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What is an Art Practice?

When you have been painting for a while and you begin becoming a little more serious about your artwork, you may become aware of the term art practice. What does it mean when we talk about an art practice? We refer to an art practice has such because art is never really something that gets done, we are always practising, working on being more skilled in what we do and therefore it is a practice.

So once you become aware that you have this thing called an art practice what does that involve? well, it's quite simple really, it encompasses all the things you do, all the different aspects involved with your art. Now of course, there are many of these, but to name a few, we might consider the following:

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My artist date
  • working on an artwork

  • making up canvases

  • buying art supplies

  • attending exhibition openings

  • taking a course

  • going on an artist date

  • searching for inspiration

  • networking with other artists

  • searching for representation

  • working a job to support your art practice

  • practising drawing

  • taking part in a residency program

  • working with a mentor

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the things that one might do within an art practice, however, they are all things that I do in my art practice.

Within your art practice, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, usually is that of being financially supported while you practice your art. This generally involves some kind of career that you may have developed before your interest in art began, or if you are one of the lucky ones it will be something that is connected to the art world in some way. There are many successful artists that are not full-time practising artists. They may supplement their income by working in a gallery or museum, or perhaps they work in an art shop or maybe even as a graphic designer. Or like myself they might teach art.

I consider myself particularly lucky to have developed a successful Art School where I live, and this is the only form of income I need, to not only put food on the table and pay my bills but also to support the rest of my art practice. Some advice to you if you are a budding artist and want to be able to spend a reasonable amount of time on your art practice, is to try and find a compatible income source within the art field, in some way or other. I say this because it helps you to feel connected to your art practice even though you may not be working directly within it at the time. The reason I really like to teach art, is twofold. The first is that I get to keep my hand and eye in because I'm constantly evaluating my students work, which enhances my work and keeps my drawing skills sharp. The other reason is that it stops me from becoming completely isolated. Every day I have interactions with other artists at all levels of their art practice, have a lot of fun and along the way I have made some wonderful friends. I feel very blessed to be able to also earn an income doing something that I love.

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