8,000 Hours, 200 Sales
Thought I'd take a moment to place a marker on this moment, which is where I've made 200 sales of my art. More importantly, this moment marks my having clocked in approximately 8,000 hours in terms of doing the work related to my art.
In the book titled The Outliers, Malcom Gladwell presents research that argues that in order for mastery in a field to occur, there needs to be approximately 10,000 concentrated hours of work that is put into that field. I once calculated what that means and if you calculate full-time work to mean about 9-5 every day, about 2,000 hours equals one year.
Best Words Ever Spoken
I started dabbling in painting in 2010 and then more focused painting in 2011/2012 and then fully committed and focused since 2013. I remember when I decided to fully dedicate myself I asked my husband "But what will we do with all the paintings? We surely can't handle storing everything in the house." To which he said, "Your job is not to worry for one second about how we will store your art. If we need to rent a storage unit, we will do that. But that is of no importance. Your job is simply to study and make magnificent art."
Those were the best words ever spoken to me. It set me free to paint and focus on painting and studying without worrying about what to do with my works, least of all, whether I would ever be able to sell even one of them. I think it's because I never focused on the idea of sales that they started selling.
Sincerely, Relentelessly, and Without Bullshit
So when people ask me these days "Tell me how I can also sell my work" or "How do you package your art for shipping" I say "Those are irrelevant questions."
What you should be doing is just painting. Sincerely and relentlessly. At least for about 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 thousand hours. And then before you know it, sales will become a byproduct of the sincere work you put in. I don't mean to sound hocus pocus about it because I hate hocus pocus in terms of talking about how to paint. Like light a candle and write "i am enough" on your body and pray to the gods of painting to help you make a painting and get a phony cohort to say they "love love love" your painting just as it is. That's bullshit. There's no candle or body paint or god that helps me like that.
It's called learn to draw. It's called learn to mix colors. It's called read and understand about the effects of light and shadows. AND it's called figure out what you sincerely prefer in terms of subjects, colors, and composition. And it's called paint what you prefer and show your work to the world every single day. Even if no one pushes the "like" button. Even if a year from now the work does not look like the work you do today.
I'm so grateful to be making a living as a painter. I'll check in about these types of matters at a future milestone ... maybe at either the 10,000-hour mark or the 300th sale. Whichever comes first.
Thank you. Thank you again. And again, thank you.