Saturday, October 4, 2014

Creating work that sells

My painting subject is usually abstract landscapes. This past summer I worked in traditional water color media and created a "sale-able" piece for an auction to help the homeless.

I purposefully drew it realistically and painted in every detail, true to form. I enjoyed doing it and it turned out well. I went down to the local big box art supply store and picked out a frame suitable for the kind of work it was.

It gave me pleasure to stretch the 300lb Arches water color paper. I sanded down my old drawing board to fresh wood, laid the crisp rough paper in the bath tub for 60 seconds and then stapled it to the board to dry. When the paper was dry I drew every detail of a large bouquet of just picked, vibrant Lilies given to me from my friends garden. I painstakingly observed the colors of the flowers and built up the color intensities, layer by layer.

The composition was carefully considered as I placed a butterfly at the upper corner of the first rule of thirds intersection. I enjoyed adding salt to the loose background to create an interesting texture.

All in all it was a good exercise, and when I painted it, I try to capture the life or spirit of the subject. I stopped short of over working it and many people thought it was a very successful piece.

But, I don't quite feel that way about it. It was not spontaneously created or allowed to develop freely. Although it might not look like it, it was planned to the hilt and this planning I feel took some of the "spirit" out of it. This is a very different method from how I normally work. A friend said I should paint another one to sell, and another, and another... I could, but money isn't enough of a reason for me and I have been resistance to do it just for the money. I suppose if I was starving, my attitude might change in a heart beat. I felt somewhat disindigenous doing this...not sure why. I am talented enough to mimic any style or genre, and when I paint for myself, I find other artist to be appreciative. But when I do something like this, I find other artists bored and layman appreciative. What to do, what to do? Earn a live and cater to the masses or please myself? Maybe the trick is to do both.