Deciding What to Do With Your Painting Career

Grain Elevator, watercolor art, watercolor grain elevator, painted grain elevator

Click on Picture to Purchase: “Grain Elevator, Pullman, WA”

Every artist has to decide what they want to achieve. Few of us decide to make it a career when we’re young. Most of us do this much later in life.  But even then, many artists don’t necessarily make art their career. They’re content with simply turning out a decent painting every now and then.

Others of us may be a bit more ambitious. Once you’ve retired from some other endeavor, you’re able to spend more time painting, and you may actually come to a point in your life where you do so. When this happened to me, it was necessary for me to get some advice, and draw-up a plan of action.

Plans of action must be designed for a given timeframe. But this timeframe depends on the individual. Generally it’s a function of what you’re willing to do, how much time you’re willing to devote to your artwork, and also how much money you’re willing and able to spend!

Every artist needs to develop such a plan. How else could you measure your accomplishments, or know what things you have to do?

When this happened to me, I had to determine what needed to get done. After taking up painting again and experiencing some relative degree of success, I decided to make it a career. So I decided to develop a business plan.

To do this you have to decide what you want to achieve… and when. The achievements need to be defined as precise objectives.  People who haven’t run a business may not know what to include, though they may have some general idea.  To help you out a bit, let me share with you a few things that I learned when I ran other businesses of my own.

A business plan includes a series of actions that occur over time. You’ll need to budget expenses, time and sources of income. Most people need help preparing such a plan.  If you don’t know what to do, seek out someone who is experienced with this sort of thing and who’s willing to counsel with you (e.g. The Small Business Association [SBA] and SCORE [www.score.org] are two potentially helpful resources for aspiring entrepreneurs).

Douglas Stenhouse also wrote a book about watercolor painting.

“I decided to write about how I paint, not only to share my observations with others, but also, frankly, to do some self- examination. I wish I had done this earlier in my life! But then, how was I to know I’d benefit from doing so, certainly at a time when I had no aspirations of becoming a professional artist.” 

To learn more about Doug’s Watercolor Painting Book, click here. To purchase a signed copy, use the link below.


Douglas Simms Stenhouse, watercolor artist, transparent water color art, watercolor painter, painting with water colors