How much Biz should an Art Biz be?

Conflicted about which way to go. His body is turned one way, but he is looking the other way. Or is he? The side to which he is looking is all covered up and the other, which his body is turned towards is wide open. Pick a side, and if you are not looking like this, it's probably the right one!

The amount of business  needed in the art business  depends on the artist's personality and how vulnerable she is to external circumstances. Distraction of any kind, can hurt the art making process, whether it is the actual act of painting/sculpting being interrupted, or the distraction of the changing of the mind in midstream and producing an inferior piece because of it.

And the business side of art does both, and it is important to pay attention to that.  The sobering thing you should keep in mind is that business IS the other side, the other half, and to some, it is indeed the better half. Doesn't mean that they are worse artist for it, just that for them, it is the side that leads their whole enterprise.

Many art masters had a very astute business side to them (Rembrandt, Picasso and many more) and were not affected by it negatively, but used it to their advantage.

The problem incurs when artists and even galleries start to lead with their business side too much and now their art side, the connective side, diminishes which is just as detrimental as if things were the other way around - not getting involved with the utilitarian and vital business side.

The business of art is much like the business of life (everything is kind of business actually) - utility and emotion coexist and forge ahead together, otherwise it's not going to work.


But one has to be pulling and the other must be pushing. There is no side by side, because they are so different. Kind of like mind and heart. Balancing thing is such a vague term, and can mean anything. So stop balancing the two. Instead decide what you haven't been doing enough of, and do that. And let the side that is more of your personality be the lead, the puller, and the other side be the pusher. The one that excites you more is the one that is more you; do you like seeing your art being bought by collectors or do you like getting the painting just right, more. That's how you know!

For those artists that might think that they don't like the business arena or that they don't have it in them, it is simply not so. If you like having your art exhibited and it be sold - you like business and you are probably fairly good at it. You just have to try!

To turn things around we need to do more of what we haven't been doing and let the stronger side of us lead, and be in the front. But make sure that other side is pushing, or it won't work. If you rather deal with business first, then do that first unapologetically. If you are more of a connect and feel first, rather than utility type person, then by all means lead with your feelings. That by the way, the way of feeling, is how you  move the hardest of mountains, just in case you were thinking that emotions were somehow less practical or useful.

The amount of biz needed is the amount necessary for the courage to kick in and put it, the biz, in the right place first of all, and then make sure that it works in unison with the other side of you,  your feelings - Your Art.

 Rembrandt's House in Amsterdam. All his life he conducted business of art, all by himself out of this house. His wife, then his girlfriends and even all of his children died here, but he kept going with both the art and the business of art.

Rembrandt's House in Amsterdam. All his life he conducted business of art, all by himself out of this house. His wife, then his girlfriends and even all of his children died here, but he kept going with both the art and the business of art.

Self-Taught vs Academically Trained

Who cares!


Nowadays, with the digital artists and mixed media artists, Academic training in art won't give you a guaranteed status, or anything else for that matter. And if you asked me, it didn't come a moment too soon.

At best, as a result of graduating and enduring the years spent in an art school, you might find a clique you can belong to, and support each others' art style formula. But other than that, it is not easy to shake the aftermath of style driven art schools.

I am not against the good ones out there,  but all of them expend students that are then filled with new kind of neurosis after they graduate. One of those handicaps is an adapted style, rather than explored and discovered one, which is just as important as instilling discipline and learning the skills.

So in sum, take this diploma and well...shove it. Or better yet, don't mention it. Not until the time comes. And I'll talk about when that is, right after the next couple of paragraphs.


'PEEKY' from my Image Library. Just think of everyone like this, peeking only until they really 'get' your art. Only then delve into the detailed history of your struggles with getting to your mastery.


As for the proud selfers, 'who cares' applies even more! You taught yourself - big deal! Why on earth would anyone say such a thing? It is as if one insists on underlining the perpetual starving artist's syndrome. Every time I read it mentioned, I cringe and immediately think of the $2 dollar art garage sales and $5 dollar portrait street artists.

Art is every bit as noble and hard and valuable as Science. And may I add that money made in the art world is staggering, and honestly, these kinds of attitudes are the reason why the artists are not the ones making much of it. How and what you did to get to making great art are is NOT IMPORTANT. Nobody cares.

So, don't mention it. It will either invoke snobbery or misery. And besides, there is no such thing as being completely taught in art, so saying it doesn't make any true sense. We continue to learn art, every time we do it. That might just be the whole point. If you are an artist and you are not learning, than you are reverting. You're dying. But that's another topic.


So, now what?

This is what you need to do: Let your art speak for itself. That's all.

When a person looking at your artwork truly understands what you do, and is interested in it on a deeper level - they don't have to like it mind you, although it helps, let them know your learning curve. That is what all of the training is called nowadays, a learning curve.

