Should I Join the Club?

Black Wine Glasses on a Window Sill

Last month’s blog described a story about a realization I had after a wine tasting event.  My presumptions of a snobby afternoon were obliterated by the overall message from a fully credentialed sommelier, the event’s speaker.  At the end of last month’s blog, I asked myself a question. Is it my responsibility to appreciate things? Should I join the club?

Refuse my membership, please

Groucho Marx famously quipped, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”   What I imagined of a wine pairing class is that I probably would not fit in.  I did not breathe rarified air.  There was no social standing, pedigree, or position that I could claim or speak toward.  I had no exciting stories and frankly, this business about wine pairing seemed like a useless pre-occupation based on matters of opinion and expenditure status.  I found out later that my resistance, and in some ways, my prejudice was based on my own fear and feelings of inadequacy.

Do That, Don’t Do That

There are times when the tendency to trivialize prevents participation.  It is a defense mechanism, perhaps.  Supporting our children to take art classes, then deciding that there are “more important things to do” for when they get older might be a broad example.  On a smaller scale, my assertion that the wine pairing class was a “stupid thing” I got dragged into was a way for me to “win the game” before I even started playing.

What is The Real Question?

My question going into the class was, “why am I here”.  The question coming out the class was the same.  However, the context of my question was different.  Going into the class I felt there were more important things to do and think about.   Coming out, I found myself feeling that what I learned was pretty darn important, if not essential to my daily life.

Art of living

What I believe I learned has much to do with the so-called art of living. The appreciation of delightful things does not require a lot of money.  It has no consideration for economic status.  It is good to emphasize, as it was that day, that the true pleasure and edification of cultural experience is based on an almost child-like openness, not on pretense or elitism.  To decide seemingly inessential aspects of life are un-important or for a privileged few is a probably a prejudice itself.  I certainly exercised that thought on that day. 

I left there with the permission to play and be curious.  It was okay to “not know” and ask questions about things I did not understand.  But it may not be okay shut myself down and say to myself, I do not want to know.  How do I (we) enrich my (our) life and share with others?  What I may have been asking myself is, would God want me to waddle through my life without noticing or appreciating anything?  Would it be well for us to share and offer what we learn or offer what we notice with each other without disqualifying it or ourselves?

With respect to Groucho Marx, that is a club I will join. If it will have me.

Wine Pairing and the Epiphany in the Parking Lot

A Glass of Wine with a Cheese Plate on a wood cutting board. Photo by Camille Brodard

I attended a wine pairing class at a fancy marketplace known for their gourmet shopping selections.  “Hoity-toity” might be the expression used to describe it.  My initial feeling was, I will probably forget everything I sat through in the class by the time I get to my car in the parking lot.  The class was being led by a bon-fide sommelier (some-mah-YAY).  These individuals really know their subject.  Apparently only eight percent of students who seek the accolade ever achieve it.   

Yes, my eyes were darting around, assessing the crowd and the classy surroundings with a smug smirk on my face.  Very polite people in black aprons were offering me an assortment of hors d’oeuvres on trays. They held a tray with one hand while the other was behind their back.  They bent slightly forward in a posture of gracefulness.  The environment was a studio kitchen. It was lit well with warm task lighting directly over the counter tops.  Stainless-steel, state of the art appliances gleamed while set within blonde wood.  Very chic. 

Buzzing Already?

The place was buzzing with expectation. I sensed a few erudite presumptions on the faces from those hoping to confirm their subjective guessing into actual knowledge.  After all, one does not often meet a real sommelier. One of them is about to appear and at last provide the affirmative truth whether to choose red or white.   “Red or White?”   That is a question often answered based on whether the host will be serving meat, poultry, or fish.  See, I know this stuff already!  I’ll just help myself to more free crackers.

A Bumbling Guru?

The moment has arrived.  Our wine pairing grape master guru for the evening is about to appear and enlighten us.  There was a brief welcoming by the hosting establishment. As the announcements were made, I imagined a gentleman butler type. His hair would be grey on the sides. He would have a long nose, lifted and airy eyebrows. Maybe he would have a white towel draped over one arm. Maybe he would speak academically.   

Applause broke my imagining.  A man bounced, more like bumbled into view, waving his arms wildly.  His eyes were squint and his face smiling abundantly.  His hair was shoulder length and curly. He wore a vertically striped shirt with an open collar tucked somewhat into a pair of blue jeans.  In fact, he kind of looked like a mix of Columbo and Mac Davis!  (Google him).   

