Jan 28, 2013

Times are a Changing!

Art From the Heart!
Sharon Teal Coray

I few days ago UPS delivered a box of my new books.  I was eager to see how it turned out. I am so happy with the way it looks, Viking did a wonderful job with putting it together. This is my first book of fine art using oils since the first book I did. In between I have been creating with acrylics in a more of a decorative painting style.

I loved painting the projects in this book because they are from my heart. 
They are what I have loved to paint for years and to finally get back to the fine art aspect of painting and sharing in a book my techniques is just delightful.

What is sad is that in this industry today this may be the last book I have published. Changing over to the decorative painting style never sat well with me, I always felt that I was not doing my best work. But I did sell lots of patterns and books. But you know money isn't what it is all about. for me. It is the love of what I do that keeps me going and sharing the gift God gave me with others that inspires me to get things done!

The decorative painting market is winding down as I see it. In the early 70's this popular type of painting got a big kick-start when the Society of Decorative Painting came to be. Many women learned how to paint through local chapters and art classes in the craft stores. Just about everyone had something that was hand painted in their home.  
I can remember walking the isles at the local craft stores seeing racks of Decorative Painting Books, now Hobby Lobby and Michael's has only a handful and are not stocking them anymore.
The bottled paints were displayed down a whole isle in the craft stores now your lucky if you can find one brand and then they don't have the full line.
This is very sad for the people who design the books and the ones who buy them to paint from. So many small shops have closed down and the SDP chapters in our town are small, not like they used to be. There just seems to be a lack of interest in it now.
So what has happened to this thriving business? It is a conundrum! However if we take a look at some of the things that have transpired in the industry over the last 30 years maybe we can make some sense out of it.
First of all when you publish something that is meant to be copied you run into some problems right away. People don't understand that a book I create is my book, I own the rights to it and if you buy it you only have the right to copy the work in it for yourself. However, people did not respect this right with designers and would photocopy books and share them with their friends, this could only hurt those involved and it has.

Next some of the wood cutters informed the designers that they could not copyright their wood designs....the designers believed this so many companies took the wood designs and cut them when in reality the designer of the wood really held the copyrights, just like a sculptor, owns the rights to his work. The designers should have been able to sell the wood exclusively. This practice is still going on today.
Then the designers started copying one another, you could see the similarity because it was really obvious and also the designer could certainly see something they designed in someone else's work.

Decorative art being an art that is intended to be copied is just asking for problems. It is a wonderful way to have people learn how to paint but with it comes a lot of trouble for all the companies and designers.
Companies copy other companies brushes, designers copy others designs, artists copy the designs for their friends. It goes on and on................
Being a fine artist at the first of my career and coming into this decorative field I was overwhelmed at the dishonest, unethical people I met. I never had that happen when I was in the galleries and painting fine art.
So now when I see the numbers of designers shrinking and the convention floors losing lots of booths I am not really surprised. It is as if the whole mess has finally just caved in on itself.
We cannot expect the designers to keep doing the designs when they don't get paid well for their work, or we can't' expect the art companies to keep trying to sell the books when people only buy one and share it with everyone they know.
But that is not the only problem, I think that the decorative artists have let the ball drop, they just keep painting the same things over and over.
Honestly how many people enjoy painting the same things over and over? Maybe a few but I think most people who are creative want and need something new to inspire them.

If the industry had tried to grow into more advanced art the people painting would have followed learning more and more! But as it is now they are stuck with using the bottled paints, specialty (and sometimes downright silly) brushes and the same old techniques which only leads to boredom.
There are some artists out there that are past the decorative art and are painting beautiful works but their following is smaller. Lots of designers have just given up and are no longer designing.

So to end my editorial on the Decorative arts scene, I must say I am truly sorry that this era of painting seems to be taking it's last breath but in all honesty, the way things are going has not been a big surprise to me or my friends who have been hurt in this industry. It was just a matter of time. You cannot keep cheating people out of what is rightfully theirs and expect things never to change.  

Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. Watts

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