So, if they want to look at your curve, let them, but otherwise doesn't it just sound boring and banal: 'Lets discuss my learning curve.'

Artwork that you show to others is the best of fruits. It is the only thing you truly possess. It is what they need to measure you by, and it is the only thing that you should allow by which to be measured.

1 2 3 of Oil Painting for Artists

1. Good BRUSHES:  My current assortment. They are the best of the best. Not the most expensive, but best. The Mongoose brushes are from Rosemary and Co. in UK, but will be here, two days after your order. And the tried and true Silver Brushes. I like'm both.

The second most important thing for a painter are the paints. They are not your weapons, however. They are your slaves. If they are not, make them into that.

They are fun slaves, though. And you have to watch them, all the time. They will try to run off and do their own thing, but, you can't let that happen. If they do run off, you know what happens - a muddy mess. And you then have to replace them with fresh ones. Anyway, show them who is the boss, and they will be a source of sparkling fun and enjoyment while you paint.

Buying the best paint out there is not necessary. But what is a must, and this is a must, is not to buy something very cheap. You'll know it's bad if it's not fun, when you are testing them out. And then as your budget allows, and you actually get to know some of them, one by one, yes, buy those.

I was, almost symbiotically drawn to Rublev Oil Paints. It was an instant connection, and I could see my future far, far ahead, with them. They are not the most expensive, nor the least. They come straight from the earth, and I can see and sense it.

3. Enduring SUPPORT: Just waiting patiently to be rediscovered and reconsidered. One sort of looks for The One, when looking for supports. Although there are many good ones, there is that one that promises the moon, and means it.

It's not what you think. I won't give a tutorial.

God and everyone else, knows that there are so many demos out there. This post won't be about the steps. But it will be about the order of importance.

What is the most important thing for an oil painter, in order to work well and show what he can do?  (I will be using sometimes he, and sometimes she, as it flashes through my head) So what is it? Well, it is the BRUSHES of course! And not just any brush, but the best ones you can possibly afford. Even if you are a total beginner.

The brushes are your weapons. They will fight the fight for you, if you let them. And the good ones will make you win. You will be a winner in a sense that whatever work you produce, it will most certainly show what you can do at that time. How good of a painter you are, that is. And you want that to happen all of your painting life.


2. Enjoyable PAINTS: Got these just the other day. Fast and great service, too. I got some purples to cool down the oranges and yellows. I used to do it with only one purple before: Violet Hematite, the most powerful color I've ever encountered; It adjusts every other color, and chills it all out.

The third most important thing is your support - the surface you  paint on.

Find something that you and all your whims and wishes. It needs to endure, in other words.

With this one, you can experiment and all of it is good. Just as long as it takes care of you when the brush and the paint land on it.  Personally, I like the oil primed linen the best. Nothing really compares. The smell, the organic feeling and the seeming promise of success of the work to be done on it. It's beckoning me with reassurance. Yes, all of that is what only oil primed linen support does to me. I do not like the most expensive and the finest though, as it becomes 'precious'.

It's odd how the word precious sounds so bad to an artist. Just as bad as mud.

So there they are, the 1 and 2 and 3 of oil painting.

Your materials are that which will get you to where you want to be with your oil painting skills. They won't make you into an artist, but they will influence you as any loyal companions would. And that's what they are to me, loyal companions. Never mind that I bought their company.

I have seen a few well known artists find their personal style even, based on using a certain, good brush or a good tool. It changed everything for them.

So, my whole point, I guess is this: Do not underestimate the humble thingies spread all around your studio called - the materials, just because they are always there. Actually because of that, and IF they are doing all of what I mentioned before, they will also get you there.

Get organized and get your materials to do what they were created on this earth to do - serve you.

The Nearing Finish Line

Notice how I changed deadline to finish line. Yes, a deadline is dread filling. It has a word dead in it!  Finishing is a much better solution, as there is no such thing as being finished in art. One is never quite finished and that is a part of the joy of the process. Those that are in the midst of it know what I am talking about. At least they should.

Actually anything that fills you with joy and happiness, such as creating, and for me it is oil painting and sculpting in clay, never really is finished. You might say you are finished, but you know that it is a living thing for you, so you are never finished with it.

So, when someone goes off with your artwork, buys it, borrows it that is, you know that it always belongs to you, because there is that unfinished business of not being done with it. Not, yet...

Not ever.

Painting progression of 'Young Woman V'.

Knowing that you brought an image into existence does not leave you easily. Especially in organic mediums like Oil or Clay, and after much contemplation and wrangling. Mastery is not always a given, even after many years. It is almost always like birth - painful and resistant. But out it must get!