Tough Choices

Portrait of a Young Woman Studio oil, 16"x20"
Portrait of a Young Woman
Studio oil, 16″x20″
Portrait of a Woman with Brown Eyes  Studio oil, 11"x14"
Portrait of a Woman with Brown Eyes
Studio oil, 11″x14″

I am fortunate enough to enjoy my profession and to make art on the side. My husband Andrew is less satisfied with his profession and wishes he could go back to art school and we both would prefer to make a living with our art but we understand the finances of that choice is not something we have agreed upon or figured out. While we negotiate these waters, we still do make art. I am more prolific but less of my work is “good enough” for gallery or sales while Andrew is more particular and detailed in his work and less falls into the recycle bin. We are different and yet we struggle with the same issues.

Portrait of a Young Man with Black Hair 12"x12", studio oil
Portrait of a Young Man with Black Hair
12″x12″, studio oilt and yet we struggle with the same issues.

The question is, how to live (and retire) as a full-time artist in a society which does not value art as a profession but rather as a commodity after the artist has expired (and even that is rare)? We have a mortgage rather than rent. We save and invest towards retirement rather than winging it. And we still are artists… on the side. All the while, we wish we were full-time artists. I suspect this conversation will continue until my last gasp. Or am I not investing enough time and effort into figuring it out? Am I too afraid of a less stable life? I am determined to not let my choices stop me from making art OR making a living. I will make art regardless of my financial and societal situation. That is who I am. I believe that is not a choice.

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