No not a reference to the song from Sleepless in Seattle, but a return to writing about what I do. It’s all very well posting your work on social media and hoping that they’ll read the accompanying text, but the reality is most people don’t… I don’t! In fact it makes you wonder if there is indeed truth to the rumour that we are all forgetting how to read. So in defiance of this trend I’m returning to the digital pen and hopefully writing more regularly again about my work.
We recently had an open studio/house during the summer for friends and family who wanted to see my new work in the flesh… paint… person.. anyway, one of those. Nothing was sold, because it was chiefly a get together, but lots of scones, jam, tea and gin and tonic was consumed on the hot summer’s Saturday on which it was held and one of the things I was surprised by were the questions. People were actually asking me about my work. Now on Instagram or Facebook hardly anyone would ever be so bold as to actually ask about the work, but in real life it would seem people do and it came as quite a surprise. In fact it was a slightly unsettling surprise, as I had to think on the spot about why I painted what I’d painted. I knew of course, well I think I knew, but explaining your thoughts and feelings is something that obviously takes practice.
To make matters worse shortly after the open house I got interviewed by one of my son’s friends for her college work. I was sat face to face with an eager student getting asked all sorts of arty questions. It was like an exam! It was a bit of shock in the first place when she said she wanted to interview an artist and wondered if I’d be THE artist, but I was completely unprepared for a barrage of questions that actually made me think deeply about why I had painted what I’d painted. However the exam soon ended and I think I passed, at least she seemed happy with the answers given.
The thing is, actually painting/creating is only a part of being an artist and most of us would like it stop there. Most of us hate self promotion, selling and talking about what we do, we just want to go away somewhere and create without interruption or interrogation alone with our work. The reality though is that in order to do that, to get your voice heard and hopefully sell some of your work and eat you must engage with the real world. You must push yourself out there into the sometimes soul crushing system that is the art-world and what a strange world it is! It’s full of people that half the time can’t make up their minds whether they’re the next giant of the art-world or a worthless, talentless wreck. Artists are often a paradoxical combination of giant ego and crippling insecurity, so if they have to approach the art market it’s important to make sure they do so when they’re somewhere in the middle. Personally I hate it, but it has to be done if you want your artistic voice to be heard and the rewards when they come can make it all worthwhile.
Anyway, there you go. The dog’s asleep, I’ve finished the work I’ve been procrastinating about for months in updating my website with new work and it’s time for a little smackeral of something for lunch. I’ll leave you with a piece of new work.
Bee – Oil on panel
4 thoughts on “Back in the saddle again.”
Whenever I’m on Instagram I feel like I’m window shopping on a skateboard… or an express train. Nice to see you back on your blog.
I have been admiring this bee piece on Instagram. I am pleased that there is nobody around to ask me why I like it so much! it reminds me of holding a balloon… and playing with paperclips… but it’s a tethered bee… and there is an implied image of a noose…. but somehow the bee still looks cute!
If I’m ever asked about “Bee” in the future I think I’ll just use your observations as an answer, they’re very astute! 🙂 It does look like you’re flying a bee balloon and you’re quite right, even though the subject of a dead bee suspended on a wire is a little macabre it does somehow seem endearing. Obviously bees are cute alive or dead!
I hadn’t even noticed the noose reference, it was entirely coincidental… it might not be any more though, thanks.
Congratulations on a successful open studio day! I’ve always found that artwork inspires dialogue much more in life than it does over media. You can’t feel the energy of the work through social media, as you can when you’re looking at the work in front of you; the colours and presence of the work’s details, And, though an open studio event doesn’t necessarily generate sales, as you’ve discovered it can generate other opportunities. I hope you have many more open studio days. Good luck.
Thanks Filio. Sometimes when I’ve only seen a piece on social media that I painted and haven’t actually taken it out to look at in the flesh, so to speak, for a while, even I’m surprised at how different it looks and I painted it! How are you getting on with your beautiful portraits? Still enjoying it?