So, what is an artist anyway?
What do they do?
What does art do for them, and for you?
It must be nice to have fun all day.
True, most artists do have fun. Generally speaking, we LOVE it. That doesn't mean artists should be, or can afford to be, doing it for free as a rule. Of course, there's nothing wrong with donating, discounting, or writing off some of your time, or some of your product, as is done in many professions for various reasons. Artwork = art + work. We learn, develop, and use a number of skills while we're creating work.
So, what skills do artists use?
First of all, there's all the “making” skills, such as art history, colour theory, the elements & principles of design, perspective, knowledge of the subject matter and chosen media... and then there's all the “other” things we do, which often include running our social media, website and online shop, setting up and taking down at art or craft shows, talking to all the people who visit our booths at these shows, developing ideas for new work, talking to galleries/shops about stocking our work, figuring out how to price the things we make, writing (our bio, artist statement, press releases, and so on), marketing, photographing and documenting our work, consulting & custom work... I expect the list goes on.
Sure, a lot of art is beautiful to look at, and fun to create. But a lot of things go into a pretty picture. Artists may start out with a natural talent or aptitude for art, just like other people may excel at math, or sciences. But just like others practice those skills, artists continue to develop theirs.
Coming up: Understanding price.