I'm often asked for advice on how to become a successful artist which is strange in that I feel like I just paint. But I get it...in the past I have wondered the same thing. I think the first thing to figure out is what success looks like to you. For me it is painting every day, having time to spend with my family, travelling, buying art supplies, and putting some money aside for the future. In that regard I do feel successful.
But it can also be difficult. Very difficult. My work has gone missing, been damaged, there have been times I haven't received finances that were owed, and there has been much criticism both about my work and about me personally. Over time I realized that what matters is that I get to do the work (it is a privilege), that I receive amazing support from family and friends and those who have become friends because of this work that I do, and and that I get to pay it forward by sharing some of the lessons I have learned over the years.
I learned to trust my instincts, to work in collaboration with others, to volunteer my time, to build relationships that are valuable to everyone involved. I love that...I love that I have these opportunities. I also learned that probably half of what I create doesn't sell but that's okay because I love to create a lot, and I don't share everything either, sometimes it's just for me, to learn or to have fun (or both).
At one point I tried to give this life up but became so sad. I know that what I do is important for me. And in the end that is all that matters.