Thursday, November 25, 2010
Commercial work vs. growth work
Original Oil - 6x8"
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A common dilemma among professional artists is the need to produce commercial output and the desire to focus on growth as an artist. It seems that one almost always comes at the expense of the other when trying to merge them.
After several years of straddling the fence between the two, I have found what works best for me is to keep them entirely segregated. When I'm painting for a show, I focus on painting at my current skill level - no double gainers, cliff diving, or juggling balls of fire allowed. Taking chances mid-painting when I have a deadline adds unneeded pressure. I cut myself a lot of slack and don't do much second guessing. If the work is competent, it gets signed, and I get on with the next one.
On the other hand, when I am working from a model or doing still life, or any other kind of work where challenge and skill building are the key motivators, my bar goes way up, and I don't let myself off the hook for anything. The goal is to rise to the challenge or die trying, no excuses, no cop-outs, no fear. Failure is welcome here. That said, whining is frequent and ongoing.
In keeping the two camps separate, I find I can give myself fully to each one without conflict, making me a happy painter and allowing me to perform to the best of my ability whichever roll I'm in.