Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pretty Girls Get All the Attention

One of the turtle racers in my latest painting.
I'd like to think of myself as an artist who gives all women of all sizes equal attention in my paintings. I'm more interested in an interesting picture that will make a good composition rather than just focusing on whether the woman is pretty or not. I have painted some overweight women, older women, and some pretty darn plain women because it made a great painting. Have I painted pretty women? Yes, I have on several occasions. Do they sell quicker than the other paintings? Yes, that seems to be the trend. One may then say that I should focus on just pretty girls since they sell so well. If this was just about money and making sales, I probably would, but we already know that I won't. I haven't so far.

It's not that I don't want to sell my paintings. It's not that I have anything against attractive women. I just don't like to be told what to do! Okay, I'm only half kidding on that last statement, just ask my husband. But what I mean is that this is my creative expression and I have to follow my muse. If I feel the need to paint an average looking woman because the picture speaks to me, then I will. If the picture happens to be of an attractive woman, then so be it. I paint whatever inspires me not what I think is more marketable. I don't want to be known as the artist who only paints pretty women.

That being said, I recently had the request for pretty women and bathing beauties from a new-to-me gallery that wants to represent me. The owner was really attracted to the ones that I had already painted and wanted some more for her gallery. Do I just paint attractive women to satisfy this gallery director? Part of me wants to be a "rebel" and just say no just because I don't like people dictating what I paint. But when I look at the next few paintings I have lined up, they all contain fairly attractive women in them. Did I purposely pick these images out for their subject's beauty? I don't think I did. Is this any different than when a gallery requests larger paintings from me? It's still a request, right? Maybe, maybe not.

Galleries are always going to request things from their artists. Most of the time, they are reasonable requests. It's the artist's job to decide what is reasonable to them and what will compromise their artistic vision. I don't feel like painting a few pretty women that were already in the queue to be painted is an imposition and I don't really fault a gallery for requesting what they think will sell. As long as I am still painting pictures of people that I like and am inspired by, I'm happy. If some of them turn out to be attractive and make my galleries happy, even better.

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