To Share or Not to Share

Art advice from Zac Elletson

Art advice - Zac Elletson -
Zac Elletson, “Shower of Light,” oil, 16 x 10 in.

A few years ago I experienced my first small amount of exposure. It did a lot of great things for me and I’m glad it happened, but I learned I wasn’t ready to jump on that opportunity. After that I didn’t share any new work for a while, and I’m glad I didn’t. Here’s why.

When people start to take notice of your work, they also like to give you advice and opinions. If you’re not careful, it will sway your decision making. Being new to the whole art business, I took that advice. Some people I respect and admire told me it was time to start getting out there and promoting, sharing online, and networking.

All these things are well and good and must be done in this day and age, but timing is everything. I realized after some self reflection about who I was and how I wanted to paint, that I still had a lot of work to do to get where I want to be. The quality of my work was inconsistent, and I wasn’t enjoying what I was painting for various reasons.

Art advice - Zac Elletson -
Zac Elletson, “Dahlias,” oil, 11 x 14 in.

Thanks to social media, there’s a huge expectation that we need to share everything we do at every moment. Art takes time, and needs time to sit. You should only show your best work; and not everything you create is going to be amazing. Only a handful of people in the world can churn out finished masterpieces every time they touch a canvas. It takes years to learn and master, and that’s okay.

Art advice - Zac Elletson -
Zac Elletson, “In the Coop,” oil, 10 x 8 in.

I restricted myself from the subjects, and the way, I wanted to paint for fear of looking like a lesser clone of other artists. I got to know said artists personally and realized that though we were different, the similarities of thought process and character rang true to my own. Is it any wonder this would be the case? As artists, we are such a small portion of society that some of us are bound to think alike.

Art advice - Zac Elletson -
Zac Elletson, “Sunflowers and Fruit,” oil, 24 x 20 in.

I re-learned what I had known right from the start: to trust my gut. Paint the way you want to paint in a way that is genuine to you and your personality, and style will come through.

So I’ll continue to put my nose to the grindstone, pushing myself to get better, until I know it’s time to dive headfirst into my goals. I hope my own thoughts and experiences relate to some of you reading. In the meantime, here are a few of the better paintings and drawings from that summer. Cheers!

Art advice - Zac Elletson -
Zac Elletson, “Sunflowers on Antique Rug,” oil, 14 x 11 in.

Learn the secrets to successful paintings with this art video workshop from Bob Rohm: