Friday, November 14, 2008
Creating a body of work
I've been thinking about creating a body of work. Its on my list and I know it has to be done. Not because my list says so, but because I know that to move ahead, I need a number of images that represent me, my style of work. And that makes me think about what my style is.
I've broken it down further to let me analyse what makes my drawing or painting my own and if it is recognizable to others as my style. I've looked at where my comfort zone is and what makes it comfortable. And I've tried to understand the subject matter that draws me to study it and put it on paper.
So what have I learned?
1. My style is 'soft' or 'delicate' realism. I don't use hard lines, bright colours or gimmicks. My work has a softness in terms of values and application. I look around the walls and through my drawing books and see my style coming through, even if I don't realize it at times.
2. My comfort zone is dry media, specifically graphite, charcoal and coloured pencil. I use wet media from time to time and enjoy it, but I know that my technical skill comes through in dry media. I know what to expect from it, how it performs on different media and that it doesn't add stress to me even in deadlines.
3. My subject matter varies, but again that comfort zone comes in the form of portraits, either animal or human. I draw other subject matter, but nothing grips my attention like trying to achieve soft fur or the light in a person's eye.
So I know more or less the makeup of my style, medium and subject matter, now I need to use that knowledge to create a number of drawings in a subject that has appeal, both to me, as I have to produce them, and to a gallery and the public who may like to buy them ultimately.
I know to produce a body of work, I will need likely 15 to 20 pieces before I can approach a gallery to even consider representation. Galleries like to know the style of work you do, that your work is consistant in quality and that you can produce X number of pieces a month/year. As with any other business, galleries create the demand through marketing and need a supplier who can deliver reliably.
I also know that to produce this body of work it will take time. I'm allowing myself a minimum of a year to produce and even that is optimistic, considering other elements of life that I need to deal with at the same time. But I sure will try. Planning is the easy part.