This post is by, Eric Armusik, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. Eric is best known for his classical figurative paintings for private collectors and churches alike. Currently, he is painting 40 large, 4ft x 5ft panels of Dante’s Inferno with the assistance of renowned Dante Scholar, Dr. Christopher Kleinhenz. A museum exhibition and comprehensive book will be available once the collection is completed. Eric teaches painting and drawing and runs intensive workshops in his studio located in Pennsylvania. Eric is currently booking artists for individual workshops this fall in his studio in Hamburg, PA, click here for more information. He’s extremely passionate about inspiring and empowering artists through his blog, Underrated Artist as well as his popular YouTube channel, “The Truth About Being An Artist.”
One of my favorite Emerson quotes! I love it because it really has a way of bringing us all down to earth. Established artists, get down off of your high horses. There was a time when we all were starting out and we produced amateur art. There was a time when we had no confidence and there was a time when people didn't believe in us when we shared our dreams and aspirations. Sure, some of us had natural, God-given talent, but even with that we still had a starting place that bears no resemblance to who we are today. I reflect on this fact every single day. It keeps me grounded and it helps me to put myself in the shoes of every artist that comes to me with a lack of self-confidence, worry, and confusion. We all started from the same place. Every artist was first an amateur.
Are you putting yourself down because you didn't do as well as you hoped? I was once there too. I've never shared this terrible painting with anyone before. I painted it two months after I learned to paint in 1993.
To show you how far I've come over the years I've looked deep into my files for my earliest paintings to show you. Mind you, this is a first for me. I've had some of these photos stored away for over 22 years. I never wanted ANYONE to see them, but for your pleasure, I'm showing them today to illustrate a point. The point is, in many ways, I was in much worse shape than most of you. Growing up in the age of social media is such an amazing advantage. You have access to incredible information and the ability to communicate and share ideas. When these photos were taken I still had to take them somewhere to get developed and it took me 5 days to get them back. So much has changed but that's good news for you. If I had half of the information you have today my journey would have been much easier. Pro tip - continue to ask questions of artists that inspire you.
The second painting I ever created - a junk still life for my first painting class in 1993. I painted over it with a copy of a Tintoretto in 1999
Don't be ashamed of where your work is today. You've only just begun your journey. Fortunately, you can read advice like this online, watch Youtube tutorials, communicate with established realist artists and meet other art professionals with the same questions as you have. You have more access to information than any other time in the history of the world. You can be from Africa, Russia, South America or NYC - you all have access to the same information and it is up to you to use it. I constantly receive emails from amateur artists that feel like they don't stand a chance in life. They may have come from a very poor background, a family that doesn't support them, a culture that may discriminate against them. When you have a passion inside you to create you can't allow anything to stop you from achieving your goals. If you can't do what you want now, do all you can in the meantime. If you can't afford paint - draw. If you don't have something to draw or paint on find something flat like cardboard or the back pages of an old book and get your feelings poured out onto it. Your dreams cannot wait. Set your goals as high as you possibly can because if you only get 90% there, you've still achieved more than someone who never dared to dream. Understand that artists you admire were all in your shoes at one time. We shared the same failures and dealt with the same challenges. Nothing worth achieving was ever easy. Remember that and forge ahead with your dreams. Never ever let go until you're in the position to assist the next generation of amateurs that need your help.
Please share some of your experiences below. I'd love to hear how you started out too!
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