Let’s start with the basics. What medium do you prefer? I’m approaching this as an oil painter and as such it’s vital to understand how to move your idea to a canvas. Through this process you have many options to consider. Will the work be abstract or realist? Abstract being a distortion of time, space, light, shadow, subject and color. Realism is the attempt to represent subject matter as visually seen by the human eye with small variation.
It’s not about galleries, academia or your peers. It’s about you and only you. Your passion, your vision, your quest to tell the story of what your heart sees. To this day, I avoid galleries unless there’s a specific reason I need to be in one. I have also stayed away from art classes. I’ve done this to protect my art, so my work would be pure. I’m easily influenced and I want my art to be different and of its own merit. Others may thrive in this environment and if that’s you I think that’s great, as long as your work stays uniquely yours.
When I first started painting many of the galleries had a western, wildlife flair to them. So I painted rodeos, ranching themes and wildlife. I was able to execute all of these well. However, my passion was Arabian horses and English horsemanship. As my art evolved I began painting that subject matter. The work was better because that was where my heart was. I can’t stress this enough, find your passion and explore it to its maximum. You and your clients will reap great benefits from it.
When you have a deep passion for someone or something it’s a love that is difficult to put into words. It’s consuming and will last a life time. I can paint any subject matter, however when I paint a horse, my spirit soars. All of my senses come alive as I am overwhelmed with this amazing creature. I love the touch, smell, sounds, and sight of them. Walking into a barn on a crisp early morning, hearing a nicker, a snort of impatience, the pawing hoof, a head poking out of a stall brings me incredible joy. Even when I’m mucking out a stall, it’s a labor of love.
When I first started marketing my art I painted everything, the work sold, and I enjoyed the experience. Then one winter day as I contemplated the next spring show season, I came across the Denver Western Event Center. I called them to get the spring equestrian schedule and much to my surprise a show was opening that Friday. They invited me to participate. I was shocked and uncertain if I could be packed up, on the road and set up within a couple of days. Fortunately I was able to and upon arriving I found heaven. I remember walking up the stairs to the huge coliseum, gazing at the arenas and walking down the aisles of stalls. It was incredible! When the owners and horses arrived, the place came alive with excitement. I set up my booth, sipped coffee and watched these beautiful creatures dance in front of me. This in itself was an awesome experience. The extra blessing was the work sold exceptionally well!
I’d found the difference between marketing my work and being passionate about my subjects, the events and my clients. I’d found my niche.