Sunday, July 27, 2014

Burros - and Thoughts about Landscapes

Oil on canvas, 20x20, sold

I loved this painting so much, when I made it for a friend in Tubac, that I painted it again. I love the colors on the burros' faces, and their expressions, and their big, silly ears. 

And I love that this painting is not a landscape. 

I've been having a rolling epiphany of sorts about shows, and booths, and buyers, and what sells and why - and more particularly, what paintings of mine sell, and why. 

At the show in Westport, CT, last weekend, I had a rare chance to walk around and look at pretty much the entire show, and I was struck hard by how repetitive it was. 

In booth after booth after booth, I saw landscape after landscape after mind-numbing landscape. Most were beautifully painted and beautifully presented. They showed gorgeous light, lovely pastoral views, with split-rail fences, spills of lavender or yellow or white flowers. Or they showed quiet beaches, with curling waves catching the light just so. There were rich sunsets, delicate dawns, pink and gold clouds - and after about the 10th booth, I just wanted to scream. 

Back in my booth, I looked critically at my paintings. One wall was a 40x60 sunflower piece, unlike anything else I'd seen at the show. One wall was cows and burros, and a dog painting, again unlike anything I'd seen. And then the other wall. It was thick with landscapes. 

Some were big, some were small, and I will say that my landscapes don't look like anyone else's, and I felt good about that. But still, there they were, green hills, rural houses, waves and beaches and sunsets and dawns. 

And what's been selling? Cows and cowboys and flowers. The paintings from the Southwest have all sold - in the East, they are different! -  and the $100 10x10 paintings always sell, no matter the content. 

So I am going to change my display a little. I am going to cut down on the number of  landscapes I display, and I'm going to stretch my painting to make them more interesting. I'm going to raise the number of cowscapes and florals I display. And I'm going to see what happens. 

I love painting landscapes and will never stop. I'm working on coming up with interesting ways to sell them here on the blog and elsewhere. Along those lines, I'm planning another painting trip, and already have THREE sponsors! 

But the show display will be different. 

At the bottom of it, what I love is to paint. I love putting paint on canvas, seeing the colors, seeing the depths, seeing the random things that happen. I love paint itself, and communicating, expressing myself through painting. Landscapes? People? Seascapes? Cowscapes? Burroscapes? It doesn't matter to me, as long as I am painting. 

I'd love to hear what you all think, not only about my ideas here, but also about what you like, what you see at shows, what draws you into one booth and makes you just walk past another. 

My booth at Westport

Dog of the Day

Oh, my. Two feral kittens underneath the not-so-general store here in Wachapreague. I've read that one female cat and her offspring will generate from 100 to 400 animals within seven years. Sigh. They sure are cute, though.

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