Archive for October, 2016

Just for the Satisfaction

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Have you ever donated your time or work? You probably have, and if so, you will understand why I sometimes do, too.

On October 21, the Tampa Museum of Art will be hosting their 5th annual Five-by-Five Art Exhibition, presented by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County.  It will be open only from 8-11PM.  All artwork (limited to 5”x5”) is donated and exhibited anonymously, to be sold for $25 each.  And yes, the show will include two of my floral paintings—one in watercolor, one in oil, though I am not allowed to reveal which ones.  (Sorry to disappoint you:  “Angel’s Trumpet,” below, is not one of those included, though it is indicative of my style.)

Angel's Trumpet (#130405w), 3"x5" watercolor

Angel’s Trumpet (#130405w), 3″x5″ watercolor

A roster of participating artists and a preview of works available for sale during the event will be posted on FivebyFiveTampaBay.com before the event. The evening will also include live performances in a variety of disciplines.

Why might an artist choose to donate paintings anonymously that she could sell under her own signature to increase her name recognition?

For any of several reasons.

One is the satisfaction of sharing her work with buyers who appreciate it for what it is rather than buying on the basis of her name.  (Artists’ names will be revealed only after the artwork is purchased.)

Another is the satisfaction of supporting others’ artistic endeavors through sales—in this case, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County (Florida), to help underwrite workshops and grants.  $10 admission fees will also help support the Tampa Museum of Art.

I have frequently benefited from the generosity of others; I like being able to take the opportunity to give back.  If you’re in the Tampa area on Friday, October 21, I hope you’ll stop by the Tampa Museum of Art to peruse the variety of works available.

For the Love of Art

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

In the past several weeks I’ve been exploring the question of “success.”  What do I really want?  What is my ultimate purpose?  I’ve repeatedly been advised to discover my own definition of success rather than accepting the assumption that it’s the same as other artists’.  I was surprised, as I dug deeper, to realize that my definition of success includes a sense of joy and satisfaction that has little to do with sales or financial gain.

Certainly sales and income are both inducements to continue and a means to support my pursuit of painting.  But I find greater joy and satisfaction in teaching, mentoring, and sharing my love of art and understanding of artistic principles with others who want to learn.

I enjoy teaching others painting skills and artistic appreciation.  Totally aside from my own drive to continually improve, the act of teaching motivates me to continue striving to hone my skills and to achieve greater understanding of artistic principles.

This blog and my monthly newsletter also provide outreach arms to those of you with whom I may have no other personal contact.  They also remind me to work regularly enough to identify and develop topics of potential interest to my readers.  (Though if any of you would like to suggest a topic, I’m open to that, as well.)

Teaching in-person classes helps me to establish clear goals not only for student learning but also for my own studies, since it requires that I stay well ahead of most of my students and at the very least remain on a conversant par with the most advanced of them.  By providing deadlines of scheduled class meeting times during “high season” in our largely seasonal community, teaching also ensures that I work consistently without slacking off, even when I may be tempted to postpone studio work to socialize in other ways.  Despite spending so much time in my studio, by teaching I also have the opportunity to get to know artistically inclined neighbors, both old and new, with whom I might not otherwise have crossed paths.

So, to me, success means finding joy and satisfaction in teaching, mentoring, and encouraging other artists while continuing to improve my own skills.  Pricing of both my classes and my artwork is more to establish a sense of value and respect for myself and my art than to earn an income.

Do you find this surprising?  Fair or not, the value of both art and services are usually perceived by the general public on a financial basis.  Students who do not need to pay for classes tend to attend class irregularly, granting higher priority to other interests and momentary whims, whereas those who have paid for classes are more inclined to attend regularly, apply themselves more assiduously, and express greater respect and attention to the instructor and the course content.

Similarly, artwork that is given or sold at unrealistically low prices garners less respect or appreciation than work that has been priced to reflect the artist’s skill level in comparison to that of other artists of similar experience or achievement.  So sales both help to cover incurred expenses and provide positive assurance to others of the intrinsic value of my artwork, while helping to establish my credentials for potential students.

Of course I like to be paid for my work.  Who wouldn’t welcome this kind of positive feedback and encouragement?  Sales that support my work are lovely, but they are only a secondary goal.  My sense of real success is much more closely related to my pleasure in helping others find satisfaction in their own art, as I have found satisfaction in mine.