How did you get started and then develop your career?
Brienne M. Brown: I have been drawing and painting for most of my life but had never considered pursuing a career as an artist until graduate school. While studying chemistry, my research was so time consuming that for the first time I couldn’t find time to create. My unhappiness during this time made me realize that art was more than a hobby, it was a necessity. This was a valuable lesson. From that time on I have made art a priority in my life, and instead of trying to find the time; I started to make the time to paint.
When I first started to think of becoming a professional artist, I asked an artist friend of mine what steps I needed to take. He gave me great advice, “Just paint, and the rest will come.” At that time, I was disappointed because I wanted a checklist. However, as I painted and improved my skills as a painter and got my work in front of people, opportunities started to find me. I have since realized how right he was, but I can also add a few more things that helped me build my career. Not only did I work to improve my painting skills, I got involved in artist communities, I showed my work regularly, and I actively sought out constructive critique. I feel these all helped me to develop as an artist and build my career.
How do you describe success?
Success is personal. It really depends on what goals you set for yourself. Is your goal to make enough money from your art to quit your job, feel confident enough to teach art, or paint daily? There are so many wonderful goals, but we must decide on our own priorities. Success is then how close we come to achieving these personal goals.
My art goals are not static but change and develop over time. This is natural and good. What seemed important to me 5 years ago may not be the same today. Therefore, I reevaluate my short-term goals every couple of months and my long-term goals once a year at least. I don’t always achieve my goals, but I like to focus on the work I did in trying to achieve that goal. In other words, success to me means focusing on the journey and not the destination. If I feel good about the work I put in, then I feel successful.
How do you find inspiration?
Charles Baudelaire said, “Inspiration comes of working every day.” I learned the importance of this when I had young kids and was determined to still paint. I had to schedule my painting time; I couldn’t wait for inspiration. There are times when I don’t feel like painting because I am tired or not in the mood. But if I get to work, I find that ideas come, and I find the desire to continue painting. Inspiration comes after I get to work.
What is the best thing about being an artist?
Being an artist has its challenges, but when I am onsite, surrounded with my subject, and in the flow of creating a painting I couldn’t be happier. I find beauty in everyday life, the so called ‘mundane.’ Ordinary people going about their everyday lives inspire me. I especially enjoy painting en plein air, where each painting reminds me of where I was, of the experiences I had, the sounds, smells, and the people I met. I enjoy sharing how I see the world.
To see more of Brienne’s work, visit: www.briennembrown.com