Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Consistency for the Artist and the Author

"Cross in the Wind" mixed media 20"x16" ©Mary Montague Sikes
For the past several years, I have been following Jason Horejs and learning from him. Jason is an art gallery owner and a marketing guru. He has a mentorship program for artists and selects one each year to guide through the business of art. In his instruction about the business of art, he focuses not only on the quality of the art work, but also on the consistency.

When an artist is seeking gallery representation, consistency in the pieces of art presented is crucial. A collector should be able to recognize the work as that of the same artist, Jason explains. The art should be consistent in at least four out of five of these elements: subject, theme, style, palette, and medium.

The same, or similar issues, are true for an author. During my book signing on Sunday, I was frequently asked what my books were about. Although the subjects are different, they all have a similar theme - romance with a bit of mystery and suspense mixed in. They have the same author's voice - mine. All but one of the five novels displayed featured my own cover art. However, I have two different types of settings, the exotic destinations for the "Passenger to Paradise" series of books and the small, fictitious town of Jefferson City, Virginia for two others, including my latest novel, Evening of the Dragonfly. Straying from the original series might be a mistake unless the two kinds of books were written under two different names, which mine are not. I think of Nora Roberts and how she began writing books under the name, J. D. Robb, when she wanted to pen mysteries as well as romance.

I've been watching authors and believe that those with a series, featuring the same character or characters, appear to be the most successful. The consistency of characters develops a following, and readers anticipate with great excitement the next release. Also, having an unique business or hobby for the protagonist develops interest and a following.

For me, as an artist, I am in trouble. I'm all over the place with subject matter, style, theme, medium, and even palette. I love to paint tropical plant life in acrylics. For many years, I painted figures in oil, acrylics, and pastels. Encaustics, a completely different medium, fascinate me. I adore experimental paintings that use everything from watercolor to collage materials and acrylics plastered on with heavy-bodied mediums. I also paint landscapes with pastels and am working on a National Park series using that medium.

What to do? I have a large body of art work created in a variety of styles and mediums with differing subjects and themes. With so much work, I really need to sell it. To do so, I must be consistent. What style should I choose?
"Amy" acrylic 42" x 54" ©Mary Montague Sikes

Realism or abstract?

This is a huge dilemma.

Especially for me.

Thank you, Jason Horejs, for making me think!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've stuck with similar style and everything. I guess that's a good thing. But a little variety isn't bad.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Maybe with writing more so than art, Alex. Thanks for stopping by.

Birgit said...

I see what you mean regarding art. I think one changes in style. Look at Picasso. His blue period he was still realistic in style and then he went into the cubist period and expressionist style and he never really looked back. I think, one has to do a style that fits you best. In a moment it might be quite expressionistic but then you may wish to do a more realistic painting like the one you show here. You will find your own motivation

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - yes I struggled with my blog and its brand - but have been put to rest about that - now it's the going forward time ... you could do Monti -in her realism mode, or Monti in her abstract mode ... do both ... but start with your easiest one ... perhaps your A-Z types in 2014 ... cheers Hilary

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Birgit, I have been all over the place for years. Guess I'm always seeking! Thanks for your advice.

Hilary, I love the abstract work, but sometimes the realistic makes my heart sing, as well. Thank you for your thoughts!