I’ve asked this question a dozen different ways over the years, but it remains an important question — because painting is how I make my living. My collectors and friends have always given me good input.
When I first started painting, I didn’t know what I wanted, much less what my future collectors would want. I painted very colorful abstracts for awhile. Then I painted wildlife for a (long) while (and still do), and then I started adding structure to my abstracts. When I’d put in my 10,000 hours (5 years of 40 hour weeks, honest), my signature style emerged and people really responded. Really responded.
The “geometrix” (now tradmarked) style earned me a lot of collectors, all over the country and the world. It evolved into painting nearly 100 cities, which earned me more collectors, and the cities still sell regularly in print formats.
When we moved back to the Lowcountry, I was surrounded by natural beauty; there were no cities in sight. Having painted multiple cities a year, for many years, I decided to paint one or two a year either by request or if I am doing an event in a new area — because it’s just silly to mess with a good thing, right? I still promote the cities, because people still love them – thankfully!
But I also wanted to paint the sort of marsh life that surrounded me here; the things that still make me go “oh!” when I see them. Like dolphins strandfeeding in Whale Branch when I cross over to the islands. The little clatch of tall white birds that turned out to be storks. And the bigger group of pink birds that were spoonbills. The first time a painted bunting landed on my feeder, I went “oh!” and scared him away. (He still comes back, with his little green “wife.”) After Matthew, there were a couple maccaws in our southern pine, but after a few hours (resting?) they’d moved on.
So I paint these guys. And people love them. All of them seem to find homes.
What, you ask, is the dilemma? Well, part of the dilemma is looking like a dilettante (after 17 years) because I have several distinctly different bodies of work. Every business of being an artist guide there is says “pick one.” Otherwise you don’t look serious. Well, 100 cities is pretty serious. A hundred abstracts is pretty serious. A hundred or more wildlife paintings and mixed media pieces are pretty serious, but it’s always a matter of perception.
The other part of the dilemma is which to promote, because that is what I need to do now. I need to decide which of these to share with the world in a big way. I have to decide whether to become the queen of the cityscapes, or the lady of the landscapes.
I’m at the point in my career that I am pulling back the stops. It’s a good thing.
It’s exciting to live your life always building. When I discovered painting, and the joy of creating and sharing my creations, the passion was strong to just keep painting, every day. I’ve done that and the results have been enormously rewarding on so many levels.
But I’m cutting back on live shows in the field, and concentrating on online sales, and that requires a finer focus.
So, I need to choose. Cities?