“If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area.”–David Bowie
I am grateful to be a working artist because I remember all too well being new in the art world and praying someday I could actually sell paintings. I am now blessed to have various outlets in which to sell my work whether it be a through gallery, a plein air event, or an invitational show, and I truly appreciate those who work on my behalf to place my paintings with the right clients.
But, something interesting has happened on this journey of selling art.
When I think “sales” I get a little tripped up. For one thing, I have realized if I produce the same thing over and over I feel uninspired, like I am making product in a factory. That is not to say I won't explore a subject for months, even years, but at some point an artist risks turning a once loved subject into a gimmick. I do understand that if something is working and selling and paying the bills, it seems foolish to move on from such success. That is one way to operate and that is just fine. My journey however, has become more about discovery.
I am trying to continually push myself out of the comfort zone and explore. This might mean using unfamiliar tools or consistently approaching subjects that are typically a weak area. It's like a delightful dangling carrot to know that each painting will lead to the next and hopefully take me to a higher level of thinking. When I push myself outside the box, I usually “birth” something more significant than if I had stayed in familiar territory.
Funny how that works.
“Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”–David Bowie