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Do you get support from your closest friends?

My wife isn’t interested at all in what I do. She does not seem to understand that it’s a way of living. She thinks I’m a dreamer and she feels she has to put me with my feet back on the ground from time to time. She’s often right, ofcrouse, because I have a family to support, but in the end what I’m left with is always the dilemma of a)painting and not spending time with the family or b) spending time with the family and not painting. Finding a balance is extremely hard, I think.
To say that she is unsupportve would be unfair too, as she has no problem with me going to life painting class twice a week for many years now. I understand it’s not always easy for her, knowing I am away to paint a nude and she trusts me when I say that it has a lot to do with esthaetics and almost nothing to do with anything else.

Does your partner support you as an artist?
If she/he does, how?
If not, what do you do? Do you hopelessly continue to get the support you’re longing for from her/him? Or do you seek it elsewhere?

How does this make you feel?

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Whether art is a vocation or an avocation, on your deathbed, where will you regret not having spent more time? It’s a question every person must answer for him/herself.

(“it has a lot to do with esthaetics and almost nothing to do with anything else…” ?
“Do you hopelessly continue to get the support you’re longing for from her/him? Or do you seek it elsewhere?” --not sure what kind of permission you’re seeking here.)

My husband supports me quite well and has even learned to cook as I suspect he thinks he might starve if left to me! I try to keep a balance but as you say Johan it isn’t easy. I could paint forever. I did bake him a huge cake today :wink:


Very supported here too, tho I know he wishes I would sell more/higher so he can retire. He’s told me again and again. :wink:


Anne, cheers I had a good laugh there
But you’re right, it’s a matter of balance… one may expect things from our peers but not without giving back.

Sunny, yes I have a feeling my spouse would love to see cash in return as well. There are reasons why I don’t tell her how expensive professional paints are.


If my partner would go dancing, for exampe, with a nice young, beautiful lad, because my legs are about as flexible as crutches, my brain would tell me about the level of thrust my wife and I have built over the years, about all the great memories we’ve had together, and it would conclude that there is nothing to worry about. And there most likely wouldn’t be anything to worry about (although you never know, I lost my first love as a youngster to a guy who could dance incredibely well).
My heart, however, would secretly be at least a bit jealous (see above reason) though I’d never disapprove towards my wife.I’m sure my wife is undergoing something similar with me going to life painting class.

I don’t have any problems with support, since those in my family are all in favour of hobbies and creative thinking. How that will change when retirement-age kicks in and the income drops off to become a pension, I don’t know. As for support from closest friends…I don’t have any close friends, so that isn’t an issue!


I love that part about close friends Christine, best way I think. I find strangers are more supportive.

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Good to read that I’m not the only one :sunny:

Anne, I’ve the same experience, but isn’t it weird?


I’ll join that club! It seems that art has come between me and the people I ‘used to know’. I have come to see them as probable ‘blocked creatives’ themselves. My husband is also an artist (part time) and my kids as well so we have made a point of encouraging the boys to find a protected place for it in their lives and be careful who you allow past your studio door! I focus on the connections the work makes with strangers as some of you have mentioned. It fills the tank like nothing else.
Johan, I go to life drawing and it has made such a big difference to my skill level. Others, in my life don’t ‘get it’ but I remind them that they don’t have to and have invited them to get a sketch pad and a piece of charcoal and come and see what it’s all about. So far, no takers…and no more comments either—ha!


I will totally agree Kathy with the ‘protected place’ for our art. After so many unkind and hurtful comments from ‘friends and some relatives’ I decided that my studio is out of bounds to anyone not connected with art. By doing this I have re-claimed the power over my art world and never speak of it now to these ‘significant others’. I really think because most have known me for such a long time they treat me with some contempt thinking it is ok to say anything. Well it isn’t in my opinion, so keep out!


I had my own doubt about my art for a long time after having heard similar comments from close relatives so I painted under a pseudo name and didn’t invite any ‘real’ people in. Only online visitors. :wink:

I eventually got to the point that I like what I am doing and I could ignore my own well meaning husband’s comments. (It’s just not my style, i don’t understand abstracts, maybe you could paint bigger? etc…) I have adult children who did encourage me which helped. Then facebook made me add my last name to ‘Sunny Avocado’, so there went my anonymity.

