Am I A Real Artist? Telling A Big Part Of My Story

 

Telling A Big Part Of My Story

 

Me at my desk when I first began painting.

It all started about 10 years ago. I was a homeschooling, stay at home mom looking for a hobby. I tried painting and fell in love with mixed media and acrylic paint. I painted at night at my desk in our school room where I taught the kids every day. Creative ideas were flowing. Excitement was abundant. I had found my “thing”!

I was having a lot of fun trying different subjects and sharing what I was doing on the internet.  Then, something amazing happened…. people began responding to what I was doing and actually started buying my paintings. This was so exciting! Now I had extra money to buy more supplies and make more art!

Eventually, I began to realize that this was a real opportunity to actually make money from home doing something that was really fun. So, I started learning about the online art world and comparing what I was doing to what I saw other artists doing. This wasn’t exactly a great move. You know that saying…”Comparison is the thief of joy”? Yeah…it’s true.

I started wondering if I really knew what I was doing. I kept painting, but I was having trouble sharing my work and excitedly telling others what I was doing. I didn’t consider myself a “real “ artist and a huge fear of doing it all wrong came flooding in.
I started searching for answers to all of my questions and doubts.

What makes a professional artist a professional artist?

What is a fine artist?

Who gets to decide if you are an artist or not?

The more I learned, dug, and searched; the more I realized that my lack of confidence was drastically draining my creativity, my fun, my ideas!
I can remember telling my husband that I just don’t fit in. I’m not like the people in any of the groups I see online. I’ve never done a paint party. I don’t know who decides who gets to call themselves fine artists.  Illustrators are in a different league, and licensed artists don’t seem to share a lot about what they actually do.  I just can’t find where I belong, and I don’t know what to call myself.  He said something that changed everything.

 

Am I A Real Artist?

My first painting set up.

Here’s what my husband said, “Why do you think you have to label yourself in some way?”
That was a big moment for me. I realized I was putting way too much pressure on myself. I am an artist. I am a real artist, and if you are creating art, you ARE an artist, too. Period. The End.

Oh!  AND…most of the time if you are doing something different…you aren’t going to fit in. Guess what, friend?…if that’s the case you may be an innovator making the way for others who are feeling exactly the same way that you are feeling!

It is almost like the less I know about the “real art world” the better off I am. I have to keep my head down, and do the work without all the distractions of others and what they are doing. I had to come back around (full circle) to my original way of thinking. My experience has led me in the direction where I am today.

I can confidently call myself an artist…a professional artist. I am using my creativity to earn an income that helps my family and hopefully helps other like-minded creatives who are ordinary people (like me) who want to do extraordinary things.

Why am I telling you this story?

I’m sharing this with you because I get emails, comments on social media, and messages on a regular basis from others expressing how much they like painting, but that they are not real artists or do not consider themselves artists. I’m sharing this because I love teaching others how to paint and be creative, and it breaks my heart when I hear my students echo the same fear that I once felt.

 

 

 

Sweet Friend,

Just like art itself, the titles and labels in the art world are very subjective. If you are creating art…you are a real artist.

Who get’s to decide that? YOU DO!

Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

XO,

Amanda

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the audio version here on my Podcast.

24 Responses

  1. Dianne Zillioux
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    You are a lovely artist and love your way of teaching

  2. Marcia
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    LOVE this! And, absolutely love what you’re doing! Please continue – you’re helping more of us than you realize. 🙂

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      That makes me very happy. 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me know that!

  3. Barbara
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    I have picked up my brushes that have been away for probably over 20 years! I found a few tutorials and now painting is fulfilling that creative part of me. I found your free nest tutorial and I was hooked! The multiple canvases are now being enjoyed by other family members, ages 7 to 70, because they wanted one of their own to enjoy! I love those little nests! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      Oh how exciting!! I’m so happy you are enjoying it again and sharing your beautiful work with others! Yay!

  4. Paulette
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    WOW, You couldn’t have said it better. Right now at Seventy-one I am learning through the internet. Going almost through the same process. People telling me to sale my work and me saying “Oh, I’m not that good yet I need to learn so much other artists would laugh if I call myself an artist. I think we have to take a hard look at our work and say do you like it are you satisfied with what you have created. In life we try to please everyone else but ourselves. When I paint I am very critical of my work, yet when a piece of art is good I feel good. I have friends who critique it. Shouldn’t I have used another color and so on. I paint and believe me, I am my worst critic. I have learned a lot from your posts that there are days you don’t feel like painting and days not every piece comes out perfect and yet when I see the one piece I look smile and say”That really came out beautiful.” Yes, there is so much I have to learn. The learning process is not easy but reading this post you make me feel I can do this. You make me feel like an artist. You’ve given me courage to learn, paint and create. Now I just need to learn how to sale my product. But that is another process for me to learn. 🙂 Thank you so much. Keep up the good work. Paulette

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      You are so right, and I’m so proud of you!

  5. Sharon
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    Thank you! I have had the same thoughts and worse about whether I am an artist. Your comments help so much.

  6. Vicki
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    Thank you! What a blessing you are.

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      Thank you, Vicki 🙂 I’m happy you find this helpful.

  7. Wendy
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    Thank you Amanda, you’re a real inspiration, I’m learning so much from you, and I will call myself am artist from now on, Wendy from Australia

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      Wendy,
      That makes my day! I’m so happy to hear that! Yay!!

  8. Donna
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    I have known you for a few years now and watched you grow in your art. I truly believe God gave you an amazing gift to share!!

  9. sherry
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    Good question! I set a time for painting,I plan ahead what I m going to try to paint, I like what I do, but I m not confident enough to put my work out there. If I was I wouldn’t know how to put a price on it.I refer to putting your paintings online …do u use Etsy or your own private site. So many questions. Thank you for your honesty n encouragement. It helps.

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      Hi Sherry!
      I started out with Etsy and moved to my own website, but in the beginning I was just sharing photos on Facebook and selling them that way. I’m so happy you are encouraged!

  10. Bobbi Cousins
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    Hi Amanda & CC
    Very inspiring words that I will take to heart. In the one month that I have been with the CC I have learned so much. You have a gentle and caring way of teaching. Your tutorials are so relaxing. I have always been very organized and most times want to be perfect about doing things and it has sometimes held me back. You have given me a easier route to dive in and make mistakes and I am having a great time being creative in my own way because of your direction. Blessed to be here every day.

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      Hi Bobbi!
      I’m a thrilled that you are enjoying the Creative Community! Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  11. Sherri Smith
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    Girl I so needed to hear that. Artist???? I finally believe that I am an artist in my own way, my own world. Your videos have inspired me to pick up the brush and give it a try. Thank you,

    Sherri

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      Sherri!
      Yay! I’m so so happy you are painting! Thank you for sharing that!

  12. Skip Berger
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    My struggle is I most often paint from a photo or I copy someone else’s idea. When someone suggests I sell my work or show my paintings, I feel it’s not original, it’s just a copy so I cannot sell or show it. How do I break out out and become original??

    • Amanda Hilburn
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      That’s a great question! Using a photo as inspiration is fine! Originality is more about adding more of your own likes or style to something that has probably already been done before. Paint a LOT. Play a LOT. Experiment a LOT. You will get there!