Career Change

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Dear Artist,

Yesterday, “Bill” was in my studio. That’s not his real name because he’s got some personal issues. Bill is thinking about leaving his wife, family, and stockbroker job to become a full-time painter. Bill is 45 and has been attending art classes in his spare time for the 15 years I’ve known him. Good looking and energetic, Bill is also verbal, enthusiastic, argumentative, curious and philosophic. He loves the milieu of art, hangs out with others half his age, and has a surprisingly well-informed distaste for capitalism. He’s a sporadic painter who has periods of several months where nothing happens. He wants to move to a rented cottage on a remote island and “work steadily.” Currently his family “is going along with it.” He wants to know if I think he has the right stuff to make it. He wants to be “famous.” He feels that in my case, much of my “fame” is not based on my art but on my legendary cash flow. Bill is an idealist.

If some of this sounds a bit familiar, you might be remembering that Paul Gauguin also left his wife and stockbroker job. Within months he was penniless and his family removed themselves from France to Denmark. As they say, “When poverty comes in the door — love goes out the window.” Gauguin spent the rest of his life stumbling around Paris, Brittany, Provence, Martinique, and finally Tahiti. He was looking for venues, arguing, finding supporters and finding himself. Together with other artistic anarchists including Serusier, Bonnard, Vuillard and Maurice Denis, he formed the Nabis (Prophets) who spoke and wrote in an arcane manner about the “big ideas.”

I’m not sure that anything like the Nabis can happen again. Noted not so much for their painterly capability as for their symbolist beliefs, they seemed to be drawn to art, in Bonnard’s words, “in order to avoid a monotonous life.” These days many art schools continue to populate our world with artistic literacy but not necessarily creative competence. As in the case of a lot of artists, Bill’s life has become a sprawling salon. “But what does it take to get dealers, to support yourself at it?” he asks, not knowing anyone else who has sold out like me. I find myself mumbling that it’s a different world these days — that there’s a conservative shift, and that proficiency and skill are once again on the rise. Regarding the success he craves, I suggested to him that it’s less like a supernova bursting onto an eager firmament — it’s more like the loving assembly, brick by brick, of a private stairway.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are masters.” (Paul Gauguin)

Esoterica: So what did I tell Bill? While I try never to discourage anyone from art, in these sorts of situations I’m always interested in the biographies of the near and dear — Mrs. Bach, Mrs. Pollock, Mrs. Gauguin and all the little Gauguins. I suggested he take a leave of absence from the brokerage office and go to his island cottage for a finite time (six months) — sans TV, sans telephone, sans Internet, sans salon. Take canvases, books and the imperative to become temporarily mute. “Teach yourself what you want to learn,” I said, “Then, when you get off the island, show your wares to a variety of dealers. You might then decide to sell out once more to the NYSE, or be a dad, and that might be considered a success, too.” What would you tell him?

 


Fame is a bad reason
by Paul deMarrais, TN, USA
 

120806_paul-demarrais-pastel-artwork

“Glowing Marsh”
pastel painting, 30 x 40 inches
by Paul deMarrais

Gauguin wanted fame above almost all else and wanted to be worshipped for his talent. He lived a profane, messy life that killed him earlier than necessary. Fame is a bad reason to pursue an art career. Many artists crave that approval like a heroin addict craves his fix. Many people at forty-five want to chuck their careers to be artists. The ones who succeed are great workers who are doggedly determined and have a good array of business skills as well as artistic ability. You need to have the whole package going. I am very weak at business so now, even though after many years, I believe I am “good” enough to make it, I am moving forward in very small increments. I would ask Bill this question. Would he paint if no one gave a darn about his work and never bought his paintings or gave him any ego stroking at all? If the answer is yes than perhaps he could give it a go. I agree with you about the six month trial period. That should tell the story. My intuition is that he needs to stick to the stock market.

