Art is important for a number of reasons – it makes life more interesting and cultivates an inspiring environment. It helps define our culture and reflects the state of the world when a work of art was created. Art is a wonderful tool, that allows us to:
1. Express Ourselves
Art allows us to tell stories visually, and share the way we see the world. There are so many different mediums or materials that can be used to make artwork, which is part of the beauty of using it as a form of expression. This makes it easier for artists to craft their own unique style and voice.
2. Inspire Others
Artwork can inspire others in the arts and even serve as motivation for people in different industries to create something of their own. Making your own artwork, and making it to the best of your abilities, can inspire others to make their own art – which can inspire others as well. Art-making can create this fantastic chain reaction of inspiration and creativity.
3. Make the World More Interesting
Without art, our lives would be pretty dull. We wouldn’t have artwork decorating our walls at home or work, and we wouldn’t get that inspiration from visiting art museums and galleries. There wouldn’t be designs and patterns on our clothing, bags, or rugs. There wouldn’t be cartoons or illustrations in publications or on TV. Quite honestly, the world would be a pretty bland place. Art makes the world a more vibrant and interesting place to live.
4. Record our History
Even if we’re not aware of it, the art we make helps record what life is like at a given point in time. This can be done simply with the materials used that can date the work, or the subject matter depicted. Art serves as a record of how life was when the work of art was created.
Overall, art makes the world a more interesting and beautiful place to live. It helps us make sense of life, and add meaning to different moments in time. Art is something that makes life a little more magical, allowing us to express ourselves and communicate our different viewpoints.
Art is a process, and figuring out your composition before you get started, will speed up the art-making process. So what does planning out your art composition really mean? It means figuring out what you’re going to create:
- Define your subject matter
- Define your color palette
- Research (let that be via practice sketches or studying the subject in more depth)
- When you’re ready to get started, sketch out your composition. That way you’ll have a guide to use as you develop the piece.
Why does planning out your composition matter?
1. Saves Time
Sketching out your composition first, saves you the time and effort of reworking your artwork when the composition you had in mind isn’t panning out. Planning this out before you start using your materials, will help you figure out what may or may not work.
2. Saves Money
Time is money after all, and if planning can save you time, it will save you money as well. Also, eliminating compositions that don’t seem to work when you sketch them out, means you don’t have to learn those lessons while working with your materials. For instance, if you’re making an oil painting, you won’t have to waste time and materials painting over an unplanned composition that just doesn’t work. Planning will uncover possible issues.
3. Defines the Vision for the Artwork
Planning can also assist with the direction of the art – with the tone, and overall look and feel.
4. More Control Over the Progress
By determining what your work of art will look like beforehand, you’ll have a better handle on how things progress.
5. Get More Consistent Results
If you have defined the vision of your work and have more control over the progress, you are more likely to get more consistent results. Identifying potential issues by working them out with sketches, will also give you more successful results.
Even after planning out your composition, there is still the possibility that it won’t work out the way you were hoping it would. These things happen, and they’re simply a part of the creative process. However, planning will ensure that more times than not, you’ll have a product you’re satisfied with.
Sketchbooks are a great tool for artists to practice their craft. You can think of sketching as creating a rough draft of a work of art. Sketchbooks often hold a collection of sketches or ideas for new work.
Here are a few reasons why artists keep sketchbooks:
Sketchbooks can be used to master the art of drawing something specific, like the figure.
2. Exploring Ideas
Before committing an idea to canvas, or whatever the materials are that the artist is using, the idea can be explored with a series of sketches. That way the artist can determine beforehand what the piece might look so she or he won’t waste materials.
3. Troubleshooting Layout Issues
If the composition for a work in progress isn’t quite working out, sketching can help figure out possible solutions to the composition’s layout.
They can be used like a visual journal where an artist can sketch out his or her thoughts on a daily basis (or however frequent is necessary).
Through the sheer force of practice, if an artist forces his or her self to frequently sketch or do different exercises in a sketchbook, even when feeling uninspired, it can help spark inspiration.
6. Works of Art
Other times it’s simply an easy way to store polished works of art.
If you’ve used a sketchbook for some other creative reason, feel free to share about it in the comments below.