For Five Bucks, I’ll Blow Your Mind.

Like a comedian, he got started right away.  He said he gets hit up all the time by friends and others for consultation.  “What should I serve with my Duck l’Orange?”  He said he would quickly advise on getting a cheap five-dollar bottle table wine from the local market.  The crowd either laughed or gasped.  I leaned forward.  This was going to be good. 

His point was that the duck should be the star of the evening, not the wine.  A fine bottle should be simply enjoyed with lite fare, making the wine more important. He continued his main point about de-mystifying the world of wine and that the value of a wine is not about the price placed upon it.  The world of wine pairing becomes more enjoyable once the snobbery is removed. Not that the pleasure should descend from the enjoyment of sophistication, but rather the pleasure and enjoyment should be assessable.  Exclusive, sure, exclusionary, no.   

Irreverent Memorable Madness!

We went on to learn more about wine pairing terminology.  Most important and enlightening to me was busting the myth about red or white.  We learned that the general rule of thumb is not always a hard fact.  Sometimes, a red grenache pairs well with a blue cheese, thus violating the white goes with cheese rule.  A pinot grigio can be paired with a prosciutto, violating the red goes with meat rule.  Enjoying wine was less about the rules and terms, but more about the exploration and playfulness of tastes and discoveries.  Yes, the rules and terms mattered, but often to support the creativity. 

My original thought was that I would forget everything from this class before I met my car in the parking lot.  Instead, I was having an epiphany. The class ended up becoming one of the most enlightening and memorable moments of my life.  It changed my view of so much; such as they way I look at art, taste food, smell a flower, listen to music, acknowledge others, or linger with a simple pleasure.

Part Two – Next Month

I ask myself the question if the appreciation of things is a responsibility to life?

The banner photo is by Camille Brodard. Visit her website at Kmile Design Studio Boutique

Look at Renoir and Get Ready to Dance

Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre Auguste Renoir

The attempt at writing my blog post this month has had some starts and stops.  A theme seems to have been developing that centers around our lives during 2020 Covid pandemic.  So much has been offered as recollections and reflections, like occupying thoughts while staring out of a window between points of excitement or interest. I imagine a room where there is a dance, and the music plays to a tired audience.  Let us pick up the beat and get ready to dance!

A Shift in the Rhythm

Spring has arrived and there is “light at the end of the tunnel”.  An exuberance is developing towards an era that may become known as post-Covid.  Perhaps we can all feel the tendency to perk up in our chairs a little and detect a shift in the rhythm.  I see and hear on my own social-media and email, announcements for museum and gallery re-openings.  When that fully occurs, it will be like hearing a familiar song for the first time.  It reminds me how much can be taken for granted. Often the specialness of something re-appears at the thought of never having it again.

Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre Auguste Renoir
Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre Auguste Renoir, d. 1876

What will it be like to “return to normal”?  Much has been discussed about “normal” and “returning” to it.  Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and perhaps re-invention.  I look at this painting, Dancing at the Moulin de la Galette by Renoir now housed at the Muse’e d’Orsey and I see what everyone sees.  People dancing and gathering.  How does this make us feel, looking at it now in the year 2021?  The painting, is both timeless and current, couldn’t we say?

Insight on the Joy of Being Together

How much of this scene is familiar or desirable? Plenty in my mind.  After having been “socially-distancing” myself for so-long, I see this painting less as a work of historical sentiment but rather an artistic statement of truth.  The truth is that people need each other. We have invented many ways to express our joy of being together.  Here we see a scene of dancing and relaxing in conversation with one another.  The efforts we make to organize and attend these gatherings is a community effort making the point even clearer.  Then, to further emphasize, the artist points his brush at recording it and gives it back to us.  But, not as a photograph would record the scene. 

Here, the artist uses the brush as the writer would her words.   This is not a painting of a dance, but a painting of joyous human interaction.  See that after assessing the compositional weight of the painting (towards the darks in lower right balanced by the dancing couple bathed in light) we are drawn into the painting as if the surface dissolves and we are there, in it.  I can imagine the woman speaking, probably in French, while the noise of music and chat fill the air.  A man is there, daydreaming while leaning on the tree.  I might think of him as the center-point for the entire conception of the scene, contemplating all that I am writing about now.  Even that notion transcends time and illustrates even more how this painting repeats its observation in the here and now.

