The Strange Business of Making Art

studio 2

The workbench you see in the picture was a birthday gift from the woman I love. it’s an old lab bench, early sixties vintage. Very industrial. Fairly big – over four feet long. Simple and sturdy with a great work surface.

Her feeling was that I needed more space to paint and create. And as she generally does when things occur to her, she was onto something. Since I moved from doing pen and ink to watercolors and oil, overcoming my fear of color, my images have gotten larger. But my space hadn’t.

The whole making art business, I have learned, is an odd one. I never really expected to sell my art. I took some classes to fill some time and break out of my rut, and people began buying them, sometimes right off the table I was painting on as I sat in class. So I posted a few and suddenly a few more people started buying them. Then I did some shows… well you kinda know the story.

I love painting. Like poetry, it is another way to be expressive, to put feelings out there that sometimes I have a hard time expressing in normal everyday conversation or language. Again like poetry, stuff simmers, then erupts. I lose myself in it when I am painting. I am full of joy as all this emotion comes out without strain or stress or angst.

I am always happy when I paint, just as I am always happy when I am writing poems.

The whole selling of art though? Befuddles me.

I have been told by some fairly Toney galleries that they love my work, but it’s too cheap. If I would mark it up a whole lot more than I do, they could sell it. Bada bing, bada boom.

They need to sell pricey stuff, evidently, to make a living. I get that.

Now, I have no problem selling stuff for more. I like money as much as the next guy. And it’s flattering now when someone pays a couple hundred dollars or more for a painting, that something I created resonated with them enough that they will pay for it. The idea that some people will pay a lot?

Yeah. More flattering. After all, I mostly just want to touch people with your art just as you are touched by it.

But on the other hand, there’s a slew of people who have bought my work and who are faithful buyers (Patrons?) of what I do. I love these people. They are friends or have become friends. They are not the people who are going to pay a thousand bucks or more for a painting. And I am grateful to them. They gave me the confidence to show things and “put it out there.”  They continue to encourage me.

I feel like I owe them the ability to keep buying my work at affordable rates.

When I was married the first time, my mother and father in law had a couple of Pat Buckley Moss paintings. Two little Amish kids, a boy, and a girl. They bought the first one when Moss was first showing her art at local art shows before she became famous. It was cheap.

They loved it though, and when they encountered her years later, rising in fame (and pricing) they commented on the one they bought, and how they thought it needed a companion piece. Right on the spot, Moss painted a perfect companion piece. And made it affordable.

I have always remembered that story. That grace touched me.

I don’t think I’ll ever be Pat Buckley Moss famous, but I think I’d like to find a way to take that same approach. So what I am looking to do is this – for people who have been part of my two creative groups, who have encouraged me and continue to encourage me – anything you see in my art that you want, from here forward or from here back, you can have for 25% of the price listed on my blog. This is a lifetime offer. You know who you are and so do I. I love and appreciate every one of you.

The rest of the world? That offer is good through August, and after that, I’m going with Market Value, whatever that turns out to be. Gallery owners across America will tell me what that might be. They know the business side. I just know how to paint. And that’s enough for me.

So now I have a new work space, thanks to my new bride. I’ll be cranking out more paintings I think. Because I can.

Be well, my friends. I am grateful to you.

Tom

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