Q: If you knew that you would never sell another pastel painting, would you still make them?

Preliminary sketch and photo

Preliminary sketch and photo

A:  This is an interesting question to ponder in August when the art world is on vacation.

Certainly I would continue (reread my blog post of July 25th), but I wouldn’t bother to make them if one unrelated thing were true:  that I knew beforehand what they would look like.  Then the process just wouldn’t be very interesting.

Each pastel painting is an exploration, a journey with a point of departure.  My reference photo and preliminary sketch serve as guides, but creating a painting is like making a voyage with only the roughest of maps.  As I work, new possibilities open up that take the painting  – and me – to places that could not have been imagined.      

Comments are welcome!         

About barbararachkoscoloreddust

Barbara Rachko is a New York Artist, Blogger, and Author who has been meticulously working in Soft Pastel on Sandpaper for 30+ years.

Posted on August 29, 2015, in An Artist's Life, Art Works in Progress, Black Paintings, Creative Process, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Working methods and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Barbara, this is a terrific question. It addresses the mind-bending subject of rewards, and what we artists consider an award, and whether thinking of a sale or a “like” as a reward hooks us and makes us addicts of past successes.

    I just read a wonderful book, On Kindness, by Adam Phillips; it’s a tiny book with a ton of mind-fodder! Why do we do things for other people?

    Little story from my early artist days: My rather personal painting won a first and was displayed prominently at a pretty high-profile art festival. Before I even photographed it, it sold, and the buyer asked me to come show him the rest of my portfolio. Well, I did. He was not impressed. That was it. Soooo. In my mind I thought “I must make more paintings like that one so I can sell more and not disappoint the buyers/collectors.”

    Wrong. But I had to find out that it was wrong. My motivation was not to make a passionate, expressive painting with my heart and soul any more, but to make a painting that would sell! The art spirit was disappointed with me. It did not work!

    Success can stunt one’s growth! It takes a humbled head to realize that.

    Learning to be more humble…Susan

    • Susan, early on in my art career I had something similar happen. A couple bought a charcoal drawing of mine. I had made it strictly for myself – as an homage to a favorite artist – and if I do say so, it was a terrific piece! Well, they decided to commission a companion drawing. I found a subject and made another charcoal drawing. My heart was just not in it and it showed! Still, I sent them the drawing. They told me how disappointed they were, so I took my drawing back and refunded their money. I never again made a piece of art strictly for money. To this day I turn down all commissions.

%d bloggers like this: