Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I'm generally a person of few words here at this blog but today I stopped in over at Andrea Pratt's blog and her post created a fire storm of emotion for me.

I've thought about opening an Etsy shop. The posts at Andrea's really made me stop and think long and hard about the value of that idea.

Lately I've been getting a few comments on my art posted here. A couple of people have used the word "cute". Now PLEASE don't get me wrong, I really truly appreciate ANY comment I get because, well, quite frankly I get so few comments so any affirmation of my work is of value to me. But, do I want my work to be seen as "cute" ??

Oh, god, I feel so damned lost as an artist.

I have friends who tell me they think my art is remarkable. Let's be honest here, how much stock should a person put in the opinion of friends?

I had four pieces at a boutique gallery for nearly a year. Only two items ever sold. I know, I know someone will say "find your audience". That is true. And if I want this to happen I need to make it happen for myself. No one else will do it for me.

So on the other side of this, my friend who is such a champion of my work is bringing two people to my house today to look at furniture and art for potential purchase. I guess she feels strongly enough about my work to talk it up to her network. I'm excited, scared. What next?

Off to think on this some more......................

If anyone is out there, your honest feedback is what I really need right now.


andrea said...

Oh how well I know what you're going through and I'm glad my post rung a bell. Sometimes I feel a little stupid spreading my angst all over the internet. After all the high-sales "cute" artists never do! :) (What does that tell you???)

I don't think there's anything wrong with a little charm in your work, depending on your audience, but your work is edgey enough to not be in the same category as those big-eyed children. And finding the right venue is both the solution and the problem. I've had a lot of trouble with that one -- my less-mainstream work ending up in more-mainstream galleries -- and the fit has been all wrong. I still feel like I'm just starting out and I have a few years under my belt now!

Just keep at it. The tables you do are amazing. Something like that, adapted to smaller objects you could sell on Etsy would be ideal as you'd be exploring an (almost)unoccupied niche! Good luck.

Linda said...

I think I'm the one who keeps saying your things are cute. I'm sorry this bothers you. I wouldn't call Monet or Picaso cute but your cow against the blue moon and your chicken are, to me, adorable. I'm sorry about the word "cute" but I guess I use it alot for your type of art. I didn't mean to offend you. I like your art enough that I would buy it unlike some of the heavy, emotionally wrenching stuff.

Paula said...

Oh gosh, Linda I didn't mean to target you in particular. I hope your feelings aren't hurt. Oh gosh.

A Kite Rises said...

What comes through very poignantly in your post is your questioning of your self and your ability as an artist and I scroll down the blog, and I see the endearing naivete of the yellow bird, the folk art beauty of the table and chest of drawers, the light and airy touch of the hummingbirds nesting box drawings, and the unforgettable, whimsical and quirky "Jack". Keep creating, keep painting, keep photographing (valles caldera) - sell locally or on Etsy, it matters not where :) the important thing is to be creative. I hope this helps a little. Btw, your blog icon, the white bird against the rosy pink background is one of my favourite images ; )

Paula Manning-Lewis said...

Paula, I SO TOTALLY know what you are going thru! I have questioned my newest series for years now and wonder if anyone really likes it! What I believe you need is to get over here and spend some time around other artists(in person) and you will find that we all question ourselves! As far as sales go, I've run the gambit, I've had years where my sales were close to $60,000! And then there have been years(like 2007) when I thought I should go get a job! What I've found is that what's important is that you create what's in YOUR heart! When you create to sell, it doesn't have the heart and people can see that. Just keep painting, your art will evolve and improve.

Plus, there's nothing wrong with "cute" art!

We are having a show over here at the Factory this Friday, hope you will come by and see me so we can meet and you can also meet everyone else in the group. Sometimes just knowing that other artists are in the same place helps.

Now I'm off to read Andrea's post...

tongue in cheek said...

I left a comment here a week or so ago and it isn't here? i came back to see if you had opened a shop....
I guess my comment didn't stick.
So I will try to re write it.
My Mom and Aunt say the word "cute" for everything. It is their stand by word for things they like. It use to bug me...cute is not my word either. With that said, when my Mom and Aunt say the word "cute" I know they are saying they love it and that it appeals to them. I think when readers say cute it means that more than anything. They like your art.

Your art is heart warming. The style and subject matter, the cleverness in design, the simple strong lines like in your doves, you make it tangiable, those are the hardest to create, and you do it perfectly.
Open a shop!

A Kite Rises said...

Hey Paula, just wanted to pop in and let you know I have included you in my blog list of fave blogs, I hope this is okay with you and if you'd rather not be included, just let me know. December greetings to you and yours :)

Naturegirl said...

I would describe your art work as whimsical! I get a good feeling as I view the images as I am a true nature lover...the cow speaks volumes..his innocent eyes! Keep following the advice of your heart dear creative spirit! well wishes NG