What it is to be an artist

Over the weekend I met with a young friend who is a world class musician/composer.    We talked about the frustrations that artists of all disciplines must learn to live with.

Recently someone sent me examples of a young woman’s work and asked that I give advice about her becoming an artist.   The work showed real potential, however I told her that if she really wanted to pursue the life of an artist, she would have to want it almost more than life itself!

‘True art is characterised by an irresistible urge in the creative artist’   Albert Einstein. 

Rapid, expressive watercollour/gouache working from a cadmium orange ground.   




Come the new year, I plan to write a lot more on this subject because it is one that affects us all….artists and non artists alike.     

To be a working artist, (and when I use the word artist, I mean artists of all disciplines) is definitely not for the faint hearted.    Living with the ‘feast or famine’ syndrome and many other uncertainties, demands a deep, abiding commitment to one’s work.   

Rapid watercolour/gouache working on orange ground.    These sketches are like spilling my guts onto the paper…..




For now, I plan to relax a little during the festive season.     Today I will visit my 94 year old Aunt.    I can remember the moment when I was about three years old in my Grandmother’s house in London seeing my Aunt’s sketchbook….and knowing that this is what I wanted to do:)     

A Bientôt



6 thoughts on “What it is to be an artist

  1. ShimonZ

    I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on art and artists. I feel that I have to add to the Einstein quote that the irresistible urge has to be to create images… or to express a vision in some way, whether it be the plastic arts or poetry or music. The irresistible urge to be an artist is not enough.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Shimon….thank you so much for you input, and I do wholeheartedly agree. I will write a lot more on this subject in the new year, and include your observation here….:)

  2. snowbird

    Oh…I totally get this, the urge to paint without reward is totally consuming, I also loved your reference to your guts spilling out….I’ve been there. Fantastic post.xxxx

  3. kathryningrid

    What a moving, simply powerful post. It’s a better way of saying what I used to answer when people would ask me why I became an artist: I can’t *not* do it. I’m so very glad you chose *to* do it, and to share so richly with us all.


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