Monday, February 15, 2016

After the Opening

It was a grand opening night. Sort of. I sold two paintings. Or, you could say that I sold three paintings as one was a diptych. They were small paintings and only $100 each. I sold the diptych myself. That doesn't sound right? I sold a painting. Personally. The one I sold was the diptych. I'm sure it's understood now. But, there is a story to go along with the sale. An older gentlemen (younger than me but barely) approached me and asked if I was the artist? I confessed and he said; "There is a painting over there...I guess two of them. And they have the word "space" on them. Are they about space? Or what?" I went with him over to the paintings and explained that "Spaces" was the title of the paintings. That they were watercolors on a heavy watercolor paper (300#). And that the paintings were representative of what is called a 'reflected ceiling plan' in architecture and that I had painted it because I had a long career in the construction industry. I had painted it for fun. Actually, I had painted about 6 but these were the only two I had entered. Now I should mention that this guy had a gruff voice and looked like Broderick Crawford. He looked as if he had had a rough life. He was short and compact with a demeanor that told me that he would be no pushover in a bar room brawl. And so he tells me..."I'm a retired English teacher and a friend of mine is an architect. Would he be able to see that that this was an architectural painting? I want to give it to him as a present". I assured him that any architect would recognize that this painting was inspired by 'blue print' drawings. He thanked me for the information and left. A few minutes later I see him return to the painting; this time he has one of the sales people with him. I watched her put a red dot on the tag next to the painting. I had just sold a painting! A $100 painting. Or, a $70 painting for me and a $30 painting for the gallery. Truth is, 30% is pretty low for a commission in the art world. I heard that it's more commonly 40% or more.

Everything was wrong about these paintings and I was really glad to see them gone. The frames were wrong. I hate frames! The colors are not right. These are watercolors but applied with a very dry brush over a wash that was applied over a pen and ink drawing. It's an embarrassment and it's gone! And I learned another lesson about not judging people until after you have met them. An English teacher? Who would have guessed? Now I'm stuck; it's sort of customary to write a 'thank you' note to the buyer (they can't have the painting till the end of the show) but if he's an English teacher that means he will be scrutinizing my note writing efforts. Will he hand it back to me with errors noted and a grade given, all in red pencil?

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