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Old 01-06-2002, 07:21 PM   #1
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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ribbon So you wanna be a pro?




People often ask me what they can do to turn "pro" and make a decent living doing portraits...and here's what I usually answer...

BEGIN with a minimum of 1000 hours of solid painting/portrait practice (40 hrs per week x 6 months = aprox. 1000 hours). Take longer if you need to, but log in at least this many hours of focused work.

Just for perspective on this subject, the woman who cuts my hair is a Beauty School graduate. In New Hampshire, a beautician is required to log in 1000 hours of practice time just to get a basic licence to give a shampoo! Why should we do less?

I see so many "wannabe artists" who are unwilling to spend the necessary hours at the easel but somehow "magically" expect to get "good at painting."

C'mon guys, this is hard work...rewarding (and fun) for sure...but hard work.
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Old 01-09-2002, 11:37 AM   #2
Morris Darby Morris Darby is offline
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thumbs up Timely Advice

Karin,

I think you have the most pertinent and timely advice I've heard in a long time. I, personally, look for your entries in this forum and print them for my studio reading time. Thanks for all that!

I also agree that this is portrait painting is a craft as well as an art. It has to be practiced and honed constantly. Even with every shadow and value in perfect harmony in your painting, if you don't get the likeness no one will buy your work.
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Old 01-10-2002, 06:28 PM   #3
Debra Norton Debra Norton is offline
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Karin, thank you for the good advice. I've been lurking in the background reading the posts for a couple months now and decided it would be a good idea to register so I can communicate too.

I am an amateur wanting to go professional. My husband, grown children, and extended family are supportive of this. Some of my friends aren't...... How do you deal with people who don't take you seriously, and even try to discourage you? I think the reason these friends are trying to discourage us is that we're planning on moving away for four years so I can attend an atelier. Our motivation for moving is to be able to give 100% of my attention to learning, which would be very difficult to do here. I would appreciate any insight on dealing with this. Thanks.
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Old 01-10-2002, 07:23 PM   #4
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Good for you Debra! Sounds like some BIG and wonderful changes are coming up in your life soon.

Until recently, most of my time and energy was spent as a single mom trying to keep my "kids in cookies" (so to speak) and serious "art" wasn't a possibility until 1995. At this time I had an opportunity to focus my time and attention elsewhere...and I began to follow my passionate life-long dream to paint...and never looked back.

Because my path in life abruptly shifted I lost some "friends" along the way. And it hurt. Looking back, I realize that my "real" friends were those who wished me well and cared enough about me to be emotionally supportive (even if they could not understand what I was doing and why).

As far as anybody taking me "seriously", probably nobody did (even my family) until I got good enough to get their attention. It's kind of sad, but I really think that we women artists (most especially older women - "housewife and mommy" types) are not taken seriously.

With women artists in general, I think that our relationships - children and family - tend to be our main focus. Only after these things are taken care of, we can begin to plan other things for ourselves...

Good luck Debra - I guarantee that you're going to meet some wonderful people in this profession and I trust that it will more than make up for your losses! Please stay in touch...
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Old 01-11-2002, 12:08 PM   #5
Debra Norton Debra Norton is offline
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Thanks, Karin, for the kind encouragement. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's gone through this. And you made it through! I think that the "abrupt shift" is what's getting to my friends. To me and my family it doesn't seem abrupt, because they've seen me working over the years, but it's something I've kept pretty quiet about outside my family until recently. I am one of those "housewife and mommy types" you mentioned, and to make the stereotype even worse I've been a homeschool mom for the past 15 years or so. No wonder some of my friends think I'm crazy. I'm so glad my husband doesn't!!

