Artist’s dilemma – Realism fighting abstraction

I have a confession to make!

A few weeks ago I said I was happy with the abstract direction my art is taking! And I still am…

So why have I spent the last week doing realistic, representational art? Huh?!

AND… what’s more, why am I actually enjoying it! Honest, I am!!!!

I assure you, this is but a temporary glitch, a short lived, if slightly worrying, trend! One born of a necessity to sell some work at the Art Fair being held at Chiltern Open Air Museum. And, no, it’s not a plane museum as I thought but buildings on display – still trying to get my head around that one.

I will be at an Art Fair ,there all day on Sunday. In the Thame Vicarage room! I’m expecting the market to be fairly traditional in taste although I plan to display my abstracts along with some conventional pieces. I don’t have much representational work to display. So, I’m painting some pieces specific to the venue. There are some fabulous buildings there!  I’m trying to give them some interesting views. Hence my painting of “Henton mission room” looking through part of the fabulous wrought iron gate with the sky as a backdrop.

Henton Mission Room

But they’re still too “trad” for me! Don’t get me wrong, they look good… I’d even say I’m pleased with them. It’s just not how I want to develop long term.

It highlights an issue most artists face. Do you paint what sells or what you love? In an ideal world you do both, and that’s still my primary goal. But sometimes realism sets in, I need to generate funds and this is the best way for me to do it. Am I right? Perhaps, perhaps not, only time will tell!

The truth is, I’m faced with a dilemma. That most people, who buy art locally, are drawn to the representational and I do abstracts. I need to create work for the market I have…

But look to expand into areas where abstraction is better accepted!

OK, that makes sense… I think?

But is it wrong to enjoy this style of work? I don’t believe so. Recreating an impression of a real place has unique set of challenges which, once achieved, provide a distinct feeling of achievement.

I’m an artist who chooses abstraction because it holds greater opportunities for my creativity, not because I can’t create realistic images. Realism informs the choices for my abstracts, it is therefore vital that I continue to develop my understanding of the representational, right?

What do you think?

About CathyReadArt

Artist creating abstract art using mixed media. I believe there should be beauty in art, but sometimes it takes an artist to show others what is truly beautiful.
This entry was posted in Art promotion, Artistic development, Buildings, Exhibitions, ink, landscape, Mediums, Painting subjects, watercolour, watercolour and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Artist’s dilemma – Realism fighting abstraction

  1. sartenada says:

    Lovely painting and the church is looking so nice.

  2. Antonio says:

    Hi Cathy

    Thanks for visiting my blog Lend Me Your Eyes and becoming a fan! I appreciate it.

    With regard to your dilemma, I feel your pain like you cannot imagine dear. I’ve been fighting with this exact issue for a few years now. But it seems to be a bit easier for me, since I don’t gravitate that often to realism, unless, like you mentioned, I’m looking to have it inform an abstract piece I’m working on.

    All I can say is that, yes, you have to pay the bills, but be careful and don’t get trapped into creating work that doesn’t satisfy you. As long as you’re making work that you feel is strong, whether abstract or realistic in style, you are indeed doing what you love. Which is pretty cool, if I may so. 🙂

  3. cat2read says:

    Thanks for the reassurance Antonio! I think I’m planning to keep doing what I love, I just need to find others who love it too!

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