Studies and demo artworks are the steps we take along our journey.
Most artists I know try out new methods, new pigment combinations, new ways of doing things on less expensive supports. It’s just more freeing to play on something that costs a fraction of a “real” painting. It’s also really, really liberating to free yourself from the more serious aspects of art making and composition – you’ve built that into the experience by using something different than you use for professional works. You are playing and you know it through the whole experience. This what I do when I do studies.
It’s similar, but different, for paintings I do while demonstrating, either for a video (rarely) or in person at an open studio or during one of my classes. Any artist that demonstrates has got to know the tension of performing – and sometimes the exhilaration of nailing it, of doing a really cool flippin’ painting while under scrutiny, sometimes in only 15 minutes.
And sometimes these works take you somewhere you hadn’t expected and change the “real” work you do next. Art is like that. It’s one of the things I love about this profession. Art is a conversation, even if the conversation you are having is with yourself. It’s a journey, and sometimes without a destination in mind you can discover a new path.
Sometimes studies and demos should remain just a reminder of a personal exploration – something you thought was interesting and should be explored. Sometimes they aren’t to be shown to anyone other than the artist.
And sometimes, sometimes, once in a while, they inform the next works – but, do you keep them forever? When you are done looking and absorbing them, then what?
For me, I can’t sell them at a gallery. These aren’t my serious works, they aren’t on expensive panels, they are … play … and part of where I am going.
I guess I was lucky to have created a bunch that have given me what I needed and now their task is completed. I got an okay from my gallery to let them go at demo prices. I’m gonna do that, let the good ones out of the boxes they’ve been stored in, let them go play on someone else’s walls. Be free, as they helped me to be.