This week a light bulb went off! Not at home, but in my head. I learned about what every artist should do and I think you should know too. It’s actually something I’ve known all along but that little devil on my shoulder kept talking me out of it. And here it is:
You should paint what you like painting! That’s it. Paint what you love. Draw what you love.
As an artist, I’ve done it all. I’ve painted landscapes, seascapes, still life paintings, abstracts, animals, people, cityscapes and more. Some I’ve loved and some I haven’t. Some were created because I thought they would be what the public would like to buy, and some were painted because that’s what others said I should be painting. But to be honest, the love did not show in those paintings. They were lacking “life”. There was something wrong with the colours, the brushstrokes, movement and balance. They looked tired and frankly quite “boring”. And now I know why. I was only half-hearted when I painted them.
I know a number of artists who paint Perth landscapes simply because Perth people are more likely to buy something that reminds them of where they live, but really, if you’re doing it to sell rather than because it’s something you’re passionate about regardless of if it sells, then it will show in your work. It will look dull and the whole painting will be missing that certain “spark”. But if you paint your favourite subject, whether it’s your grandmother’s garden, or baby antelopes, or even rusty train tracks, then you will enjoy every second of it. You will get lost in the moment and will relish every single brush stroke. And people will notice it. They will be drawn to the energy, the passion, and the love that you’ve put into it. And the sales will come too. You’ll see. Now how about letting that light bulb flash in your head too. Think about what you really love painting or drawing. And do more of it. Lots and lots. Put all your love, energy and passion into it, and the rest will come. You’ll see.