digital manipulation« Previous Entries
Fields of Flax
Rowley, Alberta Canada, 12 x 16 inches watercolors on paper and digital painting, preliminary study for larger acrylics painting
The move west, and renovating homes around that, has unfortunately thrown my career on the back burner. Hence the home improvement tip brought to you by Dr. Ip, another new character based on good ol’ Monte, who has evolved since 1974 and still plays a part in my expressions today. He’s getting a good work-out these days!
I have a whole new respect for all trades-people! All I’ve had time and inclination for art-wise are a few little cartoons using my laptop now and then. I’m going a little nutty with all the wall painting here in Ottawa (Canada), so am having some fun with the secrets revealed to me as I work.
Monte is optimistic….
How do artists price their work? How do artists price their work honestly, consider themselves as legitimate business persons, still with equal regard to the buyer looking for quality and a fair deal? How do artists price their work reasonably while acknowledging the responsibility we have to our trade; that is, respecting that we, in many cases, base our prices on each other’s? How do artists price their work while competing other artists, when for some, savvy marketing skills yield profits far higher than the quality of their art? (Subjective as art is, we all recognize quality…or do we?). How do artists price their work to sell in a dicey economy? How do artists price their work to sell in a dicey economy that’s dependent on the moral and ethical whims of public spending, and the consequential extremes of society?
I have just reluctantly slashed the prices on my artwork. I’m not going to soften the announcement with a less violent description, because compromising what I feel are well-earned wages, whether adapting to economic conditions or sharing a percentage of it for any reason, is brutal. My canvases are not the only ones feeling the brush of reality these days though; I see, hear and read that a lot of artists are reevaluating how much they ask for their work. Still, I applaud those artists who continue to stand up for the principles of the unspoken “Artist’s Code”, as Homer Simpson might put it. I’m not fond of unsold art accumulating and spilling out into every room of my home though. The hope is that it will resonate with someone else besides me. It must be seen and it must be shared.
Andy Warhol said: “Art is what sells”.
Maybe the average art enthusiast doesn’t know how we derive prices for our work. Maybe many artists don’t stop to dissect their decisions either. The prices of art in galleries worldwide are inconsistent, confusing and often irrational, and who is authorized to price artwork like that anyway? (Ideally it should be the artist). There are so many variables. I’m probably going to miss naming a few here because methods for pricing vary from artist to artist, hobby or career, and if their art is in the form of products or services. Costs of materials and time spent are considered, and price differences with regard those two factors have everything to do with the quality of time spent and quality of materials. Skill levels, concepts, originality, to some extent size, (ie. sculptures, murals), and if it’s for sale in a home studio in Rocky Mount, North Carolina or a high-end gallery in New York City…and most artists will tell you that above all, the final price has to “feel” right. For some strictly structural Art-minds, feelings in art don’t have a leg to stand on - but in actual fact they have two legs (the human thing). The most unpredictable, nonsensical thing is that even if the artist makes an impact while alive, their older work may be worth much less than the most recent, but when the artist dies, prices of their earliest works may increase.
Will Sing For Feathers, 8 x 10 inches, traditional graphite drawing scanned, drawn digitally, printed, process repeated
As we gain experience, confidence toward change and experimentation, and progressively improve our development as Artists, theoretically we should be able to charge more, which is why “mature” artists naturally feel they deserve to be paid more. Case in point: me. Admittedly, $7,500 seems like a lot to be asking for Dancing With Trees.
For those unfamiliar with all that painting or other forms of artwork involves, time seems to be the most accountable factor in producing it. After viewing the artwork and the price, the most common question is: How long did that take you? It’s a fair question, because for most jobs, time input equals amount charged; a predictable amount of money is paid in exchange for a certain amount of labor within a set amount of time. If only it were that simple.
Using that system to price then, Dancing With Trees is my very best work to date, and it took almost 50 years to learn how to paint it. The price was reduced from $7,500.00 to $5,500.00. Assuming I don’t have to share a percentage of that figure with a gallery, and assuming it sells in the next year, that works out to approximately .7638888888888889 cents per hour. I feel confident that it’s worth that much. That’s a wage about as kookoo as a bird dancing for its own feathers. One day someone will come along who has an extremely large wall and agrees that the painting is worth .7638888888888889 cents per hour, and they will buy it.
Sometimes I wish I was just a bird. However…
The vocation of Artist is a calling, and a journey of personal growth. Who doesn’t want to do what they love, learn all the time, contribute the best they have to offer to the world, and earn a living as well? Creativity is not only what we love to do; it is a deeply-rooted habit, a compulsion and an addiction of the very best kind. Art is connected intimately with our lives so we continue to make “stuff” no matter what, and preferably, the artists’ judgment of its’ value will be trusted. In my revised Price List I’ve made a good effort to be fair to the buyer while at the same time remaining true to myself.
Post script, 2013: Well, such is life — due to the economy, and a taste of humble pie, I have since lowered the price of Dancing With Trees 03 to $2,200. It’s still substantial enough to pay for my time and material costs, but is more intune with the reality of art sales expectations these days.
Alright, I try to work every single day, but there are days when work just has to be play for a while. This morning my husband and I had a little argument over who it was that dumped all the clean clothes that were in the laundry basket onto the floor.
(Alain, they take our socks too)
My Dad recently gave me a few Art books of his. I remember browsing through them when I was younger. He always left his books out laying around on the tables, intending to plant the “drawing seed” in me, and it worked (Thanks, Dad). One of the books I now own is about M. C. Escher. What a mind! You can’t help but flip through pages of Art like that and not be inspired.
This week I was also organizing my photos of leaves, seeds, and bark that I took specifically because of their outstanding design aspects. Looking through the books plus my photos compelled me draw a few designs I’ve had in mind for a couple of years. I may paint some large one-of-a-kind cushion covers using a few of the best.
There is no substitute for a good old fashioned pencil, but it’s sure fun to play with the Paint Shop Pro effects, cut and paste, repeat patterns…there goes the weekend! The drawing combined with computer play have me appreciating Escher’s work so much more. He did not use computers at all.
Caring. It’s that simple.
For facts about Green Anoles and other reptile care and conservation: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/ReptilesAmphibians/Facts/FactSheets/Anole.cfm
Diamonds In The Rough: Early morning melting frost, still slightly foggy, enough sun to make the water sparkle, and a Mayfly appearing at exactly the right moment… now these are my kind of diamonds!
Great White Egret, Andy Brown Jr. Park, Coppell, Texas
The photo it was digitally changed to black and white and the contrast was clarified, but the added Mayfly was Nature’s idea.
Sky Diver – Basil stem and roots (this is the last of the root-sculptures for a while I think) – this one has a thick stem, removed with PaintShop Pro.
The temperatures have dropped considerably here today… see what I found on the dining room shades this morning. Don we now our gay apparel!« Previous Entries