For me, as an artist, the ultimate compliment comes when someone purchases one of my paintings. When I sold my very first painting I sent a text to a successful artist friend with the news. He replied “Excellent! Sales are validating”. He expressed exactly what I was feeling. Someone appreciated my art enough to purchase it. At the same time I am curious as to why one painting sells over another. Often when I ask a customer they will say that something in the painting “spoke “ to them. That it invoked some sort of emotion and they had to have it. When my very first customer came back to purchase my painting she had seen a week earlier she said, “ I have to have it, I haven’t stopped thinking about it all week”. For me, that was tremendously gratifying. Just recently I sold a painting and it caught me off guard, I hadn’t really expected it to sell. It made me pause and consider why it surprised me, what did I miss? What I realized was that I was underestimating the power of emotion. This painting was a different genre yes, but it was a subject I loved to paint. That’s what it had in common with all the other paintings that were purchased. Every painting I have sold is one that I am emotionally connected to. Like many artists, I have a fair amount of paintings that are done for the learning experience. Sometimes they are of subjects that work for what I am trying to accomplish but not necessarily a subject that is my favorite. While the painting is technically good, in some way I am not able to make it “speak”. But when I paint a subject that draws me in there is energy created that makes the canvas come alive; it does speak. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised that this one sold, but I learned something. While the fundamentals of painting are foremost, allowing the emotional contribution to shine is equally important. It gives my painting a voice.