Many people idealize the profession of being an artist. They imagine the artistic lifestyle to be stress-free, romantic and fanciful.  For, how can creating artwork or a thing of beauty be considered work?

Artwork is work

Yes, being an artist is a wonderful lifestyle, but it truly does take a lot of hard work. So, for Monday’s Motivation I thought I’d share a few reasons why artwork IS work…

  • Artists are self-starters. We have learned how to carve out time each day for making our art. That time might be in the middle of the night, in between loads of laundry, during our baby’s nap-time, or after a full day at a 9 to 5 job.
  • As working artists, we understand the entrepreneurial and business aspects of making a living as an artist. We must promote ourselves and our art, maintain positive relationships with galleries and collectors, we must keep our websites and blogs up-to-date, our portfolios and resumes current, and make time for social media and networking, while leave time for managing our income and paying the bills.
  • Artists must stay fit. Creating art is both a mental and physical activity. We stand on our feet for hours, lift heavy frames, and boxes, use dangerous tools and are aware of our surroundings.
  • We must take time to keep our studios organized and clean for a healthy working environment. 
  • Artists must stay focused. This is a skill, and motivation we have learned in order to stay inspired and in the ‘zone’ while the rest of our world tries to distract us.
  • We must remember to unplug and recharge. In order to stay inspired and creative, it is important to make time for down-time with nature, family and supportive friends.

Did I forget something? Let me know if you have any ‘work’ to add to this list…


*Be sure and check out board on Pinterest!. I’d also love to meet you on my Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page, on Twitter, Google Plus, and on Instagram lorimcneeartist. Please checkout my art too and my fine art prints and notecards.  ~Lori


Lori McNee

Lori McNee is a professional artist who specializes in still life, and landscape oil paintings. She is an exhibiting member of Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Painters of Idaho, serves on the Plein Air Mag Board of Advisors, and is an Artist Ambassador to Arches/Canson/Royal Talens. As the owner of, Lori blogs about fine art tips, marketing, and social media advice for the aspiring and professional artist. As a social media influencer, Lori ranks as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter, has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and named a #TwitterPowerhouse by The Huffington Post. She is a keynote speaker, has been a talk show host for Plum TV, writes for F+W Media publications including Artist’s Magazine, Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, Photographer’s Market. Also, Zero to 100,000: Social Media Tips & Tricks for Small Businesses. Lori is also a member of the CBS Entertainment Tonight & The Insider Tweet Team.

14 thoughts on “Monday’s Motivation: Artwork IS Work

  1. Sam Bernal says:

    You speak the truth! I’ve had many long nights after two hours of commuting and an 8-5. 7PM – 1AM is about the only time I can get things done!

    It takes vision, commitment and a sometimes myopic focus in order to complete a series of works. After the piece is created its still not done. There is the finishing, framing, toting around to various locations, oh yeah and don’t forget the all important selling! : )

    But I love to create and that part never feels like work. That’s what keeps us going I guess!

  2. Pingback: Artwork IS Work: Romantic Misconceptions of Professional Artists « The ART of Life

  3. Carla says:

    LOVE your post! I’m a young artist in South Africa and I’m trying to prepare myself for the commitment to three months of solid, but balanced painting(got to take the dream and break it into small achievable pieces) and many many more. It’s autumn here now so it will be difficult going into winter sticking to it responsibly. Whenever i get out and people uncover i’m an artist they get this gleam of awe in their eyes and express how awesome and lucky I am but have no idea how much of a battle it is for us everyday to fuel our vision, to ignore others who don’t take our profession & workhours seriously and to say no when loved ones unknowingly try to sabotage our success with good intentions. So thank you for keeping things serious! It’s sO helpful when the sunshine & singing wears off and we need to respect what we do and stay disciplined!

    • Lori McNee says:

      Hello Carla, thank you for taking time to introduce yourself! It is challenging when we don’t have the support of those around us. Lots of artists struggle with this. Follow your passion and keep your treasure close to you. Only share your dreams with those who support you! Glad you found this blog. I hope it keeps your motivated.

      Lori 🙂

  4. Joyce Wynes says:

    Hi Lori, Just watched your video you did for Jason at Xanadu Gallery and it was great. A lot of good tips. So I followed your link to your blog to check it out and read this article. Very insightful. It is hard work being a fine art painter. For many years I was a commercial artist and had my own business as a graphic designer and professional illustrator. It was hard work also but there were more guidelines in place and more support. In 2008 when the market crashed, I gave up my business and went full time into my passion of painting. Wow! And I thought commercial art was tough with the deadlines but this profession is unbelievable. Glad I found you because you are an inspiration and motivator for me. I have had many solo exhibitions, grants, and am in 2 galleries but it is still tough going. I might need to have a talk with you soon. My husband passed away a year ago and it has been difficult for me to get back in the groove like I was before that happened. But each month gets me a little closer to my former self. Your video and blog has motivated me to plow ahead. Keep inspiring.

    • Lori A McNee says:

      Hello Joyce, I am so grateful my video has inspired you during this tough time in your life. I am sorry for your deep loss, but feel confident you will push through and paint with even more passion. I have been through divorce, and then I lost my mom a few years ago. It immobilized me for a while, but my work has matured since. Good things do come out of adversity. Thank you for taking time to comment. I hope to see you again. 🙂

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