This is a self-portrait that I painted in oils about a decade ago. It's entitled My Vanity, and is a double entendre. The physical space where I apply make-up
is a vanity, and the reflection I'm seeing is the one I'd prefer to see without all the wrinkles and age spots. The fly on the mirror is an 18th century symbol for death - the ultimate reality that vanquishes vanity. What does this painting have to do with today's blog about advice? I'm using it to illustrate the point that when advice is given, we all need to look at ourselves in the mirror (psychological mirror, that is) with objectivity to see if the offered advice is warranted. If, individually, we don't know who we are as artists - if we haven't taken the time for self-examination and recognition - then it's hard to know which advice, if any, is good. So, it's well worth thinking about Ben Shahn's comments that I posted a long time ago. Ask yourself "What kind of person am I" and "What kind of art coincides with who I am?" After you've done that, you'll know if advice "fits" or not.
That being said, here's some advice from well-known artists that may, or may not, be useful to you:
Henri Matisse - Look at life with the eyes of a child.
Jasper Johns - Take something. Do something with it. Do something else with it.
Constantin Brancusi - Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.
Salvador Dali - Do not strive to be a modern artist: it's the one thing unfortunately you can't help being.
Paul Gaugin - Do not finish your work too much.
Vincent Van Gogh - If you hear a voice within you saying, 'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint, boy, and that voice will be silenced.
George Green - Early on get rid of the idea of rejection, so that you can receive rejection over and over again.
Jerry Uelsmann - In the arts there are many right answers. I've learned over the years that when you get a clue to another possibility to follow it through ... Ultimately, my hope is to amaze myself.
Edgar Degas - The secret is to follow the advice the masters give you in their works while doing something different from them.
Winslow Homer - Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems.
Eric Fischl - What experience has shown me is that it takes your life to become an artist.