Unfortunately for us artists, everyone is different and everyone has different tastes. One potential customer might like wintry landscapes with snow everywhere, while another might like summery landscapes filled with wildlife. If you're an artist earning a living from landscape painting - or trying to - it can be hard to decide what landscape you should paint. You have to think about whether your potential customers will like it and whether your landscape will sell. So how do you choose a landscape that others will want to see in a painting in their home?
Well, unfortunately there isn't a definitive answer to that question. It's like trying to answer the question 'what is art?' If you're a serious artist, you only care about the people who are going to buy and critique your art, so think about your target market, think about your particular style / genre of painting and go from there. Who are the people you want to come to your exhibitions? Who do you want buying your art?
Every artist has an ideal customer in mind but what is this ideal customer like? What are their interests? Are they rich? Are they old or young? Are they well-travelled and cultured? Are they really into art or do they just want something nice to look at in their living room? You could of course not have an ideal customer and just paint for the masses, but it's much easier to target a specific market, rather than trying to appeal to everyone.
What does your ideal customer want?
When you're making a living from painting - or trying to - you have to paint what people like. If people like what you're painting, word will spread and the money will come in (in an ideal world, at least). So take your ideal customer, in other words the part of the market you're targeting, and think of what sort of landscapes they are likely to buy. This is where it can get complicated, namely because everyone's different and it's impossible to predict what people will like.
Just what do people want?
Some people, especially those who take art seriously, are after something more specific and want something they can truly appreciate. Others just want something that looks good in their home and aren't too fussed about what landscape you've painted. Let's say you round-up 100 'ideal customers' and ask them all what they want in landscape paintings. Chances are that everyone will say something different. However there are a few things that everyone looks for in a painting.
So what type of landscape should I be painting?
You're selling your landscapes, so you want one that's going to grab people's attention. The subject matter is just as important as the style and presentation. Find a landscape that astounds you and try to capture its astounding features in your painting. No matter who your ideal customer is and what they like, all they're after is just a good quality painting that captures their imagination and looks good. So when it comes to your landscape painting, make sure it grabs the attention of your ideal customer!
Joanne Perkins is a Berkshire-based artist with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and specialises in painting Berkshire landscapes. She is happy to accept all queries and questions. For more information about Joanne, her work and her current projects visit: http://joannesberkshirescenes.com/default.aspx