One of the differences between being an ordinary artist and an extraordinary one is that an extraordinary artist has the ability to stay motivated and passionate. In fact, the most important attribute that helps a person become a successful artist is not whether they have talent, but whether they can stay with it and sustain their motivation to paint.
Creating art is not easy. It requires constant focus, a huge amount of discipline. and a strong ego to weather feelings of rejection, anger, frustration, discouragement, and occasional self-loathing. As an artist, your goal is to produce quality art consistently and at the same time deal with others opinions about your art and what you should do to get better. As a result, artists can become unfocused, stressed and worried that their art is not good enough, and if it is good enough, they feel inadequate about marketing it.
Learning how to motivate yourself is one of the most important skills you can learn to deal with the negative aspects of being an artist. It is also one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself. If you really want to achieve success as an artist, you have to create it. Wishing and dreaming isn’t enough. You have to make it happen.
Since all motivation comes from within, it is important to be aware and understand the personal skills and practices you have developed to come creatively alive. Writing in a journal about the discoveries and successes that you have motivating yourself will become a resource for future times when you feel stuck. Remembering what you already know is a powerful tool to free your artistic spirit, and allows you to create great works.
Desire is the heart-beat that keeps us motivated. Desire is the fire that ignites passion, and passion is what helps us to overcome obstacles that can get in our way of staying motivated. It’s important to take time to think about all you desire – activities, feelings, goals and desired outcomes. Ask yourself “What do I desire?” and write it down. Then do what you desire. When you understand what you desire, you have an ally against elements that will stop you, and your motivation will stay alive.
Tenacity helps artists stick to their goals. Top artists find ways to show up. They work through the boredom, and embrace the daily practice that is required to achieve their goals regardless of what their emotions may be shouting out to disable their motivation.
Look inward and believe that your voice has purpose and meaning. Remember that it is worth your time and effort to express your point of view to share with others. This practice can be another strong source of affirmation that sustains motivation.
Fall in love with the daily practice of painting and marketing. Think of what the world would be like if other great artists did not motivate themselves. What pieces of art would not be created or available to be seen in galleries by generations of people. Think of your artwork being available for your great grandchildren or for others who love art. Acknowledge the things you find beautiful and paint for others to enjoy. Believe that your view of the world has purpose and meaning, and that it’s worth the time and effort to share what you see.
If you want to become a significantly better artist, you just have to fall in love with the process and activity of creating art. Build an identity of being an artist who does the work rather than merely dreaming about the results. Begin the process of becoming extraordinary and highly motivated. Think of the viewer, your audience, and how you will add to their lives as you inspire and transform how they see the world…through your eyes.
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