Should we do art for art's sake, or should we keep a commercial eye open for selling our work? It's a quandary, and that's no fairy tale!
There's a certain conceit in putting it up for sale, it sort says that you think your work is good enough. Yet if it sells it indicates that you are getting into the right 'zone' and self confidence grows.
If you paint for the sake of it, then it can be an expensive hobby. So are we going to subsidise our life, or afford the cost of being a total amateur?
There's also a certain conceit in not selling your work and maintaining a purist approach 'art for the sake of art.' This too involves a value-judgement of how good you think your work is.
There is no doubt that I fall into the former category. In my ideal world, somebody buys the original, and Pat sells prints of it without me getting involved in that, time wise. This route, however, brings me to the dilemma I am facing for the second time in my life. When selling drawings in the old days, the originals were going nicely and the prints selling like 'hot cakes'.... but ... the problem arose of commissions. Before long all I was doing was commissions, that is to say drawing things other people wanted. If you are earning your living from it, you have to be pretty famous to turn commissions away. The cost however is your creative juices dry up and you find yourself drawing oil rigs instead of cathedrals.
So what is the point in me brining this up now? Well I have just painted painting #36 (I have numbered each painting since I decided to try painting a little while ago) and it is a commission, but it is the fourth original of the same subject, the "19th. Century Geisha."
A Geisha in the Style of 1800 by John Simlett
Acrylic Paint on Stretched Canvas
32 inches x 12 inches (81 cms x 30 cms)
What is happening is I get emails (via my etsy shop) asking if I do 'her' in different colours. This is the fourth I have painted, each in a different livery.
So, I'm going to take a sabbatical, and draw some really old sailing ships that nobody but me will be interested in!! :0))