Helping Artists Notes
Helping artists is a topic dear to my heart. Artists are the few souls throughout history who produce unique and beautiful gifts to the world. Artists are the historians of their own time on earth, recording the culture, food, politics and land they stand on, as no camera could. Many live marginal lives, working a variety of jobs to eek out a living. A few, like me are lucky to be full time painters, but that comes with a cost of living without fine homes, new cars and so forth. I have many stories related to the old cars I drive.
Helping artists to survive falls on the backs of a few collectors who understand the value of original art, not as decoration but as true unique views from an artist’s soul. Helping other artists should be part of our careers as artists. Particularly if we have struggled ourselves along the way. There was a time when I painted on cardboard, using cheap dime store paints, because that is all I could get. In fact, I’ll never forget that I won a prize in a show with a cardboard painting. It was one of the great thrills of my early career. As I began to become more successful, I acquired more well heeled friends who began to assist me with paint, brushes, frames, paint boxes, donations for events and now residencies in their coastal vacation homes.
I always told myself if I made it as an artist, that I would not forget how tough it was in the early stage of my career. I try to live up to that promise to myself every day. I mentor many artists, lend out frames for their shows, give out supplies to those in need and sponsor student exhibits now and then. Today I read a post on Etsy from a young artist who is struggling, working two jobs, out of money and out of supplies. She will not see her family during the holidays and she is badly depressed. I intend to send her supplies so she will be able to continue with her work. I’ve never met her but that doesn’t matter. I buy paintings from artists in need each year for my two grown daughters, for their collections. I started that when they were 16 each. Now they enjoy original art each year for their own homes.
This isn’t about what I do, but what you can do to help an artist continue to create. This year I have had a big sale at my Country Studio, to raise the money I need for renewal. Who supported me by purchasing my paintings? My wonderful collectors and my own art students! No professional artists bought or even came to see the selection. This is no surprise. I am guilty of this too. I don’t do much to support other professionals.
I think artists can do more to support each other. The paintings I purchase are from struggling emerging painters who need a boost of confidence and who really need that sale. I send supplies to the strugglers. Perhaps I need to purchase now and then from the pros I know. I need to consider this insight about myself and others. Next shopping season, I might need to support the pros I know.
Anyone who admires art or who has favorite artists can be helping to support them easily:
Referrals to friends who can afford original art
Plan a studio visit with friends
Helping with a nice testimonial for their web page
Take an artist out for coffee or breakfast
If you are a business person, offer to mentor an artist with good advice on marketing
Host a party at your home for a group of artists and use your mailing list to invite likely art lovers.
Purchase equipment or supplies for artists
Get into the habit of gifting small art
Buy original art, not cheap reproductions
Lend your beautiful vacation home to your favorite artist for a residency
Use your social media connections to refer artists to friends. This is so easy and it only takes a moment. Helping artists the easy way should be a regular habit on social media.
Artists need to be valued, just as engineers, doctors and attorneys are. When you consider that just about every part of our world depends on an artist and designer, we should be more supportive.
More musings for artists and collectors to come….
Linda’s Favorite Baked Potatoes
2 large baking potatoes
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup butter
10 grape tomatoes, cut into fourths
¼ small onion diced fine
¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
¼ tsp dried parsley
1 cup diced ham
1 ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Scrub potatoes with water, put in microwave for 10 minutes in the morning. Refrigerate until supper time. Coat potatoes with olive oil. Cut potatoes in half. Scoop potatoes out of the skins and put into large bowl. Place potato skins on a sheet pan. Set oven to 375.
Add the rest of ingredients , saving ¼ cup of cheese, to the scooped out potatoes in the bowl. Use a potato masher to mix everything up. Place in the skins and use ¼ cup cheese on the tops of the potatoes. Bake until golden brown and skin is crispy. Yummy! I have this every Sunday night for dinner with a salad.
You can use bacon, seasoned ground beef or chicken instead of the ham, all good.