(RG note) Thanks, Paul. And thanks to the many, many who wrote. So many in fact that our server slowed down for the day. For the first time we have not been able to read all the letters and have so far forwarded more than three thousand of them to Bill’s office. Most everybody was pretty upset with him. Quite a few wanted to know what I thought of his work. He’s at about the same stage at 45 that Paul Gauguin was at 35. And like Gauguin at that time, he hasn’t done enough to home in on anything special. He knows all about that, so I’m not insulting him. Many times I’ve remembered the anonymous quotation, “It is better to be sorry for what we did than for what we did not do.” But as practically every one of you has said, Bill has other people to think about — not just himself and his place in the history of art.

Nope, we’ve changed our minds. We’re printing them all out and getting them down to that brokerage office by Purolator. So far, four three-ring binders. Just too many beautiful, heartfelt thoughts. Great minds think alike, though. It’s like a chorus. So you can get an idea of the flow we have excerpted a few and included them in the That includes section at the bottom of this clickback. Thanks for your friendship. (Just as we were wrapping this up, Bill phoned to say he was impressed that so many cared.)

 


Go for it!
by Maxx Maxted, Nimbin, Australia
 

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“Nimbin postcard”
original drawing by Maxx Maxted

Bill, Bill, Bill, GO FOR IT. Francis Bacon, the painter, said that you don’t start really painting until you’re 40. You lucky bastard. If you can, do. I did it 30 years and 2 wives ago. It was tough. You will not make a fortune until you have sorted your shit out, then people will want your work because you ‘talk to them.’ Learn all you can and stay away from artists, critics and other serial wankers. I learned how to be a man on my own terms and two feet, build a pole house with no power tools, home-birth two kids. My kids don’t talk to me but I’ll catch up with them if fate doesn’t.

 


Stay home, Bill
by Phyllis Shushan
 

Tell Bill he should stay home. He has already taken on responsibilities that he cannot honorably leave behind. What Gauguin did was despicable. There is no need for him to feel he has to sacrifice his dearest wishes. With a little unselfishness he can surely carve out time and place for the work he wants to do. He and his wife can, together, work out schedules and arrangements that will allow both of them to “follow their bliss” and still honor their vows to each other and their duties to their children. This might require a rearrangement of their home, even a move. It might require unconventional schedules for eating and sleeping and arrangements to share the care of the children, but it can be done. I hope he will not add to the great store of misery in this world.

 


Reality check
by Rhonda Bobinski, Red Lake, ON, Canada
 

120806_rhonda-bobinski-painting

“Coffee at the Lakeview with Lesia”
original painting
by Rhonda Bobinski

Wow! That guy’s at a cross roads… but he doesn’t seem to be all there and thinking too logically about the whole picture. I know, as artists, we are not to think logically. We are to “go with the flow” and just see what happens. But, when a family is involved, that is a different story. Wouldn’t we all just like to run away and focus on our art all of the time!! I think this man is forgetting that artists like van Gogh and Picasso were sooooo poor that they barely survived. (Van Gogh lived on coffee and cigarettes and Theo’s kindness, Picasso burned some of his canvases just to stay warm… hence the title “starving artist.”) Sorry, but this guy needs a reality check.

 

 

 


Sabbatical
by Linda Craddock, Cochrane, AB, Canada
 

120806_linda-craddock-painting

“Chawna Jumping”
oil on linen, 36 x 54 inches
by Linda Craddock

I agree that Bill should take a sabbatical. It may take longer than six months though. He should take at least a year off, as it might take a few months to circle around the issue of being in a studio full-time. And then, while he is painting, he may need to circle around personal issues created by the change!

I moved to that little West Coast Island and committed my time to painting. I worked with little regard to the opinion of others. I worked to clear the depths of my heart and mind. Over time, I developed techniques that worked for me. On average I painted a new painting every two weeks. After six months, I showed my work to my friends, who liked it, and a few even bought a painting. Tourists came to my studio and bought my work. As well, a gallery picked me up and I am pleased to say my paintings sold there too and still do.

It’s not all about selling. Public exhibitions are as important. The art community is important. Ideas. Discussions. Learning. It’s a great lifestyle and it will deplete your resources… personally and monetarily. My hope is that Bill can maintain his personal life and work a bit in the corporate world as well.

