What Might Sell

Sunflower Field, Acrylic, 16" x 12"

Sunflower Field, Acrylic, 16″ x 12″

Fine art, as opposed to commercial art, is supposed to be all about the artist’s inspiration, the artist’s choice, what he or she feels like creating.  And we do have that freedom.  But art supplies are expensive and entering art shows has become ever more costly.  Galleries take from one third to one half of the price of what they sell.  So it is nice to sell something once in a while, both to pay for the costs of being an artist but also just for the feeling that someone cares enough about my work to pay money for it.

Therefore as fine artists we are going to be thinking somewhat about the tastes and the pocket books of those who see our work.  For instance, during this recession, which is supposed to be ending, I’ve been painting on smaller canvases because people have less money for luxuries.  I also think about which paintings to put in which show.  Since I travel to Colorado every summer I have accumulated a number of Colorado paintings.  But I have found they seldom sell here in Kansas.   A relative advised me to concentrate on flower paintings and I have sold a number of those over the years but I also still have quite a few.  Some years I have sold paintings of sunflowers, such as the one above, which will be in Art in the Park in Lawrence this weekend.  Other years they remain unsold.  I am fortunate to have a friend whose family plants a whole field of sunflowers every year, so I have plenty of opportunity to paint these symbols of Kansas.

The style of frames also has changed through the year, and that is something an artist who hopes to sell has to consider.  When I began painting seriously frames usually had linen liners.  I still have some of those.  Then the style went to various kinds of gold frames, usually without liners.  The current fad seems to be for black frames.  I don’t really like them as I don’t think they go very well with landscapes but I have a few.

At the Topeka Art Guild Gallery I have sold a painting in both the previous show and the current one.  I almost didn’t enter the painting of Potter’s Lake in the previous show because it was of an iconic Lawrence landmark, Potter’s Lake, on the University of Kansas campus.  I had shown it probably half a dozen times in Lawrence without selling it.  Then it sold in Topeka.  The painting I sold from the current show was an 8 inch by 10 inch painting of two pink seated flamingos done from a photo I took at the Topeka zoo.  I had originally painted it four years ago for an exhibit at the gallery promoting breast cancer awareness.  We were asked to do small pink paintings.  I even put it in a black frame but it didn’t sell then.  I decided to try again with it in the gallery only because the theme of the show was Journey Through Topeka and I only had one other painting of a Topeka scene.

On Sunday I will be in Art in the Park in South Park in Lawrence.  My tent will be along Massachusetts Street.  So come and have a look.  Maybe once again I’ll be surprised at what someone will buy.


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