I have tried for many many years to make and sell paintings that I hoped made people feel good. I have painted hundreds and hundreds of paintings. Most years I have broken even, financially, whether I painted a lot or a little. Many years ago I felt I could have the money, or the time, to paint, but never both at the same time. Now I have both time and money, but cannot sell my work, and when I do sell it, I cannot make any money.
I underpriced my work in hopes of getting "known". Not only did I not make money on it, it was an expensive habit.
I am thinking I was an idiot ever to become a painter. If it were not for my husband, I could not afford to paint much at all. Plus, it takes tremendous emotional and spiritual effort to do this sort of work, and people feel they can freely criticize an artist's work as if it were not coming from the heart and soul.
My heart is breaking today. I deluded myself into thinking I could continue doing as I have been for years, painting and shipping and having a few sales. That is a foolish notion.
I am probably never going to be terribly well-known. My website has never sold even ONE painting. All my efforts in going to art fairs resulted in me spending more money than I ever took in. Besides that, I was out in the weather, having to pay for food and water, with porta-johns and no place to wash my hands.
It is harder to paint every year, because it is so discouraging. I take photos, do sketches, buy materials, do paintings, make slides, send out slides, ship paintings to galleries, and when they sell I get half of the selling price. I sent out slides for years, and found only a few galleries were interested in my work. It is not "cutting edge", but it is not "commercial" either. Well what IS it then?
Friends urge me to paint. Why should I? Give me one good reason. I need to make a living too. See post below for precipitating event for this existential crisis.