Dealing with insecurities

Being an artist has a lot of benefits, freedom being the most important of them. Some people may be frightened by the idea of having infinite possibilities regarding their time management, but I like it. There’s no-one who tells me when and what I should paint or how to structure my painting and drawing courses. Everything from the creation of an artwork to the marketing of my paintings and art classes depends on my own discipline. Though being in control of my own success makes me feel proud, the feeling of having too many responsibilities sometimes takes the upper hand and exposes the insecurities of my career.

Am I doing enough?
I’m sure other artists can relate with the feeling of underachievement I sometimes get when I’m lying in bed, before falling asleep. Or when I just made a painting I’m not satisfied about, or when I am daydreaming when I should be productive instead. Or when I take a little time off, because I think I deserve to have a break… In short, the feeling of not doing enough bothers me quite often indeed! Sometimes I wonder if I should be painting more and whether the quality of my work is as good as it could be, other times I wonder why it takes so long to complete a certain project, when I would really like to move on to the next. Then, there are days in which the marketing of my work becomes a nuisance and I worry about choosing the right strategy to promote my art in the competitive world of social media. In short, as there’s no boss to boss me around, I feel the need to constantly question my own working attitude, hoping I will continue to improve it.

Am I earning enough money?
As a self employed-artist I’m financially dependent on the selling of my products, but I haven’t always been able to pay the bills that way in the past. At the age of thirteen I started working at my father’s pizzeria in the weekends and when I began my artistic career the earnings were a very welcome supplement. However, when I started teaching painting classes more regularly after leaving the art academy, the job as a waitress became superfluous and I quit. It was high time for people to know me as ‘the artist’ and not as ‘the daughter of the pizza chef, who paints so nicely’, I thought. Luckily, my courses have been successful so far and they provide a basic income. Still, I must constantly be active in promoting myself and my lessons to get enough subscriptions. I have this constant worry of not getting enough people to attend my classes. Of course, selling my own art is the most satisfying thing of all, because it shows that others appreciate the results of my passion and skill. However, I can only hope to sell a certain amount of paintings in a year, but I’ll never be sure as to what my exact income will be. This unstable factor makes it impossible for me to make concrete plans for the future and it postpones the realisation of my life dreams (one day I will tell you about them).

Where will I work?
Any artist who works from life will agree that a workshop has to meet certain requirements, especially when it should not only be suited for painting, but also for teaching art classes. When I started making bigger and bigger paintings some two years ago, I had to come to the conclusion that my house was too small and I began looking for a separate workspace. Unfortunately it took me over a year to find something big and light and not having much choice, I had to accept a studio that was very expensive. After one year, I now find myself looking for a new place once again, because the beautiful old school where my atelier is located is going to be converted into apartments. What will I do if I don’t find something quickly enough? Will I have to hire a classroom to teach? What will become of my children’s book project and all those huge paintings? When shall I be able to complete them? And if I find a suitable new workshop, how long will I be able to stay?

Freedom comes at a price and that price is insecurity. I’m sure I’m not sorry that I chose to be an artist long ago, even though I sometimes dramatically cry that I will change career whenever I have to face one of the insecurities I just wrote about. You know, having my own restaurant also sounds like an appealing idea, but even then I’ll have many difficulties to meet. Right?

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