Friday, March 1, 2013

Through the Looking Glass

Portrait of Stephanie Allison
In my continued quest to learn all I can about art marketing, I've come across TONS of information. But the one that peaked my interest the most (well, at this time, anyway) suggested posting earlier artworks--I'm talking like back in the stone age when I first picked up a paint brush.  Well I can't go back THAT far because, silly me, I didn't keep any refrigerator art from my school days (and neither, apparently, did my mother) but I did head down to the studio/basement/garage and started pulling out old portfolios and files, canvases that were stacked along the wall--and discovered a small treasure trove of old work, student work, canvases I'd started and, for various reasons, either lost interest in or got stuck and quit.  Not only did I find paintings I'd literally forgotten about, but with each new discovery, I became inspired again.

I found an early self-portrait (above left), which not only made me laugh, but also reminded me of those early painting days. Back then, I didn't think as much about what I was doing.  I just jumped right down the rabbit hole and did it! And I think jumping in without a lot of thought isn't necessarily a bad thing. For me, anyway, because I have a tendency to over-think things and then I get so wrapped up in the thinking that I lose interest in the painting. I'm not saying there's no value in art education, workshops, etc.  I've benefited from all that. But I think you can spend way too much time analyzing, planning and critiquing, and before you know it you've lost all the emotion and freshness, as well as maybe some of the joy of painting.

Where Shall I Go
Watercolor Collage
by Stephanie Allison
Which brings me to why taking a step back and rummaging through earlier art is beneficial to your art marketing:  it's easier to sell artwork you are passionate about.  If you are brimming with enthusiasm over something you've created, your potential customers will feel that joy as well.  Sometimes (and I am guilty of this) we spend too much time painting what we THINK will sell, and pay no attention to what has actually SOLD and, more importantly, why.  So looking through my old stuff helped me see what I was passionate about and what I'm still passionate about. Digging through the bones of earlier artwork also showed me how I've grown as an artist--where I've been, and where I want to go.

Now I may have arrived late at this revelation, but I suspect I'm not the only one.  Lesson learned:  stepping through the looking glass into the past can re-ignite a lost or buried creative spark.  It has for me!

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