Thoughts About the Art Life
"Under Grandfather's Watch", 11x14" oil on linen
$675 © Amy Evans
A common discussion among artists is about pricing their original artwork. I feel prices should be determined by the cost of the materials, the frame, the size, the artist's resume, and market demand. My prices have grown with my artistic growth: experience and history of awards, exhibitions, and professional stature.
Marketing today can also determine pricing due to the demand of the artist's work. We have to remember that ads and some magazine editorial is paid for by the artist. A mediocre artist can purchase this marketing just as easily as an artist with greater expertise and reputation.
Name recognition can create popularity and therefore raise that artist's prices even though the work may not be of a great quality. Look at art magazines and you can spot this difference.
I am comfortable with my prices and haven't raised them in several years. Some artists have lowered their prices due to lack of sales. I prefer to offer more sizes and occasionally put older work on auction. My " Itty Bitty Paintings" are an example of a new size I am painting.
Above all I want everyone to be able to have original art in their homes and offices. Having a wide selection of sizes and prices helps.Comment on or Share this Article →
Painting along the Colorado River
Many people envy our lives as artists. The perception of our lifestyle seems to be that we travel to exotic places to paint and bring back wonderful paintings that sell. We also get to spend a lot of time painting away the day without a care in the world.
Some of those ideas are true. I do go on painting trips ( some of which are exotic) and I do spend a lot of time painting.
The truth is that painting is hard work and can be as frustrating as any other job. Some days are more productive than others. Some days are filled with doing the books, updating my website, ordering more supplies, working on teaching plans, and photographing my work.
Art is also a luxury item to many... and there are fewer galleries because of that perception. It is more difficult to make a living as a full time artist because of the economy and reproductions as well as many other factors.
In spite of all the negatives I continue to paint. I love seeing the world through artist eyes and visually capturing that on canvas. Something stirs my soul when I paint.
Not all of my paintings say what I want them to say. I probably destroy 50% of what I paint. Not all of my paintings sell. A painting has to connect with a collector as well as a gallery owner. One of the greatest rewards for me is having a collector or observer state how one of my paintings connected with their feelings. It is awesome to have them feel the way I felt when I painted.
I love being an artist..I love sharing creating with others. It is a wonderful life!Comment on or Share this Article →
"Running Around", 14x 11", © Amy Evans
Have you ever considered a life without the arts? What would it look like? Art connects to our souls, so a life without it would seem to be a shallow one. Music and the visual arts stir something up in us. Beautiful art warms our hearts and nutures us. Seeing actual strokes on paintings elicit feelings. We react emotionally to the strokes, colors, and subject matter. A painting also has a spirit of its own. It reacts to where it is placed.
Having art around us can lift our spirits. Is it essential to our lives? I believe that beautiful art in all its forms lifts humanity to a higher place. It is essential to our world.Comment on or Share this Article →
Just Peachy, ©Amy Evans, 9x12"
Is the art or the artist more important? The obvious answer for me would be the art. I find it interesting that this isn't always the answer. The personality, gender, age, and appearance of an artist can and sometimes does have an influence on the acceptance of the work by the public as well as a gallery.
I have found this to be true in my own experience...I have loved work by a certain artist, but when I met the artist in person I did not like the arrogance.That encounter influenced my feelings about his paintings.
I have seen older artists ignored because of age by galleries even when their work is clearly better than other work in the gallery. I have seen the same attitude towards young artists who aren't "seasoned". I knew of an older woman artist who never posted her photograph and sent a young rep to show her work to galleries because she didn't want her age or gender to influence a gallery's decision about her work.
How many outstanding pieces of art are we ignoring because of our prejudices?
I do enjoy meeting the artist who created the work and yes, their personality can also influence me. The difference to me is that I am drawn to the work first.
What really matters? I think it still comes back to the work of art.
"Remember",© Amy Evans, 11x14"Comment on or Share this Article →
"Old Soul", 7x5" ©Amy Evans
Each January as I clean my studio I look with a critical eye at my stacks of paintings. I wonder why some that have been juried into prestigious shows and have won awards have not ever found homes. I ask myself why did I paint some of them. I see compositional problems, value problems, and overworked pieces. I also love some that take me back to a place or moment that touched my heart.
My paintings teach me that not every one of them is perfect and I still have so much to learn. They teach me that the time I spend painting is good for my soul. The painting of that time brings joy to my heart. They teach me that galleries don't always show my work in the best light or spot so that it catches the attention of a collector.
The amount of work also shows me that I have been at my easel. I have worked hard.
