Success in an Artist’s Mind – Concepts to Live By

This past week I had the opportunity to speak at OHC, the Okefenokee Heritage Center. The Art Guild there is extremely active and incredibly receptive to the ideas that surround being an artist. One of the subjects I spoke about was developing a commitment to being an artist. I thought that an article I wrote recently might help to visualize the ideas I presented.

Success in an Artist’s Mind – Concepts to Live By

Once you’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and become the sculptor or painter you knew you could be there are a few things you should remember to become successful. And no, I am not going to rehash what you have probably read a dozen times concerning carrying a sketch pad, viewing art or any of the other tried and true top ten methods. I am going to explain the three most important concepts that you need to know and need to repeat over and over again.

First Concept

Do not beat yourself up over what you think you should be doing. This means that you will make mistakes, find yourself creating art that is not as good as something you saw in a book and generally feel that your work isn’t up to par with your peers. So what, it’s your work and you put the time into its creation. Even if you hate it you will have understood why it’s going in the trash. This leads us to the second important idea.

Second Concept

Throw things away. Yes it is true that not everything you do should be seen by the world. I know you want to keep it for reference for the next piece. But the truth is if it’s going to be part of a later painting you already have the idea in your mind. Besides, you didn’t like the first piece you did anyway.

Third Concept

Forgive yourself. This is the most important thing to remember. You need to do this because you will ignore concept number one and beat yourself up on a regular basis. Then once you forgive yourself for not remembering the first concept, forgive yourself for not adhering to the second concept. You and I both know you will never let go of that doodle you did in a coffee shop that you know is the beginning of your greatest piece of art.

So there you have it. Success in your mind is the most important component to success in the field of art. Remember this is straight talk from an artist who regularly beats himself up about how poorly his ideas have translated into his art. And, who has masterpieces created years ago in a high school drawing class hidden away, waiting to be used in that defining masterpiece. But who also knows that the joy of creating his art has become more important and satisfying each day of his life.

Donald Kolberg is a successful sculptor,painter and art coach and marketer. He maintains an open dialogue with fellow artists through his website and freeĀ  international newsletter ART CORE which can be read atĀ

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Donald Kolberg graduated with a Fine Arts Degree from California State University, Los Angeles. He taught at the Los Angeles School of Art and co-founded Art Core, an organization dedicated to the open dialogue and display of the work of emerging artists. He continued his Master studies at Otis Art Institute. While at Otis Art Institute his teacher and main influence was internationally recognized painter Arnold Mesches. In Artcore he worked under the guidance of Lydia Takashita. With their teaching Donald learned the value of depth, texture and form in images and surface. He incorporated this into his concept of Life Forms, the portrayal of the human figure as a landscape of life and a celebration of form through Sculpture and Painting.

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