Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll

Enveloped, 2007, Oil on Panel, 30x36

Steven Larose asked me yesterday, in response to my remark about selling my soul, "how much does a soul go for these days?" I left a flip response, but I sure did think about quite a few more serious responses. The real answer is somewhere in between flip and serious, I think. While copying myself isn't my favorite thing, I don't really mind doing it either. Even when making few, if any changes in a piece, there is always still a challenge involved for me. There is always something new to explore, to see, to feel, despite, or maybe because of the more narrow parameters. In addition, repeating a painting keeps me painting, it makes a client happy, and it helps me pay a few bills, all of which have value to me.

So I don't feel as if I have sold my soul at all. I am perfectly capable of making a decision about where to draw the line for myself. And this is where taking a big long break to raise my kids and do other things has come in handy. During those years, I learned that I can do a number of things well, besides painting. I am not desperate for success, for recognition, or even to make a living at art. Those things would be lovely, of course and getting them because of my painting IS my first choice. And I don't deny that I feel the drive to achieve professional success. However, I now know that I don't have to put up with crap to get that, if I don't want to and I can if I do want to.

Today's paintings are based on a scene that I really love. I have probably posted them before, but I am putting them all up together this time. I keep painting it with the intent of changing the colors at least, but I always end up going back to the same combinations. Because I have found a strong connection and I want to express that.

That is why I am doing all of this.

Individuality, 2006, Oil on Panel, 16x20

Tree Grove in Spring, 2006, Oil on Panel, 18x24

Cherry Tree, 2006, Oil on Panel, 6x6

Against Dark Trees, 2006, Oil on Panel, 24x24


Steven LaRose said...

I like (not that it matters) the first one "Individuality". My question was flip and deserved a flip answer, if any. But I sure can relate. I've gone so far as to do forgeries of my own paintings. . .three times. I sold them all to people who knew what they were getting. The process is liberating in a way. You don't have to think about anything except good execution. Its like chemistry, trying mix a potion, or a formula. It is something that I love about painting sets for theater, turning a designer's watercolor rendering into a full scale deal. Its a challange and fun and takes craft/skill/chops to just be a 2-D wizard.

Tracy said...

Yes, but did you get the song reference in the title? It's pretty obscure.

You like the first one I did. It got all my new energy I think. I like it the best too, though I kept searching in the following pieces, for something more. Not sure that I found it, but they have all been sold (except the top one, which I have just barely finished) so someone connected with them.

Casey Klahn said...

Look at the incredible energy you bring, here! I get the sense by the posting of the whole corpus in one post. Beyond awesome!
Van Gogh, our February artiste de Morte, was big on self-copying.
My biggest single sale was of a group of four works (the four seasons, of course) that were the same linear composition, but so completely different in color compositions, that you first couldn't tell that they were the same "picture".

Elizabeth Love said...

Hi Tracy. Your posts are timely for me.
I have a piece that I'm keeping in my own collection. Although painted over a year ago, I just have never wanted to sell it. It 'hangs out' at a local resturant. Many people have wanted to purchase it...maybe because it is not for sale.
I have decided to do what I'm calling a sub-series & have completed a few works using its design elements on different sizes of canvas. Today though I'm working on the same size canvas with the same placement of design elements. It will be interesting to compare the two when I am finished.

Tracy said...

Thanks, Casey, for the compliment about my energy. Your pieces sound interesting-will you post them on your blog sometime?

I was asked to do a commission once, involving four pieces, each one depicting a different season. It fell through, and I have kept meaning to pursue that on my own. Haven't had the time, but it's on my to-do list:)

Elizabeth, I love how people always want the piece that is not for sale, though I have to admit to often being drawn to those as well. A sub-series sounds like a great solution. Sell those!

Chris Rywalt said...

Of course I'm not a selling artist, so it hardly counts, but I've repeated myself a couple of times. Both times were paintings that a friend really liked; the first one was an airbrush painting, and I made a new one for my friend because I wasn't thrilled with how the first one came out. I made too many mistakes. The second one was also an airbrush painting at first, but I'd screwed up on part of it so badly I actually glued paper over the illustration board to finish that bit. I repainted it in oils (years later, after I figured out how they worked) and it came out much better. Then I gave it away.

In fact I've considered repainting all of my old airbrushes in oils, because I could make them exactly what I wanted. But then I think that even as perfect as I could make them, they wouldn't be very good. So I'd rather work on new stuff.

I've thought of doing Painted Lady as a series, if I could find models. Vulva portraits! I did get one commission for one, but my wife put the kibosh on it.

Tracy said...

Chris, I can't believe your wife didn't want you to do that commission:) It would be a very interesting series, though. Painted Lady reminds me of the Rod Stewart song.

Chris Rywalt said...

So I'm a young guy, I guess, since I don't know where your post title came from (aside from its being a rock cliche these days) and I don't know which Rod Stewart song you mean. "Stay With Me"? "Do You Think I'm Sexy"? "Forever Young"?

Tracy said...

Well, that or you don't listen to pop music to the extent that I do. Which is probably a good thing, by the way:)

Sold My Soul to Rock and Roll was sung by Bette Midler and was included on the soundtrack for the movie "The Rose" I had the record album in high school and wore it out, I played it so much.

Tonight's the Night by Rod Stweart has a line in it that I am too embarrassed to repeat here, but let's just say it references that whole vulva thing. I once saw an interview where Rod Stewart mentioned that line, and to be honest until he joked about what it really meant, I never actually knew what the heck he was talking about! I sang along to that song in grade school into adulthood without really realizing what it meant! Sheesh! Naive or what!

Now I'll be reminded of your painting when I hear that song.

Chris Rywalt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Rywalt said...

"Spread your wings/And let me come inside"? Holy crap!

I must admit to being a minor Rod Stewart fan, but I always forget which of his songs I like. I have MP3s of a few, like "The Killing of Georgie," "Stay With Me," "Young Turks," and "Maggie May." "Tonight's the Night" would be on my list, except I forgot about it. It's on there now, though!

Rod Stewart captured being a horny, cocky adolescent better than anyone. Then he got old and lame.

Bette Midler isn't my favorite. I have a copy of "The Rose" here. I remember tryouts for a show back in college where my wife-to-be and another girl did an impromptu, a capella rendition of "The Rose." It brought tears to my eyes. I turned to the music director -- another student, but a talented one, called Mongo -- and said, "That was great."

"It would've been even better if they'd stayed in the same key," he replied.

I never notice stuff like that.

Anyway, now I'll think of Rod Stewart when I look at my painting. And I do just about every night. Thanks.

Tracy said...

Despite "the fact" that he was taken to the hospital and they found a gallon of semen in his stomach, I have always liked Rod Stewart. I used to have a lot of his older albums. Now I don't care for what he is doing at all, but hey, he's got to pay for all of those families somehow!

Anyway, glad I was able to point out a new connection to you concerning your painting, Chris. You're welcome.