“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” Edgar Degas
As we have established in past “Blogs” art is a dialogue between you the artist, and the viewer. The viewer needs to connect with your work on some level to purchase it and want to look at it for years to come. Some of the most rewarding moments, being an artist, come from the positive feedback you get from someone who has purchased your work. When we hear about how much they are enjoying it, it makes us feel good. I have had some poignant moments, and I cherish those. We all enjoy positive feedback. It motivates us to move forward.
So how exactly do you connect with a viewer? I think the best answer is: to just paint what you love, know what you want to say about it, why you want to share it, and put your whole self into it. And, maybe leave a little mystery so the viewer can add a little something to the dialogue. If there is feeling in your work of art, someone will connect with it. Whether they can afford to purchase it so they can live with it for a life time is another story. 😊 But even having someone just connect with what we do, and give us feedback, motivates us as artists.
No message is universal, because we are all so unique in our tastes. Some like realism, some abstraction, others non-objective styles. Some like quiet and peaceful, others high energy. Sometimes we create a series with a message and someone sees something even deeper than what we meant in the work. It just hits them in a special way.
Not too long ago I purchased a piece of art from a colleague, because it told my story in a way I would not tell it. Bobbie Baugh is a fiber artist, and she is working on a series of works, about homes and family. www.bobbobaughstudio.com The piece I purchased, and wake up to each morning, is a house with a tree print in it. Now I am all about nature. Put me in the garden, out in the woods, and I am a happy person who is at peace with the world. My house is full of plants, my collage work are geologic abstracts, my textured work is about what lies beneath the surface of the earth, and my pastels are of landscapes. The tree in that house, symbolized to me the meaning of nature in my life. “The Tree of My Life”. She connected with me her viewer, because she has a story to tell, that has meaning for her, and connected with me.
Several years ago I received a phone call from an elderly woman in her 90’s who had purchased a pastel painting of mine from a gallery in DeLand. She had had it and enjoyed it for about 12 years. She was terminally ill and was disposing of her things. After telling me what the painting had meant to her, she asked if it would be OK if she gave it to a conservation society in PA that she had been associated with, when she lived there. She wanted it in their collection, so others could enjoy it as she had. I was touched by that phone call.
When you connect with your viewer it gives a whole new level of meaning to your work and help’s you make a sale if that is your goal. It is also inspiring when someone understands the meaning behind your work and shares similar feelings about something you are passionate about. Your message can be as simple as color, texture, lines, shapes, or more complex subjects such as nature, home, family, life, or feelings. Just paint what you are passionate about.
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” Vincent Van Gogh