Thursday, February 12, 2009
Will It Sell, and Should I Care?
Up until now I've been subject to an affliction that plagues many an artist; the notion that each work of art we begin must be marketable in some way. This notion has its down side because it can severely limit what we choose to paint or draw and how we go about the whole creation process. It can also paralyze us with fear that we're going to ruin whatever piece of artwork we're currently working on.
Many of us aspiring artists fall into this trap in the early stages of our careers; at the point when we decide that we've become good enough to actually be able to sell our art. Then the pressure is on to make every piece good enough to sell. That pressure becomes stifling of our spontaneity and creativity. Sometimes we paint what we think will sell and not what we're passionate about or what truly inspires us. Our growth as artists can come to a standstill.
That's the point I've found myself at, and now I'm struggling to free myself of those market-driven decisions. It's hard to eliminate them altogether, so I've come to a compromise of sorts. For instance, I know that Friesians are a very popular breed right now and that I only have one image to offer for sale. With that in mind, I decided to do a Friesian for my next art project. Going through Friesian images in my reference photos, a couple of photos caught my eye, and I chose one to work from and began a sketch. You can see it above.
But, another photo also spoke to me, and I kept coming back to it. It may not be something that will appeal to the average horse lover, but it has lots of Art Appeal for an artist. I took that photo out of the box as well and have even toned a canvas for it. I'm even excited at the prospect of beginning the painting and trying a new technique! Just to be sure that I don't put too much pressure on myself, I chose a cheap canvas board. This one will also be a study, and if it turns out well, I would like to do a larger version.
Do I have you in suspense yet to see what I'm so enthused about? Well, you'll just have to wait.
In the meantime, I'll develop this drawing to the point where it can go onto canvas. Because the head angle is tricky, I decided to do a drawing first rather than draw directly on the canvas as I did for "Winter Scotch". It needs a lot of work yet. The proportions are a little cock eyed, and I'm still debating whether or not to add a foal to the image or leave it as is. I'll decide that once the drawing is refined.
"Untitled" above depicts the Friesian mare, Alpie, that I photographed for a portrait several years ago. That portrait became the print, "Forever Friesian".
Will this image be marketable? I don't know, and I'm working hard not to care. For now, it's about enjoying the process of creation and letting the muse take me where ever it will.