Thursday, September 8, 2016

How Does One Value Art?

Eight years ago I took a watercolor class from David Vega Chavez.  Chavez is one of my very favorite watercolorists and I was lucky to get to learn from him.  He is a self-taught painter and has taken the lessons he learned from his chosen mentor, Edward Wesson, and gone beyond Wesson's techniques to make a style very much his own.  He taught the classes I attended the same way he began in watercolor, from Wesson.  Although my style is not very Wesson-like, or even very Chavez-like, I can see that both have influenced what I do, what I know and how I feel about watercolor.  You know, I doubt either painter set out to influence others when they began to learn their discipline.  Creativity is just something one does, right?  Like breathing.  We live, we breath and when it grabs you by the heart, (or possibly the throat) you create stuff.
This painting was done at the end of my classes with David Vega Chavez.  You can see both his and Wesson's influence in this piece. 
Recently my daughter, Katie Kellogg, and I had a conversation about why we create art and whether it has value.  As a busy mother of 200 children, Katie has moments of guilt about time spent in her studio and wonders if she needs to justify her efforts.  Our society tends to measure value by dollars and cents.  In other words, if my work doesn't earn money, is it worth the time spent on it?  Can one spend time painting, or sculpting or writing or whatever creative pursuit one does for any other purpose than income?  Should one?  When she and I considered an artist whose work has enriched our lives, even though we don't either of us own one thing from that artist, we realized that what they had done had value to us.  Value because it taught us something more about ourselves and added to our knowledge.  We agreed, their work has great value.  

Done immediately after the one above, these two small paintings are some of my treasures.  After the class was over, no matter how I tried, I could never replicate this look.  It was as though it didn't belong to me.  I can see bits of this style in my current work, but only I could show you where it is.
None of us knows in this digital age who will see or experience what we do and be touched by it. In a way, it is a gift of freewill.  You put it out there, you hope someone likes it and let go of it.  It will go places you will never know about and maybe even inspire someone who needs it, your own little ambassador of the things in your heart.  And even though you are not aware of it, a small piece of something inside of your spirit will be communicated to another.  It could influence their art, soothe the wrinkles in their souls or even become part of a gift they pass on to another.  So, does that equal value?  I say it does.  And my creative self thanks David Vega Chavez, and through Chavez it thanks Wesson.  And whoever inspired him.  And that is a very sweet and complete thought to me.  Of course my art has value.  And it's monetary value is the very least of it.  

Thanks for stopping by! Alice


RH Carpenter said...

Your work definitely has value to me, Alice. Every day or so I take a tour of the blogs and see what my favorite artists are creating or talking about - there is a connection there whether we ever meet in person or whether or not we ever buy a painting from one another. This is the best thing about the internet - it's not time wasted when you are lifting up another's spirits. Keep working, keep finding your self in every painting you do, and keep sharing :) And I was stunned by the 200 children...a typo or is she a teacher, too?

A. Webb said...

LOL, 200, A slight exaggeration... some days I am sure her 5 feel more like 200.

And Rhonda, thank you for stopping by. I feel just the same about you and your work. Alice