Tuesday 26 June 2012

Ten suggestion for the Professional Artist

Recommendations made by artist Randall Lake to Stephen Parphen during a painting trip to Europe in 1984.

1.  Believe in yourself.  Be tenacious, tough-skinned and your own most severe critic.

2.  Do not expect financial susses.  Pursue art because you love it-whatever you love doing you will do well.

3.  There are no short-cuts in this profession.  For most of all, creativity has more to do with daily work than momentary inspiration.  Don't wait for the grand vision; work and re-wok. When inspiration does come, your skills will be up to the task of using it effectively.

4.  Do not expect or depend on external praise. It is the norm of the gallery, dealers, art center and museums to look upon the undistinguished artist with indifference.  Accept it: Society does not owe you recognition or a living- that you must earn by your services to the society in which you live. 

5.  Painting is not a nine-to-five profession. It is life work, which demands that your  schedule will be vary. If the imbalance makes you feel guilty, then teach.

6.  Although Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958) was a composer of music, the advise he gave to young composers at Cornell University in 1954 is equally applicable to the visual arts "  Musical invention has been described as an individual flowering on a common stem.  Now young composers do not try to be original; originality will come by itself if it is there.  However individual your flowering may be, unless it is firmly grafted on the common stem, it will wither and die ... Try the beaten track first; if an irresistible impulse leads you into the jungle, be sure that you know the way back."

7.  Learn the basic skills of drawing and composition in high school and universities courses. Although taste may change, the basic skills do not.  If your instructor wants to teach "creativity", change classes and lear academic discipline instead. When you become an artist, "creativity" comes naturally. It can not be taught.

8.  If you want to be a realist and paint the figure, learn anatomy to perfection early on in your career, and never, never thing you have "mastered" the figure. Take Winslow Homer's advice to his students:  "Paint figures my boys; leave the rocks for your old age-they're easy."

9.  Try many art forms and take ricks.  By that I mean go beyond what you are comfortable doing. If what you are doing doesn't have a possibility of failure, nether will it be brilliant. Exceptional accomplishment in any of the arts has always been the result of risk taking.

10.  Always remain a student: learn through research while remaining flexible. To paraphrase Henry Matisse: "One should never become a prisoner of one's style or reputation."


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