Whether you want to be a wall painter, graphic designer, or art director, a career as a painter is quite unique.
Painters are, as a whole, artists, and they get to create art for a financial living.
Few canvas painters make it to celebrity status when they are living.
But when dead, painters and their only lasting works take on a whole new life force.
Find out more about the pros and cons of what it is like to be a painter.
Pros of Being a Painter
1. Artistic Freedom
By definition, as a painter, you are making art using paint.
There are few freer forms of artistic expression than when painting.
Spray paint, stenciling, stamping, lettering, oil paints, acrylics, and watercolor are some of the many ways you can get into painting as a profession.
The main skill required is an artistic ability, which leads to artistic freedom through the use of painting mediums.
2. Personal Creativity
The only way to paint is through creative ideas.
These are generated for each of us on a personal, internal level.
Various creative styles and forms of expression are what attract audiences–and what painters strive to discover.
If you believe you are artistic in nature and have a strong personal style that you express through painting as a creative individual, you might be a good painter.
3. Working in Solitude
However, you will have to work alone in order to hear your inner self explain how to express something through painting.
This means you must learn to live with yourself and be productive as a painter while doing so.
You don’t always have to work alone.
Art classes and exhibits all involve others who instruct and join in on the excitement.
Just most of the time, you can anticipate painting in solitude.
4. Working in Most Environments
There are equally a lot of different environments and settings that are great for painters.
Gain inspiration from moody lighting displays, or set up your painting easel on a breezy, sunny hill covered with flowers.
Both are great for painters.
When it comes to painting, you can get away with painting in most places.
You can even take a pad of paper and some watercolors to a local museum and copy other artists for inspirational instruction.
5. Playing Around With Colors
Paints come in every color known under the sun.
If you can see the color, you may be able to mix enough paint to make it for your own.
Then you get to apply these colors to any shape or concept that comes to mind.
Playing with colors of paint is a therapeutic practice that thrills painters who love what they do.
6. Learning How to Express Your Ideas
Along with being therapeutic, painting is a great way to express a person’s ideas and interests.
Your natural inclinations and feelings come out when you paint.
This happens through the strength and direction of brush strokes, or the use of your hands instead of brushes.
You are able to present your ideas and emotions through the use of paint.
As a painter, your job actually requires you to improve this skill strength.
This will allow you to naturally grow as an artist and a painter.
7. Paid Gigs and Sold Paintings
The artwork produced by painters is sold for millions every day on the internet on sites like Society6 and Etsy, as well as in person.
While we are not all Picassos or Georgia O’Keefes, painters do have the opportunity to sell their paintings.
You can also receive commissions to paint paintings for people, businesses, or organizations.
The goal is to share your artwork with an audience and spread your message through showcasing the art–and to earn an income.
Cons of Being a Painter
1. Fine Artists Need a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts
If you want to be taken seriously as a professional painter, you have to graduate from post-secondary school or training.
A master’s degree is an advanced-level program available to those who have graduated from a four-year program with a bachelor’s degree.
If you want to be a painter who is recognized at museums and able to work in schools or art galleries as a teacher, you will have to get a master’s degree–that is at least six years of college.
2. Art is a Fickle Concept
What is art, even, really?
How can you tell what art is and how you express and explain this to the audience through painting?
Art is a fickle, funny concept that generally makes people laugh, cry, or otherwise express some emotion.
What matters to one person will make others shudder or become triggered.
Understanding what is going to work in terms of expressing your artistic ideas with painting is…difficult to do.
Some artists never bridge the gap and find an audience, or at least no one to view or buy their work and therefore support them.
3. Dealing With Con Artists Who Steal Paintings
Would you love to see a work of art painted on a mural in downtown New York or on Hollywood Boulevard?
That would be great–if you were consulted and signed a contract.
Otherwise, someone has just stolen your idea and taken it for their own and is making money from it.
This is the work of a con artist, someone who plagiarized artwork ideas for their own benefit.
It is illegal and worth going to court if you have the extra cash and time to afford the legal process.
4. Finding Steady Work
As a painter, unless you paint houses and commercial properties, you are likely to have days or weeks without paid work.
That being said, some circles do require the work of portrait artists, such as zoos, and fine artists. Learning how to become a full-time paid painter is a challenge you will most likely struggle with from time to time.
It is not impossible, but the work of a painter is not always required.
5. Paying for Supplies
When you paint, this requires painting supplies.
You will need to buy paint, and high-quality paint costs the most but has the best visual appeal.
Therefore, expect to spend money to make money in this profession.
You are also going to waste or otherwise throw away a lot more paint than you want to.
This is going to eat away at your supplies and budget.
Along with paint, you need paint brushes and applicators, as well as stencils, mats, easels, and tons and tons of paper.
Paper, actually, may become your most expensive supply when you start ordering fine papers for specific art projects.
6. Coming Up With New Material
Painter generally comes up with their own ideas and uses their material for the artwork.
If you run out of ideas and materials, you will most likely flounder as a painter.
Ideas are related to creativity; the more creative you are, the more ideas you will have.
That being said, not all of your ideas will be a winner for reviews, and you will spend a lot of time wasted on poorly conceived concepts.
That is all a matter of practicing the craft though!
7. Not a 9 to 5 Career
A full-time job working from 9 am to 5 pm is what some adults demand.
This is not the typical schedule of a professional painter.
There are few businesses where painters are hired for full-time employment–unless you are painting houses or buildings.
Those are construction painters who work on a commercial scope.
If you want to be a fine arts painter, or to paint for the public from 9 to 5 every day, you will need to be really good at your job.
Your artwork must be stellar and in the highest demand, and your ideas must remain fresh and on point every single time you produce a work of art.
This is generally the skill of a master painter, and yes, you could become a master painter one day.
However, for most individuals, it takes years if not decades to achieve the level of mastery that is involved with being a master painter.
Pros and Cons of Being a Painter – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Painter||Cons of Being a Painter|
|1. Artistic Freedom||1. Fine Artists Need a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts|
|2. Personal Creativity||2. Art is a Fickle Concept|
|3. Working in Solitude||3. Dealing With Con Artists Who Steal Paintings|
|4. Working in Most Environments||4. Finding Steady Work|
|5. Playing Around With Colors||5. Paying for Supplies|
|6. Learning How to Express Your Ideas||6. Coming Up With New Material|
|7. Paid Gigs and Sold Paintings||7. Not a 9 to 5 Career|
Should You Become a Painter?
Painting as a professional career ranges from commercial building painting to fine arts painting.
Whether you have a college degree in art history or have trained with professional house painters, there are ways to make money as a painter.
Learn how to be the best painter with the skills that you have, whether you work solo and sell paintings on Etsy or are commercially certified to work for the Department of Transportation as a wall artist.
From there, you will be able to excel at the top of your craft and be the best-known painter in your community.
Painting is a highly reputable skill and occupation to have, and it is worth trying to become a painter if you have the talent.
That being said, the more you paint, the better your skills will be and it will show through your artwork.
So keep practicing painting through the act of painting and you will naturally be known as a painter, whether paid or as a hobby.
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