 


Revelation in repetition
by Fritzi Huber, Wilmington, NC, USA
 

120806_fritzi-huber-artwork

mixed media on paper
by Fritzi Huber

I believe that sometimes when we are looking for something within ourselves, it matters not how much we look if we aren’t able to receive what we don’t know we’re finding. Not seeing ourselves. What I might tell Bill to do is some sequential exercise that he can then stand back from and view what his repetitive response was, what his inner voice was trying to shout at him. What I do in times of asking myself, “Where is this going?” is to not keep a sketchbook, but a scroll. You cut a length, put a dowel at either end and then treat it as you would a sketchbook. The way we begin to repeat certain elements, ideas or techniques becomes apparent, and you find the way to the door. I would tell him to keep a scroll or journals/ sketchbooks. Then, he will see if he really does have something to say.

 


Get counselling first
by Carolyn Newberger, MA, USA
 

My doctorate in psychology preceded my career shift to art, so with that caveat, Bill’s story raises more questions than answers. What is the state of his marriage? Does he suffer from depression? Does he have periods of unrealistic euphoria and intensity? As with any symptom (dropping everything and becoming something he hasn’t developed into or tested), it’s well to have a diagnosis before writing a prescription. I would suggest he get some counseling before quitting his job, his marriage, fatherhood, and his life.

 


Ego and creative personalities
by Cherie Hanson, Kelowna, BC, Canada
 

120806_cherrie-hanson-digitalart

digital art, 11 x 14 inches
by Cherie Hanson

I am frequently puzzled by the myth of neurosis as an indicator of giftedness that pervades Western Culture. Perhaps, because North American culture is unable to provide a comfortable environment for any type of seer, the response to spirit speakers is that they inhabit a world of the “other.” Given this profile the only possible conclusion is that validity of the presence of the “other” can only be ascertained by eccentricity or the manifestations of neurotic behavior.

It is sheer ego on the part of creative personalities to manifest and forgive in themselves the acting out of hurtful behaviors either to self or to those who love us. Somewhere around 10% of the population of any group are running away from their daily dull existence in some form be it alcohol, drugs, sexual addiction, gambling, or risk taking in some form. The focus on the excitement of risk, whatever the motivation, is a distracter from self, not a discovery of self.

 


Measure of success
by David Schwindt, Tucson, AZ, USA
 

120806_david-schwindt-painting

“Bluffs of the Bright Angel”
oil painting, 21 x 36 inches
by David Schwindt

All of us can fall into the trap of envy, seeing the success of other artists as a result of “cash flow” and aggressive marketing, but I’ve never met an artist I admire who has had it any easier than the rest of us. We all have our own problems to overcome. In my case the loving, brick by brick assemblage of collectors and galleries has been an immensely rewarding measure of my success. Perhaps the fact that I have connected with other people in this way is more important than the greater financial success I might have had in another career.

 


Happy ending
by Lynne Windsor, Santa Fe, NM, USA
 

120806_lynne-windsor-painting

“West of Fourteen Acre Woods III”
oil painting on linen, 8 x 8 inches
by Lynne Windsor

Thirteen years ago, I did a similar thing to Bill. I left my husband, three children and my country to be an artist in New Mexico. I shocked and disappointed everyone, including myself, but I had to do it for my own sanity. It’s a long painful story, but I think it has a happy ending. I have never ceased to be confused about my choice and the joys and pain that it has brought to me and my family. My ex husband, needless to say, did not support me in any way, but he never stopped me from seeing my children, for which I am grateful.

I worked and worked to improve my skills. Whilst I had an art training, and had continued to do my art whilst raising my children, I had never been in a gallery. It was imperative that I made money, so that I could continue to be a mother to my children, albeit from afar.

I can understand Bill, but he must realise he is going to go through the fire and back, and he must have the stomach for it. Most of the time I have been scared to death and miserable about being away from my children, but strangely, I was always happy because I was doing what I loved and needed to do.

