Same subject, same style… so hard to do.

Artists who want to show in galleries often have a difficult situation to deal with – galleries usually require their artists to develop a “body of work” that is comprised of paintings of the same general subject (i.e., Venice, mountain landscapes, ocean scenes), and painted in the same style. For an artist like me who likes to paint all manner of subjects as well as try different styles, this is a hard constraint to live with.

This topic is often discussed in art magazines, online, and among artists and their friends. And while I can see why galleries want to keep showing artists’ works that their patrons have demonstrated they are willing to spend money on, it can be frustrating for the artist who wants to explore different avenues and means of creation.

For example, I just took a workshop in which we painted non-objective and abstract works. It was so much fun, and I definitely hope to paint in the future using the techniques we learned. In the meantime, if I want to stay in the gallery that is now showing my work, or I want to increase the number of my paintings being shown, I probably need to paint in the style they have identified as mine, and stay with subjects they think they can sell. And since finding the time to paint new works is one of my biggest problems with my other career and Northwest Watercolor Society duties, I should choose my painting subjects very carefully.

As the next paintings I am posting below will show you… I have a problem following my own advice. These are all paintings that I have finished in the last two months, and as you can see none of them are of the same general subject, and at least three of them are not the same style. Sigh… what can I say? Sometimes I just have to go where my heart leads me.

Four paintings... four different subjects and styles.

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