Monday, June 1, 2009

"Get Serious"

I had an interesting experience the other day which I would like to discuss here, even though to do so would be revealing a huge crack in my online image. (I really am much more insecure that I project, as are most of the artists I know.) In other words, this is a soul-searching post, full of whining.

I was excited about finishing my most recent greeting card design (last post) so, as I often do, I took it around to my friends in Woodstock village for "show and tell." When I got to the art gallery a friend of mine owns, he took a look at my original, rolled his eyes and said... "Very nice. But really, Cynthia, I wish you would quit doing these cutsie things and get serious! You are such a fine artist and I want to see you do some real paintings." He went on to tell me, as he has before, of the type of subject matter he thinks I could be successful with. In the past he's told me to call him when I have 20 or more new paintings to show him. But instead I keep doing these "silly cards." My black and whites seem to be off his radar altogether.

Of course, I was a bit peeved because I just wanted kudos for finishing another design. But after getting home I began to think more deeply about what he was telling me. I do want to be bigger and bolder with my art. Making cards and prints is easy. It isn't very risky. A card is easy to produce and easy to buy. Since my style is very detailed and narrative, larger works are very time consuming. Oil takes forever. On and on. I am making excuses.

After much pondering, I have decided to finish the four card designs I have started to round out my quotation collection and then embark on a series of paintings and see where that takes me. I would much appreciate your feedback on this. Does, like my gallery owner says, my work inhabit that no-man's land of "sort-of sweet but not serious enough for a gallery" but "not cute enough for retail licensing?" Perhaps I've created yet another way to be invisible. I am such an introvert.


  1. Art to me is very personal. I used to do business planning; helping people develop business plans with mission statements, visions, goals & objectives etc. The vision statement is what inspires and motivates you. Hopefully you are creating what your vision is asking you to create. If that does not correlate to what a gallery owner is telling you that is fine. I don't believe you are making excuses if what you are doing is giving you joy, and is doing for your life what you want it to do.

  2. The decorative arts have always been looked down upon by the so called fine art community, I think they are equals, I do not think that there is anything inferior about your greeting card artwork, it is worthy of William Morris! I think you should be true to yourself.

  3. I guess your adviser knows what he can sell? However, it is your bliss that matters in the long run.

    I've made some good $ doing realistic portrait commissions but have always hated it. Quit a few years back & although I miss the income I am so much happier! You've got to go with your gut reaction on this one

  4. Being male perhaps I see it from a practical point of view. Why do you do art,Cyn? If you need rather than hope to make money from it, than you have to weigh which modality is the most realistic to achieve that end. If it's more for self-actualization, than which will bring you this.
    We all need the approval/admiration of our peers,so you have to figure that in too.Bob