Recently, I spoke about concepts and inspiration, being the beginning of an
artwork and the first step of what goes on behind the scenes of an artwork.
The next step for me is to then often do a smaller work, a 'study’ to see if I think it
will work as a bigger painting.
This might take the form of a
water colour and ink sketch
or a small oil painting. Before
I get to that however I have got
to make sure I have a canvas to work on and the appropriate paints. If I'm working
on the larger painting then I might have to stretch the canvas over stretcher bars
to the size I want. All this takes a certain amount of organisation. Once or twice
a year I will order a large roll of canvas and a variety of stretcher bars in different sizes, so I have them on hand as I need. This is quite a large outlay as the roll of canvas is usually around $600 or more and the bars a similar amount. It pays off in the long run though, to purchase them like this because as with most things, when you buy in bulk, you get a better price.
Other supplies that need to be addressed are of course the paint - I hate running out of a colour halfway through a day's painting and having to down brushes and rush off to the art store….. so frustrating! And the other incidentals, like turps, medium, paper towels, rags, palette knives, and of course brushes all need to be on hand. So yes, organisation is required for the painting session to have a chance of flowing smoothly. Of course other things may hinder that flow, but this at least ensures that all the things you might need are at hand. Once you have finished painting the work, there are then other things to attend to, like painting around the sides of the work, and putting a hanging cord and brown tape on the back as well.
Alongside of all the work that goes into producing the artwork, there is the marketing of ones work. These days artists are expected to have a website and a social media presence. For me this requires posting on Instagram at least once a day and Facebook a couple of times a week. And while on the subject of Facebook that sometimes requires making videos of works in progress or chats about my art practice. Then there is networking, attending openings, visiting
exhibitions and taking part in a three weekly master mind group. Also on top of all that, I am teaching at least 8 art classes a week. and some workshops throughtout the year.
As I said earlier, the majority of artists have at the very least a part-time job of some description to support themselves. I am fortunate, in that my extra work is related to my art practice. However what this means is that I am really running two businesses.
So next time you view a creative work, I hope that you might look at it and appreciate that the price tag on it does not even begin to reflect the amount of work and time the artist has had to invest into getting it onto that wall so you can view it.
Whether you love it or hate it I ask you to appreciate the effort that has gone into producing it.
NEXT WEEK: What Don't You See That Goes Into an Artwork, Part III