Letter to a Young Artist

Recently, I was contacted by a young artist who had taken up painting within this last year. He was hungry for art career guidance. To this, I did not feel qualified to advise, but these are the words I did offer.

I often think about the idea of Cultivation, as it relates to all aspects of life. Really to live life as an artist is a slow, long process of cultivating individual habits. To cultivate philosophies, voice, painting, relationships... It's all rather an organic sum of all decisions made in life... About how we live life.

There is no one way to make work or have one's work seen. I always think it's about doing the absolute best work you can do, putting it forth in the world and putting yourself forth in the world with abundance. We must do this without attachment to outcome.

I think it is wonderful you are painting. I think the whole world should paint and it would be a much more peaceful place.

Throw yourself into it, and know that your energy, if it is released completely into the work, will be felt through the work and then it will impact others.

I think it's important that we have a good day job that we like and that will allow us to cultivate relationships and pay our bills. I ran a design business for 10-12 years which supported me as I taught myself how to paint. It wasn't until just about 3-4 years ago that the world supported my studio work enough so I could naturally let go of the design business. Transitions like that are, in my opinion, organic. Situations replace other situations as we grow, but it is rare that one abruptly takes the place of another. It is rare that one "big break" sets us forth into success.

So in that vein, you are doing exactly what you should be doing. You are painting. You are loving it. You are tending to your family. You are starting a new job. You have a passion for art. All these things will lead you to exactly where you should be.

Best to you,

January 2006