I received an email yesterday for an offer to buy a painting that was in the last show I did. This is what the email said:

“Hi  I saw this brilliant painting of a field of sunflowers at sunset at the Riverdale Y show this past August. It is so full of energy – fiery like nothing else! And also very moody.” 

This is why I paint. I want to engage the viewer to feel the emotion of the painting. My art comes from my soul and my life.  My art is not a hobby.  That is why I have to give it value and not underprice it just to sell. This painting had a lot of attention and people would try to bargain it down. I wouldn’t do it because it would have taken the value of it down.  I can use the money but who I am is invested in that work of art.  Money can’t be the issue in my art. 

Today I realized that the pain of my childhood neglect and abuse is the value of my art.  I dealt with a very painful childhood by staying in my room for hours drawing and shutting out the world.  I don’t want to get into details but it was a very lonely life and I did try to kill myself at the age of 8. So it was bad.  My mother left me with my grandmother who had mental illness and she would yell or hide in the dark kitchen ignoring me. She never fed me until my mom came home from work.  This is when I went into my world of fantasy and started to stay in my room for hours drawing. I had no friends because they were afraid of my grandmother and it was a hoarder house. So this was my art school training. Self taught talent that got me accepted into the High School of Art & Design in 1966. 

I must value my art. I have always put myself down because I never went to college.  I never pursued my art and blocked it out for 30 years.  Now I am out of the cave and have seen that my work is really good. Why would I undervalue it. It is very emotional to me and it is created not just for money but as the expression of who I am from the depths of my childhood pain.