Creating Art


I posted this on Art Without Limits but I would like to hear from members of this group as well.

I have a question for everyone. What does creating art mean to you? Is it your passion? A way to earn a living? An enjoyable hobby you pursue? Is it your top priority after your loved ones? Do you work at it every day or is it something you do only when you have some free time?

For me, art is my life. I have never wanted to be anything but an artist. I literally hurt if I don't make art. I work in my studio...or out in the field...every day. Even when I am ill I do drawings and little projects. I resent anything that keeps me from creating. (I sound a little extreme, don't I? lol) I earn my living through my art but I will never stop creating it...even if I am only creating it for myself. So, art is definitely my passion.

Please share your thoughts...

Suzy, if I could, I would. I have always been an enthusiastic person...especially when it comes to art. However, I get excited about other things as well. My studio is a little enclosed, four season porch that I enter through French doors from my living room. It also has a door that leads outside to my back yard. There are steps there on which I sit and look at the sky when I am taking a small break from painting. Of course, that is on nice days. My studio has windows that take up half the wall space on the three outdoor walls. I had a skylight put into it and have two sets of daylight fluorescent lights on the ceiling. This particular space is one of the main reasons I bought my house. I could watch my then young daughter play in the living room while doing my work. Past studios have been an unfinished attic, a small room in a cellar, and half of a bedroom. I used to keep a stack of sketchbooks on the end of my sofa so I could sit and work there. My mother was livid when I spilled India ink on her wall to wall carpet. :)

Debra, would you please take an envelope and put some of your enthusiasm in and send it to me. Maybe its in the air in the States! If I had a studio with all my stuff laid out it would make it easier to 'get in the mood' but I only have a corner of the table in the living room so have to put everything away.One of the reasons I took up watercolour was because you don't need much space and they're fairly clean.

Neil it'd be good to see the progress of your latest piece.I have a friend who does high finished paintings of motorbikes,in oil.Lots of shiny chrome there.

Not mad at all! I would love to see your process!!! Your car illustration is wonderful! Of course there is no distinction between illustration and fine art. The US had great artists in Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, and so many more. Toulouse-Lautrec made superb posters. Renoir started out painting porcelain...Andy Warhol was a graphic artist for years. When I sound less than enthusiastic about commercial art, I do not include illustration. It is the grind of keylining, typesetting, and such that does not interest me. I have produced illustrations and designs for libraries, printers, home builders, a T-shirt company, and a manufacturer of gifts. I am also a calligrapher and limner. I have addressed hundreds of wedding invitation envelopes, personalized diplomas and certificates, created custom pieces of calligraphy according to clients' wishes, and more. I have painted signs and murals. I have been willing to do almost anything that requires an artist's skills in order to learn and survive. I have a checkered past when I comes to art. Also, many years of life makes for many years of experimentation and production.

I am currently working on a series of nursery rhymes using gouache for the illustration and broad pen calligraphy for the lettering. I am going to sell prints of individual nursery rhymes and then publish a book of the complete set. I will post some photos of my first piece soon. :)

Making it as an artist in the US isn't easy, either...especially when trying to sell in traditional ways such as galleries and art festivals. Instead, sports and celebrities are revered. That is why I am pursuing online marketing. The artists with whom I have spoken have found greater success by selling their work online.

I purchased my books, used, on ebay. One is Berthe Morisot by Anne Higonnet and the other, which has many lovely reproductions in it, is Berthe Morisot Impressionist by Charles F. Stuckey, William P. Scott, and Suzanne G. Lindsay.

You have to answer to the client as he's paying! It's his home town with the chateau du Pau plus pic du Midi Ossau as well. The car is on the Boulevard de Pyrenees in Pau. The grill was redone several times - I love wheels and chrome!

Only about 6 months at AP in about 1969.

I'm thinking about posting a start-to-finish item using my latest project as it progresses - am I mad?

That's great,I love the wheels.Gouache painting is making a comeback you know.I wouldn't have the patience for such detail.Did he want the chateau in the background?

Aah,the smell of those good old intoxicating Magic Markers. What years were you at Artists Partners?

Have a folder of John Rayne's work and he also wrote some books I think. A lot of this style of work came about because of the invention of acrylic paints which speedied up work no end. My illustration work was using Magic Markers and gouache (I worked briefly for Artist Partners in London on Matchbox toys boxes).

Here's an illustration which I produced a couple of years back in gouache - it was commissioned by a local pizza shop owner, a man of very little taste; his wife had a gold one! A Land Rover is on the drawing board at the moment.

