When I lived in Taos, I was well on my way to fame and fortune in the art world. I was juggling 5-7 galleries at a time….providing them with what I was becoming “famous” for….my critters…most specifically my cows.
I had one particular gallery owner, that was beyond controlling about what I brought in…..and my thoughts kept going back to the very beginning of my art career (almost 20 years now…so hard to believe), when Walt Gonske and I struck up a rare friendship at one of his home openings.
“I can tell you have IT, and so, I want to share some advice for you from a very seasoned, and very successful artist.”
Of course, I was all ears….here was Walt Gonske sharing art advice with me!!!
“Don’t let the galleries pigeonhole you. Don’t allow them to tell you want you can and can’t paint. Sure, you will be incredibly successful, but, it will steal your soul”
Well…THAT is NOT what I wanted to hear.
So, I started down that “gallery path”.
Which meant that even if I sold a painting to friends or family, or someone close, that I had to sell it for full retail…
I was in a true conundrum.
Because, quite honestly, I received so much more joy from a sale to a collector who scrimped and saved to spend $200 on one of my paintings, and they were absolutely giddy, than I did from someone who thought nothing of dishing out a couple of thousand on something they may be buying because they kinda like it. If that makes sense. It just means more to me…Plus, I get to establish a personal relationship with my collectors.
So, I made the conscious decision to leave all my galleries when one Christmas season they begged me to paint cows…because I was starting down a different direction. PLEASE…They begged. So, I did an experiment. My heart, my soul, wasn’t in my cows that Christmas. I wanted to paint angels.
I painted 12. Six for one gallery, and six for the other.
NOT A SINGLE ONE SOLD!!
My galleries were perfect for me, until they weren’t and I felt the need, the push to explore being truly creative.
So I started out on my own.
Scary in the land of “shoulds”.
But, I knew there was a reason.
My art no longer sells for over 1000 for a 20 x 24…I keep it affordable, for numerous reasons…But, the main one, is that I LOVE to create, and I have little storage, and the pricier the painting, the longer they sit. However, the number one reason my prices are affordable, is so that those who want my art, can collect it.
Lately, something has shifted….again….still….I think the one thing constant in my life is change….
I’m “hearing” what people want… This painting above was painted for a beautiful soul who is going through a growth phase in her life…I knew it was hers while I was painting it. Such a beautiful soul connection, and when I went to ship it….there was a crystal sitting smack dab in the center of the steps.
Another one of my newer paintings sold to a woman who is having a heart procedure in February…
I finally feel like I am doing what I came here to do.
I’m an artist.
I have a love/hate relationship being here now… But mostly, I have a love relationship with what is unfolding…
Blessings to all
Beautifully written, PJ. And this is exactly the way I feel and have felt. This is also why I left galleries. Continued success (what that word means to you) and following your own path.
i love you
This was nice to read Paula. I used to live in Santa Fe, crating & shipping art for many galleries. I was always curious about the artists who painted to same thing – seemingly year after year, and wondered how they managed to keep it up. I felt sad for their creative souls.
Im glad you have found away through that and truly enjoy your work and your process. Thanks for sharing!