A common problem many artists have who have been creating for a long time is what to do with the products of their labors. We may exhibit at art shows, a gallery or in places such as restaurants, theatres, offices, etc. For most of us this results in occasional sales while the rest of our output simply accumulates. Eventually storage becomes a problem.
Many people simply don’t think about acquiring original art. It may seem too expensive. They decorate their walls with posters, reproductions and décor purchased at a local hobby store. A question we as artists have to think about is, should original art belong only to the well-to-do or highly educated? Some artists say yes, that giving away original art or selling it at greatly reduced prices reduces the chance for artists to make a living at what they do (which is really not a possibility for most of us.)
I don’t agree. I would like my art to find a home with someone who appreciates it, regardless of their financial status. I keep records and I think I have given away as much as I’ve sold. Some have gone to charity auctions. Many others have gone to individuals, some as appreciation, and others to recognize special occasions. Recently two of my paintings found homes, one to a newly married couple, and the one above as a graduation and engagement present.
When I am giving to individuals, I like to let them choose. I have numerous paintings on the walls in my basement and it is fun for me to watch them try to decide which one they will choose and why they like it, sometimes for reasons that would never occur to me, such as the high school graduate a year ago who chose a painting of a Norwegian Fjord because it reminded him of Narnia. The one above was chosen by an aspiring filmmaker because, he said, he liked the light and shadows, which was what he tried to capture on film.
So I’ll keep on painting and giving but selling one occasionally would be nice too.
Oct. 24, 2013
One again it is time for the annual Art Walk in Lawrence, Kansas. Artists open their studios, many in their own homes, to the public from 10 am to 6pm on Saturday October 26 and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday October 27. Twenty-seven locations are listed on this year’s Art Walk map. Mine is number 5. There will be a sign in the yard of each participant so you can’t miss us. Mediums include ceramics, drawing, glass, jewelry, metalworks, mixed media, acrylic painting, oil painting, photography and Sculpture. The Lawrence Art Center at 940 New Hampshire, as well as the individual artists involved, should have maps listing each location. You can see samples of the artists’ work, bios and contact information at http://www.lawrenceartwalk.org.
If you live in the area, do stop by and see what I’ve been busy arranging this week in my basement art gallery. You’ll see scenes I have painted on site in this area and other done from photos from my travels. I really love autumn and have a number of paintings done in that season. I have 73 framed paintings on the walls quite reasonably priced. I also have 14 unreasonably low-priced unframed paintings you will want to take a look at. Don’t stay away just because you think you won’t buy anything. It’s okay to just come and look. Art is a form of communication and I’d like to have some people who enjoy art to communicate with.
Irish Countryside, Acrylic, 18″ x 24″
When I’m doing a one-person show I like to have a theme and I’ve been painting long enough that I can usually come up with quite a few paintings that have something in common. Some of the themes I’ve used are paintings with flowers, Midwestern country, autumn, spring, and Lawrence scenes. Once I even did an exhibit of nothing but barn and shed paintings.
During July and August I have an exhibit of 25 paintings at the Classic Bean in downtown Topeka. The theme I’m using here is one I’ve never done before and that is water. I noticed that two of my recent paintings were of ocean scenes and I have also done many paintings featuring lakes, ponds or streams. The exhibit also has three paintings of winter scenes with frozen water. In fact, as I looked through my stash of paintings I was surprised at how many had water in them. The photo above is one of them. Stop by and have a look if you’re in Topeka. The food is good here too.
I recently returned from being out of town and was pleased to find that my painting “Reverie” that I did at the Overland Park Arboretum had sold. I remember when I was at the Rice Gallery to pick up my paintings not chosen for the show. I asked when my painting that had been chosen should be picked up after the show. The man in charge said, “The paintings are all going to sell.” Of course both he and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. But at least mine did sell. I won’t get much for it as it was a small painting and the artist only gets 60 percent of the price. But at least I won’t have to make the trip into the Kansas City area to pick it up.
August 17, 2012
What is a painting worth? Lots of artists ask themselves that question, especially in this economy. Is the price determined by the size, the cost of the materials, including frame, or the amount of effort required to paint it? Should a painting cost more if it is bought from a gallery that takes one third of the price before paying the artist? It seems to me that more often what a painting is worth depends on what someone is willing to pay for it and that can vary widely.
I finally sold a painting this weekend, proving that there are still people out there who think original art needs to be a part of their lives and are willing to pay for it. It was a commissioned piece, art that requires a certain risk from both buyer and seller. The buyer agrees to seriously consider buying a painting he or she hasn’t yet seen. And the painter hopes to capture on canvas a vision in somebody elsle’s head. Anyway, this time it worked and I am much relieved.
Another example of how the worth of painting may be determined occurred just a few days ago. A woman contacted me to ask me to donate a painting to a charity with which she was involved. She told me she liked my work and owned one of my paintings, but hadn’t bought it from me. That made me curious. I know that sometimes paintings migrate. People redecorate, downsize, give them as gifts or to charity auctions or die, leaving someone else to dispose of their belongings.
I keep records of all my paintings, so when she told me the name of the painting she had I looked it up. It was a small painting I had given to a silent charity auction. A woman had paid $30 for it. The woman I was talking to said she had bought it at an estate sale in a nearly town and thought she paid $125 for it and considered it a bargain. It’s nice to know that even in a down economy something I painted actually increased in value.