Why Do Some Artists Succeed When Others Don’t?

The path to fulfillment for any artist is often less than easy. It can be filled with heartache, disappointment and long-days of wondering what it’s all about. So what makes the difference between success and failure? Dan Strawn and Dwayne Parsons discuss the matter.

Drawing by Kathleen Pearson-Brock. Commentary by Dwayne Parsons and Dan Strawn

Drawing by Kathleen Pearson-Brock. Commentary by Dwayne Parsons and Dan Strawn

Gumption, Hard Work and Oh, Patience

Novelist, Dan Strawn, and I have been discussing what defines success for an artist. The words in the secondary title are his. We’re writing to each other about any medium of art, from music to painting. While we’ve been corresponding through emails, I saw this message sent out on Twitter by my dear friend, world-class artist Kathleen Pearson-Brock, who’s been through it all.

First here’s her tweet:

Pretty fine, you have to admit. True to a Pearson-Brock, it’s very individual and always proportionately right on. Kathleen also has an exceptional, innate sense for utter control in shading and tones, hence the name of her website Living-Tones; which was given to her by her youngest son, Hunter. She not only sees the subtleties of light, she reports them with an immensely refined touch.

I am always impressed, even delighted when I see something new from Kathleen’s hand…partly because like the drawing of the tearful eye above, the reporting in her hand is coming straight from her heart.

Was It Always This Way?

For Kathleen, no. It was not always easy for her. But she had a very good mentor and in that she was blessed (or destined). You can read about Sharon Lovelle here, in Kathleen’s own words. Lovelle had an enormous affect on the younger Kathleen, and as it was, at a time when Kathleen was ready for it.

In his most recent email to me, Dan Strawn, responding to my question, Where Is the Novelist?, wrote, “Good question. So are “where is the poet?” “where is the painter?” “where is the violinist?” “where is . . . ?”

The answers are the same, he wrote. They are either

  1. waiting in the wings for life’s demands to take their bows and move off stage center or
  2. languishing in a mind waiting for the courage to put one’s best effort in front of critical people.

“In time,” he goes on, “with commitment, life’s demands will move over, at least make room for artistic expression.

“In time, the will to touch others in that place where the soul resides compels some would be artists to overcome fear.”

But then he adds, “There are others, day dreamers who wish and hope, who lack the gumption to do the hard work that turns dreams into goals, goals into plans, plans into strategies, strategies into actions.” That’s Dan Strawn. He ought to know because his “actions” have resulted in 3 fine works of fiction.

Can You Now See My Reasons?

Maybe now those of you who’ve been following along on my rants and discourses on the arts, maybe now you can see why I so laud greatness.

Greatness comes from the trenches, through mud and rain, with enormous hunger, in the face of subtle fear. But if and when it gets out of its trenches, look out, there’s going to be some real art in the making. And that’s Strawn in his best book, Isaac’s Gun. It’s Pearson-Brock behind every pencil mark and every scrape of the charcoal, every smudge of shading, every dab of paint deliberately laid on canvas.

See Also:What Inspires An Artist? Work With What You Have What Music Does for Me, It Does for You