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Have You Arrived?

by Terry Cooke Hall on 9/22/2017 9:05:51 AM

This post is by guest author Terry Cooke Hall, This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 50,000 subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. This author's views are entirely her own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.




"Sitting Tall", 16" x 12" oil, shown through Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale

Content but not satisfied.
 What does that statement mean to you as it relates to your art career? To me, it means that I’m content with who I am as a creator, but I’m not satisfied with where I am in my creative expression. I’m content that I’m able to create and sell pieces of artwork as a profession, but I’m definitely not satisfied with what I currently know and where I am with my creative development. If I was satisfied, that would mean I don’t need to strive for growing and evolving – that I’ve arrived. If that’s the case, I might as well pull up the La-Z-Boy in front of my easel!


Skill development has provided freedom in a lot of ways. At my current skill level, I have enough knowledge to produce works that qualify for some shows and galleries. I have enough skills to produce works that make my buyers happy. I know enough to teach skill development to others. There is some contentment in that small amount of knowledge. But I am not satisfied with the limitations of my current skills, and I want to be able to do more – to stretch and challenge – and to create excitement for my followers!


I don’t want to have my work seen as the same in 2 years, much less in 5 years. There is a great danger in being known for a special style that’s recognizable everywhere. The collectors look for it and buy it because it’s recognizable. But should that lock you in forever? Should it be that you only have that “song to sing” until you can create no more? I was recently talking to a gallery leader about an artist who is changing his style and approach. What they’re finding is that the buyers are uncomfortable with the artist’s changes and are not buying his new pieces. Why should that be a challenge? Why should collectors believe that you should always stay the same? Your skills are your skills and you should be able to apply them in new ways without it being a threat. How boxed in does that artist feel with this reaction to his new works?


My hope is that he’ll reject the trappings of familiarity and break away from that box without fear. Decisions like that will give all of us as creators hope that we can move forward, changing and growing, and challenging ourselves to be content, but never satisfied.



You can view Terry's original post here.




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Topics: advice for artists | art education | creativity | FineArtViews | Guest Posts | inspiration 

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Walter Paul Bebirian
Terry - since I have been photographing and creating art for just about 60 years I have inspired to experiment in many different ways and especially with the many many many new tools that are available to me in the various digital medium realms and I have - in doing so - found great enjoyment and many answers into how to develop and explore different ways of communicating what it is that may reside within myself - there is of course no right or wrong way of doing this and absolutely no need for acceptance by anyone else as I continue on with my explorations and delving into different directions and ideas but only a great inspired joy and often peace that I am doing that which I am driven to do -

shows - sales - acceptance and accolades are all left behind now - only me and my images lead me on to each new step -

Marilyn Rose
Thanks for the many good points and for reinforcing my feelings. We have options! Maybe a new style could go to a new gallery? Or maybe the change could evolve very gradually. We need both hats, the creative evolving artist hat and the practical business sense hat.

Michael J. Lewis
This is a difficult topic for a serious artist. I am just thinking out loud here and it may get me in trouble. I am currently considering an artistic change for two reasons: A: My new artistic concept speaks strongly to me and B. My current work is not different enough to get major gallery attention. Before I commit to the change I must do a lot of research and development and be sure it still speaks to me several months from now. But, what if I am in love with the concept and feel compelled to pursue it? Then what? It had better be marketable. I say this because to develop a super high level of skill rapidly means hours upon hours at the easel. I cannot burn my candle three ways between my family, my art and a 'real career' to make 'a lot' of money. My passion is my family and my art. So the hours dedicated to skill and concept development of art need to pay the mortgage. It is my job. I recently spoke to an artist at the top of the market and he told me he felt trapped. I know of another artist (recently deceased) that painted various subjects with tremendous skill and artistic voice. A gallerist told me that artist would have had a better career if his work were more branded to the subject. I guess it is a golden anchor.

Phil McNally
I read your article and it appears to me that if you get stuck at the place I call the 'in between' it then comes down to nothing more than choice. You either go forward or you stay put. Have the cake OR eat the cake. There will be pros and cons on both sides and there will be risks. All part of art life and life itself. Everyone wants to make the right and best decisions for themselves. And most want others to do that for them. Problem with does not work out the best for everyone. So......decide.......and make a choice.

Mark Brockman
Nothing stays the same, so why should an artist or their work? I am not the person I was ten years, twenty or thirty years ago, if my paintings stayed the same all those years t wouldn't say much about me. Would it?

I think the problem with collectors is that they worry to much about their investment when they should be thinking about what appeals to them. Galleries, understandably, worry about sales more then the art.

This is a good post.

I can't even begin to tell you how timely your post is to me...I was thinking the exact same thing just yesterday, that I can not be boxed in...that I need to stretch now more than ever!!Thanks...glad I'm not the only one out there content but not satisfied!!

Norine Kevolic
Thanks for opening up this much-needed discussion. These are heartfelt comments from seasoned artists who have taken their creative passions seriously. How sad to think we may be more stifled by the gallery system than anything else.

It's a thrill when I discover that an artist I've admired works in more than one medium or style. There's more depth, like glimpsing their real-life art world, not the branded version. I've been creating in multiple mediums for a lifetime, and know that daring to explore in this way has helped me grow into my true nature as an artist. It's hard work but satisfying.

I've known a few artists to be bored with their own work, and it sometimes shows. If you are an Unsatisfied Artist, give yourself the freedom now to start fully exploring your life in art. Life. Art. It's all one.


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