Hit the Floor and Get Ready to Dance

The knowledge that I can once again be in front of works like this and others has given me chills of excitement and a pause.  Perhaps, I will no longer take the moment of entering a museum (or any place) for granted.  Enjoying an outdoor patio or indoor café or to share a table and conversation with people I just met will be a familiar experience, but one I may feel like I will be having for the first time.  The music of life has changed its beat. My toes are starting to tap, my shoulders are starting to move, it is soon time to “hit the floor” and shake my booty.  Let’s get ready to dance together. I cannot wait to join in again and share with you there in joy.

Is There Life Without a Smart Phone?

Photo of New Mexico Interstate and Sunset by Raychel Sanner

Have you ever tried to imagine life without a smart phone?  The other day, I needed something.  The stores I needed to go to are either closed, too far away or the item I want is out of stock.  So, I started searching online, with my so-called “phone”.  I found what I needed in ten minutes and soon it was being processed for delivery to my front door.  I never got out of bed.

A New Day Dawning

Just before that, I was watching the sunrise through the windows.  Silently, I was thinking about how are those of us in the creative arts going to continue?  Last year, just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I had a successful private show where I sold several paintings in one afternoon!  How will I do this now?  When can artists, like myself, start showing again? 

As the sun moved more over the horizon, I tried to imagine life without technology.  I am old enough to remember the rotary phone and the Rolodex, so yes, I could imagine it.  Oddly enough, I could not remember it.  If someone were to ask me to imagine a world without smart-phones, I could. 

As I laid there watching the day get brighter, I realized that, like many of us, I have sailed so far into the ocean of technology, that imagining was no problem, I just plain forgot what it was like!

Dude, You can Do This! Where’s my Phone?

What did I do all day before checking my email or Facebook every ten minutes? Thirty years ago, how did I manage to drive all the way across the country without a phone for miles? Why now today, will I not leave the house to go grocery shopping without my “devices”?

Wait a minute … I am from the twentieth century!  I can DO THIS!  Without panicking, I can figure out how to live without a constant resource in the palm of my hand!  I can live without being pre-occupied by instant news, social media, metrics, algorithms, notifications, or whatever it is we all do all the time now.  Somehow I have trained the seventies and eighties right out of me.  Within me rose a renewed sense of ironic yet forward-thinking purpose. …  I must re-learn my old ways! 

Nice try.  No matter what I do anymore, it seems to involve some form of technology.  So then, there must be some sort of balance.  Perhaps, that is the part I forgot.  Maybe we all have. 

What Road Are We On?

I remember when the internet was called the “information super-highway”.  The vision was one where our tasks would become easier to manage and take much less time to accomplish errands or work projects.  We would be organized and be free as never before.  The promise was that we would have more time enjoying our free time since our responsibilities would take just moments to finish. 

Consider, email.  No more writing by hand, searching for stamps, standing in line at the post office after driving across town to get there.  Nice!  But, instead of cherishing our newly acquired “free time”, we decided to fill it up with doing more.  Twice as much time, twice more productive!  So, instead of welcoming a world of ease and free time, we ushered ourselves into the age of multi-tasking.  Also, I never regularly purchased reams of paper until we became a “paperless society”. 

Stolen Moments, Not What I Had in Mind

Is being constantly informed really a good thing? I think it depends on what information is being received.  Is what I am bombarded with daily truly important or did it become important because it just slid into my frame of reference?

This is where I ask myself if I can remember life before so much technology at my fingertips.  I wonder how much is me being “concerned” with what is in front of me versus how much is me having my attention stolen? 

That’s a question I would love to ask my younger self. Some decades ago, I was driving through the center of New Mexico. The windows were down, and it was raining while the sun was shining. The thrill of life, the beauty of everything I saw was all around and I was literally soaking it up.  I had no compulsion to record the moment or feel the need to update my status or check in anywhere.  There was no way of knowing where I was on a moving map.  I only knew I was in the middle of “nowhere” and it was gorgeous.  My AM radio was not receiving stations, and I had no tape player.  I just was “there”, physically, mentally, emotionally.

I Am From My Future!

