How to make the move from amateur hobbyist to professional artist
There comes a time in the life of every artist when the question is asked: “What's next?” After a few years of painting I had to ask myself, "Where do I want to go with my art?” Do I continue to paint for the shear pleasure of creating something beautiful, or do I want to take it to the next level? Being a stay-at-home mom with four children, my world was pretty limited, but I knew I wanted my art to be more than a hobby. I decided to get my work “out there” by taking some basic steps. This was my “baby steps” plan.
Join Art Associations
Joining an art association is always the first step in getting more exposure. It provides you with opportunities to show your work and get feedback. There is nothing more valuable to your growth as an artist than listening to what people have to say about your work. Their compliments and criticisms (you have to take the good with the bad) can help you take an objective look at what is, and is not, working in your art.
Try to surround yourself with artists who are more accomplished than you are. Be a sponge—listen to them and learn from their experience. Let their skill and expertise motivate you to push yourself to the next level.
Broaden your horizons by entering some art competitions. Either go online, or turn to the back pages of you favorite art magazine and you will find a multitude of contests. Not only are these competitions a great experience, but they will add to your resume as well. Although there will be rejection, there will eventually be success! The key is to not give up. Don’t let the small defeats discourage you. Use them as motivation to keep working and improving. As the saying goes, "If you throw enough pasta at the wall, eventually something's going to stick.”
Sell Your Art
Try your hand at selling your work. Whether it’s a local art fair or the holiday bazaar at your child's school, you will find a place to sell your work. Nothing fuels the creative fire more than someone willing to pay money for you art. Always remember to start out small. Don't expect someone to shell out $1,000 at a community event. To make your art affordable, try working smaller.
Eat & Breathe Art
Stay motivated and inspired. Visit museums and study the work and techniques of artists you admire. Improve your skills by reading books, taking classes or workshops, and most importantly, by practicing, and practicing, and practicing some more! Always keep a pen and camera nearby. You never know when inspiration will hit. I always seem to get great ideas at two or three o’clock in the morning, or I see a great scene for a painting while I’m waiting for my kids at soccer practice.
Enjoy the Process
Most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously! Learn to enjoy the process. It’s not always about the results. It’s only canvas, paint, or paper. Today's failures may be tomorrow’s success.
To see more of Christina’s art, go to: http://www.christinaramos.org/.