One of my favorite artists, Brian Rutenberg has a video blog on being an artist. His lofty words and outlook on the profession are really a guilty pleasure of mine, I try not to miss a new video when it comes out.
And much to my astonishment, he spoke one day on how much bad artwork he actually makes - cut to video of him CUTTING UP A CANVAS! This for me was shocking, seriously, he paints on custom built Belgian linen canvases that are twice primed…and then the sheer amount of thick paint he uses leaves me to wonder exactly how much cold hard cash is used to make these treasures of his ONLY to see him routinely cutting one up and retiring it to the trash.
I. Was. Gobsmacked.
It was at this point, I realized, I’m not alone.
I sweat over my work and some days I think I’ve got it only to be gravely disappointed in it only a few hours later. It’s tough, you want it to be perfect every time and only some pieces you can classify as “magical” - - - that piece that everyone wishes they owned, everyone shares, everyone re-pins, etc.
It just doesn’t happen that way. Some days you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder why you keep going back for more punishment. No matter how much energy you put into it, it just keeps coming up wrong.
It has taken me a long time to realize that not only is destruction a part of the process of painting - making really bad work is also a part of it. It doesn’t always teach you something, some days it feels so random, some days it feels like you have no skill. One can really beat oneself up over it.
The most important part of this, tho - - the making of bad art, is a natural of the process, and it seems, may even be important to your development. You destroy it so as not to remember but its imprint is still there in your later work. It’s all one, and it’s all to be embraced.
So you want to start an art collection...GREAT!!!
It's fine, we've all been here - a beginner. You are in a world that is unfamiliar with a huge desire to learn. You're eager and anxious to be on your new journey but you feel totally clueless as to what to do next and this is no different when you want to begin a decent art collection. So where do you being?
Happily, I can tell you that as an aspiring collector you Do NOT have to have a vast knowledge of art in order to make this happen for you. All you need is confidence in what you truly love.
Thankfully, we have the internet in this day and age and it won't take tons of time going to art shows in hope that you will find the knowledge you need to get started. Sites like Pinterest and large online galleries like Saatchi and Fine Art America can help you trudge thru the sheer amount of art available online...and that's OK too, because you will quickly learn what you prefer when it comes to choosing art for your home.
That knowledge do you need? Basically - knowing what you love and what fits into your lifestyle...it's as simple as that. So go ahead and spend some time looking about in these galleries and getting a feel for what you really love. This will make it easier for you to hone what your preferences are thus making it easier for you to make your very first purchase whether at a show or online. You will also feel better about what constitutes good art and that is not as hard as you think it is.
For you, the small collector, it absolutely comes down to what you like because the vast majority of today's collectors that are into art as an investment have the help of those who have a Master's in Art History and often a number of people looking around for just the right investment opportunity - this is not you, so don't try to be that person. You are going to do far better knowing that you are doing this for the love of art rather than trying to score a painting that is going to be some huge payoff 20 years from now. It's just not possible without tons and tons of proper research. Who has time for that?
So begin small and take a few baby steps. Buying a small work under 16" x 20" is a great place to begin. You won't spend a ton of money and a collection of small works thoughtfully done can have a huge impact in your home. It's the really smart way to start and very quickly you will establish yourself as a connoisseur and patron of fine art. Brilliant.
Don't be afraid to mix styles of art, just make sure to pair this styles together on separate walls - you know, just like the big art gallery does.
If art collecting is a passion for you then it's time to dive in and get started. There is so much real opportunity out there and good artists can be very easy to find and buy from - directly. This is the age of technology, after all.
So if you have any further questions - please feel free to comment below. The best way to begin is to take that first step...you are more confident than you know.
Creative Blocks? They happen.
A few years ago, I was dealing with a major creative block. It was awful. Thankfully, the contributing factors were easy to pinpoint: moving house, new home renovations, family illness and then a surprise pregnancy. The changes just kept coming and in over 100 days I didn’t pick up a paint brush ONCE.
