Pat Fiorello - Art Elevates Life

Art & Inspiration from professional artist and instructor Pat Fiorello. Pat is known for her romantic landscape, garden and floral paintings in oil and watercolor. Her paintings often depict beautiful places like Italy and France. Pat teaches painting workshops in the U.S., Caribbean and Europe. She is passionate about inspiring others to include art in their life. Whether creating it or simply appreciating and enjoying it, there are so many ways that art elevates life!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do you paint to please others?

"I don't know the key to success, but the     key to failure is trying to please everybody." 
                                     - Bill Cosby

Beyond the Vineyard
8 x 16
Oil Painting by Pat Fiorello

Here's a recent painting that includes some of my favorite things-memories of my time in Tuscany where the trumpet vines seem to dance and their bright orange color is a joy. I love the clusters of villages with the orange roofs. The cypress trees also are classic Tuscany (although I learned  on my last trip that they were not indigenous to the area, but were brought in to protect the vineyards from wind - can't guarantee the accuracy of that- but it sounded good to me).

Artists can learn a lot about HOW to paint from instructors and other artists, and will ultimately gravitate to a process that suits them,  but I believe the choice of WHAT to paint is very personal. The artist's selection tells you something about what they are passionate about or connect with on some level. I once had an instructor who advised me to stop painting "pretty scenes". I was initially taken aback by his comments and quite upset, but once I stepped back from the situation I decided to let go of his advice. I need to paint what I love and what get's me excited and inspired to paint. Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic, but I just want to look at, paint and share things that are beautiful and feel happy.

I also had another instructor who was teaching us with her own reference  photo's of farm scenes. Finally I told her I was not going to paint any more barns. Although I could paint a beautiful barn ( I even have one of my barn paintings published in the book Splash 11, Best of Watercolor by North Light Books), I have no personal connection with them. I grew up in Brooklyn NY,  so don't have any fond personal childhood memories about barns. I can paint them, but it's not as exciting to me as other subjects.

Many of you know before painting full time, I had a prior career in marketing. Many artists have come to me over the years and I have provided coaching on marketing, goal setting and their art careers.
Probably one of the questions I'm asked most often is, "What should I paint?" as artists are questioning if there's something that the "market" wants and if they should be led by that. 

My reply is always the same "Paint what you love. If you love it, there are undoubtedly other people who love that too. The job of marketing then is to match your work up with that audience. The art market is varied and you don't need everyone to love your work, just a big enough audience for you to make a living (which is a very, very small % of the 7 billion people on the planet). Do what you love. Be true to yourself and it will show in your work.  If you are inauthentic and disinterested, that will eventually show up to and the joy will disappear from your painting.

I love the Bill Cosby quote I started out with at the top of today's blog post. It applies to many areas of life, but is certainly fitting for the choices we make as artists.

I'll end with another quote which helps me stay focused.
 When asked about trends in art over time, Robert Genn  of the "Painter's Keys " replied "Quality never goes out of style". Thank you Robert for getting to the bottom line.

 So do what YOU love and do it with all the passion and excellence you can!

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