Now, I am in many galleries, mostly staying afloat financially and seeing my children regularly. They have spent their holidays in New Mexico and I visit the UK frequently to see my family and to paint. What is most important is that they are proud of what I have achieved, so is my Father and, I think, so am I!

www.lynnewindsor.com
www.barrymccuan.com

 


Mid-life crisis?
by Bill Engell, PA, USA
 

I’d tell Bill that Gauguin was miserable at the end of his life. I’d tell him that there is a possibility, if he looks deeply enough into the issue, that those things he believes are holding him back are not. Sporadic painting is a significant warning sign. More symptomatic of a need for the sort of change which he is considering would not be a desire for a different milieu, but an attic crammed to the rafters full of finished work, shoe leather worn from shopping the stuff around, and no spare time. It might be that Bill is going through a stereotypical mid-life crisis wherein his evaluations are contaminated with more than a little romantic fancy.

One other sticking point: With his current life, he has made promises. How cavalierly should such promises be treated? If he needs to reroute his life’s journey, perhaps he should bundle up the wife and kids and take them with him. They might enjoy the trip.

 


Fame at what cost?
by David Arnold, Washington, DC, USA
 

I too wish to excel and be known as a famous artist. But at what cost? I have a wife and three children. I have worked in the commercial art field for the last 28 years. Many times I would be lucky to get one painting done because family responsibilities took precedence over my need to create art. I am now 52 years old. This past year my wife and I bought an existing custom frame shop and are in the process of remodeling it to accommodate a gallery as well as the custom framing. I have been active in our local Art society and have many artist friends across the country that have committed to exhibit in the gallery. In addition to their work I will add my own. All this to say, live simply, put money away, enjoy your children while they are young and you have the opportunity to shape their lives with what is important. You will get the time to do your artwork. My two sons are doing the bulk of the remodeling work for me, while my wife and daughter are running the frame shop and I continue to work in the commercial art field to pay for things until the time that the gallery/frameshop will allow me to leave and paint for myself. But if the main goal is to be famous, give it up. You are painting for the wrong reason. I am an artist because I have to be. The commercial is allowing me to get to my ultimate goal of just being an artist. Tell Bill to use the tools he has to get to where he wants to be without ruining the lives of his children and wife for selfish reasons.

 


Imagined life
by Lynn Harrison, Toronto, ON, Canada
 

120806_lynn-harrison-artistphoto

Lynn Harrison

Your letter came just after a flare-up of what I call my “circus affliction” – my periodic impulse to run away from my life of professional compromise and domestic responsibility for an imagined life of passion and pure artistic focus. Every so often, I do want to run away and join the circus. Trouble is, the “circus” (in my case, constant touring from small venue to small venue to “make it” as a singer-songwriter, accompanied by low income) wouldn’t offer constant stimulation and applause any more than my current “compromised” life already does. And frankly, I doubt my songs would improve.

My best work, and the work of other creators I admire, tends to take that internal conflict and use it as material. If I’m in touch with the longing within myself for something bigger and brighter, I may just use my artistic talents to create a new circus right here. Still, that longing is powerful… and I can relate to the Gauguins of the world.

 


A solid foundation
by James Johnston, Beaverton, OR, USA
 

120806_james-johnston-painting

“Late Night Stroll”
acrylic on panel 18 x 24 inches
by James Johnston

Fame, if it ever comes, has to be built on a solid foundation of day-to-day unnoticed successes. For 33 years, I have made my way in art. I did shows for years, got a little following, got busier, got a gallery or two. These days I sell well in the East but not locally. I have no “fame” except to my collectors. I make a comfortable life from art. I can’t really ask for more. I do not do shows anymore, I never have art enough. My art never brings huge fees, but it continues to be enough. Your friend should just make a start of it, cautiously. Then keep making those small, but important, steps with the certain knowledge that the path he chooses will bend to the Universe’s will.

