Friday, August 20, 2010

To Sell or Not To Sell?

I know that many artists have this internal conversation about their desire to sell their work. And today that question came once again to the fore with me.

The next town up the road is a quaint little foothills community with a monthly "art walk" on Main Street. Businesses decorate with the work of local artists and set up on the sidewalk to promote their wares and services. Visitors enjoy the artwork and a sort of business "open house" at the same time.

This month I am happy to have the opportunity to display 9 of my paintings in one of these business. When I got there this afternoon the business owner asked me if I had tags for the paintings showing their price. (Selling isn't required for this event.) As I was hanging the paintings in a nice little display I was remembering creating each one and how satisfying the process had been. All the pieces are of animals and I was feeling the natural appeal of the subjects.

Sell them? Part with them? My babies!?!?

I said I would return tomorrow with tags with the names and media and, for those that I decided to put up for sale, the price. But I doubt that I'll put prices on more than one or two. Perhaps as time progresses and I have more "inventory" I'll be more receptive to the prospect of parting with them. In the meantime, I'm happy if people simply enjoy my work.

Selling ones work can be a mark of success. But I suppose that the face of success depends in part on why one paints. If one paints to sell, then selling is surely a mark of success. There is also painting for shows, in which case ribbons are the mark of success. I must admit that, although I seek affirmation in shows that my work is quality work, I paint for myself. Success is communicating back to the viewer the love of the animal that I put into the piece.

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