What it Means to be an Artist

What does it mean to be an artist? I know I don’t have to explain it to all of you; but when I am in situations with people who aren’t as passionate about art, I find myself trying to explain and justify my commitment — to painting, drawing, sculpture and all the art techniques that go along with them.

I mean, I relate to everything — history, pop culture and even my own emotions and relationships — through art. It just feels like a natural part of me. It is the language that I want to speak and communicate with.

That’s why when I think of what it means to be a painter, this picture comes to my mind: An artist, surrounded by his or her painting studies, sketches and works in progress, seemingly lost in the work that is springing up before his or her very eyes.

I love the fact that the painting in the photo above, a work by John Phillip Osborne, is so large and truly dominant. I imagine if I was sitting where the artist is, the painting on the easel would be all I could see, and all I could think about. That is how consuming and intense the artistic process can be.

Letting Inspiration Strike

There is a calmness and matter-of-factness to the feel of the photo of John Phillip Osborne. The artist isn’t puffed up and putting on airs. He doesn’t even look like he’s aware his photo is being taken. He’s lost in the work, and just in the moment, content to work and continue the conversation that is going on between him and his painting.

That kind of devotion and focus is truly what makes an artist. That’s what I remind myself when I’m sitting with friends or family trying to figure out how to convey my passion for painting and art in general to others.

But no matter how much I might struggle with how to tell other people about my love for art, my devotion to it has never waned. I can say the same of many of the artists I know who leave their studios for painting outdoors.

Plein air is the way to invigorate your painting process so that when you come back to the studio, you bring all that inspiration with you.You will find out how to NOT get overwhelmed by your environment, choose and crop a powerful landscape composition, paint to ensnare the viewer’s eye, and more.