 


Regret
by Enda Bardell, Vancouver, BC, Canada
 

120806_enda-bardell-watercolor

“Winter Sky”
watercolor painting, 11 x 15 inches
by Enda Bardell

Sounds like Bill is going through a bit of “male mental pause.” He may regret having abandoned his children. One can’t replace time with children. Perhaps “dropping out” for 6 months might be the right thing to do at this time, otherwise he just may be cranky for the rest of his life, feeling that he never got to do what he really wanted to do. Regret is a real killer.

As a person of about 7 – 9 successful career changes, I feel I can speak with some authority. I gambled on being successful and I won. Failing was not an option. To have the option of going back to the previous career is good except it does not provide the same propulsion to succeed because one can always go back. Cutting off the previous career ties forces a person to succeed, at least from my personal experience.

 


Support system
by Skip Rohde, Asheville, NC, USA
 

120806_skip-rohde-painting

Grand Re-Opening
oil painting on canvas, 24 x 30 inches
by Skip Rohde

I’m on my second career. I was a Navy officer for 22 years. My move into art was carefully planned: I studied with private artists and at Maryland Institute College of Art’s continuing ed classes while on active duty. After retiring, I earned a BFA from a university with a very strong fine arts program. I’ve been an “emerging” artist since graduating three years ago, working my tail off to make paintings, get them in shows, and market like crazy. My studio is still in the red, however, and probably will be for another couple of years. It’s a good thing that I have my military retirement and my wife has a good job. Without this support system, I couldn’t have made it. Or I wouldn’t be painting what I want to paint, which to me is the same thing.

 


Memories of Father
by Lisa Honda
 

Two weekends ago, my father passed away. He wasn’t without creative aspirations. In fact, he supported our family of seven, then later raised his first grandchild, by going to work everyday as the sole proprietor of a small and dimly-lit flower shop. He worked in the back where there were no windows. The dark tile-covered concrete floor was often cool and wet from fallen leaves and cuttings. He was a quiet man who spoke more with his eyes and his body than with words. Often, the only sound you could hear from behind the large, almost store-size, walk-in refrigerator, was his metal clippers snipping away, cutting stems. Sometime, you’d hear a small cough or a violent sneeze. And when he was mad or frustrated, he’d half-spit and half-sigh the first part of a swear word learned from his wild children that his nature prevented him from ever finishing. Even his laughter was almost silent… still, he could find something so funny that his eyes would tear and he’d sit wiping his eyes gently – it was what we called the “Iwao Laugh.” A few years ago, he told me he would have wanted to have had a plant nursery instead where, I imagine, he could at least have been working outside. Yet, he picked up fresh flowers from local growers and also from mainland shipments almost on a daily basis and worked in the windowless back of the store. He cleaned the flowers carefully, removed imperfect bottom leaves, plucked away bruised outer petals, then trimmed each stem, carefully placing it in fresh, clean water. He snipped off minuscule brown small buds to sculpt little perfect white clouds of baby’s breath and placed them carefully in bud vases with single roses so that boyfriend and husbands could have red, pink, yellow, orange, purple, or white offerings of peace, remorse, flirtation, appreciation, or just love. Day after day until poor health forced him into retirement, he made wedding bouquets for those in love, orchid and rose corsages and boutonnieres for young prom couples, leis for those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, chrysanthemum flower poodles for those who had just given birth, cascading casket sprays and standing wreathes for those mourning. My mother dealt with the customers, often three-generations of them, taking their orders and addresses for delivery and exchanging sad and happy stories while he was the quiet manual labor, the bookkeeper and delivery boy.

Although he wasn’t doing what he really wanted to do, it was my dad who gave me my first lessons in color. When I was little, I remember one bouquet in particular: small blue irises, miniature red carnations, and deep yellow button mums with fern. I was so impressed that I insisted he teach me how he did it. And he did. As tired as he must’ve been, he let me boss him around and we made a copy of his floral design. He answered my prodding questions and resigned himself the father of a stubborn child. I didn’t change much over the years and neither did he. I let my father down in many ways over the years, right up to his death, and only half-heartedly attempted any gestures of redemption. But my father rarely, if ever, let me down. He was always there, always steady. And if I could have in some way given him a small part of his dream, a little nursery of plants, the time and health plus an extra pair of hands to enjoy it, I would. I really, really would.

