Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm no portrait artist!

We had a Fine Arts show and sale last weekend and I managed to sell all except one piece.  I was ridiculously ecstatic that my art was such a hit.  In some little way, it gave me motivation and the belief that I can pull this artist thing off.  I never want to be the type of artist that paints what people like.  I want people to like what I paint.  Once upon a time, all I created was what people wanted me to create.  People would call me up or approach me, asking me to paint them a painting of a lighthouse, a portrait of their child, etc.  This is what I became accustomed to and I absolutely hated it.  So, even when I wasn't making art for other people specifically, I was making art that I thought people would like and like to buy.

This year, I realized that this isn't what I want to do.  I'm finished with painting portraits and pretty landscape paintings.  I want to paint what I want to paint... and I have been all year.  It's refreshing having people like it, and even buy it.  That is what I want.

I always thought I loved creating portraits... until I set myself up in the local mall.  I was in there for two weekends and made a ridiculous amount of money, but I also developed tendonitis in my right wrist.  I was drawing portraits for 8 hours straight with no break at all.  After the mall, people continuously called me and asked me to do portraits for them.  It would take me forever just to do one portrait.  In actuality, it only takes me maybe three hours to complete a good portrait (I was just doing $15 dollar portraits in 15 minutes when I was in the mall) but to actually gather the motivation to sit down and do it... was painful.

What was driving me to sit down and whip up a portrait of a smiling face I hold no attachment to?  Nothing.  - which is exactly why it would take me weeks to complete one.  The only thing driving me to complete it was the money but even that, to me, wasn't worth it.

So, in a way, I'm thankful for the two weekends I worked in the mall as a portrait artist because it was then that I realized that that's exactly what I didn't want to do.

I want to do what I want to do - and if people like it, that's great.  If not, I don't care.. at least I won't be cringing, fighting with myself to do something that I don't want to do.

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