Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Split Personality

Apples and Stripes, Oil on board, 9 x 12, currently at Atlanta Art Gallery

I've been painting American Indians forever. Maybe longer. I still enjoy painting them but lets face it, painting the same subject matter in the same style day after day can get tedious. And when that happens the paintings start looking tedious.

A few years ago I started painting still lifes which I have always loved. There is a myth in the art world that your customers will abandon you if you venture out beyond your (or their) comfort zone. To that end, I started a new website that just had my still lifes. I even considered painting under a different name. Here is what I learned.

1) I felt schizophrenic painting under two names so that was abandoned pretty quickly.

2) Painting still lifes got me into juried shows that I'd not been able to get into with my American Indians. I won awards.

3) The galleries I'm in only want my American Indians. That makes sense. They took me into the galleries because of my American Indian paintings.

4)Although my second website ( has just still lifes, my original site ( has both subject matters. I also post both subject matters on Facebook and several other websites. It's just easier for me to do.

I have gotten into 2 galleries with my still life. They both know that I also paint western/American Indian. BUT while the western folks don't care that I paint contemporary still lifes I think that the Contemporary folks have a prejudice against western artists.

I'm now in the process of separating my 2 styles: A second  face book identity, new pages on websites where I post etc. I'm still painting under the name K. Henderson, but my New Self in some cases is KHenderson Fine Art.

My goal in doing this is to find Back East galleries for my still lifes, galleries that turn their noses up at western art.

I'd like to hear from those of you that paint in different styles. What has your experience been?


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