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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Selling: Motivation (Part 1 of 3)

Toys in Snow, 11X14, by Carol L. Douglas. I thought I would illustrate this post with the first thing I ever sold, but the truth is that my records don't go back that far. This painting, however, is owned by the person who pushed me to start teaching.
Yesterday I got an email from N., who’s conflicted. She doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on the business of art, since she has already retired from a successful career. “All I want to do is paint before I can’t anymore,” she wrote.

Nevertheless, her paintings are piling up, and she would like to at least defray her costs. She’s shown without selling, but she understands that visibility is the key to developing a market.

After the storm, 18X24, pastel, by Carol L. Douglas. The buyer remains a loyal collector, but our relationship started at an outdoor art festival.
Before I can advise her about the mechanics of selling paintings, she has to decide if she actually wants to engage in the marketplace. There are excellent painters who don’t, either because they’re either highly introverted or they have other priorities.

Almost all artists take time off from selling here and there. I did that after the crash of 2008. Work wasn’t selling well anyway, and I was feeling the stirrings of a big leap forward.

Nevertheless, for most of us selling and showing are integral parts of the art process. They give valuable feedback on one’s work. They validate that what we are doing is important. They are steps in the dialogue between artist and audience.

The Rio Grande in New Mexico, 18X24, by Carol L. Douglas. This was purchased by a collector of my work, but she never would have seen it had it not been shown in a public exhibition.
I have found that, contrary to expectations, the more time I spend on marketing, the more time I paint. However, marketing does take time—between a quarter and a half of the time I devote to my career. So my recommendation to N. is to plan on living longer, so she has time for both painting and selling.

Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in 2015 or Rochester at any time. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.

5 comments:

nancy said...

Thanks, Carol. I love the paintings too that were posted. Love them!!!

Ivan Ramos said...

after a whole month, i'm wrapping up an exhibition of a handful of my photos at the greenhouse cafe at 2271 east main street in rochester. not one has sold so far...

p,s. i'm with nancy on the images you post on your blog posts.

Carol Douglas said...

Thank you both. It's kind of difficult to think of images related to "selling" except to post images of stuff you sold and talk about the back stories.

Ivan, I'm sorry that I forgot about your show, but it's hard for me to keep up with your whereabouts. I'm around this weekend; want to go over there with me?

Sue Leo said...

Well, maybe there is a business here for me ... promoting art ... it was a concept that went by the wayside before my life crashed and burned.

Carol Douglas said...

Sue Leo, as I've told you many times, you're a natural-born gallery operator. Do it and promote me!