Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hello, I'll Be Your Waiter This Evening.......Even Though I Am A Highly Talented and Skilled Artist

The Soul Stirrers  Oil on canvas  30" x 40" to sustain oneself as an artist? Lots of're an artist....get creative. Sure, there is always the gallery approach, which I have minimal experience with at this point, so somebody else feel free to write in about that. (It is a goal of mine...) I enter shows that are I think are appropriate venues for my paintings. Most recently, I was in the 115th Annual Open Exhibition at the Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club in NYC, along with my colleague and friend, Lea Colie Wight, and an alumna of Incamminati, Diane Rappissi. The painting that I entered was an allegory entitled "The Soul Stirrers", which I painted totally free from thinking "Will This Sell?" (it hasn't so far...) , and I was in love with its process the entire time. Not to mention that I completely believe in this piece.

I am only speaking from my own personal experience, but every time that I have been totally gone on a painting, it has sold at one time or another. Also, I am not ashamed to mention that I have made a small fortune on Ebay...with works that I could let go of at very low prices.....but I sold a bunch! I held onto all my work, and discovered that when I would throw things out, people would invariably pick them out of the trash. Idea.....hmmmm.....why shouldn't I get some money for them? A business man/friend commented on what a great idea this learn about marketing and selling, and you end up with cash in the you can get rid of a lot of art school studies. Go ahead....look me up, I'm on there right now.....mind you will not find "The Soul Stirrers" on there. Prepare yourself for some work, though, which brings me to another point.

Work. work, work!!!! I have known Nelson Shanks for over twenty years, and have had the opportunity of observing him in action. The man works it. You gotta. Nowadays I say yes to every opportunity to sell, I can't afford not to. Need a portrait of your favorite pet that has been dead for five years? All you've got is the photo? You got it. Do the best that you can, and if all else fails put the skills learned and acquired to work. Maybe at best it is just practice, but it will probably beat waiting tables.....which I did for a decade.....quit one day right after I clocked in because the temperamental bartender snarled at me. Harvey Pekar chose to work in the USPostal Service because he liked the regular hours, the weekly paychecks, and the benefits. He would go home and do his real life's work at night.

My advice: Take on whatever comes your way, no matter how small or big.....I feel like that is a way of saying "Thank-you", and a way to open windows that opens other windows, that opens french doors looking out onto a breath-taking veranda that overlooks a stunning garden with a tree-covered path that leads to a sun-kissed meadow…….well, you get the point….
Time for me to go……time to hear from some others.


  1. There is some danger in taking whatever comes your way. For instance, you may be very good at painting little paintings of a single tree in a misty field. You produce them quickly and make them available at a reasonable price. You then find out people love them and that you can produce enough of them to provide your family with a good living. Then you wake up at some point in your 40's and realize, "I've just spent the last 10 years painting the same thing over 2500 times". This is autobiographical of course, and if I had it to do over again I would have tried not to subjugate my artistic goals to the tyranny of the urgent.

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  3. Hi John,
    Thanks for your comments. I did not mean to cavalierly state that anyone should just take whatever comes their way. Goals and plans help immensely. Thank-you also for reading the blog.

  4. your painting is beautiful and thought-provoking. your opinions in this post are pragmatic and make total sense.... need to set up ebay i reckon to fund future painting;)

  5. Why.....thank-you so much for the compliments, Rahina(?). I wasn't expecting that! I had a difficult time getting back to the blog because I was so embarrassed that I actually disclosed that I sell my work on Ebay!!! (I have actually diversified my market now which actually has brought in more customers for my work. If you have any further questions about this venue please feel free to contact me at