Monday, September 22, 2014

The Case Between An Abstract Birdhouse and an Abstract Painting

Last week I was very swept up in the recent gallery show and getting a clients catalog ready for his trip to Chicago. Frustration with Quark (what else is new) and dealing with them trying to figure out why a PDF made with Quark suddenly had lines that were not shown in Quark, printed from Quark but materialized in a PDF and yes, printed. The idea of painting was put on hold.

However, once you are creative and the stress level of life grows I've found that doing something is the best way to relax. I had started one abstract birdhouse but was not really happy with it. I found three more that were the same design and proceeded  playing with more abstract visions - using circles, squares and triangles and learning as I went playing with new techniques.

Looking at my paintings in the gallery, I was struck by how similar and how different painting a birdhouse was compared to a painting on canvas or paper. In fact, I have toyed with the idea of taking the 3D designs and putting them on a canvas just to see the whole! What a challenge. As you can see here, the designs wrap around all four sides and extend into the roof. You never see all the sides at once. The question remains, does it make any difference? Would it be stronger or is this the best way to save a little mystery? The sad reality is that while you can charge $200-300 even $1,000 for a painting of just about the same subject, because the design is on a birdhouse or any craft project, the most you can hope for is anywhere from $30-50. Maybe if you were famous but looking at items on Etsy, craft items that are truly collector items, they are priced much less than a painting. It was this thought, and watching people comment on the birdhouses in the gallery, that made me realize that even IF I decided to paint a version of these on bigger birdhouses, they would still feel pricing was high. The larger birdhouse idea is definitely on hold but the canvas idea may be next.

Those who have studied the history of art know that it wasn't always so. Craftsmen and painters were on a more even keel. Churches, palaces, public buildings needed figures, altars, 3D images of the saints and it took craftsmen to do that. This became very apparent to me when, after seeing the devastated ruins of the Frauenkirche in Dresden in 1996, what remained after the firebombing in 1945 and what I saw again in 2007 restored to its glory looking like the day it was built in 1741 (the Germans had the original blueprints, of course), you realize craftsmen and women had a place then and have a place now. It is a mystery to me why one has triumphed over the other.

Never give up. If you like the crafts you do, go for it. I certainly enjoy the creation process and while I wish they were valued more am still proud as I ship each one to a home that I am sure will enjoy it!

Please visit my craft store at and my fine art store at Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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