Before we left Taranaki the other day, I visited The White Sail Gallery. Jill White, an artist and the gallery owner, has some fantastic, varied paintings there (her own as well as others’). She also sells jewellery, ceramics, and lots of other little arty things. Because I showed a particular interest in the paintings, she asked whether I was a painter, and when I told her I was learning, she unloaded a bunch of advice on me, which I was really grateful for and want to record here so I don’t forget it. This isn’t verbatim, but it’s pretty close to what she said:
- Learn colour, but remember, sometimes, the ‘wrong’ colour can be the right colour.
- Work on your technique, but remember, even a mistake can be a technique. As long as it sticks to the canvas. (I love that.)
- Learn from someone experienced, but then take a break from them, and find your own way.
- Don’t be derivative; find your own style. That’s what galleries (and collectors) are looking for: something unique.
- Pay attention to the paintings and artists you’re drawn to, and the things you keep going back to in your own painting. That’s where your style lies.
- Be kind to yourself. Don’t take it personally if galleries reject your work. They can reject it for all sorts of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with the quality of your work.
I’m nowhere near submitting anything to a gallery, of course, but it’s always good to know this stuff in advance!