A number of things about developing my art practice as professional have surprised me. First, it takes so long to set up. To get in place the professional aspects such as a website, buying studio equipment, researching what equipment I need in the first place. Understanding the financial side. Appreciating the importance of commissions for an artist. Getting commissions.
The good news is I now, 6 months after I started full time at this, feel ready and well positioned to simply get on with the creative side. Which is just as well because putting in place this infrastructure was beginning to make me wonder if I would ever be free to do the art. Thankfully now I’m newly busy most of the time working on my first commission – a word art piece and a large painting. I also have a second commission to follow on with- a fairly large painting for a high end restaurant. So my head in full of these two. It’s very enjoyable.
On the other hand I have been constantly these 6 months working on developing some sculptural pieces in the background (and I’m looking forward to showing them on the site) and working in new media for me such as as printing. It’s exciting. I have the work in my head and have ordered in the materials I need – e.g., a perspex block and drill bits. Now there are a variety of pieces to make queued in my brain. There are also portraits to do for people who are expecting to see them. It feels busy but not stressful in any way because I’m my own boss. Makes a big change from the life I had before in academia.
I’m also developing via instagram my illustration style. I’m not there yet in terms of getting it right but am confident it will soon arrive. So one a day of Rees Mogg’s face? I’ll get him the way I want him. My husband complained last night I’m making him look too good… That makes me laugh.
Overall the biggest surprise is how happy I am. In previous attempts to work as an artist I enjoyed the art but did not enjoy trying to ‘make it’ as a professional artist. I was not sufficiently robust. Things have changed. My personal circumstances are more secure now and I’m older and wiser. I can do lots of different kinds of work if needs be so I don’t feel vulnerable to pursue an artistic career. The responses I get to some of my work from people is gratifying and gives me confidence. I’ll make it. What does that mean? That I am free (time, energy, money) to draw, paint and make and take commissions.