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The Value of One’s Work

July 12, 2014

Most artists need to create, what needs to be created.  It really is not an option for most.  We just have to do it.  Certain issues arise because of this necessity to hone one’s skill and it is these issues that can make an artist question the value of their work.

Just think about it…you enter your studio every day to go to work.  It is a peaceful place where all things are possible and where magic appears at the hand of a brush, a pencil or crayon.  Lofty ideas are built upon and if you are extremely fortunate, market value is left on the door step.  You create your masterpieces with no thoughts as to whether or not the creations will sell, you are just doing your work…..because you have no other choice.  In reality, this image that now sits in your mind, is extremely flawed.

For painters, yes we go to our room each and every day but for many, crossing the threshold into what is meant to be a sacred space, is daunting.  Painters have canvases, brushes, paint, mediums, reference materials, books, articles, periodicals, tables, chairs, special lights, easels…multiple, and on and on and on.  We are surrounded by an inordinate number of paintings that we are actively working on.  Then, there are those that did not successfully get off the ground and many, many more canvases on which we barred our souls, that remain stacked along walls and hung on them as well.  We are not as fortunate as writers and poets that have their work stored on computer files, for our work is many dimensional and requires space.  We can often enter our sacred spaces and question’ what is the point of it all’.  And, yet still, we must continue to paint.  We continue to tell ourselves that there is value in our work.  Some one, some where, will soon see that….won’t they?

There is not only market value to one’s work, there is  a personal value and a spiritual value as well. It is the personal value and the spiritual value that keeps the flow in one’s work.  Which, I might add, keeps it marketable.   Trouble is, the need to keep the flow in your work is largely hindered by keeping the flow of those ‘gems’ out the studio door.  It is a vicious circle which is even more complicated when one needs to downsize.

Many of us are either wanting or needing to make less of a footprint on the planet.  This need involves downsizing.  Both artists and their clients, here on the coast at any rate, are doing so in large numbers.  This further impacts the number of paintings one has in their studio space….I personally have some very supportive clients that simply can’t take one more painting and I know it is true for many of my peers.  A few artists I know have started discounting their work in order to have it move on to a new home.  We have been told by some very successful painters that this is the kiss of death but what are we all to do? We have also been told that having too many paintings affects demand for your work…arrrgh!

In a few words, the business of are is just so stressful.  It plays havoc with the mind and makes one doubt the value of their work.  Gone are the days when, like Cezanne painting on a hill, a man will come up to you and ask if you have any more paintings like this one.  When you will take them to your storage of hundreds of works of art, where he will abruptly tell you…..he will sell all of them for you.  Gone are many of the galleries as well….hello internet I suppose.

I would really appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this 🙂


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret King permalink
    July 13, 2014 5:45 pm

    you should check out Emily Carr on this, her solicitor was horrified when he saw all her paintings–how was he going to dispose of them in her will.

    • July 13, 2014 5:52 pm

      That is a great story as well. Nice to know we aren’t alone 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

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