It always helps when you can find someone to provide feed back. A wall to bounce things off of. Following a recent online chat with my sister, we came to the conclusion that my motives were hollow. I was focusing on the end result i.e. the potential income from sales. Over time I had lost myself in the rough and tumble world of marketing. Having been to a few shows, set up at markets and plied my work online, sales have been pretty much non existent. I was envious of more established fellow artists who effortlessly produced stunning pieces which flew off the walls almost as quickly as they were hung! What was I doing wrong? I'd sold a few framed photographs and a large piece purchased by my spouse for honest biased reasons. Hardly enough to support my materials even! My impatient conclusion was that my work just doesn't seem to appeal to the average art aficionado.
When I look back to what brought me to this creative outlet and why certain pieces sold, I saw that the hardest question of all was still to come.....Who am I painting for? Why am I painting in the first place? I knew I loved photo realism whereas others can whip up oodles of abstract art or loosely brushed impressions of what they see. I'm a different breed and I must accept that. I like the fine details and the satisfaction of almost wanting to reach out and touch it kind of feeling. What happened?
One of the aspects of being an artist is getting commissions. After a couple of disappointing experiences; either I wasn't "feeling it" or the art work wasn't accepted. The experiences were most unpleasant and may have tainted any incentive to continue. I hated the pressure to perform, I tend to take things personally and can become quite the perfectionist. That just doesn't work well with true art. That I can honestly admit to. It was a bitter pill that I do not want to endure tasting ever again. I swore I would never do commission work again. At least I learned something about myself then too, for there are life lessons everywhere. This could be in part why I've been hitting the proverbial brick wall.
I realized I wasn't painting for the pure enjoyment anymore. I was scheming and strategizing what kind of art was popular, what was sellable. I was asking myself :"What are people buying? " Instead of painting subjects that would bring me pure joy, somewhere along the line I had fallen into the trap of seeking fame and fortune. I wanted to prove the "starving artist" theory wrong! How utterly naive of me! Being a proponent of following your bliss I saw that I had veered completely off the tracks. Time to pick myself up and dust myself off.
I reexamined what appealed to me and why I began this journey of self expression through the media of acrylic and canvas. It had begun with children's faces peering back at me from the canvas. Sad little eyes or happy ones in the contrast of squalor. Old crinkled faces showing age and wisdom was another. In fact I had discovered a talent for portraiture early on. My other joy was flowers. Considering I'm also a garden enthusiast and cannot seem to get enough of it, it was only natural to gravitate toward the beautiful close up faces of flowers. I did not take well to landscapes however but I have to admit the old adage "to each his own". There are plenty of landscape artists out there. Therefore today I am returning to basics, to my first love (so close to Valentines day too!) and to my true authentic self. If they like it they will buy, if not that's ok because I'm probably going to have a hard time parting with them! I am painting for ME. This sunflower above is a new beginning. I'm falling in love again!