulletin board project at my church that counts as "Very Major Art" in terms of physical effort, difficulty of medium in relation to what I usually do and recovery time.

When I look at it that way, it doesn't seem like a slump, more like "life happens."

Thank you for helping me look at it that way and reminding me that being an artist is a lot of fun.

I actually succeeded at the bulletin board thing - basically poster design involving my Worst Medium, collage!

Marietjie said...

Yes I also wrote about how we need to persevere and press on. This painting is definately an up for you, its beautiful.

Sara Mathewson said...

love the poppies!

This was a timely post for me as well. i love painting flowers and that is all I painted in watercolor. But now with pastels i have been mostly doing landscapes which has been a huge learning curve and i admit to many failures. It's hard to remember all the failures I did when i first started in watercolors. I was excited everyday and I learned from every bad painting! I learn from the bad now, but lately it seems all i produce are bad paintings. It gets frustrating when you have this vision of how you want it but can't seem to get it on paper. So, i am now going to use my time in the studio with a more positive attitude and not worry about the duds. After all with each one comes growth.

Sarah Bachhuber Peroutka said...

Your blog is always worthwhile. Thank you for making the time to "tell it like it is."