It took a few months of working to find my center again and it was frustrating. So, in response to my major creative block I have decided to pass on what I learned about overcoming it:
1. Pinpoint the Attributing Factors:
This part is very important because often times you can figure out how to quickly eliminate or neutralize these issues once you identify them. Attributing Factors can also lead to stress which is covered later in this article.
Write them down and then explore ways to overcome them.
2. Organize Your Workspace:
I don’t know about everyone else, but when I can’t find things or have to spend time navigating clutter, I simply shut down - - or worse yet, explode…Clutter ignites some, but not most, so in light of that, spend some time making your studio a place where your mind is at ease and it feels good, even great to be there.
Anything less will kill both your creativity and your motivation.
3. Find a Way to De-Stress:
Stress kills everything. It’s much like a microbe that is immune to medicine, it just keeps spreading. Finding a way to remove the stresses that most affect your creative work is paramount to your producing the work that will over come your block.
Anything small that can help you de-stress is a great idea, so read on:
4. Exercise and Good Sleep:
It’s so much easier to sit on the couch and watch yet another art documentary, but the reality is that exercise, combined with good sleep will go a very long way to helping you get over your block (and stopping them from happening.)
While the link between creativity and exercise in not actually known, what is known is that getting your body moving helps the brain to work better! Combine this with a geode and consistent night’s sleep and you have half of the battle won. While you’re at it - add eating better and balanced food and you’d be surprised how far all of this goes to your creative output. I did this years ago, I’ve never looked back - and it goes a very long way toward de-stressing your environment:
5. Finally, go back to the basics of Inspiration.
Make bad work when you can’t make good work. You need to stay in the zone as often as you can and the skill of inspiration (and it is a skill) can only happen when you work and work often.
In the end, a creative block - even a very serious one - can be overcome by doing much of the above and every one of these strategies are important. Stay in the zone as often as you can, your creativity will thank you.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that I spend a ton of time cruising art websites and it astounds me over and over again how inept artists are at building and maintaining sites that are attractive (myself included.) They should be nothing less than attractive, but sadly - most of them look like they are still stuck in the late 1990s! (#SoRetro, anyone?)
Here’s the problem: Building websites is hard work, even when you use such services as Squarespace and Wordpress (which is an annoying and impossible service) and it’s not just the initial building out of the site, it is also the maintenance of the site as well and from my professional experience as a designer, I’m finding more and more that people really are not into spending a lot of time “clicking about” sites just for the enjoyment of looking at art.
For artists, then - the standard website is not the answer, at all - ever.
What’s the option?
When I originally wrote this article in 2017, I came to the conclusion that my personal opinion for a good website was Tumblr. With really cheap templates (as low as $11) and a fairly easy to use dashboard (tho finding specific things in the settings can be a nightmare) the nearly-free service enables me to have a site that is set up much like Pinterest, and it's very attractive - which for an ARTIST, is extremely important. What's good about this is the never ending scrolling feature that allows people to look without the irritation of having to click into other pages...because let's face it, even the most dedicated enthusiast would rather scroll than click thru endless pages.
However, the future of Tumblr in my estimation is very sketchy. They recently updated their user policies with the sweeping change of not allowing adult content on the site, which I whole-heartedly welcome, but unfortunately - that was the majority of their business....so now I have to ask - exactly what are they doing now? Are they going to move forward to make this the great blogging site it was before 2013? Let's hope so, because I will personally put my stamp of approval to it.
For now, tho - Weebly is my paid site provider to the tune of $500+ dollars and while some art bloggers say that having a website is not necessary and there are other ways to get your artwork sold without the steep cost; until I get real gallery representation or a solid list of collectors then the paying feature is very necessary, even tho as artists - resources can sometimes be scarce.
All this and the problem remains the same: artists' websites are often horribly planned out and executed. As a former graphic designer I have a huge advantage in this area and all of my sites I'm happy to say are attractive. I cannot emphasize it enough; however, that the site that introduces, displays and sells your art should be at the very least attractive.
