Towards the Coast 24 x 30 oil on linen
I think one of the most important things that happened when I became a professional artist was I let go of the amateur idea that artistic passion was something external from me. That my art was something separate that I had to wait for or tap into. That sort of amateur approach to art is something most professionals can’t afford in their careers. That kind of thinking will actually hold you back in your career and prevent you from achieving your full potential.
In the 1982 movie The Verdict, the main character played by actor Paul Newman says “Act if you have faith and faith will be given to you.” David Mamet is the one who wrote the screenplay for the Verdict, receiving an Oscar for his adaption and so knows something about being a successful writer. Those words are something all of us can live by in our careers.
What I believe Mamet was saying is professional artists must learn to develop and channel their creative passion with good working habits. Creativity is like most endeavors, you improve it the more you do it. Waiting around for the right time and place or the right feeling is a detriment to productivity and creativity.
Professionals know their creativity is a part of them, always ready for them to express. If they struggle with their work it’s usually from distractions not that their ability has left them. Experienced artists know to work through problems, setbacks and distractions and still produce professional level work. They know that just the act of working not only helps them produce work, but it in turn helps them produce better work.