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Art as Play by Deb Bartos

Thinking about how much we have invested in art materials and frames, can lead to careful but un-inspired work.  Painting from reference materials (even your own, hopefully they ARE your own) can also produce nothing but stagnation.

Before I start a new piece, I usually ask myself, “Why am I painting this?” If I have a good reason, it usually achieves much better results than slavishly copying something that inspired me when I saw it on location.

Visiting art galleries, museums, every so often, reminds me of the great diversity that exists in art, and how none of our art “snowflake” creations are ever the same.

The world in general LOVES to categorize things, “impressionist”, “modern”, “figurative”, “representational”, and so on. We as artists get known for our “style”, whatever it may be.

I’ve had others comment, “That’s not really your style,” which I think is interesting, but not fatal. To me, it’s a sign of life, that my work doesn’t always look the same.  Every once in a while, I have to try something totally new.  It’s called growth, or at least a new learning opportunity.

I had a large looming project that I really wanted to do, but didn’t want to overwork. I didn’t know how, yet. Then I went to a local gallery and saw a revealing technique that vastly simplified what I planned to do. The artist featured in the show had consistently and confidently left most of his canvas in the under painting stage. He focused all the attention (and paint) on the parts he really wanted the viewer to see. Wow, great revelation, just what I needed just when I needed it. (Art and life in general seems to work that way for me.) I came home and played with some old paints I had on my palette for about a week on an old canvas that had painted and painted over before. It was fun, pure fun, no pressure, just experimentation.

If we are having fun, it shows in our creations, it always does. It made me remember, the best art always comes from a playful attitude. Not that our previous years of experience don’t come into the mix, but if it’s not fun, it’s not going to be fun or interesting for the viewer either.

I matched the 2 large areas with key color notes, and then scratched it off with various things to create texture and form.  A paper towel, a spoon, etc. No brushes yet, I only was shaping the forms. I’m not sure how it will turn out, but I really like it so far. That’s how the art process seems to work best for me, making it up as I go along, really incorporates everything I’ve learned about seeing so far.  It’s an ongoing process.

The old joke about “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” (Practice, practice, practice) is the same for painting. “Keep on painting, (and have fun!)



The Emerging Artist Label by M Theresa Brown

Far away from the fantasy art auctions of Christie's and Sotheby's is the real world of art  sales where there are many thousands of artists who create and sell their art.  In this world, the artist is usually working directly with the buyer and for sums far less than the multimillion dollar art in the big name auctions.  A sale is just as important to them as it is for the art auctioneer.  Without the big names and the money behind them, these artists must work hard to achieve sales and many are struggling.
Yet the very people who mean to help these artists are also sabotaging their efforts. Somewhere in the shadowed world of anonymous "experts" in the art communities are people who must have nothing better to do that  sit around and dream up new ways to guarantee that artists continue to fail in their art marketing!

One useful way they do this, apparently, is to  sort through their vast store of adjectives and descriptive words that cannot be used for any other career, and apply them to an artist's career. In doing so,  they unwittingly (because we cannot believe this is being done on purpose) perpetuate the cycle of failure that faces so many artists who are trying to sell their art.

One of the most insanely used descriptions has to be the "EMERGING ARTIST."  Who came up with this concept? The "Emerging Artist" tag  ranks right up there with "starving artist."  Using this phrase in the context of how the public sees it virtually dooms the first step in an artist's career. The phrase is everywhere. Emerging artist show, emerging artist grants, emerging artist site...... is it on your website or blog?

Look at this word in another context. Would you go to an emerging dentist?  How about hiring an emerging lawyer or doctor?  Beyond that how many emerging musicians or dancers have you encountered? Hmmm. We thought so. :-)

If this phrase is anywhere in your vocabulary or written information, take it out! If you are creating your art, you have already "emerged."  And if we want to get technical, the actual meaning of the word "emerge"  from

verb (used without object), e·merged, e·merg·ing.

1. to come forth into view or notice, as from concealment or obscurity: a ghost emerging from the grave; a ship emerging from the fog.

2. to rise or come forth from or as if from water or other liquid.

3. to come up or arise, as a question or difficulty.

4. to come into existence; develop.

5. to rise, as from an inferior or unfortunate state or condition.

Do any of these sound like a good description to tack onto "artist"?

Did you know that your average consumer, the one who is  interested in your art, is not interested in your art education nor your awards?  Did you know that 
"emerging" is synonymous with "starting?"  How many artists, practicing for years, find this label added to their names at the advice of an art organization or friends? One artist lit up after one of our seminars when I told her that she had already "emerged" and that the validation she was told she needed by her artist friends was for artists, not her collectors!

How you view yourself, your abilities and your art career are keys to how well you will prosper in your art marketing and how well you present yourself to your clients. Shed that "emerging artist" label! You are an artist. Enjoy it!

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