If I, as my present self, were watching my younger self from the passenger seat, I could ask myself a question, “Where’s the nearest options for food, how do we get there, and how long will it take, what does the menu look like? Also, where is the motel and how much will it cost, what does it look like, where is it exactly, what have other people said about it, where’s the gas station, how close is it to the highway, what is the weather like when we get there, when does the sun rise, what is on tv tonight, who won the game, did your friend ever get back to you, are you going to call them right now, is there any traffic ahead, how much money do you have, did you pay the gas bill before you left, what’s the temperature right now?

I could only imagine my younger self, staring ahead for a moment with glints of sun in my eyes and in my hair, the wind swirling all around from the open windows at highway speed.

I’d probably turn to my future self and say after a long pause, …,


Banner Photo by Raychel Sanner – and Raychel Sanner

Cultural Literacy versus “Doom-Scrolling”

Painting of Three Guitarists Playing by Curtis Green

There is a notion that a society is defined by its art and culture.  Think about that for a moment.  A culture can be described as a set of behaviors or beliefs common to a society.  Society and culture are two different things but also seem to mean the same thing.  Like the “chicken or the egg” question we can ask, does a society create a culture or does a culture create a society?

I would think the society comes first.  The behaviors and beliefs would then set the culture for that society.  That could be either good or bad.  So, I ask again to think about that for a moment.  Does this have anything to do with how we spend our time?  (See some suggestions below)

Cultural Literacy versus “Doom-Scrolling”

Cultural literacy is a phrase that often comes about in discussions of societal development.  This has to do with how we, as a society basically spend our time or what we place our attention toward.  For example, the more I “doom-scroll” on social media the less time I have edifying myself toward more enriching things.  (And, I have been doing a lot of “doom-scrolling” these days.) 

Shifting the Conversation

To get out of that cycle, I remind myself that making a better place for my immediate surroundings could include a shift in the conversation.  How can I improve the atmosphere around me and encourage the best in myself and others?  Could I create or contribute to a healthier discussion and use of my time?   If I do these things, will I be setting a personal practice that could invite others to consider the same?  Could my immediate friends and family, neighbors and loved ones be a micro-culture that defines how I view or enjoy my interactions with others?  Will I want to hear, listen, and contribute to ideas, concerns and actions of others in a way that is constructive and helpful?  If I do, will I be at least one example of a world becoming a more tolerant place?  Will that mean a culture based on these practices could make a better society?

A Vision Visited

This is a vision that is often dreamt and visited.  We hear this idea many times in stirring speeches and stories.  Artists are usually looked at to help us process and heal.  They often give initial guidance after tragedy or set the tone before a celebration.  We can see this just recently with Amanda Gorman as she stirred many Americans with her poem at the 2021 inauguration of American President, Joe Biden.

An Unspoken Creative Oath

Many of us are processing so much right now including Covid-19, a contentious election, civil-unrest, loss of jobs or loved ones, the list goes on.  As an artist, I sometimes find it hard to make anything during these recent months.  Then I remind myself of what may amount to an unspoken “oath” that creative people might acknowledge as a motivation.  Many artists feel that we can give of ourselves to engender a sense of community.  We want to kick-start the conversation by sharing ourselves through whatever talents we can offer.  Hopefully, this generates and fosters a shared commonality.  A good beat, an inspiring word, a soul stirring picture, a captivating dance, can be felt and acknowledged by everyone despite race, gender, class, or politics. 

Here are some artists and programs you may want to explore and see how they are offering themselves and inspiring others. 


Due to Covid19, all concert venues have closed for the time being, so Etienne Gara and YuEun Kim have decided to take to the road with their instruments and safely bring music to people.  The goal of MusiKaravan is to showcase great music, delicious food and wine together with human bonding.

South Bay Chamber Music Society

The aim of SBCMS is to present the highest quality chamber music performances featuring the finest musicians in Southern California.   Their concerts are now virtual. Visit their site to enjoy their recorded live concerts.

South Bay Chamber Music Society – YouTube

Inner City Youth Orchestra

Led by Composer and Conductor, Charles Dickerson III, their mission is to cultivate musical expression as a vehicle for personal development, and to bring to fruition the full musical and academic potential of young inner city residents of Los Angeles.