 

 

woa
 

120806_andrea-harris-painting

“Diptych”

oil on canvas
by Andrea Harris, Diamond Lake, IL, USA

 

You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Roger Cummiskey of Dublin, Eire who wrote, “I know hundreds of Artists at varying stages of their careers. Some good, some bad and some very bad, but the one thing that all have in common are ‘personal issues.’ ”

And also John Fitzsimmons of Fayetteville, NY, USA who wrote, “I have certainly had to make those choices, becoming Mr. Mom when my ‘ex’ decided to move to NYC and live the ‘life of Seinfeld.’ If Bill leaves his family now, he will be damaging those kids for the rest of their lives, so what value will his art have on that great scale?”

And also Cyndi Lavin who wrote, “Three cheers for selling out, capitalism, and fidelity to the spouse of one’s youth!”

And also Alev Guvenir Oguz of Istanbul, Turkey who wrote, “The artist never finds a continuous silence. He must find a way to create in the middle of things.”

And also Karla Pearce of Nelson, BC, Canada who wrote, “Suck it up, be a man and paint on the weekends.”

And also Lynn Edwards of Dallas, GA, USA who wrote, “Bill needs to stick with his day job until he comes to his senses!”

And also Jan Ross of Kennesaw, GA, USA who wrote, “Bill should find a wealthy benefactor, or, like John Kerry, find a rich wife!”

And also Anitta Trotter Whitby, ON, Canada who wrote, “I actually take my hat off to Mrs. Bill. She either really loves him or really wants him out of her hair for awhile! Or both!”

And also Billie Bourgeois of Baton Rouge, LA, USA who wrote, “Tell Bill to grow up, wake up and smell the turpentine!”

And also Karen Weihs of Asheville, NC, USA who wrote, “Tell Bill not to leave his life until he is a famous artist. That way he has the wife to support him all the way through his infamous career.”

And also Carol Fournier Dicks who wrote, “I had formal art training, but I still had to train myself to meet daily, everyday ordinary things to make the way for ‘art making.'”

And also Kate Hoekstra who wrote, “If Bill can’t do right by the family he has created, how can he ever hope to be a great artist? One needs to be a good human before being a great artist.”

And also Harold Johnson of Rio Vista, CA, USA who wrote, “If I was Bill I’d make big bucks as a stock broker, retire early and then paint whenever I wanted. There are a lot of successful artists after the age of 55 and they enjoy it more.”

And also Billy Minx who wrote, “Funny how for the last 10 years as an artist I’ve kept thinking how my creative dilemmas would finally be solved if I just became a stockbroker.”

And also Marianne Jones who wrote, “You only get to be a parent once and for a brief amount of time.”

And also Jim Cowan of New Westminster, BC, Canada who wrote, “Bill should invite the art critic from a local newspaper and the process could be accelerated. And if Paris Hilton could be coaxed to visit his island then fame would be almost guaranteed. If he wants to become a painter, however, I’d suggest he push thoughts of fame out of his mind.”

And also Hal Noakes of Charlottesville, VA, USA who wrote, “I knew Gauguin’s grandson, Clovis, when I lived in Denmark. He and his whole family were intensely bitter about the selfish disregard which left them in such difficult straits. OJ is famous, so what does that mean?”

And also Gordon France of La Grange, IL, USA who wrote, “I’m involved in a small way in a project to provide housing for homeless veterans, many of which are amputees, psychotic, drug dependent, etc. There are over 30,000 in this country. Then we have people like Bill. Bill, do you think you could spare a few hours of your precious time away from becoming famous and frame a few pictures for us?”

And also Robert Oblon of Arroyo Grande, CA, USA who wrote, “I don’t think moving to a remote cottage will make Bill work steadily. If the ‘fire’ isn’t burning, the cottage will be very cold and lonely. It sounds more like Bill wants to get out of the responsibility he took on by getting married and having children.”