If you want to start exhibiting or selling your artwork, it’s important that you build out a portfolio so people can sample the work you’ve done, or see the work you’re capable of doing. Review the artwork you’ve made thus far, and select the strongest pieces. How do they compare when they’re grouped together? See if you can meet these requirements to ensure that you have a good portfolio:
- Is there enough variation?
- Do they show that you have range?
- Are they consistent?
- Is each piece memorable in its own way?
- Do you have at least 10 pieces?
If you weren’t able to meet all the requirements, or if there were any pieces you weren’t thrilled with, you can make more art so you can fill in any of the gaps. Your portfolio should be a body of work that you’re proud of, so you should replace anything that you’re not crazy about with newer, better art.
If you’re compiling a portfolio to apply for an exhibit:
- Make sure the artwork speaks to the gallery – meaning do the research on what they’ve exhibited previously, and if your art looks like something they’d show there.
- Make sure it fits the requirements.
- Organize the art in such a way that it flows nicely – that each piece can call attention to itself and that there’s a good balance of color.
- Have someone look over the portfolio and provide feedback. Often times it’s easy to stare too long at our work and get to a point where it’s difficult to curate or edit the pieces.
- Provide supplementary information with your portfolio, like an artist bio, artist statement, resume, and any good articles that have been written about your work.
When it comes to pulling together a portfolio when you want to sell your artwork, you’ll want to use it to mainly market your work:
- Make sure the portfolio has a good sample of the work you want to sell
- Have someone take a look at the art you selected and provide feedback. Does the work make them want to see more?
- Come up with a strategy for how you’d like to market your art from your portfolio. How will you share the images?
- Have an online store where you can direct users to.
As an artist, you’re never done building your portfolio. You will constantly review the new work you’ve made and update your portfolio when needed to keep it current.
Over the years, artists can accumulate a lot of artwork. We make art when we take classes, experiment with different mediums, and create different bodies of work for a series or exhibit. And an artist might want to find ways to get rid of that older work since it can show visual inconsistencies with her or his inventory.
So if you’re an artist looking to get rid of older work, here are a few ideas of things you can do:
1. Sell it Online
Create a separate site or section of your site to market and sell your older artwork (especially if the style varies greatly from your current style).
2. Donate it
Donate your work to a charity art auction. If you’ve grown tired of your older pieces, and have no desire to market and sell them anymore, why not give them to an organization that can benefit from your art?
3. Run a Giveaway
I think giveaways are an excellent way to declutter your studio by removing artwork that is no longer relevant to your visual style or career. It also helps generate some excitement for your fans who follow your work. And people who are truly interested in a piece will enter, which is much better than giving away your work to just anyone.
4. Rework it
Try revisiting your older work to make it better. You can turn one of your older pieces into a newer work of art by working on it again. Who knows, you may even improve it in such a way that you’d want to proudly feature it in your portfolio.
When you’ve gotten tired of your older artwork, or want to clean up your studio a little bit, there are plenty of ways to find a new home for your work. Or if you don’t want to find a new home for it, you can always revisit and rework it.
A self portrait is a representation of an artist created by that artist. Self portraits have been made in every medium imaginable – photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and many more. If you’re an admirer of art, and have frequented museums and galleries, you’ve most likely seen quite a few self portraits – and I have to admit that I have made quite a few self portraits over the years. So, why exactly do artists make self portraits? Here are a few reasons why:
Self portraits help artists tackle the figure. The more an artist can render a portrait, even if it’s just of her or his self, the better an artist can get at depicting people. The human form is a pretty complex subject to tackle, so the more practice, the better.
2. A Convenient Model
It’s common for artists to draw from life, which means using models. Hired models can be pricy, and that expense can add up, so drawing from life by looking in a mirror is a lot cheaper. Also, making self portraits is really convenient – you can always pose for yourself whenever you want to, while hiring models or having someone pose for you means you’ll have to figure out scheduling.
3. To explore themes and ideas in their artwork
Self portraits can also be used for a series exploring various compositions with underlying meaning, such as the exploration of the artist’s self.
4. Record the artist’s self
Self portraits can also be used to record the way the artist looked at the time the portrait was made.
So there you have it, a few reasons why artists make self portraits. If you’re an artist and have another reason why you make self portraits, feel free to reach out to me and let me know what it is!