Monday, September 17, 2012

Inspiration vs. sale

Still life with plums and peaches. 16"x20". Oil on panel. 2010.
Since last Monday, I have added several new works to my Daily Paintworks Gallery. This is one of them. 

As you can see from the date, it is by no means a new painting. Although I do paint daily, and often direct studies from life, I prefer not to release works for sale as I make them, as our blogging age of immediacy seems to prefer. There are several reasons for this.

One is purely technical: these are oil paintings, and so they take a rather long time to dry and cure completely, which means that six months is about the minimal time they should remain with me. 

More importantly, though, it is essential to me to edit my body of work before it is released into the world. My paintings usually go through several "internal reviews", in which they can be returned into the "in-progress" pile or discarded altogether. This process requires a certain emotional distance from the work, which would allow me to look at it not as a part of myself and my experiences, but rather from the point of view of a detached observer; and this takes time, sometimes less, sometimes more. Just yesterday, for example, I completely reworked two panels that had been living on my own walls for a couple of years. Even though I enjoyed them being there for some time, I would not have wanted them, as they were, to be out there in the world, unattainable and unchangeable.

The time distance and the emotional detachment that comes with it also works as a way to reconcile painting as a vocation, as an essential part of my being, and the selling aspect of this whole endeavor. A great Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin, once said: 

... Inspiration is not for sale, but a manuscript, very much so. 

The time distance between the experience of painting and releasing its result for sale helps to keep them apart, to feel that it's a "manuscript", not "inspiration", that I offer for sale.

If you want to be notified of new works offered for sale on Daily Paintworks without following me on, there are three options:

  • I will mention newly listed paintings here, in my weekly post on Mondays – so if you follow this blog, you will receive this information weekly.
  • If you are on Google+, you can leave me a comment on any post there, and I will add you to the circle where I give the links to auctions as I list the paintings (I don't send out notifications, just make these announcements visible only to those who expressed their interest). 
  • If you are on Twitter, I also try to share all these links there (@LenaLevin_paint). 
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