Tuesday, 15 May 2012

An Artist Thoughts

Over My Shoulder
I have received so many emails recently asking my advise on how to turn professional as an artist and how to get into galleries. I am also hearing from many artists who are finding they are not selling at all to the point they feel they want to give up painting.
I am replying personally but I realised maybe some of my views might be worth sharing here on my blog.
Firstly I always ask if the artist truly enjoys painting. I am passionate about working in watercolour. So much so that much of my time is experimental for my own sheer pleasure. From this fabulous creative experience I gain ideas for my new paintings and only these are shown in my watercolour collections. I must be really frustrating as an artist because I do not set out to paint any subject merely because it is selling well. In fact I do exactly the opposite.
I paint from my heart and I am never dictated to by what has sold in the past. My main concern is that every painting I create is my best and far better than the last . But I love this feeling and always yearn for something new.
As a result when I do have work that I am ready to exhibit there is an element of excitement about it. My new cockerels are worth waiting for as are my racing scenes. And then there will be the many other subjects that have also appeared from my creative process. When these go into a gallery they are looked forward to. And I have a good reputation of delivering work on time and presented professionally for my shows.
I arrived at this point in my career from experience over the years and learning. I know an excellent relationship with a gallery who represents me is vital.
I am continually surprised at people who are new to painting, in a matter of weeks or months who waltz into a gallery expecting to immediately sell their paintings and become famous overnight. It doesn't happen. Well maybe in rare cases!
I am disappointed when I hear of talented artists giving up because their work isn't selling when quite often they are just pushing themselves far too hard to be successful at a time in their art careers when they simply aren't ready.
My advise is to consider why you are painting. If you are enjoying the creative process then continue and grow as an artist. If you are only painting to sell and your work isn't selling consider why this is the case. Is it your style, your lack of experience or possibly too many paintings already out there similar in subject matter and technique.
If you are new as an artist and want to make a successful career out of painting, take your time. Grow, learn and only ever show your best. Don't race to get to your destination as a well known or famous artist. Make the journey to where you want to be really exciting and fascinating.
That way when you reach your dreams the whole process will have been magical!
Remember always, that all over the world there are millions of people who paint and many of them will be far better than you or I. But if you are an artist simply because you adore painting, every single day of your creative life will be terrific and that's the difference.


Judith Farnworth Art said...

As you know Jean, I am one of those "student" artists who is just starting on the journey of getting my work "out there." I totally agree with your article and if I never sell a piece it doesn't matter.... two reasons, first I am in a fortunate position where I don't need sales for financial reasons and secondly it is the painting I want to do and if someone likes enough to buy, yes I will be over the moon but it is not my reason for painting. I paint because I need to paint, the sales will be a happy by-product, I have come to the conclusion that my drive to improve is for my own rather than others approval, and I really hope that doesn't change.......while we can be our own worst critic for me it is the desire and vision I have of where I want to be which seems to drive me on (and that vision constantly changes as I move on too!!!)

All this doesn't mean I am without any ambition to sell, what I think it means is that sales or no sales I will still want to paint. I have spent a good many years getting to the stage where I can see my work may be worth trying to sell but my desire to paint never wavered during all those years!!!

Bonnie Schallermeir said...

Excellent advice! I believe you do have to paint for your passion, and that results in better quality paintings, unique paintings, and feelings in your paintings. The rest of it just falls in to place! Nice article!

Michelle Morris said...

So true. I feel that we think sales validate us an our work. If you remove that pressure and do it for yourself and the love of it, I think the passion and creativity are more easily released. Thanks for the post! I love your passion and I share your excitement of watercolor!!