If selling a painting is the best feeling in the world, for an artist, what would you think is the feeling when you don’t sell a painting? Conversely, it must be amongst the worst? It can be, some artists take it personally, and fall into depressions. I trrrrry to be a lot more philosophical than that.Â But that doesn’t stop me feeling an amount of negativity – disappointment, and certainly a degree of anger.
But perhaps that feeling of anger is the one that fuels the resolve toÂ DO something positive about it.
Now, I’ve had enough experience over my life time of selling art, and know that there will be times when the art doesn’t sell. Which is why I much prefer painting commissions because then I know exactly what the client wants, and paint it accordingly for them. And I also feel that exhibitions are always*best guess* for artists – “I felt like painting a flower so I did, but I don’t know what the customers are looking for – do they like flowers as well, or would they prefer a boat, or a tree, or a person, or a kitten? or perhaps they’d rather see aÂ redÂ rose when I painted a pinkÂ daisy, or perhaps they’d rather it was in watercolours instead of oils, or more abstract instead of totally representational?” – that is how I view exhibition work. But I also know you have to start somewhere, and at least its an advert for people so they know what sort of art you do, and maybe it’ll lead on to some sales.
BUT, when you’ve been part of an exhibition where the sales are a lot less overallÂ than you were expecting, you can put part of it down to a) the recession b) lack of footfall c) they’d all got something better to do than come to an art exhibition on a cold and dank drippingly wet bank holiday weekend in deepest Leicestershire, d) not enough advertising e) not enough advertising in the right place f) there was an FA Cup final but then how many football fans would have come to an art exhibition anyway? g) there were other art exhibitions on in the localeÂ and maybe they went to those instead h) there was a large craft fair on a few milesÂ away and maybe they all went there and spent all their spare cash i) they couldn’t be bothered to leave the house and stayed slumped infront of the tv with large bowls of popcorn cos the weather was dire j) aliens abducted them over the weekend and only returned them to this planet five minutes after our exhibition finished k) they had all gone to Wales for aÂ gale forceÂ sailing weekend l) they had all flown to Spain for some hot spring beach sunshine m) there was an invisible force around the venue and although loads of people wanted to get to it they couldn’t get through the force n) they all had food poisoning o) they had to go and visit Granny in Northumberland instead p) they had to peel mountains of greenÂ grapes for a dinner party that evening q) they had to go for extended piano lessons r) they were decorating the spare bedroom ceiling s) the cat needed worming and had to be coaxed down from the top of the wardrobe Â t) they had to sit and sew two thousand and seven sequins onto a party dress for that nights party u)Â a huge flock of militant sheep had escaped and all the roads to the village were blocked v) they were re-tiling the bathroom with mirror tilesÂ w) there was a leak and the lounge was full of spurting water from a faulty radiator valve x) y) and z) and I could keep going on……..
But none of that deals with the problem.
Or solves it.
Because, its what happens next that matters.
And learning from it.
Plus a positive outlook, the experience of knowing that this is the way it is for artists, trying different things in other places, and knowing that somewhere, out there is someone who loves my artwork and desperately wants to hang it on their walls except they don’t know I exist yet, and that I have an exhibition of my own within this next month and I will try again there and have confidence and belief that things will be better then.
Â Cos that’s the way it is!