On Being an Artist – Deborah Keiller (part five)

by Geoff Hall on April 11, 2012

Day Five – Professional development – What do you see as the biggest necessity for developing your work as an artist? 


"Life Drawing" Deborah Keiller

This is a tricky one for me to answer! This past year I have realised I need to bring in some income and have had many conversations with my husband re the issues surrounding earning a living from my work. I network widely amongst artists in Bath & know many who are better skilled than me both technically & professionally, yet very few are able to earn anything near to a reasonable wage! I felt that didn’t bode well!

I have tussled with the concept of deliberately making my work marketable for a particular audience but couldn’t bring myself to do that. I have made wedding cakes & curtains for private clients in the past & would rather return to that than compromise the integrity of my work for the sake of selling it! Call me a snob, but I have not found any peace in that scenario!

Consequently my personal solution has been to seek part-time work very separate from my art practise that satisfies the need for more income in order for the rest of my time to be released to pursue my painting without compromise or restriction. This is quite a significant step for me & one that hopefully enables me to develop my work as an artist further.



With thanks to Deborah for being so honest! I think part of the answer is that we develop together as an artistic community, helping one another with our professional development, but also in our various crafts of painting, sculpting, drawing and that other thing we tend to call ‘artistic vision’, i.e. how we see the world.

We’ll be back later this week with another focus ‘On Being an Artist’.



One comment

Hi Deborah,
Glad to see some of your life drawings posted. I remember as a trembling Art Foundation Course student being overwhelmed by the sudden transition from ‘school art’ to a big world of art I could hardly comprehend. I found solace, and liberty, in life drawing. I still draw people, albeit quick sketches in cafés and parks etc. but acknowledge that the naked human form is a wonder, and a challenge, to draw.

by Marco Cazzulini on April 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm. Reply #

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