I'm working on a portrait of my grandson that I should be able to finish in a week or so and I'd like your opinion on it. I'll post it when I'm done - if I can figure out how to do it. My disc drive isn't working right now and I may have to do it from my husband's computer, which could be a problem. Thanks again.
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Old 01-11-2002, 10:13 PM   #6
Maxine Gilder Maxine Gilder is offline
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Karin, I agree completely about the hours necessary in order to be a serious artist. I am flabbergasted at the number of people I talk to every day who think artists are born being able to paint! Even talented intelligent people like my husband are suprised when they take 1 course in painting, and wonder why they arn't good yet. I like to think I have a little talent, and I am amazed at the struggles I've had over the last 25 years. I'm also a successful hairdresser, and I can tell you from personal experience, it doesn't even come close to being as hard. Getting my B.F.A only helped me to put in those hours you were talking about. Being a good artist is a continuous education!
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Old 02-01-2002, 06:48 PM   #7
Michael Fournier Michael Fournier is offline
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One Man's confession

I apologize on behalf of all Male Artists (well at least myself)

I must confess that as a Man and a Artist I sacrificed being a better father and husband for the sake of my Art. And I am guilty of the very thing Karin brought up of not taking women Artists seriously (many times without thinking about it). Because I could not understand at the time their commitment to family and relationships over their art.

Well I am older and wiser now and I thank my wife for putting up with me over the years it's amazing I am still married when I think about what a pain I was. (And still can be)

But one thing has changed I no longer discount anyone based on gender, age or their experience. I also learned that without my family to share it with, success in my Art would be a hollow one. And I now try to make time for family and my wife.
As for Women Artists I have been bested by more then a few to know I was a fool to ever discount their work or their commitment to their craft. Sure, at times all of us fall trap to Venus vs. Mars and find a thing about the opposite sex that befuddles us. Many times Men and Women do see priorities differently but a Artist is a Artist Man or Women.

And in the end we all face the same problems and joys in Art and life. So here is to all the women Artists out there don't let anyone or anything hold you back.

PS just so my guy friends don't think I've turned completely soft I still find myself enjoying the view much more painting with women then men. I may be a more sensitive man but I am still a Man after all
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Old 03-12-2002, 08:59 PM   #8
ReNae Stueve ReNae Stueve is offline
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question My new life

Karin,

I too, have been a single mom for the past 22 years. I put my creative needs on the shelf for those years until this past year. I started painting again as a hobby, and much to my surprise, my love for and talent for art had been growing and thriving in my heart while I was busy doing what needed to be done. When I paint, my heart soars, time flies and I have this feeling of connection with my spirit that I've never had before.

I've been painting angels, in an "old Masters" type setting among other things. I read in your web pages about talent not being enough, that technique is also required, and that is what I'm after. Lessons!!!. But I have to be practical. I'm nearing 50, and live and work in Orlando, Fl. which isn't exactly the most cultural city in the world.

Where would you send a wanna be....like me, to learn what you have mastered. You are the "Ideal" of what I'm trying to achieve.

My budget was stretched when I bought my first 12 tubes of paint and brushes. Did I mention that the 22 year old daughter is now majoring in Bio-chemistry and in Med school!

I'd love to hear any and all suggestions from all of you.

Thanks

ReNae
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Old 03-12-2002, 10:29 PM   #9
Karin Wells Karin Wells is offline
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Dear ReNae,

Since I spent most of my life not painting, I was also in a real rush to catch up...and here's what I did when I got the chance:

I copied the Old Masters (please, NOT anyone living today!)- day in and day out for about 2 years.

If you hang out with the likes of Titian, Ingres, Rubens, Veronese, Frans Hals, Vermeer, etc. it sort of soaks in and you're bound to learn some very important lessons. They are, after all, the very BEST painters (and their being dead didn't disqualify them as my greatest teachers either).

Not only did I copy their paintings, I began by copying their drawings. I have posted info. at length about these things elsewhere on this forum.

If I can learn to paint, anybody can. Good luck!
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Old 03-12-2002, 11:16 PM   #10
ReNae Stueve ReNae Stueve is offline
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Karin,

thank you I haven't made any copies as yet, but have used some of the old masters work for ideas. I like to paint these scenes that just come out of my head, there usually is no real model, especially the faces of my angels, they just seam to happen.

I will take your advise and begin to copy some of the works in a book my daughter bought me titled "Techniques of the Great Masters". One piece of advise that I'm trying to follow is....don't be afraid to waste paint. just keep painting.

Thanks again.

ReNae
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