Still Fishing – The Freedom of Not Selling, For Someone Who Doesn’t Sell

This digital painting was made without the following thoughts in mind.

But when I looked at it afterwards, I felt that it resonated with them.

And the thought is, more precisely, how good it is to have taken a step back.

A step to where I actually belong at the moment.

Still Fishing

A lot of fleeting words there, so let me be a bit clearer.

As I wrote a couple of posts back, I recently decided to delete my Instagram account.

I also decided to sell a lot of equipment, paint tubes and tutorial books that I’ve never used, to be able to spend more time with what I actually use.

And, lastly, I severely scaled-down my site shop, to just a few paintings.

After doing all this, getting more time to actually think and reflect on my way forward, I’ve realized a few things.

I’ve found that the freedom of not trying to sell anything, or please everyone, is just what I need right now.

I’ve been way to occupied trying to paint things I think others will like.

And striving to sell, without being brave enough to actually push my work.

So much time, effort and frustration being spent on the thought of becomming a selling artist.

When the fact is, that I’ve sold one painting in five years.

So, if I sell something in the future, that’s great.

If not, that’s quite alright.

I’m not going to either worry or strive for it anymore.

I’m taking a step back, doing what I want.

I hope you are having a great day, by the way!

22 thoughts on “Still Fishing – The Freedom of Not Selling, For Someone Who Doesn’t Sell

  1. Many important points here. Creating art that I want to create rather than guessing what might sell is something I’ve been very keen to stick to.

    I list stuff for sale and I do make some sales. I’ve found that some items have sold after a couple of years of being available, others have sold within days. I’ve given up trying to understand the logic behind it all and just got on with painting stuff. Works for me, won’t earn a living as I sell quite cheap but pays for my art materials.

    Hope you find your enjoyment from it Kim 👍

    1. Thank you, Steve!

      It would be nice to break even at some point, but , like you describe, I need to just get on with painting stuff. And I am certainly enjoying it at this point.

      And, to be a bit cheesy, that’s the best income, isn’t it 😉

  2. Actually Kim I think you’re taking a huge step forward. Artists are not salesmen but creators. The selling side of art is institutionally riddled with greed, with profiteering, with exploitation, and, in a word, with fraud. We artists, worthy of that noble title, are not and will never be conmen!!!

    1. Thank you for those very inspiring words, Peter! That gave me a real boost. I tend, as I think many of us do, to measure success and progress in sales. It’s hard to break that thought pattern, but I try to tell myself that success is bound to my joy of creating. Nothing more.

      1. I’m no romantic, Kim, but a realist, and I know that art is a calling, a vocation, not a frickin career! In fact, ‘career artist’, the very notion, disgusts me. We are not commercial artists but painters, true artists and true art is about altruistically giving yourself without seeking anything in return… almost like a religion! Lol! And to hell with what the world thinks! What are the words of that old Christian hymn… ‘To give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any reward…’ something like that… Oh, BTW, I am an atheist! But those words sum up the active pursuit of painting, for me, at least! You are now free of the shackles! The chains that bound you. Best wishes from a fellow artist!

  3. Impressive how you blended 3D and 2D spaces.

    You sound like Van Gogh. Yes, stop trying to guess what others like. No, don’t stop anticipating sales or putting stuff up for sale, if you’re going to produce so much that you could open your own fruit stand. Why do farmers sell produce? 1) It pays for the farm maintenance costs. 2) They grow more than they can use. I’ve been to apple orchards were apples go to waste because there are not enough paying tourists, apparently, to collect them all. The poor over-worked trees, too young to stay upright, drop countless apples that don’t get eaten. What a waste. Can you imagine walking through a forest with a floor of rotten apples?

    And, again, surely there are people who’d appreciate some charity and benefit from your inspirational work if you’d just be so kind to offer some.

    If I produced enough artwork to make me feel overwhelmed by the inventory, I’d surely give some away to people I felt would appreciate it…not to thieves itching to sell something on eBay or waiting for me to die so it goes up in mysterious value.

    1. Well that sounds like a great painting in itself. A forest on a floor of rotten apples. I really like the idea ☺️

      Maybe I should give them away. I’ve done it with family, but with others I still feel that I’m being pushy trying to give my stuff away. But that’s what I’m working on to change.

      It’s a material waste, I agree on that. But the lessons from painting them lives on 🙂

      1. Don’t ever give stuff away except to loved ones. People who acquire stuff cheap tend not to value it – or the artist. Place a high value on yourself and your work – and never let your art go for a song! Better to die in poverty with an honest heart than to live the life of a fat cat.

      2. Then run with that idea, mister. But, I warn you, the reality is rather tragic. I felt like I was looking at chickens made in a lab, producing too many eggs. Sad trees instead of Bob Ross’ happy ones.

        Ugh! You don’t force people to take your artwork. That’s like trying to make art you HOPE people will like. Either you are doing COMMISSION work (upon request, like I drew portraits FOR someone who requested them)…or you create what you want/like to create and find an interested party. I cannot believe there are not people you can find who would gladly take free art. I find plenty…I’m just not so quick to give my rather limited supply away because people tend to run with those freebies and turn them into gold…gold I may never see and then complain about having the idea before it went to press.

        Again, if I had the space and proper place, I’d not only adopt some of your work, I’d pay you properly, following the Golden Rule. Your charity would inspire me to be more charitable…though, I retain some resistance to the idea based upon what I just said (people take and make themselves rich off your creativity while you go poor).

        I suppose you could throw your work in a river and listen to that One Republic? song about retaining the lessons you learn.

      3. Haha. I guess I could make a painting of myself throwing my paintings in the river. That would make my art a lot more interesting, for sure 🙂

        When I lose more of my insecurities and doubts I’d like to offer more of my piled up art for charitable causes or a broader spectrum of people. I would also like to take more pride in showing off what I think are my good paintings.

        But for now I’ll keep on working to get better, and to do it all for myself 🙂

      4. That would be a great comic relief piece and would probably ease your mind a bit. Yea, I challenge you to depict yourself getting rid of excess artworks. Make a few different versions. One with you using a bulldozer, a steam shovel, a broom, etc. Get creative with your purging quirk.

  4. I agree – once you discover that freedom, it’s wonderful. But at the same time, I have to make some sort of living out of this. I really struggle with pushing myself forward. And I’m eternally caught up in an internal battle – am I good enough? If I only do it for the sales, am I being true to myself?

    1. That surely is the very essence of the struggle, Adam. And especially when trying to sell. And I find that often I’m not even able to see which of my paintings other people will appreciate. Stuff that I’m ready to throw in the bin can be what others find most interesting, and vice versa.

      I understand completely the struggle of getting that balance between painting for sales and painting for yourself. For me, I would love to be able to live of my art, or even to be able to break even. But I’m nowhere near it. So I’ll keep my day job for now, an let painting be a pure hobby. Maybe some day I’ll find the courage to step up 🙂

I would love it if you left me a few words