What about the career, you ask? The painters of Paris were incredibly ambitious but their big career move, as it turned out, was biting the hand that fed them. Career yes, but freedom to become is holy ground. No Faustian deals, please. Therefore, we may put an entrepreneurial hat on once we put down the brush, but never when it limits our becoming. The assembly line to the great gallery opening is every artist’s kiss of death.
The life of Franz Schubert may suggest a model. He was so into the process of creating music that each of his new efforts was but an opportunity for little Franzel to become more Schubert. So, he would compose the work, let it go and move on. His students would then find the work, practice it and perform it for him afterwards, whereupon Schubert is reported to have said, “My, that is lovely. Who wrote it?”
This is the way to make art. Move in the direction of the greatest pleasure and excitement. You are gifted. Risk showing us your gift. Where others are drowning, you will be diving. And it is when you cannot be bothered with product, you will look about the studio and find a few pieces that have a life. Your life. And so you gather them up and market them. And then after 30 years of painting, you will have had a career and the “later” you will have emerged. You will have grown. And you will have been an artist.