I have been thinking lately about the artistic direction I want to move in. I have worked on many subjects for the last few years and while they all appeal to me at various times, what I always fall back to are portraits as my comfort. There is something exceptionally challenging and satisfying about creating a human face - or an animal - out of a blank sheet of paper or canvas.
So where is the push off point that makes me decide to devote the bulk of my time to portraiture? I'm not quite sure yet. Maybe I need to think more about my goals. Portraiture can take many forms from commissioned pieces to a less personal range of portraits that appeal to a wider audience. From a financial point of view, portraiture is a hard sell. It is very much a luxury item and often thought narcissistic by those commissioning works for themselves or a confusing option for those thinking of portraits of family members for gifts or remembrances.
During the current recession, can portraits still sell? I know in Newfoundland, where they say the recession hasn't hit hard, selling any kind of art can be challenging. A small population with less disposable income makes it difficult to consider luxuries like commissioned art. Of course, I do have access to the world through the internet and that increases my options.
There are those who say that it doesn't matter if art sells or not, it is in the process and creation. Yes, to a degree. But we create pieces so they can be shared with the world and to be compensated for time and effort to share that product with the world. I know commissions can get old when they are subjects that don't hold your interest intently and you look upon them as a chore. But if the subject is one you love, then there shouldn't be a problem. Each one is a new challenge and pleasure to produce and learn from.
So I sit and think about whether to push into an area that is more speciality or to continue to work on a broader range of subject matter. Meanwhile this little 4 x 12 capelin print, a left over from Saturday's workshop, has received its final washes of colour, ready to swim off to a new home.