Climbing the creative mountain as a full time artist

It’s not often that I sit down and put thoughts into words. I’ve always thought of myself as a visual person, in order to think clearly I usually need a paintbrush in my hand and a canvas in front of me. In keeping with the RTS theme of the month this post is about how to climb the creative mountain as a full time artist.

My name is Kathryn Wilson and I’m a British artist based in Dubai. With a background in Fine Art, I had a full-time career for 10 years working in education and I decided to leave my job as a Director of Art in 2015 to focus on painting full time. Whilst the journey hasn’t been easy (and in many ways, you have to work harder when you go it alone), one year in and I couldn’t be more thankful for taking ‘that leap’.

A friend recently asked me for some advice on how to find the balance between those days where you are not feeling productive and those where the inspiration can be overwhelming. Essentially how does one get around feeling unmotivated some of the time? Here are my 3 suggestions:

3 suggestions to help find the balance between unproductivity and overwhelming inspiration as an artist:

1. Take a step back

My answer to this is to have several pieces of work on the go at once. The work should be in a range of sizes and not necessarily in the same media. When I get stuck with one painting I know that it’s time to step away and focus on another. This allows for solutions to be reached naturally, work not to be forced and time not to be wasted. Creating Art can be unnerving, you never really know where you are going until the occasional moments where things suddenly ‘fit into place’. When you do move forward, your work reaches a new developmental stage and you find that you are excited again about the possibilities.

2. Divert your time

A significant portion of the time spent working as a full-time artist is actually on administrative tasks such as website design, e-mails to clients, photographing work, creating content for social media & networking. Opportunities can seem few and far between but then they come all at once. It is important to be productive during the lulls in order to ensure that you have enough work ready when you need it. If I’m having an off day then I’ll spend the time getting admin done and come back to painting when I’m ready.

3. Visualize your journey

So what is the creative mountain? I like to think of it as a journey, one that starts again every morning. You get up, you work out what needs to be achieved and you think about which route you will take to climb your daily mountain. Along the way, there will no doubt be obstacles such as self-doubt, a lack of motivation and some mistakes. None of these need prevent you from getting to that viewpoint at the top of your mountain where you can take a good look at what inspires you, as well as the hurdles you have overcome. A little self-belief, determination & curiosity is usually enough to get you there.

Thank you for reading, I hope this post resonates with you in some way. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you climb your creative mountain.

Kathryn Wilson

Hi! I'm a full time artist based in Dubai. Originally from the Lake District UK, I have lived in the middle east for 24 years. I studied Fine Art at the University of Oxford and I began painting full time in 2015. Inspired by the ocean I am interested in contemporary Art for positive change and continue to explore ways of advocating this through my work. If I'm not painting at Tashkeel or in my studio I enjoy exploring the Arabian Peninsula in a 4x4, camping and swimming in wadis and the sea.

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