Originally posted by laniers
Larry this brings a question to mind. Do you see a price penalty for in watercolors. In other words, do you have to ask less for a work if it is done in watercolors. Seems that way to me.
well...first of all please don't take my answers as an insult, I tend to tell it as I see it.
My respect for the medium is the same with any. Communicating your impressions and reaction to the world around you to the viewer successfully is what I think is important. The medium, so long as it has an archaival promise to it, ought not to matter.
Unfortunately...there is a perceived value that more or less fuels this misnotion.
Since I for some odd reason, have developed my abilities in a number of mediums...it does not affect me as much...but I can certainly understand the frustration for those that do strictly watercolor.
I'll give you one "for instance..." I painted with acrylics for roughly 20 years and over the past decade began adding "gelex" or Liquitex "Extender Gel Medium"...because I was evolving into more an impasto brushstroke laid brushstroke stayed painter. Acrylics flattens when it dries, and some of the affect I wanted was to make use of texture's properties to suggest some details. Thus I added the gelex.
My intention wasn't to set out to make them look like oils, but they more or less did. That is what led to my doing the demo on my site, "How to Produce an Acrylic that Looks Like an Oil!" http://www.wetcanvas.com/ArtSchool/Acrylics/Waterfall/
An art rep I had at the time got some of my larger works into a very prominent gallery in the Mall of America. That gallery had to pay $14,000 per month just to lease the space, thus every space on their walls had to have a calculated assurity to sell, and nothing hung under $2000....
I had some 22" x 28" acrylics, and a few larger that sold and did quite well.
About three months into a very successful relationship with the gallery, I paid a visit and saw they had labelled my acrylics as "oils"....
well...sure, they looked like oils, but I had told them initially. Well...perhaps weekend help, miscommunication...I don't know...but the owner/manager panicked! She asked if I painted oils as well, and I told her I did. Next, she asked me how soon I could get some to her?
Though my images were appealing to the public. Though my sales had been consistent...suddenly finding out they were acrylics lowered the estimation of their value and excellence in this gallery's eyes. They feared what would happen if the public found out.
Now...you have artists such as myself that sell fairly routine their oils or an occassional acrylic for $500 on up to $4,000....but, you miss a whole other market of those that like your images but can't fork out what they consider "big bucks!"
So...your options are prints. The other option is to produce and make available what some think as your "affordables"...
For me...and for many artists working in a number of mediums...watercolors are unfortunately perceived as affordable.
If I enter a duck stamp competition or trout stamp with a watercolor or graphite image...even though I've won before...I won't stand a chance against the acrylics or oil entrants.
I suppose one could call me to blame for that...but, I did not create that personae, plus I fell victim to it once myself. That notion is out there though sad to say.
How do we change that??? I don't know. What's the difference if an image is successful in one medium or the other?
See...I think though to raise some of the value of the image so that the value of watercolor itself raises to that level or status, one has to be careful to resist isolation.
I know some would like to see me abdicate use of pastels, oils or acrylics, and convert to just a watercolorist...but, that would really only serve to isolate watercolors and watercolorists. On the other hand...if people have a high regard for my oils and capabilities with oils or acrylics, but then discover I really enjoy producing watercolors, well...that pits them against a paradox. How do you respect me as a person, value me as an artist because of what I do with these mediums over here...but then hold disdain for watercolor at the same time? You can pretend I don't do them...or you can begin to ponder that the making of watercolors must have value.
Isn't this one of the reasons that we are so blessed to have Sargent's vast collection of watercolors on hand? Is he not really known in the fine art world for his stature in oils? Furthermore...he is remembered most for his portraits.
In the same way we would like his watercolors to hold higher regard in the art world...I would also like the art world to note and hold a higher regard for his landscapes. He really burned out in portraiture, and when he was financially independent...walked away from them to do what he wanted and that was landscapes, cityscapes, water fountains...etc; things he saw in his travels. Unfortunately at this time...these things are little regarded or known about Sargent.
So...I don't think I do watercolor a favor by abdicating, but rather by remaining a paradox.
As we learn to assess higher the "image" as an aesthetic value...and as watercolorists you find it possible to encourage and acknowledge artists in other mediums...you really apply pressure by means of common decency for those artists to begin to do the same. In such a way, I believe change can be slowly implemented where a root might take place.
those are my thoughts on it anyway...
(btw...for those curious...I type 96wpm, and I'm on a break at the moment!)