Staying on your own personal path to make ART

The Old Country, detail, 16 x 20 painting, Karen Gillis Taylor

The Old Country, detail, 16 x 20 painting, Karen Gillis Taylor

Was there ever an artist who did not question if pursuing their art was perhaps not meant to be? Society (me too!) loves images of little children making paintings or coil pots in art class, but in later years seems to cast doubt if the same young people hope to make art their life commitment. I was sad to know a college friend say that his parents were directly opposed to his wish to major in painting and would only support him if he studied architecture. They were concerned for his financial success in life, and knew the life of a painter might require a great economic challenge. It’s to be considered.

In contrast, I have a great friend, Joan Waites,  who stepped away from her career in medicine to pursue the art of children’s book illustration. I was a freelancer for years, and so appreciate Joan’s many sacrifices and  hours to her field. She has several books to her credit, raised a family, volunteered in community and SCBWI (book illustration society) and teaches art classes for kids. This is a true life in art. I’m still looking for new paths and my dear friend is one of my inspirations.

There have been SO many painters who jumped in full-bore and never looked back. They found a way to keep painting, even if it meant taking other day jobs or making sacrifices here and there. (I am a perpetual student of art history and find inspiration from many exciting painters.)

I made a commitment to be a painter about the age of 20, and learned graphic design as a secondary art to help support my first love. The word design keeps me going to this day, a pure art in itself which crosses over from medium to medium, be it painting or designing magazine layouts, making photographs, art quilts or even buildings. An artist gives herself permission to study these disciplines with full energy. One builds on this learning, and the painting will not suffer, only benefit.

karen-snow-ruler Here I am after a big snow. This storm made life difficult for a few days, as nature does now and then. All kinds of things set us back from our dreams, get my drift? (ouch, bad pun!) I made my commitment at age 20 to be a painter. I had no idea what was ahead. I had optimism and fascination with making art to see me through.

Benjamin Disraeli said, “The secret of success is constancy of purpose.” I took that brief quote to heart.  It still resonates with me to this day.

There are so many benefits to making your art, whatever is your favorite venue or medium. Even 15 minutes a day to devote to your art side will make a world of difference. Know why? Because 15 minutes leads to 30 minutes and then something kicks in.

I think our Creator made we artists with this propensity to create, on our own special and individual level. Do we have a talent we may not ever tap into because the snow drifts of life slow us down? Do our loved ones tell us we need a career that pays better than art? I truly believe we are happiest when our lives get close to fulfilling this talent given us, even if others don’t see it or respect it. That makes the sacrifices worth it. Blessed is the artist that finds a way to make art as often as possible, if that is their calling and love. You probably know who you are.

love, Karen


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9 Responses to “Staying on your own personal path to make ART”

  1. kelly Says:

    I can not tell you how much this means to me at this time ~


  2. Barbara Says:

    ‘Blessed is the artist that finds a way to make art as often as possible.’
    Karen – I love that! and appreciate it because I have a full time job that is not related to art. I have very little extra time for my art, but I have a bedroom that I use as my studio whenever I can find extra time. And I take workshops on weekends at the art society I belong to.
    Your painting ‘The Old Country’ is fantastic. I love the light coming through.


  3. thegreatzambini Says:

    Wow, that`s powerful stuff. I`ve kind of given up on art for a few years, as I am more of an abstract artist than a ‘real’ artist. But I guess you are right, it`s a little bit a day. Well, and I also write a lot, but my sculpture is important to me too.


    • karen Says:

      Hi Zambini,
      Abstract artists are real artists too. Hope you do more sculpture if that is important to you, as is writing. Sounds like you know what venues are good for your own creative work, never give up.


      • thegreatzambini Says:

        Yeah, I know abstract is real art- it`s just hard to feel that way when only a few big name artists are respected, and the rest are people that get responses like “did you leave your dinner on that napkin of a canvas’. I know that it is true that most artists are viewed as a little silly, unless they are professional, but I feel that those who aren`t artists themselves more readily appreciate realism. But thanks for all the nice words, encouragement is always cheering!


  4. Melanie McNeil Says:

    Thanks for this post. It resonates deeply with me, as it’s a topic I think about often and write about occasionally. Here is a post I wrote of the same nature:

    I will spend some time wandering through your writing. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. Thanks again.


    • karen Says:

      Thank you, Melanie. I enjoyed reading your post on this too. It’s a good thing to connect with other artists and creators. We all need encouragement to keep pursuing our craft, don’t we? 🙂


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