Change of Plans: No More Seven or Eight

No more seven or eight in that grouping of new paintings I’ve been talking about for the last two weeks. Try more like six.

I just took an inventory in my studio, which didn’t take long, because I have plum run out of canvases and panels!

Back in 2009, when I won the Pollock-Krasner award, I stocked up on supplies. I mean I stocked up like there was going to be no tomorrow or a nuclear war or something!

I used most of that money and bought as many art supplies as I could fit in my garage studio – and that was when I knew I’d have a second studio. So I was flush for about four or five years. I’m not joking.

Well, it’s been about four years now – and it’s not like I don’t have anything to paint on. I have a fair amount of big stuff. I could paint out the rest of this year, and probably into half, or more, of 2014. I have a few 34-inch, 36-inch, and up to 60-inch canvases here, but I made a decision a while ago, and that was: paint smaller.


The hard truth of selling those sizes translates into $4750 to $8250, and last time I looked, there’s been an economic recession for even the upper middle class (well, they seem to say so) since around 2008.

Whether that’s true or not, things like art are not in these God-fearing American’s sights – unless they are tried and true investments. And I know where I stand. I’m not a full-time idiot.


So, for edjumacated purposes, I am keeping my painting sizes at $3K and under. Well, with the minor exception of a few that crack the $4K barrier. Because some ideas require BIGGER SPACE! Ya know what I mean, bean?

Now, if you think that $4k sounds like a lot of money, don’t even make me begin to justify it. Don’t make me compare being an artist to people with “normal” jobs. Please don’t make me talk about how many hours we put in next to the 40-hour-weeker people. Don’t make me give you a slice of reality. Please stop, no, don’t…

Okay, well, usually, if you are lucky enough to have a gallery that represents you, or that will host a show for you, and, you can manage to get your solo show together once a year – that is – if you work at lightening speeds – most exhibits only hang for about four short weeks. You have one month out of the year to bring your buyers to the slaughter.

But the reality: you will have a solo every year and a half to two years, if you have a venue. That’s really about the pace you’d be able to get enough new work completed to exhibit. Because you’re looking at getting together 12-18 pieces in a full rage of sizes and price points.

Now, if you’re going to sell any of these masterpieces, 10 to 1, it will  be on the night at the opening reception. I have never understood this personally. Why would someone spend so much money on an impulse buy?

You’d think they’d want to go home and think about it for a while, push a few numbers, take a few measurements, and come back when they’re sure, but that’s not how it works with art.

They are usually afraid someone else might get it before them, so they buy it before someone else gets it and that’s usually the frenzy of the opening night, and it’s usually between the early part of the night and the height to the evening. Not when it slows down and people start to say goodbye.

Then, when you do sell, 50% of any sales you make go to the gallery that so graciously lent you their walls. You also have to split, but not always, any advertising you did for the exhibit, wine and cheese, etc., and sometimes, but not always, the invitations and stamps.


So let’s say you sold two of your larger pieces at $8K, three of your 30-inch pieces at $4200, and two of your $5K pieces? Provided you were able to make all those in a year’s time, plus a few little ones. Oy! Like you were some kind of Keebler elf! I mean, this would be almost a sell out show! This is pretty damn good! Reason to celebrate. Your peers would be seething in jealousy – yet happy for you too (don’t get me wrong).

But you have only made $17,300 for the whole year before taxes and any Chex Mix fees you have yet to pay back. If you are the main bread winner of your house, let’s hope he or she doesn’t leave you, and good luck — I am really sorry if you have children in this picture.

Personally, I haven’t raised my prices since 2009! Everyone else in this recession has, yet people still balk when they hear any price of any size painting.

Since I left the gallery, I’ve finally been going through some things and I have been slightly pulling down the prices of my larger pieces even more! But I have been pulling the prices of my smaller works on paper UP, slightly. Everything else is the same, more or less.

If some of you thought I was going to slash my prices in half because I left my gallery, you were wrong.


So I will be doing a lot of work on paper after I finish up these last six ideas. Okay, maybe I’ll do seven, but certainly not eight. I just don’t have enough panels.

I LOVE working on paper, so it’s not like it’s a jail sentence. I can’t wait really. I have a ton of paper. I love paper. Paper turns me on baby!

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