Friday, January 22, 2016

The artist as a small business owner

I love being a painter. It's a very gratifying profession. How cool is it to make a living doing what you love best? Very cool, boys and girls, I can tell you that. But right now I have to deal with one of the more unpleasant aspects of being a painter: bookkeeping. I'm preparing for the annual meeting with my accountant. Got to get the numbers in a row for my tax return.

No, it's not all about creativity and inspiration and expressing yourself. In fact, as an artist you're a small business owner. Besides bookkeeping you have to expand your network, find new customers, stay in touch with the gallery world, keep your website up to date, produce and post new videos, write a blog, take care of crating and shipping, send invoices, fill out customs declarations and oh yes, produce paintings.

On top of that (like every small business owner) you have to deal with an unsteady income and that requires a specific mindset. You got to be realistic, but at the same time not worry to much. You got to use all available resources and yet accept there are circumstances (like an economic crisis) that you can't do a thing about.

I had a steady job for quite some time as a high school art teacher. It was nice to get a paycheck every month. I liked teaching, but still I prefer being my own man, making my own stupid mistakes, rather than trying to make the best of somebody else's stupid mistakes.

So I count my blessings. Just finished a small 15 x 45 cm painting of a figure on the beach. Planning on a number of oil sketches on paper. Being a painter is cool. I'll keep you posted.

A Walk on the Beach, oil on panel, 15 x 45 cm


  1. Hi,
    Sorry to bother you Mr Dolsma, but I have a little question about mixing colors. I don't know what color I should use for painting a blue sky like 'A Walk on the Beach' (just sky not clouds). also I'm using winsor & newton oil color and there is no king's blue in such this brand if you use it. but I have the other blues.
    thank you

  2. The color I used in the sky is a mix of Kings Blue and Carribbean Blue (a greenish blue). I didn't know Winsor and Newton doesn't carry Kings Blue, but there are a number of brands that do: Lukas 1862 (a German brand), Rembrandt and Old Holland all have it in their product line. If you want to mix a similar color without the King's Blue I'd try Ultramarin, mixed with Titanium White and a greenish blue. If you don't have Caribbean Blue you could try Ceruleum Blue. Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks so much for taking the time to help with. It was very informative and helpful to me. You are such a master and generous person.