Nobody promised easy

“Leap and you will grow wings” by Dave Conrey

“Leap and you will grow wings” by Dave Conrey

This one is going to be a bit introspective, and very stream of consciousness because the idea for the post just hit me like a brick when I woke up. It's not a fully formed idea yet, but that's what the blog is for, right?

I recently finished an art piece for a family friend, and the piece is probably my favorite I've done all year—partly because of how different it is than anything else I made recently, but also because of how well it was received by my friend. She loves the piece, and I love that she loves it.

What I also really enjoyed about it was being able to work on something of reasonable size. Whenever I get my hands on a good-sized canvas, the work almost takes on a life of its own. When you compare my small work to my larger pieces, they don't even feel like the same artist.

I make small art often because I can make it almost anywhere. I pack up my art pens, tape, rubber cement, and bits of ephemera to a coffee shop; make a huge mess, clean it up, and by the time I finish my coffee, I've got some art to show for it. Can't do that with a 48" canvas.

There's also the issue of space. I only have so much room to store my art, and I can obviously hold a lot more 5x7s and 8x10s than I can large canvases. That's no reason to not make my bigger art, but it's still a thing.

On the other hand, I can't be nearly as expressive on my small works as I can my large pieces. I said I want to be bolder in my artistic statements, but it's hard to be bold on a piece of watercolor paper the size of a greeting card.

I can't bust out a can of aerosol paint in the middle of a Starbucks and let it flow until the drips run down onto the table. I can't put layer upon layer of acrylic paint onto a piece of watercolor paper and expect it to hold up.

There's something to be said though about working within the constraint of a small substrate. It helps create focus, and because I work pretty fast, I can generate more work. The larger pieces require more time to dry after layers, so they take days or weeks instead of minutes or hours.

Being real about this; if more people bought my larger canvases, I'd have no problem with space—wouldn't even think twice about it. I probably would work on nothing but larger canvas if I could, but I don't sell that many. That's my fault, and something I need to work on more. The middle can be messy.

The middle I'm referring to is the place where you're ready to make so much more stuff, but you don't have the space to make it, because you have so much stuff in the way already. So you want to clear out space, but you don't have the patrons to help take it off your hands.

Again, my problem to solve, which means more work to be done. The only solution to come of this post is that if you want to sell more stuff, you better get your ass to work because nobody promised it would be easy work. They just promised it would be work.

Let's get to it.