Let's do the fun stuff first!!!! FEBRUARY'S MINI GIVEAWAY WINNER IS:......
How do I pick a random winner??? I use an automated random number generator website to pick a number from my list of members, and that's who wins that month)
I want to say thank you so much you guys for your constant support! For taking the time to look at, like, share and purchase my art. I was only 2 minis away from my sales goal for the month, so I am super happy about that!
WHAT DO I DO WITH ALL THESE PAINTINGS?
So this weeks post is about a question/comment I get probably at every workshop or class. I have heard it so regularly that it has forced me to really contemplate it over the years.....as I had never fully understood the mindset of the question and never really knew how to answer it.
I could give you all kinds of ideas for what you can do with these paintings. I probably have and will, but I really feel like the question is a mindset and if one is not careful this question can be the seed of quitting or stagnation in your development. So I have a few suggestions that hopefully you can use to shift how you see all of those paintings stacked up in your studio. So what do you do with all these paintings? It's time for a paradigm shift!
1. CELEBRATE!!!!!! Honestly, you should celebrate. Stack 'em all up, lay them all out and celebrate. Look at all of the time you have given to developing your skill. Every painting is a document of what you understood at the time and every painting is an inch closer to your dream of creating even more beautiful work. Because you can't get there without stacks of canvases and a road made of painted panels.
2. IT'S AN EXPERIENCE NOT A PRODUCT! I think that part of the hang up with making paintings is the fact that it is a tangible object that we have produced. It exists in the world now, you can pick it up, touch it, hang it on the wall....and so generally we feel that something should be done with it. It should be shown, it should be sold, etc. Now contrast that with let's say going to the gym and exercising to get stronger. To me, it's the same thing. When I go to the gym, I'm putting in my time and energy....investing in me......and there is no one paying me at the end of the workout.....and I can't really see any tangible results on any one workout. It takes a lot to change your body, to change your mind, to build a skillset. There are a lot of misses, a lot of failures and you don't always get a reward.
3. ACCEPT THAT A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR WORK WILL NEVER GO ANYWHERE! This is how it has worked for me at least. In the beginning let's say that only 10% of your work might be worth anything and 90% gets chucked. Year after year that percentage comes closer together. Even now after 8 years of at least 40 hours a week of painting and 4 years of art school I would say at least 25% of my work goes nowhere. Yes, it is definitely rewarding when people want to buy your work... and for me it's definitely necessary to do it as a living....but if I couldn't make a living doing this I think I would still do it when I could because I love the work and the gratification of making something gorgeous.
4. YOUR IN GOOD COMPANY!!! If you have stacks and stacks of paintings in your studio, your in good company! In fact, I'd say it's a REQUIREMENT for success. Yes, I have been able to sell a lot of paintings (anyone who knows me knows that I am all for selling & showing), but I also have had a ton of paintings get thrown in the trash, get sanded off and painted over. I've given paintings as gifts to family, donated to charities, etc. Right now, if I counted up I would guess I have at least 100 paintings in my condo that are yet to sell or show. Some will find a home, some will be content to stay with me. If you ask any professional artist they will probably tell you the same thing. As a matter of fact on a visit to Quang Ho's studio last year he had probably the biggest stacks of paintings in his studio that I have ever seen (which I desperately wanted to dig through all of them-ha ha).
5. YOUR TREASURE CHEST! I love keeping old paintings around for a long time. To me they are unfinished ideas....that may have been a really great idea and I just couldn't complete it at the time. I have a bunch out in my garage right now and every time I pull the car in or go out there, I go on a little memory lane dig. I often find an oldie that just makes me smile and I think...hmmmm....I just revisit that- that wasn't a bad idea. In fact, I did have one that I had hanging up for a year and I finally pulled it off the garage wall and took it inside and finished it. It is one of my most satisfying paintings. Sometimes I think our mind just needs time to figure out what to do with them.
6. PURGE!!! So this is the last option, but also a very very good one. Purge those babies! Throw them in the trash. Or in my case, I had built up an entire wall of portrait sketches which I am trying to get better at. For several weeks, they were inspiring. I was studying where I could improve....but one day they just looked like this black cloud and felt like such a burden so I just took them all down at once. They were on linen sheets, so I just stacked them up in a nice tidy pile and tucked them away for the time being (I was ready to chuck them just yet). It was a huge relief. I literally had a start over.
It's a BADGE OF HONOR you guys. Keep working! ENJOY your work! Every painting is not destined to go anywhere, but to help you in the future.
Here are some paintings I completed this month:
This is one of the larger (12x24" oil on linen) paintings that I worked on this month. 1 out of 3 finished gallery works I did. I really tried to push myself longer on these paintings in order to get more depth, richness and subtlety. The time investment is sometimes agonizing for me, but worth it in the end.
A few of the recent MINIs. All 6"x6":