Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where are you with your Art?

I have been doing much reading about marketing of my art and how I should be going about it. This is not something new for me. I have always been someone that loves to read about the best way for whatever!

Yesterday morning when having coffee and reading, I saw an article about what happens when we spend too much time researching, using the computer, marketing, etc. . . .  and not enough time in the studio. I wish I could remember who wrote the article, but I am bad about clicking through to many links from one article to the next. Bad!

The gist of the article was on the premise the if you "work" and "produce," the rest will follow. They had a split of time for about 20% for marketing and 80% for producing studio or plein air time. I had always heard it was closer to 50% each. I think lately I have been trying too hard on the marketing end and not spending enough time in the studio -- or plein air.

Some of the article discussed how easy it is to create buzz about your work, and on the internet create a persona that seems to be one of the better artists. You read all the time about someone winning awards, and the author of the article commented they would like to know what the awards are! I think it was a "she" writing the article -- and I agree with her. You can make a biography sound like you are one of the best artists in the region . . . and then really not have anything to back it up.

I think I have been so focused on not losing ground with my marketing and networking that I have lost sight, somewhat, about what I am doing. Don't get me wrong, I love my networking and the other artists I have met! These people are key in learning where to go from here . . . here being where I am now with my work. But, I talked to Haywood (my husband) last night during dinner about needing to spend uninterrupted time in the studio . . . much more of it. And, I need that time to be about painting, not producing work just for the gallery, or a show, etc.

I need to play, which is what I talked to my night class about in their last class. Play is what I call it! The ability to work and try different things. I truely believe we learn more from our mistakes than we do when it happens to come out right the first time. Now, don't get me wrong! I know certain theories and will apply them to my paintings, but sometimes in different combinations, the outcome will not be good!

Also, what is my voice? What am I trying to get across to my viewer? Who is Marsha Hamby Savage in the painting? These are things I will be exploring over the next months in the studio. What do I love about a scene? I need to make better choices about subject matter. That does not mean I will quit painting trees -- which is the biggest thing I am known for here in my regional area. Just how can I do it . . .  so that it is better than just a pretty painting of a tree?

Cypress Evening
Pastel - 12" x 9"

This painting is my latest finished piece and it was started as a demonstration in one of my classes. I think it turned out pretty well, and we discussed it in one of my other classes about the choices I made. It is all about the light! If you would like to critique it, please feel free. I would love to hear your thoughts, both good and critical. I don't want just a pat on the back. It might feel good, but it tells me nothing really.

Back to the article, and the thoughts I had from reading it . . . I know there are artists out there that think they are too good to associate with a local, non-nationally-known, artist. But, how did they get where they are? It is not just talent! It is hard work! Of course, spending time in the studio learning and perfecting their craft is key! But, there were people out there that helped them understand what made a better artist. Teachers, of course. Friends and peers all help. In my opinion, discussions among those I know are important.

Chime in and let me know what you are doing. We learn from each other.
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