Have you ever thought to hold your own exhibitions? You never know... you could become the next Manet. When excluded again from the Salon exhibition, Manet borrowed from his inheritance, built his own little pavilion and set up his own show.
With over 28,000 francs he displayed over 50 of his own works. The artist's pavilion attracted little attention except for the few that came to jeer at Le Dejeuner sur l'Herb. Nevertheless, he persevered and would be amazed to see where his art is admired today and even more so that we finally 'get it'! One of my best shows was at a hairdresser's... where could you set up your own show? .
Customers know very little about us, are obsessed by choice, they want low prices. Customers buy from shops, supermarkets and galleries. Fans value our sacrifices, are excited by our work, they seek us out. It's far better to sell our art to our own fans than to someone else's customers .
Frustrated by his parents’ refusal to send his paintings to him (they claimed it was too expensive) the French impressionist painter Frederic Bazille sent word to his brother Marc. He asked him to send his paintings “wrapped around a large pole, picture side in, rolled in a layer of newspaper, then one of oilcloth or tar-lined paper”
Thankfully packaging methods have progressed since the nineteenth century. I have custom made boxes, bubble wrap and Eddie who comes to the door to pick my paintings up. The corners of the frames are protected with an extra fold of bubble wrap. The transport system is working. So far .
I get a lot of questions about how to price art. A better question might be “How do I convince my buyers that my work is unique, essential and irreplaceable?” You see, that question has a rather interesting answer, because it’s all about the story you create. Because money really is a modern story (in the past there was no money, we simply traded) it makes sense that you can create value for your art by telling a story that is likely to resonate. When your story aligns with my experience, we have something to discuss. This shared experience is the space where all transactions occur. What I am prepared to pay you depends on how powerful this shared space is.
Adding value to the world isn’t always easy because it requires us to take risks, improve the quality of our art, work hard, reach out and approach everything we do with a spirit of generosity. But what happens when we focus on creating real value is that our work starts to resonate and is seen as important, we start to attract people to us. And after that the pricing issue seems a little clearer.
Today’s studio lesson was all about direction. In a landscape you see horizontals and verticals. Across and along lines. The trick is to find the diagonals. See them and paint them. Accentuate them. Celebrate and exaggerate them. Create vibrancy and excitement. Take the viewer’s eye on a wild ride around your world .
It wasn’t Rembrandt and they were not his petticoats but the story goes that one of the great masters ran out of linen on which to paint. Time was short. So was money, so he commandeered his wife’s petticoat and proceeded to paint. Linen is lovely to paint on. French linen held with tacks on the side. My wife’s petticoats are safe .
Exhibitions means the artist may talk about the art displayed to interested parties. Some know the art very well, others are new or just curious passers-by. It is challenging to review and critique your own creation. More so to be critiqued by others. Some get it. Most get it. The ones who know you best get it and to talk with them can become a wonderful pathway to growth and vision .
A limited palette is helpful. It makes you define your subject and think about the mood and tones. It eliminates distractions and attempts at getting objective when you are clawing at subjective. Impressions and what is felt. This was a blue day. Light blue and others.
Goals are supposed to motivate you, keep you moving,… right? But here’s the thing… goals can also keep you in a constant state of underachievement. “When I get fit I will be happy, I have to get at least 10k visitors to my website a month, when I get my work into that gallery I will feel like I am successful”. Goals are very different to systems, or having a plan. You see, the problem with goals is focusing on results rather than process.
However, when we think in terms of daily habits… something very powerful happens. Whether the habit is going to bed by 10pm, working on your art every day, exercising, …habits are the little building blocks from which all successes flow.
My plan is to do what I love (painting) and (now) to try and help some people along the way. Three years ago I set 2 habits. Painting every day, and posting something on Instagram every day. These 2 habits alone are the greatest reason why I am now able to do my art full time. I did not set out to become a full time artist, it happened as a result of the habits I put into action. By not setting expectations, I’m always satisfied. I gain confidence and build from that.
What habits can you set today in order to activate your plan? .
Of course there’s no such thing as perfection in art. As we all know… paintings never really have an ending, they just arrive at an interesting place to stop. Leonardo said, “art is never finished, only abandoned”. But all too often when that point arrives early we talk ourselves into the mindset of “it can’t be that easy”… so we seek to improve, change, develop, experiment, push, reinvent, adapt, challenge. But… what if sometimes those very first marks create a rare and exquisite brushstroke, transport the viewer someplace special … capture the artist’s most raw truth? What if it’s already perfect?
Richard Claremont - artist. A peek into my studio. How I think. How I paint. How I run my art business. Bite sized daily chunks of goodness. Just me talking aloud, really. Join me for a chat over a cuppa.
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