One of my recently sold paintings. Waves, pastel, ©Lynn Goldstein
I have a studio that is open to the public which provides a unique opportunity to talk with visitors about my work, and about the business of art. One of the things that has been most surprising to those who find their way into my studio is the contractual arrangement that is made between an artist and a gallery.
Since the facts astonish many people, I decided a blog post may be in order. For those who don't really care about some of the ins and outs of selling art, I hope that you enjoy looking at my artwork in this post. After all, my mission is to help people feel peace in a hectic world, so here goes, read or just look!
Recently sold painting, Panama Skies #2, 12 x 9 inches, Pastel, ©Lynn Goldstein
My work is represented by several commercial galleries. Commercial galleries work with a variety of artists. When an artist has a good relationship with a gallery owner, it's like a successful marriage. The gallery owner ensures that the artists they represent are successful. The artists work to ensure that the gallery is successful too. After all, when artwork sells, both parties benefit. The gallery owner, and employees of the gallery, know about each artist's work and style, and are adept at discussing the uniqueness of the art made by those they represent. This works well for all parties involved because the art is more likely to sell well when the owner, or the workers in the gallery, are invested in the artwork. For all that the gallery owner does to promote the art, and pay for their brick and mortar location, the gallery collects a 50% commission. That's right, 50%. This fact inevitably prompts shocked looks from visitors to my studio.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I rent an open studio at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia. I pay rent, and the Workhouse also collects 30% commission from what I sell.
My prices reflect the commissions that are taken from the sale of my work. I keep my prices consistent across the board because I would not want to undercut my galleries for multiple reasons, but primarily because I always endeavor to be ethical in my dealings with others.
My prices must also reflect the cost of the framing for which I pay. I am proud of the work that I do, and that is reflected in the way that I present the art. Therefore, I utilize museum glass when glazing is necessary, and I use quality framing materials.
Finally, I need to also be cognizant of the time and effort put into the art that I make, and I must price accordingly.
Now that you know part of what goes into selling art, what do you think? Do you understand why art may be priced in a way that you didn't understand before? Let me know in the comments below.
Another recently sold painting. Shining Through Oil on Canvas, 6x8 inches, ©Lynn Goldstein
Going to art museums in other countries is one of my favorite things to do. Well, honestly, going to museums in the US is also a best-loved pastime of mine.
Since I have gone to so many museums over the years, what really fascinates me now is finding artists who have been unfamiliar to me. So, I don't go to just any museums if I can help it. No, I want to spend time in museums that house work by artists that are particularly well known in their country, but maybe not so well known in my own.
Several years ago, when visiting Montreal, Canada, I was introduced to Emily Carr. Emily Carr was born in 1871, and made her living as an artist when doing so as a woman was difficult.
Like me, Carr had an endless love of nature, particularly trees in the forest. Rather than capture the location indicating every blade of grass and leaf on the trees, she was more interested in her perceptions and feelings regarding the place she was committing to paper or canvas. I do the same.
Here is a quote by Carr that illuminates her thoughts. " A painting must be more than a copy of the woods and fields: it must be about space, colour, and light. The painting itself was more than what was before us—it had a life of its own independent of the objects or places it represented. Therefore, colours did not have to 'match' those of nature; instead, they should express the artist's feelings about the subject."
An interesting bit of trivia about Carr's technique is that she diluted her oil paint with gasoline. I, on the other hand, use water mixable oil and no solvents at all. I can't imagine what gasoline must have done to Carr's health, but there is no evidence that she was adversely impacted by it's use. She lived to the age of 74.
My heart beats in sympathy with Carr's goal in making landscapes, I make every effort to express how I feel about the place I am visiting. Here are some of my recent pieces along with some of Emily Carr's work.
You will see that our art is very different. That said, Carr's work ethic, tenacity, and love of nature inspire me immensely.
Do you see any similarity between my work and Emily Carr's? Let me know in the comments below.
On the Way, 12x12 inches, Pastel ©Lynn Goldstein
Three Reds #2, 24 x 18 inches, Oil on Linen, © Lynn Goldstein
Wood Interior, Oil on Canvas by Emily Carr
Totem Walk at Sitka, Watercolor on Paper by Emily Carr
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