I realized only recently that I have always been an artist. After a trying childhood, I remember I would enjoy my alone time with a book full of patterns that I would use colored pencils on for hours. I was 15 or so and confided in a family member that when I was in a conversation that I would ‘paint’ the other person’s face in my minds’ eye. Shadowing and highlighting with absolutely no classes ever taken…no encouragement. As a matter of fact, after confiding this, I was shot down hard and put in my place by this family member. So I didn’t dare again and forgot about my aspirations.

Years (and years) passed and during them I would paint rooms and exterior of my homes just to play with color. Color with my kids, and many, many art forms in 3d. I worked with glass, wood, cement, you name it. And it was fun! But then the same family member, all these years later, put a paintbrush in my hand and said “you can do it!” So I did.

That was about 5 years ago. I haven’t looked back since. But you see, art was in my blood!


It’s great that everyone here is sharing these sensitive matters. Thanks for that!

I’m not very fond of letting other people in my studio, which is basically my cellar, either.
It’s like an extension of my heart, and I’m rather reserved to let people in.
On the other hand, it does feel good to show my paintings, regardless the comments.
While I used to hate everything I made the day after I had finished a painting, I’ve learned to be proud of what I make.
I guess it all adds up. In the end,

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I get a lot of support…but I also realize what I produce isn’t always a subject matter everyone is going to like. Some like floral, some landscapes, some figurative etc. but I appreciate their input and try to continue creating what I like. I like to welcome people into my studio…but it is like sharing my sole, standing naked in front of the world, so it can be a very personal somewhat intimidating thing.

The key thing for me is to remember to maintain balance! I don’t want my passion for painting to get in the way of precious relationships…my family and friends. I could spend 24/7 just painting! So, I have to work hard at balancing my painting life with my non-painting life…as we all do. If my life was depicted on my tombstone I would want it to be a beautiful painting that I created…not just any painting but a painting of the loved ones who made my life complete. (Ok, I admit a bit sappy but true)

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I’ve always been creative and my mom encouraged me, but she never saw it as a way to make a living. My fiancé, on the other hand, is really supportive of my art and not only in words - he’s made all sorts of things for me over the years - big frames for painting on silk and the silk color setting equipment, storage boxes for my pastels, shelves, so on. He’s really great about this, I’m so grateful.


@lanaballot my husband is great about that too even though he sometimes doesn’t ‘get’ my art. He has done so much for me, giving me all I need to succeed. We are blessed!


Sunny, that’s so great! It’s so important too when the closest person in your life understands that making art is in your nature, that you need to do that to be yourself, even if it seems crazy sometimes :slight_smile:


Yes, otherwise they wouldn’t be my closest friends. If they’re not into art and they can’t be supportive but I’m friends with them in some other circle, I just don’t discuss my art with them.

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Yes, and no.

My family has always been very creative, with photography, music, other pursuits and hobbies. So art fit in well there and I did get some support. But then no, because it was often being drummed into my head that it was “only” a hobby and not something to rely on for a steady income. I had some really “downer” comments from family members from time to time. (Boy, I could tell horror stories!) But then, my family was mostly supportive when I went to art school, so that definitely qualifies as support, right?

Nowadays I do get more support, which I am very grateful for, but at the same time, I don’t expect actual interest. By that I mean, they have no idea what painting I’m doing right now and aren’t very curious. But that’s okay, because to be honest, I’m not aware of their latest projects either. Fair is fair! I think we’re all too engrossed in our own personal dramas and are simply unaware of what everyone else is doing.

I do find strangers to be more interested and curious, and that works for me fine.

How much different do you think it would be if you were a musician that had to travel? How about if your career choice was an actor that needs to be on various film set locations for extended periods? Or maybe a magician or juggler with a traveling circus? Being a visual artist is an advantage compared to some other creative vocations.

Your spouse doesn’t necessarily have to be interested in what you do, but s/he should be willing to accept what you love doing without nagging or badgering. To me, art is a lifestyle with a commitment to self-expression and creativity. It’s not for everyone. Families can be a nemesis for artists, especially if they aren’t willing to accept the lifestyle.

Support is a different story. If you need to support a family and can’t as an artist, this will obviously have a substantial impact on your career and on family security. But if you’re looking for your family to support you (I assume emotionally, not financially) I’d lower my expectations. Family time vs work time is a balance that all families need to contend with, so the time factor isn’t about being an artist.