RISING ABOVE THE ORDINARY
Rising Above the Ordinary
If we are concerned with selling our work we have to rise above the average. People will love paintings before they will buy them and with so many artists around we need to stand out from the growing crowd.
While it's easy to see how ordinary other artists' work may be, it's almost impossible to see it in our own. It's just the way it is and it's a real problem with art.
One of the best antidotes is to develop a way of critiquing our own paintings. A lot of work today is just plain ordinary. You may think that is a big call but ‘ordinary ‘or ‘average’ is art's biggest killer and we are all susceptible to it.
With more than 15 years of serious painting behind me one thing that has grounded my estimation of my own work is having it hanging alongside other artists' paintings in art shows like Rotary. Each time I come away from a show, I know I could do better. It gives me perspective.
To make it clear, I'm not talking about painting skills or perfection, because believe it or not, perfection can be one of the biggest hallmarks of average and it tends to be safe. There is nothing safer than trying to be the same as a photograph.
Mediocre work appears in every type of painting from abstract to traditional. From still life, portraiture and landscape, ‘average’ is the standard and ‘average’ is the killer. Not many of us are immune from mediocrity, no matter how skilful we are.
It's easy to be content with the ordinary because we may believe we can't do any better. Once we believe that, there is no going forward.
Some of us just love painting and don't care much if we paint “average” and there is nothing wrong with that.
Others though really want to improve what they do and there are so many avenues available to us to achieve this. Workshops, demonstrations, DVDs and a myriad of online opportunities exist to give us a leg-up. Most of all, it has to do with personal time at the easel and applying the things that we learn.
In the end there is a difference between someone who paints and someone who is an artist - it all has to do with our approach to the reference. I believe when we look at a photo or scene and see what it can be, rather than what it is, we can call ourselves artists and not just painters.