Oil on canvas, 20x20As I was standing in the back yard painting this piece yesterday, I found myself thinking about success and how it's measured.
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When you're employed by a company, it's relatively easy to measure success. You get raises and promotions. Even the worst boss occasionally tells you that you've done a good job - or tells you you've done a bad job and then falls quiet while you improve.
In this new life, it's harder to find the markers of success. Or maybe it's that the gauge keeps changing. Making a painting that pleases me, that's a wonderful marker. But by now, I have made a hundred paintings that please me.
Painting a scene, or part of a scene, in a way I could not have managed a year ago, that's another great marker. In this painting, the background trees have a luminous and abstract quality that I'd never have seen a year ago, let alone been able to paint. And the foreground trees are touched by a streak of light that, again, I'd not have seen a year ago. Surely, this is success, I thought - except that it was easy, and so, the achievement didn't feel like success.
Having a show is a marvelous marker of success, in and of itself, and I know this. Having my work in galleries is a marvelous marker of success, too. But showing work and selling nothing shakes the ground beneath me.
In the end, it feels to me that sales are really the truest marker of success. And artists aren't supposed to worry about money, right? But the truth is that I can only continue to do this if I continue to sell my art.
So as soon as I have my work together for the March show at the Wallkill River School Gallery in Montgomery, N.Y. , I am going to make another huge marketing push. Get my work in more galleries, in more places where more people have money.
If any of you have ideas about galleries I should approach, please let me know. Some of you have sent me to places that have really helped me define and find success.