I also look for growth in my work. It is always interesting to see progression as well as struggles.
What are some of the lessons my studio has taught me this year?
1. Show up at the easel. I am always happy I did.
2. Take risks...try new things.
3. Learn from my mistakes.
4. Look for information in every painting that may help with the next one.
5. Throw away the paintings that are telling you you can't paint. Get negative energy out of your life.
6. Be thankful for the opportunity to show others your work through galleries, shows, and your website.
7. Remember that your creativity is a positive activity in this world. The world needs your voice.Comment on or Share this Article →
Shady Side, oil, © Amy Evans
While at a recent art show opening I learned that one of my artist friends had been accepted to a major national art gallery. Several of us were congratulating the artist and as we talked about his success, he mentioned that he had not seen his work on their website, nor was he listed. The work had been shipped in plenty of time. He had promoted the new gallery on his site as well as other places and some of his collectors were also wondering about the gallery's website. He finally called the gallery and learned that the gallery had decided not to represent him after all because " some of their artists who had been with the gallery for a long time were upset because they felt his work was similar to theirs".
I never thought that artists would have so much to say about who the gallery selects. I wonder if this is a common practice...and if this is a good idea. I suppose that if the artists were big income producers and were mad about a new artist they could pull out...a type of blackmail in my humble opinion..
It seems to me that if artists in a gallery have so much clout then perhaps the gallery owner should consult them before adding another artist. That brings up questions too: Who really owns the gallery? Does the gallery owner have a better sense of his business than his artists?
In thinking about this I also raise the question: why didn't the gallery let this artist know what was going on? Why did it take a call from the artist to get this information?Comment on or Share this Article →
© Amy Evans, 12x16"oil on linen "Enduring", SOLD
I have been working on a series of paintings inspired by my recent visit to a special place, Windy Ridge, above Alma, CO. It is the third time I have hiked up to this ancient bristlecone pine forest and something stirs in my soul each time I come there. It is a place where life has endured winds and snows for over a thousand years. There are remains of old trees, sculpted by Nature, and there are trees still struggling and enduring. Age and stress give them so much character.
Nature offers lessons for me in this place. I too have weathered changes beyond my control; I also am aging...instead of beautiful sculpted trunks, I have gray hair..
These beautiful trees seem to dance in spite of everything...they hang on to life and some begin to show new growth though their trunks and limbs show the stress of the weather.
I am grateful for these lessons from Nature. I am inspired.Comment on or Share this Article →
This morning I received a message from Daily Paintworks, a web site where I sometimes post some of my small paintings, about a special auction to raise funds to help out victims of Hurricane Sandy. There are already over 50 paintings listed in the auction. As we all know, artists are often juggling two jobs in order to keep doing what they love. The generosity of these artists is heart-warming.
Here is my 6x8" painting that is in the auction. It is a study I did for a larger studio painting. I hope that it brings joy to the highest bidder as well as helping those devastated by this terrible storm.Comment on or Share this Article →
"Sandscape", 9x12", oil on linen, ©Amy Evans
While channel surfing last week I came upon a PBS show about Art and the Mind.(http://www.pbs.org/programs/arts-mind/.) It affirmed what artists have known: Creating art is good for the mind and the soul. The show had a lot of scientific evidence to substatiate this claim. It was pure joy to see the effect art had on various age groups and communities. I have witnessed that happiness while teaching my workshops. Creating immerses us into a new world. It does take dedicated artists who can teach to lead us there as well as an open mind and heart from the student. When the teacher and the student connect magic happens.
One physician who is dedicated to the study of Alzeimers stated that participation in art activities can slow down the disease more than some drugs...I thought that comment was astounding!
I hope you will find a way to watch this 2 part series and that it will inspire you to discover what art can do for your life.
Get out those brushes and exercise them...who knows what will happen!Comment on or Share this Article →
"Sticks and Stones", 11x14", oil.©Amy Evans
I am really tiring of the scams that constantly appear in my email. I wonder how many artists fall for these inquiries about paintings that are needed for apartments in South Africa, Texas, England, etc.. and they are always an urgent request. At first these were easy to spot due to the poor English and the common line that "my shipper would make arrangements". Now they are becoming a little more sophisticated and it takes a couple of emails to determine the scam.
I guess some artists are gullible as well as hopeful that the inquiry is legitimate.
I answer most of the requests for information..it is interesting to also note that the information they request is already on my website. I also stress that I only take Paypal and credit cards and that I do not ship overseas. That closes any scam conversation.
It is sad that we artists are prey for these international scams.Comment on or Share this Article →