I didn’t do any painting this week, with the exception of mixing a bit of color to darken the body of my bird. This is because I’ve been prioritizing finishing the video I’m working on, which is going to show the process of my last painting, of the heron. Lately, I’ve been struggling with the question of whether to prioritize the creation of art itself, or the promotion of that art, which in my case, and for most contemporary artists, means sharing the work on things like social media, writing blog posts, and of course, making videos. The last one can be more time consuming than the actual painting.
The answer may seem obvious. If I want to be an artist, I need to create art. But, while I know I can’t make a living as an artist without a body of work, (and that without my art, I have nothing to promote anyway) I also know that I can’t make a living without a following, and the way I get a following is by promoting myself and my work. I also know that the bigger my body of work, the greater chance I have of making it, as long as the quality is good, but, on the same hand, I also have a better chance of making it, the bigger my audience is and the better I am at marketing to them.
If I have a commitment or deadline, I know exactly what to prioritize. If I have a commission, my priority is finishing the painting for the client. Likewise, if I have a show coming up that I need to make paintings for, that is my focus. I’m talking about times when I don’t have any obligation to anyone else and I’m working entirely on my own projects. That’s when figuring out what to prioritize is fuzzy.
I’ve heard before that to be a successful artist, we should spend at least half our time promoting our work. So does that answer my question? Should either the creation of work and promotion of it be equally prioritized possibly?
I posted this question in a Facebook group for people who are trying to make a living as an artist and so far, I haven’t gotten any replies. I guess everyone else is as confused as I am. I know the fact that I'm even thinking about prioritization is a step in the right direction.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, whether you've figured out the conundrum or you're still struggling like I am.
In Other News
There are crows in my community and sometimes they land on mailboxes. If I can get a pic of one, I think it could make a great painting, but alas, they always fly away. Aaaah, someday.
That's all for now. I'll see you in my next post. If you enjoyed this post, why not sign up for my newsletter? That way, future posts will come straight to your inbox.
Painter of portraits and wildlife