Do What You Love, Love What You Do

This article is written by Stacy Steinborn

DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO…This quote has actually stirred controversy in the aspect of making a living and not making a living.  It is mostly interpreted in a thought of what you should do or not do to make money.   Whatever it is you do, you should love it.  The argument for some is, yeah, but you will most likely be broke. Living in Nashville Tennessee the music Capitol of the world, this city is full of thousands upon thousands of broken dreams and hungry musicians.   Now I can’t even begin to write about this argument.   I’m still figuring that one out.  However, I can look at this quote and read into it a little deeper.

honky tonk woman in mixed media collageBut first, how I came to the conclusion of my interpretation.

As a creator of mixed media art, have you ever finished a piece and shown it to someone and they don’t really react like they like it. I truly feel some people just “don’t get” mixed media.  And I’ve simply come to the conclusion that, that’s okay.

This is a scenario that has happened to me on more than one occasion: At a gathering or function, a group will be talking and someone introduces you to an artist.  In the introduction they state that you do artwork as well.  Then you are questioned, what kind of art do you practice, what style of painting do you prefer? What do you use? And do you sale your art?  To answer these questions I usually say: mixed media, I guess my own style and, I have sold some pieces.  Then you are probed to show your work and you get out your phone show the other artist your pictures, and….crickets.  I find myself for a week or more after this scenario, questioning my talent, my ability, my work in general as an artist.  What an empty feeling to have when it comes to something I love so very much!

If you have ever had a doubt because of other opinions of your work, or because you are just not to the point that you are sure of yourself… I want to encourage you to think about you and your art in a new way.

That bookmark, painting, shadow box, frame, whatever you  have put your hands to do, to make; it has never existed before, not ever.   There may have been other things created like it or similar, you may have looked at something else for inspiration but that very thing you made is the only thing with the brush stroke you made, the glitter you sprinkled, the paper you added, whatever it is you do to your piece of art, it can never be duplicated.  It can never be done the exact same way again.

You are a creator.  You created something.

cre·a·tor   (kr-tr)


1. One that creates

cre·ate   (kr-t)

tr.v. cre·at·ed, cre·at·ing, cre·ates

1. To cause to exist; bring into being. See Synonyms at found1.

2. To give rise to; produce: That remark created a stir.

3. To invest with an office or title; appoint.

4. To produce through artistic or imaginative effort: create a poem; create a role.

adj. Archaic Created.

What a great definition of you!

The next time an “artist” or the “art community” tries to snub, insult you or your work because your not in the right circle or are not up to their standards please read the above definition.  You my dear are amazing because you brought something into existence with your hands and your mind and it is here now.   Take joy in your creation!

This finally brings me to the quote, DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO.  Now think about it again.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE = If you love to paint in circles, in lines, sideways, cross-ways, glue everything but the kitchen sink to your painting, cut strips of paper, add salt to your watercolor, do image transfers, paint the same subject over and over, use stamps, whatever style it is that you use, and you love it…then DO it.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE! When it comes to creating YOUR piece of art…you are the only one who can decide if you love how you do it.  If you are passionate about it you will keep on working at it until you figure out what you love if your not there yet.

Now the second part to that quote.

LOVE WHAT YOU DO = If you have finished your work.  You owe it to yourself to love it. If your not in love with it, love the fact that you did it, you learned from it, even if its what not to do next time, love it.   Don’t let someone’s interpretation of your art become your interpretation of your art.  You did it, you LOVE it! Love your style, love your mistakes(this makes you grow, I promise) love your whimsy, love your boldness, love your subtleness, love the colors you put together, love the lines, love the stamps you chose to use, love your paint covered clothes, love it…love yourself!

If you’ve been struggling with your ability or your style, if its because you are still growing or you have been snubbed or insulted.  Remember three things..




Sharpie sketch on packing paper

I’m closing with a painting that I created using an image transfer of a sketch I did with a sharpie on packing paper.  I used ephemera from an old love story from the thirties and the colors that make me think of the honky tonks in Nashville. I used a heavy gel medium and a stencil to make the star pop and added layers and scraped off layers until I had the texture I desired.   This lady looks as if she sang in the honky tonks of yesteryear and she was happy, because she did what she loved.

gel medium image transfer

She has earned her laugh lines, her wrinkles from  her hurts and her worries.  She wore the stories of her life written on her face. But she smiled because she did what she loved.

honky tonk woman in mixed media collage

I hope you are inspired to love what you do.

Flood your art with your inner light,

Stacy Steinborn



Stacy Steinborn lives in a little suburb outside of Nashville called Spring Hill TN in the USA. More of Stacy’s work can be found on her Flooded in Light blog.



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  1. Sue says:

    I have one word for this little piece of wisdom …. WoW … thank you for this. It is being printed off and hung where I can see it every day …. I may even alter the image of it some …put it on something permanent and create a background … lovin’ what I do 🙂

  2. Stacy,
    I can totally relate to those crickets and that feeling of self doubt after explaining my art to non-creative people. I have experienced that glazed-over look so many times!!! It is truly frustrating for us to have this experience over and over when we explain what we do. I have often thought I would be more accepted and understood if I were a musician or an athlete. But I am what I am…an ARTIST!!! What I have found over the years, is that the more I seek out other artists and have conversations with them about art, the more I feel validated and comfortable with my own creativity. Having our own art community is essential for for the survival of our creative species!!! Thank you for writing this article and promoting the idea that we must LOVE ourselves and what we do!!! Great job!!!

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