Monday’s Motivation: Artwork IS Work

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



  1. Janet Vanderhoof January 29, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    So glad you wrote this and took some of the romanticism out of being an artist and the reality that it is hard work.

    • Lori McNee February 1, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Yes it is! Thanks for the comment from another fellow-hardworking artist! 🙂

  2. Wakako Nishimura February 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Great bullet points. Indeed, artwork IS work.

    • Lori McNee February 4, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Thank you! I am glad you agree 🙂

  3. Kathy Howard February 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Great points, though I’m not good at some of them.

  4. Sam Bernal March 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    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!

    • Lori McNee June 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Good for you Sam! I used to be a late night painter myself…I got a lot done back in those days. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Jen April 29, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Oh, I wish this had a ‘like’ button. Great post.

    • Lori McNee May 1, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Jen, your comment is the best ‘like’ ever. Thanks!

  6. Carla April 10, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    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 May 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      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 🙂

  7. Joyce Wynes January 12, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    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 May 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      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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