This little portrait (7 x 8.5") was created from a 3.5 x 5" vintage photo. I don't normally consent to doing such a small human portrait, especially from a client provided reference. I prefer to photograph the subject myself. It allows me to see the subject clearer. What is her attitude about things? Does she have a sense of humor? From the many photos I take, I will be able to make compositional choices that allow me to say something specific about the subject. With one client reference I have nothing but a 2 dimensional image. There is no way to know the subject. Hence I meticulously copy, as best I can, the photo. This kind of interpretation leaves very little, if any room for creativity. I depend on the medium and the character of my technique to make the difference. Though, I carefully warn the client that to work this small makes it difficult to nail likeness, that all it takes is one tick of the pencil to completely change an expression, does she hear me? Once the piece is finished and a photo sent off for approval, I sweat it out. Did I communicate well; did I capture whatever it is the client sees as likeness or will I have to start over again? Weighing challenge against risk, did I quote the proper price? One could say, that each time I do a commissioned piece I learn something new. That is invaluable right? I've been doing portraits for 15 years. It should be effortless by now, (smiley face with tongue in cheek and wink.) Good thing I have another commission to get to!
The hardest thing about being a professional artist is sales. If it isn't a custom order, what sells? Does every successful artist consider this when deciding on a subject to paint? After spending the first few years establishing my reputation, should I stick to what works? Should I, in essence, brand myself ? The collector needs to be comforted by a certain predictability, right? He/she needs to "know" me a little before forking over $1000.00. But as an artist how do I continue to be stimulated? I can't do the same thing over and over without becoming stale. How do I explore and challenge myself if I don't step off the path? I guess it has more to do with business plan and intent. Am I an artist who equates success with income or peer accolades or self fulfillment? The answer is a little of all three. Of course I would love to get paid for doing something well. Who wouldn't? But, that is not my first goal. Right now, I wish to create meaningful, well executed images that resonate with one or two (OK, let's be honest here, many) viewers. My style is emerging on its own and continues to evolve. Who knows what it will look like in 10 years. I don't feel I have time to fool around with what sells at this point in my life. There's too much to learn. I hope that along the way, someone likes my art enough to buy it. So much for a business plan. I really don't have one. I just do the art, show it and enter as many competitions as I can afford. When I actually sell something it's fantastic! Go ahead, say what's on your mind."Don't quit your day job," right?