With plenty of social media options out there, it really is optional as to whether or not an artist chooses to have a dedicated site. My opinion? Do a Tumblr blog and you have the almost free with minimal work/difficulty option. Keep plugging away at social media and eventually people will come to know you. Good luck and keep posting!
I so often appreciate people who not only take an interest in my work but also take the time to tell me that they like it, love it, or better yet spend their very hard earned money on purchasing my art that they then give an honored place in their home.
It's humbling, it really is.
Lately, however, I've been thinking about my business model and was about to set up a whole section of the website dedicated to how to hire for commissioned work....and then as I thought about it, I have decided NOT to go forward taking commissions.
Maybe it's bad policy, who knows - but the reality of the way I work is simple: I do better work when it's only me and my God-given inspiration moving forward on a work and what things I'm going to apply to that work to get it to speak in the context of how I want it to speak.
This is not so easy when I take commissions, in fact I find it down right impossible. People like very specific stuff for their walls and that's great, but it seems that once I am confined to doing a very specific thing I find that all my creativity seems to be lost on making sure the new painting looks like what the client wants. Some artists are very good at this and I'm really happy for that - I'm just not of that caliber and while I recognize that it would take some practice to get there, I'm just not that interested in how to be creative "inside the box."
So this is where it's at - I'm being paid not for my labor, but for my vision...that is what my clientele is purchasing. This is important because I know that I am giving the best of my talents simply by doing just what I know to do: create MY vision on canvas and nothing else.
So I whole-heartedly appreciate those who buy my work, I am forever in their debt and that's mostly because I understand what they are acquiring. They are not asking for anything in particular, they are being moved by the things running around in my head and that's really something to be thankful for.
In May of 2018 we finally made the big decision and built a large 28 x 16 art studio on our property. It was the best decision we ever made, but I think it's always going to be a work in progress as I begin to discover the best way to organize the studio to work for me while I'm doing the greatest pieces of art that I've ever planned (because those ideas are still sitting - waiting to be in progress)
It's a much needed space as we moved from our 2000 square foot home to the self-contained apartment above my husband's parents. While we sacrificed a ton of space I have to say it's still the best decision I ever made...we downsized quite a bit and spent quite a bit of time and money fixing up the much neglected space. It has demanded of me a level of creative thinking that I've never done before and much to my surprise, the more creative your problem solving in your home, the more charming the little space has become. I'm very comfy and the best part is to look out our back window and see the studio.
For now, however - it's January and without any electricity (which translates as heat and lighting) the studio had to be closed up for the winter and I'm relegated to making small pieces of art that I can accommodate on my dining room table. It's not a sacrifice at this point, but yet another opportunity to think creatively.
So the space is nearly complete and I'm looking forward to the great pictures I'm going to post in the days and years to come. It's been a pretty awesome journey so far.
Here's to new adventures.
It really doesn't take tons of money or a vast knowledge of art history to start an art collection for yourself, and there's no reason to believe that you can't build a wonderful collection by simply making a few smart buys from artists you like to follow. In the end, building a small but smart collection is a worthwhile venture into small scale art collecting...and here's a few things to keep in mind:
#1: Never let anyone tell you that you don't know art.
Artists and high end collectors LOVE to pal about in fancy clique groups where they can keep the unwashed masses at arms' length. One of thee ways they exclude people is to simply tell them that they don't know anything about art. These same people buy works that are steeped in the ugliness of the present Post Modern movement that absolutely abhors anything that is beautiful. Rest assured you are being a rebel if you buy beautiful work to display in our home and you'll sleep better knowing that these clique groups of twats are out there looking quite ridiculous.
#2: Don't buy with the idea that it will increase in value.
