Trying to make a living as an artist can be a risky business. The poor, starving artist often isn’t an exaggeration. I am not exactly starving but if it wasn’t for my Spanish husband, who has a small avocado farm, I would currently not be able to survive on my art income. When I was still living in the Netherlands I was part of the gallery scene and had regular exhibitions with regular sales, but since living in Spain I had to find other means to survive. At first I became a translator, a job that I could do at home, so it seemed easy to combine with creating my art. However, the translation job was time consuming and there weren’t that many moments to focus on my art, so I am grateful for my current situation in which I can dedicate my time fully to art and writing.
What I also like to do and have done quite a lot is bartering, paying with my artwork. I have been doing that for decades and have been able to pay for doctor’s visits, alternative treatments, book editing, translations and proofreadings and I’ve even paid with a painting for a specialist laser treatment during an operation in Spain.
Currently I put all my energy into writing, painting, and since last month, giving art classes, but also in finding other ways to bring my art into the lives and homes of those who might enjoy it. Whether this is an original painting, a canvas print, postcards or my art on T-shirts or oracle cards… it all starts with a process of creation, the part that I enjoy most.
I also, occasionally, make art available for art leasing or exhibit my work in local establishments, but there is always a risk. Artists are often ripped off. Already in the Netherlands I had two bad experiences with galleries, one of which went bankrupt after owning me literally thousands of euros in art sales. I wasn’t his only victim, but I’m trying to look at it in a positive way, at least there were people who loved my work enough to pay good money for it. I also was ripped off in my current home village and lost two large paintings after an agreed automatic monthly payment for an art-lease contract stopped after only a 4th of the total sum was paid off and the client vanished.
And at my current exhibition in a local restaurant one of my favourite flamenco paintings was damaged during a heavy rainstorm. So much so that it is now unsaleable and cannot be restored. In Spain the liability laws are not taken as serious as in The Netherlands and presumably in other European countries, so this is just another loss that I have to take. It seems to be part of an artist’s life, but I only have to look at the situation of some people in this world in war zones or undeveloped countries and I can count my blessings with a smile and forget about those material losses.
Of course I would love to be able to make a decent living from my art and writing. It might not come as a surprise that most artists are very bad at marketing. I’m certainly one of them, but we live in times where, if you really want to reach those who don’t know it yet, but will love your work, you have to invest a lot of time in marketing. Now should you read this and think… I’d love to help with that, please feel free to let me know!
It’s not easy to find your audience as an artist either. Any given artist will never please and be loved by everyone. But knowing that there is a market out there that appreciates your work (based on sales in the past I know that there is an international market for me) doesn’t mean it’s easy to reach that market.
How will my potential clients even know that I exist?
All I can do is try with the means that come easy to me. Writing is part of that. Sharing stories about my art , my books, my live as an artist in Spain and my love for cooking is something that I enjoy. Spreading my creations via Social Media is more of a challenge for me. Yes I like people to read my books and love my art, but I don’t want to be pushy. I hope that I can inspire through my story and my interests. As an artist you are part of the art package. Someone told me that if you ask people to name a famous Spanish artist, most will come up with Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali, if you then ask them to name a couple of their paintings, many people will struggle. The artist is part of the picture and my story is part of my art. It makes sense.
When you read my books you will find out a lot about me, when you read my blogs you will get to know me even better and when you follow me on Facebook you might notice that I like to share positive stories and stories that hopefully bring some environmental awareness. Soon you will hear more about this on FB.
As long as I can create and share my art and my knowledge with others I feel happy and grateful and the risky business of art is simply part of my story, my life’s story!
When you follow someone on Facebook it is easy to miss uploads, but if you are interested in seeing more of my art, books or mandalas feel free to follow my Art Facebook page and/or my Mandala Facebook page where I share images of my art and mandalas and news about my other RenartsWorld adventures and projects.
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Do you love art and would you like to follow me? Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. What you get is a story, my story… about what inspires me, about who I was and who I am now, with images of my art work. I hope you enjoy my colourful journey. Check out the art blogs I’ve published so far!
You will also see a link to my blog about a specific niche book I wrote and as a subscriber you will be able to download two chapters of this book for free. You will also get a link to one chapter of my book ‘Reflections from La Herradura’.