Posted by: MtnWoman Silver | January 30, 2010

MtnWoman Silver Speaks on the Purpose of Making Art

Art serves many purposes but it is primarily made for two reasons—for the pleasure and enjoyment the artist gets from creating and for the pleasure and enjoyment of someone else viewing it. An artist may never be famous or financially successful, but as long as he or she continues to find pleasure in creating, the artwork will continue to be made. Finding viewers is another matter.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately because after making artwork most of my adult life, I am still a “non-famous, non-financially successful artist”. Unlike Van Gogh, I have sold paintings steadily over my artistic career, but if you add up all the money I’ve made and subtract all the expenses, art-making has been a money-pit for me. At times, I have despaired. The pressure to sell has sometimes been excruciating. I have supported myself or my “art habit” by working either full-time or part-time jobs, and I have come to see that earning my living at something other than art is a blessing in a way. It lets you have more choice in what you create rather than creating for the market all the time.

Getting the artwork before the public is often an uphill battle, however. My work is accepted into 2-4 juried shows each year and sometimes, I win an award. Lots of people come to see the shows and make lovely comments, but few give in to a desire to own a painting and write a check. So, again, I have been examining why I keep making artwork and finally arrived at the pleasure principle.

The last few months, I have created an online presence. So far, it has not brought any additional sales of artwork, but it does serve the pleasure principle. I get to enjoy making the art and I get to share it with others through my photographs on Flickr People are able to enjoy not only a current painting in a show or the few displayed in my studio, but bodies of work that are stored away or have been sold.

I am currently doing work that is unique, work that is a joy for me to make, work in which I take pride. I invite all of you to enjoy what this “non-famous” artist has to offer.

© MtnWoman Silver 2010


  1. I think that’s the best reason to do anything we do. I fussed for years about not being a real, tr. published, writer. Somewhere along the way I asked myself if I really wanted the changes in my life that being “successful” would require. No longer would I be able to write off the cuff and things that pleased me, I would then have an audience to write to. I didn’t want that at all. My answer was to begin blogging. Now the challenge is to continue writing for myself without worrying about the number of responses or the daily visitor register number. The idea being that it’s a great place to file away my thoughts. I hope you’ll keep on blogging as I’m sure your online presence will expand.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

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