The behind-the-scenes aspect of almost any job is surprising, and that of a working, professional artist is no exception. So much goes on that has little if anything to do with making art. Maintaining a studio, tracking inventory and expenses, photographing work, keeping up a website, engaging with social media, answering email, staying in touch with galleries, and handling countless other details of art practice—all of these tasks are time-consuming, and each requires its own skillset. Most artists do all of this on their own without assistance, learning as they go, and over time they find what works for them. Today we look at the frustrations and rewards for artists as they constantly change out their many hats.
Considering the range of tasks we deal with as artists, it's natural that most of us are deficient in some areas, whether those are record-keeping, organizing, being active on social media, creating a website, consistent gallery correspondence or other tasks. While it may appear that other artists are on top of every aspect of their practice, few conquer all tasks and at the same time make good art without having help.
To be realistic we need to let go of perfectionistic tendencies and accept a standard of "good enough" for some of the demands on our time. We can also delegate tasks to others if they can be outsourced, although many cannot. Sometimes we do have to face things that need to be done by ourselves, but with which we have no experience or background. In those times, a positive attitude about learning new things is helpful. You may surprise yourself with newfound abilities --for example being able to handle new technologies or teach your first workshop. Asking for advice from a friend with experience is a good first step when faced with a new situation that requires action.
As artists our main role is to make art, and that is the most important hat to wear, always. The rest of the demands on our time that support our art practice need to be dealt with as best we can. When feeling overwhelmed by tasks and things to do, a good way to shift out of stress is to go and do your art, even for a little while. It will remind you of what you love about the life of an artist. The rest of it is simply what needs to be done to support this opportunity.
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Rebecca and her partner Jerry McLaughlin are excited to be launching year two of Cold Wax Academy's membership program, which began in October of 2020. In the coming year, live online learning sessions will feature an entirely new set of topics---beginning with a deep dive into technique and the steps involved in developing a painting. Other topics for year 2 include professional development, abstraction and realism, principles of design, and expanded uses for cold wax medium.
As always, members have access to recordings of all previous sessions including everything from the first year, so it's easy to join anytime. Fall Quarter begins October 6th. Please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for details about membership levels and to sign up for a year of exciting learning experiences.
Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."
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