Saturday, November 1, 2008
PAINTING AS A JOY OR AS A BUSINESS
A NEW LEARNING
Secreted deep inside me for almost all of my sixty-six years has been my need for creative outlet. Throughout my childhood and youth it found an expression in pencil sketches of people, buildings and landscapes. As a teenager, my only ambition and life direction was to gain a livelihood in commercial art until a fine art reputation could entirely support me. That was before I met Christine and before I became a father and before a profound life calling surpassed any personal aspiration. I have spent my years in worship of Jesus Christ and have become a communicator of Biblical truth. In 2001 I became convinced that God told me I had pastored my last local church. In 2008 I understood that God released me from administrative oversight of a church denomination. I also discerned a freedom to pursue the love for art creation that I left behind so long ago. I suppose that I have thought that a mini career of sorts might emerge. Of course that is coincident with continued commitment to God and His truth. What would an art career entail? I have little idea. I have painted numerous pictures already. So many more are in my mind and heart. The painting I can do. I paint when I choose. It’s pleasurable. But I have not known what a career in art might mean until reading a book, a gift from two good friends who honoured my retirement just days ago. They invited Christine and me to have dessert and an evening of conversation during which they sang me a happy retirement song and presented me with the gift of a book entitled ‘Artist Survival Skills’ by Chris Tyrell. Its subtitle is ‘How to make a living as a Canadian Visual Artist.’ I was eager to get into the book and as I have examined all of the practical counsel, I am uncertain that I want to realize my long suppressed art ambitions. Apparently I should set career goals, set a business plan, establish a pricing rationale, decide about representation and consignments, understand and choose marketing steps. I don’t lack confidence in my art or that I could become successful as a self-employed artist if I chose to devote myself to such a business. Today I struggle with a conflict. It may be a momentary one. I retired from a busy and satisfying life of significant responsibility. To impose upon myself a business burden that would take from me my joy in the painting would be a bigger gaffe than I am prepared to make. I have to be convinced that joy and profit do not have to be mutually exclusive.