Things you don’t want to tell an Artist

As a self taught artist, there have been too many unknown things I’ve had to deal with. The biggest among these is what people think about me.

Now personally I don’t care what people think about me but the annoying things people say to my face does matter. So here are a few funny things I’ve heard over the years. You will find the things you don’t want to tell an Artist in bold letters and my thoughts in italicized letters.

Conversation 1:

“Hi, I’m Sylvia.”

“Hi, What do you do Sylvia?”

“I’m an Artist”

“Oh, I paint too. But what do you really do? For a living, I mean.”

Really? Profession: Artist. Don’t you get it? I’m not an idiot to tell you my hobby when you ask me what I do.

“May I see some photos of your paintings?”

“Sure, here.”

“Oh wow, these are really good. Mine aren’t.”

Conversation 2:


“Do you sell your paintings Sylvia?

“Yeah, I do””

“Are they original?”

“Yeah they are.”

“Wow! Give me the soft copies of your painting photos.”


“So I can print them and hang it on my wall”

“Oh. I sell prints too. Just tell me which one you want and I’ll have it printed for you.”

Oh no… I don’t want to buy. Just give me the soft copies. I’ll print them myself.”

Conversation 3:

“How much does this painting cost?”

“Rs. 15000”

Ans 1: “Wow! That’s expensive, not for the poor, eh?”

Ans 2: Really!! Don’t you think that’s expensive? What is your cost of material?

Sure! Just pay me the cost of canvas and paint. My original idea or design has no value, nor does the amount of time and energy spent on making something so beautiful on canvas or the years I’ve spent learning the skill.

Conversation 4:

“Oh wow! You’re an artist? Did you design that tattoo which is on your wrist?”my tattoo1

“Yeah I did!”

“Can you design one for me, for free?”

Yeah, I do that only for friends who genuinely appreciate what I do.

One minute you’re appreciating what I do and the next you’re telling me that my art isn’t worth paying for?

Conversation 5:

This is an incident that happened when we just moved to a new place; A conversation between my husband and his superiors wife.

“So, what does your wife do?”

“She is an Artist.”

“What is her medium of painting?”

“Oil on Canvas.”

“That’s perfect. There is an old painting in our guest room covered in mold. You can tell your wife to restore it. ”

“Sorry, she doesn’t do restorations and I don’t tell her what to do.”

Conversation 6:

“Hey, I love your paintings, maybe you can teach me sometime?”

“Sure, come over to my place for coffee and we’ll make an evening of it and make a small painting too”

After the lovely evening,

“You teach well too. Why don’t I send my daughter to your place twice a week, she can learn a lot from you.”

“I’ll let you know when I can move things around my schedule and make time for the class. We’ll discuss fees later.”

“Oh, no. Not for class or anything. Just for fun. To pass time.”

Sure. I’ll make time in my busy schedule twice a week(that’s two hours) for fun. To pass time!

There are so many hilarious things I’ve heard from people, I just wonder if they think before they speak. Do you ask a plumber if he’ll fix your tap for free? Or an electrician if he’ll light a bulb for you so you’ll tell all your neighbors about him. Word of mouth you see…

Then why do you ask an artist if he/she will work for free?

P.S:  The conversations above really did happen.

Go on and read a few more things people tell artists that he/she doesn’t really want to hear.

“If I had time and patience like you, I would paint too.”

Precisely why I’m an artist, I got patience and passion for art.

“I can paint that too”

Then go do it.

“It must be nice to have so much time so you can paint”

Yeah I don’t know how my day is magically 30hrs long.

“You should paint this, this, and that”

Maybe you should.

“A sea horse is not so big that a mermaid can sit on it!”mer2

Really dude, have you seen a mermaid?

“Do you know artist XYZ? Can you make a painting for me which looks more like his work?”

No. Go buy his art.

“Oh what is abstract art? You artists throw some paint around on a canvas and call it abstract art.”

Have you heard of something called Color Theory?

“Can I take a photo of that? I want to post it on my Facebook page. Maybe I’ll paint one when I find time”

I don’t know what to say.

Here is one question that a lot of people have asked me but it is not an annoying one and I’d like to answer it. Actually a genuine question.

“Why do you paint horses? Do you like horses? What is the meaning behind the horse painting?”

The truth is, a painting doesn’t always have to mean something. Sometimes it is just about how beautiful it looks on a wall. Horses are very good subjects to paint and I think they’re majestic. A painting can mean different things to different people. Art is Subjective. Just enjoy it.

Also, when an artist wants to exhibit her art she cannot display a landscape, a horse portrait, a mermaid and a portrait of a lady together because they don’t always go well together. It helps to stick to a specific topic like birds, pet portraits, zodiacs, jungle cats, fantasy, underwater world etc. when you’re exhibiting your art.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. I deviated from the flow of my journey but I think this blog was very important.

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Oil painting Horse eyes Video

I was always fascinated by how artists make the eyes of a subject look so realistic. So I gave it a try.

The trick is to pay very close attention to your reference photo.

Oh how amazing it feels once you are done and they look just as you imagined.