Art is a hard way to invest, very hard and really expensive...and since what everyone likes is often so different, going into art collecting for enjoyment is a far better investment then trying to do it for the purpose of making money at some later date. Basically, you have to really know what you're doing to use art for investment purposes (and then, maybe you need to do some money laundering, which explains a lot of things in the art world) and let's face it: most of us don't have that kind of time, or for that matter are looking to wash some cash.
Start your art collection for the purpose of enhancing your lifestyle and you will do yourself a huge favor in both spending far less money and enjoying it more without the worry and that's what it should really do for you...give you another level of enjoyment and enhance your home or business.
#3: Start with smaller, original works.
It's cheaper to start with small pieces before you begin buying bigger ones and it can be quite fashionable for the walls in your home to have a gallery wall where all of the pieces are on display at once. This was common in all the great homes of Europe and it's never gone out of style -- it looks so classy. Larger works of art will command quite a bit of attention and they typically like walls all to themselves (the selfish brutes) but small well defined collections play very well with each other and can really enhance a room. Never underestimate the power of small things working together.
#4 Follow artists whose work moves you.
You might not be able to afford to buy from some of these artists, but you will often see their influence in works that you see from emerging artists. This will expand your knowledge of what you like and when you are really ready to buy that first piece, you can do it with a greater level of confidence.
#5: Buying from lesser known, emerging artists.
There's a lot of great art out there - a lot. Staying away from the bigger names and delving into the emerging art world is a great way to start collecting. You are also helping those artists establish their careers and they will always remember you for it.
In the end, the real reason for small scale collecting is your personal enjoyment, and there's nothing like original works of art adorning your home. It is all about what you like and there should be no apologies on your part for what moves you personally.
Turning the tide back to an age of quality and beauty in art.
Taken from the article “A Resurgence in Art” from the Epoch Times. Read that article HERE
Quiet revolutions are ones that always seem to take hold and are stronger in the long run because they spend a lot of time building roots. So it seems for “A Resurgence of Art” an article published by the Epoch Times which describes the pendulum swinging back towards more traditional forms of art.
The Article states:
“This resurgence is happening now after more than one hundred years of deskilling that led to the deterioration of visual art standards, which started when all of the “-isms” arose, such as modernism, postmodernism, and so forth.”
I was so happy to read this article.
I’ve been reading Camille Paglia’s Book “Glittering Images” where her introduction of the book talks about the downward spiral of art in the last 50 years; and it’s been simply awful.
We moved from artists being a skilled group of people who are seeking to display beauty along with practice and skill to whatever piece of garbage you can set up in the middle of the museum and convince people that it has substance and importance. So say the self-important proveyers of such “modernism.”
But as I read the article, I realized that I could not place myself into the category that these new, quietly working artists are in; I am an abstract impressionist.
Yes, it has me a bit concerned. I don’t think the abstract and impressionist movements were a complete waste of time - it would be like saying that symphonies have less value than a choral passion and that would be a tragedy in and of itself, down grading such things as Tchaikovsky’s Fifth because it didn’t use a libretto.
I too like to see real skill in abstract art; a dedication to quality work, subject and composition within the piece and a desire to pull out the emotions of the viewer by the use of color and texture. I certainly hope there is room in this new movement for those who actually take time to think about and compose their abstract works and not to lump them in with the “pseudo-philosophers” who took five minutes to think up some gimmickry and then spent hours trying to explain why it should be considered artistic and significant. (NOTICE: You spent far more time in your explanation than you did in your “craft.” You are hereby looked upon with great suspicion.)
In the end, this is a wonderful and hopeful turn of events - it will catch fire and the tide will turn back to tradition and quality. I welcome it.
-©2017 Laura Swink
I have, only on occasion, something important to say - so I don’t often say such things using a brush.
My artwork is about the landscape; a simplified and flowing artifice of the shapes and structures that make up my impressions of it.
I’m uniquely interested in textures and the play of both color and light that happens
when they come together on the canvas.
Beauty thru simplicity and form is what I desire to achieve.