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On the True Value of an Artwork

I was out driving earlier this week and one of my favorite songs came on the radio. It used to be my go-to for study and workout motivation back in university.

This song sparks the same uplifting feelings in me today as it did back then, some 15 years ago. It also sparks memories of my younger and more uncertain self. I find it remarkable how a single song can spark such a powerful response, regardless of how much time has passed.

It got me thinking about just how valuable a work of art can be, whether that be a song, book, poem, film, drawing, or painting.

Imagine all the positive interactions an artwork might spark over its lifetime. There must be millions of people who have looked at a painting by Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh and felt a touch of joy and inspiration. And those paintings will continue to uplift and inspire for many years to come.

There are few things in the world that have this kind of deep and lasting influence. It might not seem like much from person to person, but it adds up.

Think of all the times you have been uplifted by your favorite song. Or how a good book has changed your perspective on life. Or how your favorite drawing or painting has inspired and influenced your work.

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t value art in this way. It values material benefits in the short term. The intangible value is only measured in the long term, despite it being far more important in most cases.

For us artists, this means we often go unappreciated and unrewarded for our efforts in the short term. But we can at least take comfort in the idea our work can have true, meaningful value in the long term, far greater than any monetary figure. And perhaps one day the rest of the world will realize this.

If you want more painting tips, check out 21 Easy Ways to Improve Your Paintings.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

PS. Speaking of van Gogh, I love this video from Doctor Who. I shared it some time ago, but I’m sharing it again for those who are new here.


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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