Friday, December 29, 2006

See more, express less

A good artist will see more and express less. Therein lies the power of a good painting. A complex landscape in the country has thousands of elements to consider; trees, limbs, leaves, grass, clouds, shadows, colors, values, and on and on. The artist takes this myriad of overwhelming information and expresses it clearly in simple terms so it can be more fully grasped in its essence.

Web sites and your artwork

The only way I know to sell your paintings or prints on the internet is to have a niche market for your work. I paint many different subjects. In the summer when I'm in my studio in the North Carolina I do landscapes of the Blue Ridge mountains, barns, etc. The problem is that no one knows how to look for such a thing on the web because it's such a broad subject. Now if I were to feature paintings of Mount Mitchell and someone was trying to find a painting of Mount Mitchell, then a search would be able to find my niche. Otherwise it's lost in a sea of general ties.
I've done two books on lighthouses and just by accident, I found a niche market for lighthouse prints. The important thing to know is that people who order lighthouse prints are not interested in buying a print of a lighthouse. They are interested in buying a print of a particular lighthouse because it has personal meaning to them. Any lighthouse won't do. On my website I feature lighthouses and when someone is looking for a print of the "Morris Island Lighthouse", well, I just happen to have it and it's easy to find. It's the only way I know of so far to be successful on the web. I suppose there might be a niche for "fantasy lighthouses" as well. In any case, generalities don't work well if you are trying to promote your work. Be specific.
(Pictured is a painting I did of the Brandt Point lighthouse in Nantucket)

Hesitation makes for weak paintings

You can be sure that a painting that inspires us was done by an artist sure of him/herself and not one that hesitates. Most good paintings display brushstrokes that are deliberate, strong, and know where they are going. It is a very difficult thing to do. Study those who have mastered it and see how much they convey in a powerful and well placed stroke.