Through the ICYOLA Orchestra Program, they present an annual Concert Season of 8-10 concerts that features both the standard orchestral repertoire and contemporary music that resounds within the community from which ICYOLA emanates and that it serves.  That Concert Season concludes each year with a Season Finale at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  The ICYOLA boasts approximately 125 members aged 10 and above.


Google’s Virtual Art Tours

Screen Shot of Google Virtual Art Tours Collections Page
Screen Shot of Google Virtual Art Tours Collections Page

One thing about the Covid era, staying safe at home meant going virtual got better! For an aggregate of information, go no further than the almighty Google to arrange virtual tours of collections from nearly every art museum on the planet!

Collections — Google Arts & Culture

The National Museum

Tour the British National Museum or browse their collections. So much to see. Join their email list and stay involved with them as they continue their work even while they are closed.

Virtual tours | Visiting | National Gallery, London

The Louvre Museum Virtual Tours

The Louvre Museum at Night
The Louvre at Night

Which art museum is more famous than the Louvre?  Arguably none other!  Visit the museum rooms and galleries, admire the palace architecture and enjoy the views! Join a virtual tour.   Choose your language, or enjoy the tour in the universal language of art.

Online Tours | Louvre Museum | Paris

Site officiel du musée du Louvre


You can visit Penguin Random House for live virtual author events.  Click their link to learn more.

Author Events – Penguin Random House

Enjoy the Arts, Enjoy Life

Our behaviors and beliefs, or said another way, what we focus and concentrate on, will be our culture.  Our culture will define our society.  Enjoy these offerings and explore and create your own connections through art and music. We cannot help but find our humanity in these things.

Shift in the Paradigm

Cubist Painting, The Sideboard, 1920 by George Braque

The end is near!  Someone recently asked me the other day to choose one word to describe the year twenty-twenty.  A lot of words come to mind that are not usually repeatable in certain company.  I thought for a few seconds about a sarcastic reply and then I went a little deeper. The word that popped in my mind was shifted. Like a shift in the paradigm of “normal”.

This year, in my opinion, caused many of our standards to be revealed and questioned.  The mechanics of our culture and society were exposed as if our car broke down and we lifted the hood for the first time in a long time.  We were forced to examine a number things that were neglected or simply taken for granted.  It was as if, by looking into the engine, we got to see all the components that come together to make the whole thing work.   

What Happens if it Breaks?

I imagine a thing breaking down.  Some people are upset that the thing broke down.  What will they do now?  Others are happy that it broke down.  The thing made too much noise, or it smelled of fumes anyway, so good riddance.  Either way, there is a shift in the paradigm. 

Continue reading “Shift in the Paradigm”

One for the Books

A Row of Art Books

Summer is now one for the books. The snap of fall weather always gets me going. I love the crisp air mixed with warm sun. Somehow, the fall season gets us to shift gears from the light days of summer and into cozier clothes and heavier foods. Favorite smells and spices fill the air around town and in our kitchens. The idea of warmth comes around as the we all start to settle in for a season of gratitude and reflection.

These days during the pandemic, our holiday time is going to be a little different. Maybe that’s okay. Holidays are often hectic. This year, perhaps it needn’t be so. As I continue to be vigilant for my own health and for the sake of others, I have limited my physical interaction with others. Instead, I have an opportunity to think about how my holiday time may be personally meaningful.

Continue reading “One for the Books”

A Constant Normal is Change

Plien Air Oil Painting of Lily Rock in Idyllwild

Have you noticed, some comedy sketches will rest on an adage that “the more things change the more things stay the same”? This can be either comforting or agitating.  For certain, what is a constant normal is change.

There is a classic sketch on the show Saturday Night Live.  John Belushi played a character who basically said one thing, “Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Pepsi, Pepsi”.  The character had a burger shop, all they did there was flip burgers and serve Pepsi.  Like clockwork, day in and day out, it was a life of burgers and Pepsi. 

All day customers comes in to order a burger and a “Coke”. 

The character says, “No Coke.  Pepsi.” 

Art Service

With that, I should announce some changes being made to my website.   This year of 2020 pushed many artists to examine how their art is delivered to an audience. The venues are different than before the pandemic occurred.  Particularly the arts have had to adjust.  Musicians, actors, dancers, painters and more have not been able to have live concerts, plays, recitals or exhibitions.  Making art means having a conversation. Artists tend to want to share, our audience is important. I like going further to make art accessible by building relationships through interaction, education and affordability.

