Mastery is being adept in your art—skilled, proficient, expert—and taking ownership of your creativity and the direction you want to head in.
Attaining mastery usually involves surpassing your teachers and feeling like you are in control of your creativity. As a master it’s not that you have no more lessons to learn or skills to develop, but rather that you have taken charge of your creative career.
Sometimes people undertake actual Masters degrees at university to take their skills and career to the next level, but mostly your creative practice becomes a career through being your principal occupation.
Your lifework: master creatives often find that their work becomes a calling. They are driven by a strong impulse to push through the learning process and overcome the challenges in order to find their own style, voice or expression. Without this type of internal motivation it would be difficult to complete a course of studies or to find the courage needed to progress down the path towards mastery.
At some point the emerging master will confront the potential of turning professional—the choice to make a living from their art. The word professional has many meanings, but in the Art world it usually refers to accepting money for your work. The transition from amateur to professional is a huge step, not just in skills and confidence, but also in terms of personal philosophy.