How to Be an Artist With Passion

Painting is an attempt to come to terms with life. There are as many solutions as there are human beings. – George Tooker

Just last month in August, I went to the 3rd Friday art gallery viewing at the Zhou B. Art Center (an 84,000 square foot warehouse opened and operated by the world-renowned Zhou Brothers) in the neighborhood of Bridgeport in Chicago. With live music, food and drinks, and best of all, the opportunity to chat with, ask questions and interact with the artists themselves that have their studios there, I stumbled upon a wonderfully positive artist: Dagmar Bruehmueller.

Dagmar is a Brazilian mixed media painter whose bold and stunning colors reflects the liveliness of the culture she was born and raised in. Her art is an extension of who she is, as most artists’ works are.

I was contemplating on taking a painting class but the ones offered at the local community college was at a location a bit too far for me. Then, the universe opened another great opportunity (I’ve been having so many lately!) and I met Dagmar at her studio. Her bright smile and invitation to come see her work, really, who she truly is, was so incredibly freeing and heartwarming.

She also teaches others how to create works of art infused with individualistic creativity and has been doing so for the past decade and more. Wow! I can learn under a famed painter who has won numerous awards internationally, who has sold over 400 paintings in her lifetime (with one of her most recent work sold at the Gold Coast Art Fair for $8,000!), and who has taught hundreds of others to release their inner artist? What made me so fortunate to have such opportunities?? I am humbled and in awe, and most definitely appreciative.

With that, I started my first painting lessons in mixed media late last month and am excited to see the cool works of art I’m creating (my very first mixed media painting entitled Sunset is the first photo at the top)! It is in me the passion and love for art; now I just have to extend that from the spirit of my being and put it onto the canvas.

As I’m learning how to create great works of art with passion, I want to share with you how you can too. You may not call yourself an artist as the typical artist imagery you get is someone with drawing, painting, sculpture and photography abilities. The fine and visual arts. But really, we are all artists. How?

Art is Everywhere:

  • When we speak with a client on the phone, that is the art of servicing.
  • When we present our latest findings to the research panel, that is the art of communication.
  • When we help our brother repair his car, that is the art of mechanics.
  • When we sit down to enjoy a nice book, that is the art of literature.
  • When we converse with relatives in our native tongue, that is the art of language.
  • When we prepare a wonderfully home cooked meal, that is the art of food.
  • When we put out a sales pitch, that is the art of selling.
  • When we create an advertising campaign, that is the art of marketing.
  • When we fly across the country for vacation, that is the art of travel.

You see, art really is everywhere. You just have to open your eyes and look around. Just by you stopping by today, reading this post right at this very minute, is the art of blogging and communication in action (which, by the way, thanks for stopping by!).

So how can you create art with passion, no matter what field or industry you are in, no matter if you call yourself an artist or not?

4 Ways To Be An Artist With Passion

1. Give more than you take. Art is definitely about creating. And after you create, you sit back and admire your wonderful piece of work. “Ah, I am just amazing. Look at what I’ve created!” may be a thought crossing your mind. I know whenever I finish something I really thought to be awesome, I think it’s the best artwork I’ve ever done, whether it’s actually true or not is a different story!

But keeping all these pieces of art to myself doesn’t allow me to spread the passion, spread the love, spread the joy of such creations.

It’s the antithesis of what art is really meant to be: authentically expressing who you are or what you believe in by giving it away.

Whether you give it away for free or for a monetary amount, it should be given away … at least some of it.

I routinely give my art away to friends and family. Even something I’ve really enjoyed creating and love.

Because once I see their smile illuminate the room upon receiving such gift, it makes it all worthwhile. I want to help others, boldly, radically and in a positive manner. If that means making their day by giving a piece of myself away (my art), then great!

Give more than you take. It’s so fantastically rewarding.

2. Be original. Be you. It’s easy to copy; it’s hard to be original. Being original means it comes from within. Sure, you can get inspiration from others. You can get great advice on how to do what you do. You can read about how others have done it with their own original ideas and thinking.

But in the end, it is up to you to create art that reflects who you are and what you believe in.

3. Be authentic. Mass-produced “art,” to me, isn’t really authentic art. It’s a business. How many photocopies of this original art can we sell? The more you sell, the more you make, so let’s produce a lot!

I beg to differ. Why does original art cost so much more than a photocopied version of it? Because it’s authentic and one-of-a-kind. You can’t, and won’t, get it from anywhere else.

Say you’re giving a work presentation to upper management. You can downplay the tough times this quarter had by glazing over it and focusing on the strong points instead. Sure, it’s great to focus on the positive points. No one likes to hear bad news. But you also have to give a true account of what occurred, bad or good, and what to do about it moving forward.

Being authentic in your presentation will earn you a great deal more respect and trust than if you just spoon-fed happy news to your bosses. They already get enough brown-nosing from others; they don’t need it from you too.

4. Believe in what you create. This is a no-brainer. If you want to create art with passion, you actually have to believe in what you create. End of story.

Are You … ?

… creating a life worth living? Your life is a work of art. Make it truly yours by giving more than you take, being original, being you and authentic, and believing in what you create.

That is how you create art with passion … by first living one yourself.


How are you creating art with passion? Leave a comment and share freely!

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  • Matt Madeiro

    I <3 this post.nnPartially because you’re so damn talented (seriously, can I buy Sunset?), but partially because I think this is the *exact* right attitude to approach art with. We’ve elevated artistry to an entirely different level in modern society, placing it in the domain of the “talented” and “unique,” but you’re got the right idea: we’re all artists. Everything we do is art in some way, and recognizing that can enrich our lives in so many ways.nnGreat post, Nina. Best of luck with your artistic endeavors! :)

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Sweet, thanks a bunch, Matt! You’re always so supportive and positive, which I truly appreciate. :)nnAhh … Sunset has been given to my Mom for her birthday this month. No worries … this artist has just begun! More great and awesome work to come. Yay!

  • C Rodrigues

    Hello Nina, I follow your blog and I really like it. Most of the time I read it during the day, at work on my google readeru2026 But, the contents are not complete and I should click and come to the page. For me, it is more confortable if the whole article can be read at google, and avoids open internet windows on my work computer. Would be possible to change this? Thank you so much!

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    Hey C, thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoy the blog! As for changes to my actual site, I’m afraid not at this time. Thanks for the suggestion though!

  • Joel Runyon | [BIT]

    Is this the place where you took the picture of “the impossible girl?”

  • Nina | Castles in the Air

    “the impossible girl” was taken at the Museum of Contemporary Art, whereas these pictures are from Dagmar’s collection. :)

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