Discipline is not just something to do to someone with a ball-gag in their mouth. You have to produce. You have to market. You have to paint. I have to paint.
It’s a passion. We all have one. Most of us have multiple passions. If you don’t know what your passion is hit me up and I’ll help you find it. Seriously. I’m getting pretty good at it. Gimme an hour and we'll get to the bottom of that thing which makes you get up every morning...and then I'll paint it for you so that you always have a visual reminder of it.
But, enough about you...
I would paint even if no one paid me to do it. But, I WANT people to pay me to do it. Getting paid to do that which you love most in life is as worthwhile an endeavor as one can hope to achieve. And to be paid enough so that you don’t need to work for anyone else is the dream of every entrepreneur. That is where discipline comes in.
My mentor is a beautiful woman with red hair and great posture. I’ve never seen Mentor dressed in anything that wasn’t elegant or business-like, even while she painted. And I’ve never seen her with a drop of paint on any of her clothing. Mentor does not sugar-coat things, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Her latest admonition to me was:
“Geraud, you do not paint enough.”
“You’re telling me,” I said.
“I’m serious. You don’t paint nearly enough.”
“I have a full-time job. I can’t paint as much as I would like.”
She crossed her arms. “That’s bullshit.”
I blubbered something that sounded like, “Jibba-whuu??”
“I crunched the numbers. You need to be doing about 50 paintings a year.”
She explains to me how easy the formula is, and then she starts writing out calculations so complex I thought of Dangerous Minds…no, wrong movie. A Beautiful Mind. No. The one with Russell Crowe, not the one with Michelle Pfieffer. The formula works like this:
If I want to make $50,000 a year as a painter, and I make an average of $1000 per painting sold, then I need to do 50 paintings. Seems simple, until you start adding in commissions, what percentage of paintings I sell versus how many I create, etc. It works out that I should be doing nearly 75 paintings a year. Mentor says that 50 is a good place to start.
“Who does that?” I ask.
“Successful artists.” She stares at me.
“How many do YOU paint?”
“A dozen or so.”
“How do you get to paint so few and I have to paint my balls off?”
“When you make $25,000 a painting you can paint less than 50.” I could smell the smug pride radiating from her.
I gaped, swallowed, then managed to say, “Jibba-wuhh???”
I’ve taken her advice to heart. I’m completing a painting a week, and it is not easy. If I do a smaller painting than I need to do two of them each week. Last night I was up until 1am composing two paintings that I’m very excited about. I’m revisiting ‘The Good Old Days’ series that I had done, which included Crone, Geezer, Distinguished Gentleman, and Captivated, two of which have already sold. I spent another couple of hours doing some preliminary sketches. I went to bed at 1am and I've given myself until Sunday to complete both of them.
I spent this morning composing another painting, and spent a few minutes before work doing some sketches of it. This one is a stand alone piece, and it's going to be HUGE, two kids on carousel horses. That'll be next weeks painting.
And now it’s a little after 11 o’clock. Most of you are curled up in your beds, spooning your mate, or sleeping on a diagonal so you can enjoy the entire bed, or sleeping on the edge of your bed so your mutt can sleep comfortably.
Me? I’m gonna start putting one of these paintings on canvas tonight. And I’ll get up at 6am and go to work just like all the other adults. And I’ll be tired. Maybe exhausted.
The difference is that I’ll be exhausted from doing something I love.
Just be warned: if you ask me any questions before I’ve had a couple cups of coffee the most likely response you’ll get from me will be a blank stare and a, “Jibba-wuhh?” If so, try to cut me a little slack. I'm being disciplined.