I am talking to the artist that wants to be the very best. It takes time. Dedicated time. Every painting I do is a million dollars to me. Now that is serious if you can imagine. Why not do your best and forget about how long it takes to improve your work and make a buck. Double talk? No. Just being honest.
If you want to make a very good living with your art you have to start with becoming the best you can be and that is always like chasing a rabbit. You will always have room to improve if you are serious about your work. Some artists I know have just trying and are content to just sell enough work to pay the bills. How boring to me. Who would go to school for six years to end up working at a low paying job after all that. Being content is good if you are always striving after a higher hill. But if the boat is sinking and you stay to content you just might have to learn to swim.
Raising six kids and keeping them happy as an artist in Hawaii has taken time and effort. For you to really make it as an artist in this new age of hi-tech power house computer generated digital competition you will need to both learn the basics of eye to hand Old Master techniques and computer savvy editing and printing.
So first concentrate on learning and practicing everyday.
I taught myself most of what I know by just experimenting. But you can save many years of trail and error by going to school or finding someone to help you. If you can study with another artist you will learn at a faster pace.
I like to teach new artists and get myself excited about how well they do.
It's not all about myself. I am competitive and need to know where I stand among other artists also. There are plenty of better artists everywhere you turn. It excites me and makes me want to get busy and become better so that my work isn't always the same as so many of the other artists.
I hate it when someone looks at my work and says "Oh that looks so much like so and so's work." Here is one of the statements I hate the most. Your work looks just like Kinkade. He is a master at what he does and I am happy to be different and not at all happy to be the same as someone else.
We all learn from each other and our own style emerges over time. It's not enough to be better than so and so, but I want to be different from so many other artists I know. Learn from many but become your own person and personality as an artist. Does that mean you won't look like just another seascape painter or landscape painter at first? No, you probably will look the same at first just like me and many others. But in time you will grow into who only you can be. It is much easier to copy other artist at first.
Try copying nature or your own imagination but don't worry if it takes four or five years to be truly an individual. Most of my work starts by looking a little to much like one artist or another, but in time I go past the learning stage and it's my own. But don't let me fool you. I still learn from others and I still look to much like other artists. It is an ongoing process.
I remember the painful experience of painting outside with so many different people watching me and someone in the crowd sarcastically stating that, "Why doesn't he paint something everyone else is not already painting. In other words I looked just too familiar to them. It will happen to you also. So be ready to take a beating, if you don't eventually have a style of your own.
I am now learning portrait painting and sure enough I look like another artist down the street at this time. But I will learn and become different. We all have our own artistic expression and yes we need to learn to be different.
That is not to say that forging an old master painting can't be really a challenge. It is and we should try it if we want, but be sure to give credit do to whom it belongs.