You mean you're not a full time artist?

Yes, I have full time gig that pays the bills.  For some, it's a sign of failed artist.  The stigma of a "part time" painter is perceived as one who didn't make it, or worse, isn't good enough.  Granted, every time I show my work to people while I'm doing the day job, I almost always get, "What the hell are you doing here?".  Well, if you must know, I'm here so I can provide healthcare and a steady income for my family.  If you are reading this and follow other artists, you might be surprised some of them also work a full time or part time job.  Unfortunately, most of us have experienced at one time or another, someone telling us we aren't real professional artists because we don't paint full time.  Other times, it's an artist who has established a career that is condescending towards those who can’t make that leap yet.  But I certainly can attest to many amazing painters who have been more than gracious sharing their time and knowledge with me.  My own personal reasons for not being open about my day job is that it invites people wanting my professional opinion, when I’d much rather talk about art and painters that motivate and inspire me.  Why then, might I be bringing this up now?  Well, I know there are a lot of other painters who share the same dream of having a successful full time painting career as I do.  I thought it would be great to share my own experiences with others.

I didn’t go to college to become a painter.  When I graduated with a BFA in computer graphics & illustration, I was even more confused about what I wanted to do.  So here I am, in my 40’s knowing exactly where I want to be in life, and I feel a lot of anxiety.  Most of it comes from not knowing if my mark as a painter will reach it’s full fruition.  I’ve made a lot of progress in a short time, but I’m restless and know my best work is yet to come.  To paint at the level I want to be at will take an enormous amount of time and effort.

So I hope that you enjoy reading about my painting adventures and my own personal insight as I continue to evolve my art career into a full-time profession.



Doug Clarke is an award winning Plein Air and Studio painter based out of Virginia Beach. He works in oils creating plein air and studio paintings.

Graduating with Honors and Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University, Doug's work has evolved from commercial to fine art.  As an active member of the Norfolk Drawing Group, the painter strives for excellence in his figure drawings and paintings.  His commitment to life drawing and painting led him outdoors to paint "en plein air".  There he realized his passion for capturing light and nature in his own personal way.

Doug has been commissioned to paint both Harborfest and Neptune Festival posters for 2014.  Awards include 1st place awards for Plein Air 757,  Williamsburg Plein Air and the Plein Air Mount Lebanon quick draw competitions, as well as a three time winner of the Historic Fort Monroe Plein Air Exhibition.  His paintings are collected far and abroad internationally.  Doug’s work is currently represented by Harbor Gallery and the Ellen Moore Gallery.

In pursuit of mastering his craft, he has participates in local and national plein air events

When painting outdoors, Doug is very passionate about capturing the vanishing landscapes of Southeastern Virginia.