I am re-organizing my site to be more conducive to the online experience for visitors and collectors.  It will be taking on more of the form of an online art service and gallery.  The visitor will be able to enjoy work online and should have an easier and enjoyable way of communicating, commenting, and inquiring about the paintings.

The site now has segment categories.  Read on to learn more.

Gallery Store

Fine Art Pillow Print of Backyard Roses Painting by Curtis Green of Backyard Roses. The gallery shop is where many of my paintings are included as the design on a product.  Much in the way a gallery store functions at a real museum or gallery, unique items are for sale as gifts for you and your friends.  Great for holiday gift giving or anytime.  Pillows, pouches or coffee cups, these items are delivered by a print on demand service such as Pixels or Fine Art America.

Fine Art Prints

A plein air painting and fine art print of a park in Lunada Bay, Palos Verdes Estates, CA showing a meadow of mustard grass and lavendar with distant houses. I am pleased to announce that high quality Giclee’ prints are finally available!  Framed or unframed, this is a true giclee’.  These are not from a print on demand service.  Selected paintings are professionally photographed, color corrected, test printed and approved before I sign them.  The pigment inks and quality papers are archival. Collector quality giclee’s are individually made by a Canson certified print lab in Los Angeles.

Original Paintings

Original Artwork on an Easel The original paintings are available for online viewing.  As of October 2020, there are still some changes to be made in this area of the website.  However, an experiential feature added are private viewing rooms.  Buying original artwork is an investment for your home. It often becomes an heirloom to your family. Thoughtfulness often joins with time when considering a purchase. By inquiring about the original artworks, you may be given personal attention in your own online viewing area where the details about the work, special requirements, purchase, framing, and delivery options are discussed. 

The Objective of Change

The main objective for these changes is to move my studio towards being an arts service for patrons and collectors of fine art and away from being a simple portfolio site.

Why? Because, I enjoy creating community and relationships around art and helping people learn more about it.  With these new changes, I hope to invite and create more satisfying engagement with my work and website.  Some of these changes have already occurred and others are developing now, like online art shows and forums for example.  Visit and come back as often as you like. I am happy to help with any of your questions about my work or how to buy an artwork or print.

Thank you

I would like to say thank you. As the pandemic began, I was uncertain whether or not I could continue as I have. Remarkably, this year my audience has grown, engagement is up and interest in prints and paintings have been impressive considering the circumstances. As our year winds up, going now into the holiday season, may we continue find ways of sharing and connecting, being a little more “artful” to ourselves and one another.

Other ways to stay connected:

Curtis Green Artist on Facebook

Curtis Green Artist on Instagram

What Do You Do When You Ain’t Got Nothing?

A graphic pen and ink doodle of a human head in profile on a yellow background. The head has a with hole in it.

Have you ever had to make a speech?  What about an interview?  You know you have one shot to make an impression.  You want to be prepared and confident.  A lot may be expected of you.  What do you do when you ain’t got nothing?

I think of the old silent movies.  A scene shows a merchant demanding payment from the scamp drifter.  The drifter pulls his empty pant pockets inside out and shrugs.  The merchant protests, arms waving and fingers pointing.  Then, “ah-HAH!”  an idea comes to the drifter.  Some sort of solution is manifested and somehow all is well again.

Sometimes the harvest from the field of ideas is abundant.  Other times, it is like the empty pockets of the drifter.  The moral of our drifter’s story is often about faith and perseverance.  The drifter’s attitude is one that offers the sunny side of the street, and that you may be down but you’re never out.  Something will turn up so long as you hold out for it.

Still Nothing

That is fine but being at a loss for what to say or do is a feeling of predicament.  How does one generate ideas when nothing seems to come?  The ticking clock only seems to make things worse.  The longer the wait for an idea the less likely it seems anything will spark. 

Continue reading “What Do You Do When You Ain’t Got Nothing?”

Managing Success While Being a Half Committed Artist

Stretching canvas in the studio of Curtis Green Arts. Several canvases in process of being stretched and ready for gesso and painting.

We are told that to succeed in anything, one must focus on that one thing and do that one thing well.  Fine, but what if the one thing you focus on requires many things to be done well, to succeed?  How do we manage our success while being a half committed artist?

Who among us has not had an observation about films, music, art and uttered, “They sure don’t make ‘em the way they used to!”

