The following was excerpted and rewritten from a conversation between Jackie Hemingway and artist Jennifer Dunham on paying your dues as an artist.
No artist ever worth a damn painted one painting and became rich and famous.
Even if it is hard to do so, try to look at it this way — the starving artist helps create who you are as an artist.
In the broader picture of your lifetime, these early years you have been painting are a drop in the bucket. This is the time, these are the years – however many they be, that your character as an artist is being born and molded.
Now that may not mean a whole lot at the moment, and it certainly doesn't pay the bills. However, over the course of your life, this is the time and these are the moments that create and shape who you are as an artist, as a woman, and as a human being.
Never forget that. No matter how tough it gets, no matter how frustrating it becomes at times, this all serves a greater good for you.
If you want to be an artist, to really be all that an artist is; you have to pay your dues and then some. You must be willing to give yourself over to your craft completely. I don’t have to write, you don’t have to paint...we get to do these things.
The key is to get out of bed every single day and pick up your brush — no matter what.
You must feel it, know it, believe it — even when you don't want to.
In the meantime, just paint the best paintings you can and let that be your reward for the moment.
You will get there. You were born to paint. Art runs deep within you. You know the source of your inspiration. It is your wellspring of talent, your true gift. It was born unto you. Listen, feel, paint and know your muse will guide you —always.
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