the artist's notebook










the creative life

creative issues

learn to paint

inspirational artists




living the artists life

I don't buy as many art books as I used to, but something about "Living the Artist's Life" by Paul Dorrell seemed to call to me. This is one purchase I am glad I made. Anyone who is creative or knows a creative person should read this book.

From the first sentence, I had the feeling that Dorrell was sitting across the table from me in a small cafe, telling me about himself as we sipped coffee. In a casual, straight talking and humble way, he relates the story of how he pursued a writing career while working long hours to make an art gallery successful. It is about the highs of passion and the lows of failure, about mistakes and learning, about financial trials and successes. Interlaced in the tale are pieces of art marketing advice, many of which can be found elsewhere. The strength of "Living the Artist's Life" is how articulately Dorrell explains why we create and how we think.

Have you ever tried to explain to someone why you do what you do? Why you have to do what you do? Why you paint or write or sculpt full time instead of using your college degree to get a job in the "real world"? Or, why you get up at 5 am to work on your creative projects for a couple of hours before heading for your office job? Can you put into words the many sacrifices you and your loved ones have made so you can pursue your creativity? Or, how much work making art really is. And, why all the sacrifices, the work, the failures, and the rejections are so very worth it?

Dorrell gets it. He is a creative himself. With his experiences as a gallery owner and art consultant, he knows the art scene from both sides and puts in on paper beautifully. I read the whole book in one afternoon and walked away feeling stronger and more grounded.

I would like to share with you the final paragraph of the book:

"Now, put this freaking book down and get back to work. And, whatever you do, don't tell me how hard it is. Don't even tell yourself. It's supposed to be hard. Only mediocrity is easy, and you're too good for that."