I am a hobbyist, not a business. According to some brief research I have done online, the minimum an artist like me should be paid is about $22 per hour - that's the casual rate, which certainly describes what I do. I have entertained hopes that perhaps I could be a business, or make some sort of living from painting miniatures.....but I do not. I'm fairly sure I cover my costs in terms of materials, but in terms of labour, not by a long shot.
I really admire the painters who can make a living from what they do - I am blown away by guys like James Wappel who manage to produce such beautiful work in quick time, and are able to command good prices for their efforts. I know Mr Wappel & others work some intense hours to get through that volume, unfortunately I don't have the stamina to do that. My hands & wrists start to cramp, my eyes hurt, and my back aches if I paint for extended periods.
I had to stop working a "mainstream" career because my health broke down on a number of levels. I am so thankful that early on after leaving my former career, I was contacted by a fellow Tasmanian wargamer to paint some miniatures for him - thanks Barrie! This helped to give me some focus, it was therapeutic, I had stuff to do day by day - it has meant a lot to me to be able to work with my hands & have ongoing projects. It has helped me grow my own collection of Dark Age & WW2 figures, get more paints & brushes, invest in better lighting, and help pay some of the internet bill from all my browsing at wargame/history related stuff.
I receive no social welfare assistance as my wife's earnings nudge us just over the threshold as far as that is concerned. It is a weird situation to be in.
I am thankful though, thankful that I am not as depressed & anxious as I was, that I can sleep most nights, that I still have my family around me, that I live in a pleasant semi-rural location. I thank God that he daily preserves me & perseveres with me through this valley. I am thankful for the counsellors and professionals who have taught me that it is far better to accept stuff than burn myself out over stuff I can do nothing about. Thankful for an amazing wife and children that keep loving me as I am.
I will keep painting stuff, and sometimes I will say "no" to commissions - please don't be offended, remember it is not a business for me. I have changed how I work a bit, like not doing anything smaller than 20mm now, and I have been thinking of only taking commissions for stuff 28mm & bigger - I find the small stuff hard work for my eyes & hands.
Some of you may be surprised to know that I have no personal interest in modern warfare - my interests stop at WW2. I have painted a lot of modern warfare miniatures in 20 & 28mm because folks asked me to, but I'm starting to think that maybe I should be painting stuff that I have an actual interest in. That's not to say that I haven't found the modern stuff enjoyable in terms of a creative challenge - it's just not where my interests lie.
I'm not sure that many will read this post as it is text based, but thanks if you did :-)
Thank you to all those who leave kind comments on my blog, or ask interesting questions, or even point out an inaccuracy in my research. I will continue to try & reply to you, even if it's just "Thanks :-)".
All the best,