Where to now?

I’m having a bit of a directional crisis at the moment and would appreciate some feedback. I recently approached a local gallery for representation and whilst they absolutely love my soft pastel work, they are reticent to take my work on – basically because they battle to actually sell soft pastel landscapes. Whilst the bulk of their comments were really inspirational, I was left wondering whether I’m going in completely the wrong direction.  

I also know, from experience, that pastel works do not sell – no matter how much everyone raves about them, that applause doesn’t often translate into hard cash. So, should I stop working with this medium and concentrate on developing my style with acrylics or oils? 

Anyone who knows me, understands that I do not enjoy working with oils but I decided to have a go with a scene from outside my window yesterday.    This is the source image (quite heavily pixelated):

I toned the paper with an acrylic wash first – I used Arches for Oil paper, which is just about the best you can get and cracked on. 

I use water-soluble oils – mainly Cobra. After waiting for it to dry up a bit overnight, I fiddled about with it some more today and this is where I am now:

Looking out across the winter fields

I frigging hate it! It needs so much more ‘honey’ – it’s not glowing.    I know that if I did this in soft pastels, it would definitely glow and have a bit of spark.  The way it looks now (to me) seems dull and lifeless.   I will probably fiddle about with it more, perhaps with a honey glaze, not sure yet.

I then decided to re-do a soft pastel work that I did last week – this one:

And for this attempt, I used acrylics. This is the result:

‘Sunlit autumn stream – acrylics’

How I test myself with this is to try and take almost the same amount of time that I would have done when making the soft pastel painting. So I forced myself not to fiddle about too much (with the acrylic). I did not use the best quality acrylics, they are student grade. I toned the paper a burnt ochre but now when I remember, I actually used a green toned paper for the pastel one, so maybe that’s why the acrylic version isn’t sparking as much.

Here they are side by side:

Aargh! Come on, give it to me on the nose (I can take it) – should I pack it in with the soft pastels or what?   

2 thoughts on “Where to now?

  1. Beautiful work, always. No, don’t pack it in, your pastel work is exceptional. What you could do, to hit the commercial market, is photograph them, and then have the artwork printed to sell. I have a good route….pm if you want to talk about it. Good luck xx

    1. Hi Viv, thanks for your comments, much appreciated. Yes, the gallery said they had success selling prints of original pastels not the originals! I will email you xx 👍

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