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What Americans Like to See In Art

August 17, 2009

A friend on Facebook recently posted the link to a survey done in 1993 about what Americans like to see in art. A summary of the results of the survey states:

“To a surprising extent, the public tends to agree on what it like to see in a work of art. Americans generally tend to prefer, for instance, traditional styles over more modern designs; they also express a strong preference for paintings that depict landscapes or similar outdoor scenes. In addition, most Americans tend to favor artists known for a realistic style over those whose artworks are more abstract or modernistic.”

One conclusion stuck me as particularly interesting for artists:

Which of the following statements applies to you more?

“When choosing pictures, photographs, or other art for my home, I usually try to select pieces that fit into the general decor of my home”: 34%

“When choosing pictures, photographs, or other art for my home, I focus on whether or not I like the piece:” 60%

It’s gratifying to know that 60% of art buyers select pieces they like rather than those that match their couch!

I also appreciate this finding:

Which of the following statements is closest to your view?

“Paintings should ideally serve some higher goal, such as challenging their viewers to think about art or life in a different way than they normally do.”: 19%

“Paintings don’t necessarily have to teach us any lessons, but can just be something a person likes to look at.”: 75%

And, at least in 1993, art buyers seem to have their wallet in a good place:

Which one of the following would be most important to you in deciding how much money you would spend on a painting?

the size of the piece: 3%

the fame of the artist: 7%

the medium, such as oil or watercolor: 5%

the degree to which you like the painting: 62%

whether you think it will increase in value: 16%

I really do wonder if the results would be substantially different today than they were in 1993.




August 11, 2009
"Reflection", pastel portrait

"Reflection", pastel portrait

Today I’ve been cleaning up in the studio and trying to change my mindset from landscapes to portraits. That may seem odd, but they are two distinctly different mindsets for me. I seldom can do a satisfying portrait when my mind is thinking ‘landscape’, and vice versus.

While organizing my studio storage room I came across this older piece and was pleased to discover that I still love it. I remember doing this from photos I took in a figure drawing studio of a live model. She looked so wistful sitting there – as if she’s reflecting on yet-to-be-fulfilled dreams and the uncertainty of looking into the future.

This was painted on pinkish gray paper using soft pastels. The paper shows through around the subject, but also on right side of the piece where the garment is roughly sketched in. I’ve always liked the reflected cool light on her forhead and face, in contrast to the warm light hitting her from the side.

Pieces of the Puzzle

July 20, 2009
Pieces of the group photo collage

Pieces of the group photo collage

Several of the Chelsea Painters group members met the other day for lunch to hand in our puzzle pieces for the group photo collage. Here you can see several of the pieces laid out on the floor. This nearly life-size collage, based on a group photo, is going to be so much fun when it’s complete!

“Porcelain Berries”

July 15, 2009
Porcelain Berry - from the archives

Porcelain Berry - from the archives

Last night I discovered a folder of images I hadn’t seen in awhile of paintings I did several years ago. Some of them I had completely forgotten about. As I recall, this one was a favorite at the time, and I still like it now. What a happy surprise to find that folder!

Portrait Puzzle Piece

July 6, 2009
Teresa's Piece of the Group Photo

Teresa's piece of the Chelsea Painters group collage

My heart just has not been in the ‘puzzle piece’ assignment someone in the Chelsea Painters thought up. A photo of the group was taken and blown up the nearly life size. Then, the enlargement was cut apart, with each person in the photo representing a puzzle piece. We are to paint ourselves, in whatever style we choose, and to the exact size of our puzzle piece. These paintings will be put back together to create a life-sized collage of the members of the group.

Maybe it’s because I don’t care for the picture of me, or maybe because my mind has been busy with other things. At any rate, while I can paint a creditable portrait, in the end I decided to do something symbolic for this project. The water represents my soul, the green of the trees represents my heart, and you can see shooting from those the many ideas exploding in my head. Or, maybe I’ve just got the fourth of July on my brain!

At any rate, despite my lack of enthusiasm for this project, I think the end result will be very interesting. There are a lot of talented people in this group and the variety of visons and styles should produce something that viewers will want to spend time exploring.