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Selling Paintings

Jun 8, 2018

Thinking about selling art work.

When I started painting abstracts I didn’t think about selling the final product. It’s not that I didn’t want or feel like I could. I just didn’t think about it. 

What I thought about was creating something I liked and painting several pieces to fill the walls of a winery space that was offered to me here in the Okanagan. I’d been asked if I would like to hang work the year before, but I didn’t feel ready. All I thought about the winery was that it was a great chance at giving my work exposure and that the colour of the wall was terra cotta red. I figured that the brown and white series I was working on would probably look good in the winery, but I wasn't absolutely sure.

Once I’d hung all the paintings, I remember my shock at hearing both my husband and the winery owner almost simultaneous praise of the series followed by wondering how quickly they’d sell. I remember being surprised at the idea and that I hadn’t even though of that, even though I had made price cards for each painting. My intention in hanging them was to allow my work to be seen by others. And that’s as far as it went for me. It’s not that I thought they wouldn't sell. I just didn’t think. Period. I just painted until I felt they were complete and then I was ready to have them seen.

That summer 8 of my paintings sold. A few were small, others were mid size, one was 4 ft by 3 ft. 

The following year I did a new series for the winery. Again I painted without sales in mind. All I wanted out of myself was something different. And something hopefully better than the last. From that series several sold from the winery, 1 on-line and I also got a commission. 

Getting The Hang of Things When it Comes to Sales

This year, I started to get the hang of things. Not that that was a good thing in a way. this time when I painted I did wonder at times if this new direction in my new series would be interesting to someone other than myself. I chased the thought away. Because I don’t want to worry about the saleability of a painting. What I want to think about is what do I want to do next in the painting. What’s the next move, colour, shape texture, edit? What do I want from myself and can I reach far enough inside to get at it? 

With my new 2018 series complete, I hung it with pride knowing I’d really pushed myself for more. Then our new on-site studio-gallery was hung, and I had two places now where my work was displayed for public viewing. This actually felt like I’d "upped the ante" and the thought of sales was more about moving my paintings along. Still, the sale of a painting has never been about making money. Making money when someone finds and wants a piece of my work is the bonus. 

The last two weeks, 7 of my paintings sold. A mixture of sizes and experiences. They all took me by surprise though. What I got mostly from these sales was the confirmation that my work is "love-worthy". What a fine thought that was. Love-worthy besides by me and my husband. 

I hope to keep this innocent attitude about creating art. I really want my work to be authentic and unique both for me and for those I share it with. As long as I stay try to myself it shall be. I’m grateful not to be worrying about my art making money. It gives me freedom. But I suspect that this may be hard to hold on to. What pops into my mind often is really not the dollar value, but the intrinsic value one will place on the painting. Whether viewers will enjoy the experience of seeing my work. Ultimately back to the love-ability oaf it. And just having stated that, the love-ability has to start with me and me loving what I am doing, what I am creating and what I am sharing.

PJC Studio Notes: