Attitude Is Everything

19 Jun 2012

We've all had those moments when the details and concerns of keeping all the plates spinning distracts us from the one thing, the most important thing, that those of us who are creative people must do--create. Even doing chores that are pleasurable, like gardening, can take us far away from our art, and soon an hour becomes an afternoon becomes a day away from our work. Too many days away and the focus wanders and the hand forgets the brush.

Miniature Narcissus Bouquet by Ann Trusty, oil painting, 11 x 14.
Miniature Narcissus Bouquet by Ann Trusty,
oil painting, 11 x 14.

Many years ago we discovered a simple formula for ranking priorities in order of importance: Must-Do, Should-Do, Want-to-Do. It is amazing how often those get out of order in our lives. While Want-to-Dos are always competing for the top spot, we do not consider painting or drawing to be a Want-to-Do, no matter how pleasant that activity can be at times. It is a Must-Do, and always will be. Just establishing that priority in one's life can open doors to new inspiration and determination.

Making your art a top priority, just like breathing, sleeping and caring for your family, means that you take your work seriously and will put effort into it every day. At its heart, this idea is simply an attitude change, and attitudes are powerful factors in how our lives play out. Tell the world that you are an artist and work hard to prove it, and the world will work to support that vision of you. It is giving yourself permission to believe in your dream and then acting on that belief.

Lilac Bouquet by Ann Trusty, oil painting, 11 x 14.
Lilac Bouquet by Ann Trusty,
oil painting, 11 x 14.
You may be amazed at how quickly all those around you begin to respond to your professional attitude toward your work. Let them help in whatever way they can. Enlist your friends and family to pose for paintings or help with exhibition tasks. Everyone wants to be part of a success, and that success starts with a decision that only you can make. Read books about other artists lives. Dream about your ideal life and then hold that vision firmly in your mind each day as you work. Establish regular hours each day for work. Push yourself to improve your craft and indulge your ideas in your art. Network with other artists, dealers, galleries. Limit distractions from outside. Honor your imagination. Be generous with yourself and others.

Art is about giving something to the world, and if we do not give freely, we cannot receive. Soon enough, almost like magic, you will have a larger, richer life than you had envisioned. At that moment, as you look around you, the realization may suddenly dawn that you are surrounded by the physical manifestation of a thought - your decision to take a serious attitude toward your work and yourself.

What do you say?

And for more interesting in-depth articles, demonstrations and valuable information, please join us on The Artist's Road.

--John and Ann



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Reruho wrote
on 23 Jun 2012 10:27 PM

I do like your priority list and I think I will adopt it. When I started painting, I decided to set aside several hours a day to paint. I was very pleased at the progress I made. Painting was a learned skill, that required practice to develop those skills.

I think this changed the way I approached painting and people saw this change in me. I was seen as a serious artist and not a dabbler.


on 24 Jun 2012 3:01 AM

This article went straight to the heart of my problem. I want to become better, yet I let other tasks take the lead over that goal.  I am no 'artist' yet. I am a beginner. I have my sketchbooks and supplies ready (I am looking at them stacked neatly on the shelf) but I find other things that put 'getting to' my practice time or study time are puttting my studies way down the line during the day. I am going to do as it says and re-prioritize my artistic goals to the front of the line. I know from experience that my hand has forgotten the charcoals, watercolors and my reading list does'nt focus on my desire to improve and explore an activity that gave me so much pleasure and relaxation. Thanks for the hint.

on 24 Jun 2012 12:43 PM

Thanks Rita and Crystal for your comments.

Keep painting!


Ann and John