That makes me question, does the art suffer if the artist can only be half committed?  We may come to a point where we finally say to ourselves that the time for complete commitment has come.  Our sideline creativity has come to a crossroad and it is time to commit or quit.

A typically unavoidable fact is that there are many talented people who need some  regular supporting income that allows them to do their creative work.  So much can be said about this truth. 

That makes me question, does the art suffer if the artist can only be half committed?

The aspiring artist may have arrived where their work has evolved as far as it can go but must “set it aside” for other income sources to be fulfilled.  If the aspiring artist is split between dedicating themselves wholly towards too many requirements, the notion often evolves towards cutting a few of those away to clear the path to succeed at the desired goal of being a self-supporting artist.  The thought might be that one must focus and do the one thing well. That is when the artist positions themselves on the precipice of life’s proverbial cliff to “make the leap” and do the thing they were truly meant to do!

Sell the House?

Hopefully, the prospect that your significant other or your family will either cheer you on, or disown you, has already been considered before making your announcement.  Much is made of chucking the old job, selling the house, and setting up shop in the country somewhere to finally write that novel, write the opus, create the body of work. That is a healthy fantasy, but it is assumed that the artist does only one thing.  That is, nothing to do but paint pictures or write pages, or play music.  Not frivolously, mind you, but dedicated!   How untrue and unprofessional this fantasy is.

Personally, I have not yet taken the running leap off the proverbial cliff.  Although I feel like I might be hanging on that always present branch that juts out from the cliffs face.  There I probably am, dangling before I loose myself and let the wings take flight.  Here, suspended between full commitment and drawing back from the edge of the cliff, I find that focusing on the one thing in order to succeed at being a full professional in my field requires many, many things unrelated to the popular idea of what being an artist means.   Today’s artist must be able to do more than just the one thing well.

Business Owner – Entrepreneur

Many of us have set ourselves up as a small business to help us manage our necessary purchases, rentals, expenses, and income as our work develops beyond the “at home” stage.  Managing the business, no matter how modest, still needs to be done.  That includes the accounting!  Accounting seems most opposite of being creative.  At least it better be!


“Being in sales” sounds more like something heard at a regional manager’s convention than at an art studio!  However, good salespeople are often able to understand the needs of the customer or client and pinpoint how to satisfy that need.  Not all salespeople are the “used car lot” types.  The good ones are also caring about their clients and know that a good sale means a good relationship.


Oh no!  Marketing is supposed to be the antithesis of art.  Well, but it is creative. Thankfully, the type of “good” marketing I find myself doing is simply insuring I have enough exposure for people to know I exist and to maintain a relationship with an audience or client base.  However, that also means becoming versed in the language of marketing and social media. 

Social Media, Webmaster and Content Manager

It is a constant upkeep of creating and managing content for an audience.  I would like my content to be enjoyable, inspiring, and engaging.  If an artist is hiring someone to handle their online presence, then great!  However, most of us do it ourselves.  If that is your case, then you know you are always having to manage and improve your content and platforms. 

Do not forget: Being an artist !

This is truly a calling.  If your artistic dedication is to either paint or play golf, then you are safe from this discussion.  Making art for the pure joy of it is highly encouraged!  However, if making art because life is difficult if you do not, then you may already know that your thoughts are continuously at the passionate service of your ideas and observations. 

Perhaps it is a rite of passage and maybe we are tested by fire before the reward is received.  If we find that we have gone from the weekend artist towards the full-time (or mostly full-time) artist, we must find out whether we are willing to dedicate ourselves happily, to the many tasks required to maintain an arts practice.  Shedding all the burdensome occupations to pursue one’s craft is to only find yourself engaged in all the various other things necessary to allow for that to happen.   

The artist may find themselves working even harder in every other kind of way outside of creating their art.  However, if the artist can wake up each day and be glad to keep going, even through challenges and doubt, to maintain perseverance while managing their schedules, tasks and creative output, as well as a side job, then may that artist reach their intended definition of success.  It is possible the art public will be better for it as well. Perhaps then, the arts could delight us to the highest while  appealing and drawing out the best in us.

Once, I was out painting and someone came up and admired what I was doing.  Then they said to me, “Man, I wish I could be an artist and just paint pictures all day”. 

I made a quiet grin and wondered to myself what that would be like!