And also Deborah Holtzscheiter of Aiken, SC, USA who wrote, “I’m not advocating giving up painting, but I think there are some things that are more important than ourselves. Choosing to have a family brings a responsibility that should not be shirked. His family needs him and fame is not guaranteed.”

And also Saundra Braxton of FL, USA who wrote, “Tell Bill to keep his family, paint, paint and paint some more… if he is good, in years to come he and the world will know it, and he will have love beyond measure – his family!”

And also Sherrie Phillips of Norman, OK, USA who wrote, “It’s easy to look back in hindsight and see the contribution the evolutionary/prophet made, but in the present we want conformists and comfort zones not revolutionaries. Maybe Bill isn’t a Gauguin – but then again maybe he is. How will anyone know unless he tries. And who knows? Maybe Mrs. Gauguin was relieved to see Paul go.”

And also Don Campbell of Renton, WA, USA who wrote, “Keep the day job, buy a Corvette and try to sell the paintings that you have finished. See if the paintings can support the Corvette before seeing if the paintings can support you. As for leaving your family, maybe rethink your priorities in life. But then I speak as a child raised by a single parent.”

And also Tiit Raid of Fall Creek, WI, USA who wrote, “I would suggest Bill take along a couple of books by Jiddu Krishnamurti , besides taking tons of art books. The reason for JK’s books… is that there is more going on in one’s life than a person can come to himself… getting to know one’s outer and inner worlds is a necessity. We tend to observe the world through our beliefs and expectations. And to live happily we need more than learning how to paint well and become famous.”

And also Carla Sanders of Hope, ME, USA who wrote, “I’d tell him to make a commitment to being teachable, and to form a relationship with Alyson Stanfield, Art Business Coach.”

And also Edward Powell of PA, USA who wrote, “If he goes to his island he must go alone, not with a young female companion (not that it is implied anywhere in your letter) who will surely slow down his artistic production. This moment may already be his ’15 minutes’ of fame.”

And also Michael P. Ives of Tucson, AZ, USA who wrote, “If you have to ask Robert Genn whether you have what it takes or not, stick to your day job.”

And also Mary Erickson of Marshville, NC, USA who wrote, “If Bill is not working on his art weekends and evenings now, he just doesn’t have the passion it takes to create a successful career, and he will continue to create only excuses.”

And also Brian Gilbert of Chattanooga, TN, USA who wrote, “I’m every bit as disillusioned with the shortcomings of capitalism as Bill is, yet very often that perspective is for those that can afford it.”

And also Thomas Bowler of New York, NY, USA who wrote, “Gauguin and Van Gogh were driven. Van Gogh didn’t sell one and was often miserable and depressed. But he was excited and driven and got better and better at it.”

And also Michael Mayer of Hong Kong who wrote, “Tell Bill that he would be a fool to break up his family on a whim. If he is not absolutely convinced that he needs to make this change he should not do it. Consider the lives he would be destroying. I know the impact this sort of decision can have on others of this and succeeding generations.”

And also Les Ducak of Burlington, ON, Canada who wrote, “How many of us had to put our love for art on backburner for the time and devote more time to fulfilling the noble task of raising our families? The very need to be ‘famous’ tells me there is a flaw in character. Gauguin may be a revolutionary in art, but a master he was not.”

And also Nader Khaghani of Sunnyvale, CA, USA who wrote, “Six months painting hard will cure anyone’s fantasies. The road is hard, unpaved and full of poodles large enough to take a whole person in head first, the family too, even the family dog can end up starving!”

And also Jon Conkey of Mora, NM, USA who wrote, “He may soon find that it is indeed society at large that will ultimately decide who ‘makes it’ or not; learning to listen to the critics of one’s work is a great place to see if one is hitting their marks.”

And also Denise Byron who wrote, “Bill needs a business plan: a vision, a purpose and a plan. That plan includes the financial as well as the personal. In my business, Vision Your Life, I invite creative expression to integrate with one’s livelihood, and I know that a well thought out plan can go a long way in helping someone achieve their goals!”

 

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Robert and Sara Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

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