Thanks so much Neil,such amazing work.I love Bernie Fuchs.There was so much great work around then,all the film posters,Bob Peak, and Readers Digest used to have wonderful talented artists.I don't know either why some people make a difference between commercial and fine art.You could say that illustrators have more talent as they have to paint to a brief and not just splash a few bits of paint on a canvas and call it art.Risky saying that?Don't forget our John Raynes,one of the best, his commmercial work can't be classed any different from his painting.

France being the country of putting everyone in boxes,would not accept illustration as art. In the UK I was an illustrator,here I'm a roughman (don't ask). A while ago I was not used on a job because my style was too 'anglo saxon'.

Some of their work:

Never understood the difference between commercial and fine art in skill terms. I got hooked on illustration when I saw my mum’s Woman s Own magazine with large double page spreads reprinted from American mags such as McCalls. They used great American artists such as Bernie Fuchs, James Hill, Howard Terpning, Bob Heindel and, later, Englishman Michael Johnson. The sniify attitde between commercial and ‘fine art’ was more prevalent in the UK than in the US. These are from the heyday of illustration art- the 40’s to the 70’s-and agood place to see their work is at

And theres a Valesquez expo on at the Grand Palais!!! If you've read many of the posts on SFN you'll have read its not exactly a bed of roses here.The appreciation of art is not at all like in the US or the UK. This always surprises me considering their history of great artists.

Sounds interesting the books on Berthe Morisot,may look into buying one.

You are always making me jealous that I am not in France already, Suzy. It is currently a balmy 13C where I live. lol Renoir was the first artist that captured my heart...although all the Impressionists are favorites. I recently read two books on Berthe Morisot. Her work was truly progressive and quite amazing.

Well Renoir failed to sweep me along in his passion!!

I always wanted to go into advertising,studied to be an art director,then finding I was better at drawing(in those days you had to know how to draw to be an art director) than ideas I took an illustration course and went back into advertising.I've enjoyed drawing storyboards for a living;though today there isn't much creativity and no demand for the original meaning of storyboard,which is,sketching out an idea.Everything now is photographic finished.30 years of storyboarding is an excellent training in drawing skills.Many people I know who were in advertising have become painters.I'm hopefully making the transition.

By the way its very hot and sunny here,perfect gardening weather.

As I mentioned, I earn my bread through my art so selling my work...or teaching critical to me. But, I am fortunate in that I love it so deeply. One of my favorite quotes is by another Impressionist...Renoir. "The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth which sweeps you along in his passion."

I own a house that is approximately 150 square meters in size and, although young by European standards, is over 100 years old. I maintain it by myself. I love to garden and I am eagerly awaiting consistently warm weather so I can put in my gardens. My summer workshop schedule is in the works along with teaching at a local arts organization. My other pursuits include reading, socializing with my friends, playing video games and watching anime' with my daughter, along with the occasional fishing trip. My days are full and active. I gave up knitting, crocheting, weaving, sewing, ceramics, sports cars, and other activities so I can concentrate on my art. I also gave up relationships. I was married to two for 14 years and one for 17 years. Much happier by myself. I did spend some years doing "commercial art" as it was called in the past. I am a whiz at keyline and manual paste up. I still have a portfolio of my work from that period. However, I felt that commercial art would dampen my passion for fine art so I left it behind over 30 years ago. I have never missed it. ;)

Art isn't a passion for me,I don't get up in the morning thinking 'lucky me,nothing happening so I can paint all day'. Like you Neil I need something to work towards such as an expo.I've had 30 or so years of drawing to order,time scale and subject,and for a purpose so I find it hard painting something thats going to lie in the corner. The actual process of painting isn't very pleasurable either,watercolours are ok,but painting in oils isn't.However I do set myself high standards and I need to produce something that pleases me in order to be able to start the next one. On the other hand it is amazing when the brushstrokes look good and I've got the right tones.....sometimes I'll look at a painting done a while back and wonder how I did it.

When I see 'sunday painters' happily dabbing away I envy them getting such pleasure from it.

As Degas said ' Painting is easy when you don't know how,but difficult when you do'.

It is a bit of a passion but basically I like to sell my paintings and I normally produce new works when the inspiration takes me and when I have an expo coming up, so pressure makes me get a painting finished. there many things that need to be done re our house here in France that always needs improving, the veg garden, especially at this time of the year and getting the large barn ready for summer gite lettings which means the web site updates and various postings. There is also my graphic design work and classic vehicle illustration commissions.