I live in the small town of Safety Harbor, Florida and the town throws a street celebration every third Friday of the month from January until June or July when the summer heat chases away even those tried and tested Floridians.
When this event first began the turnout was limited but now the streets are crowed with party goers. I have several art pieces with Sara Mullins, owner of Gallery On The Go, and she has hung six pieces of my work at various establishments around Tampa. She also has a booth promoting her business, as well as a few artist. This past Friday, 5/20/2016 she promoted my work and I attended and brought my traveling easel to demonstrate my artistic talent to those passer-byes.
From my collection of images I selected one to paint and brought only one piece of canvas paper, thinking I would only have time to do one painting and besides, I had four framed artworks and several original works on canvas paper to carry along with my art supplies.
I was about an hour into the painting when a couple stopped by and wanted to know if I sold my work - which I promptly answered, YES. I told them I had several pieces in the office behind the art booth. They seemed drawn to the one I was working on. They inquired about the cost of my paintings on canvas paper so I told them between 45 and 55 dollars. They asked how much I would charge for the one I was working on, my answer was the same, it was then that I realized they wanted to buy my unfinished work, which surprised me. I was trying to comprehend why someone would want to purchase an unfinished painting and what I would charge when the husband asked if I would take $30, to which I answered, "SOLD!"
They asked if I would hang onto the painting until they returned, which I agreed to since I had the $30 in my pocket. I waled over to where Sara was sitting and told her the story, which received a chuckle.
I was talking with Sara and she noticed people in the office so I went in to investigate. It turned out that it was the same couple who purchased my unfinished work. They were looking at my website, twowilletsgallery.com, and asked if all the paintings on my site were ones I painted - "Yes". They were impressed with my work and wanted to know the cost of the pieces hanging in the office. The husband pointed to the "The Greenhouse" painting, which does draw interest, and while I searched for the price the wife pointed to a more recent work, "Bending With The Wind".
I removed the painting from the wall and brought it where the light was better so they could see the detail I put into the piece. They loved the simplicity of my paintings and the wife said they offered a feeling of peacefulness; which solicited a thank you from me since serenity is what I try to put into all my works.
They inquired about the price for the "Bending In The Wind" painting and off the top of my head I gave them a SWAG (silly wild ass guess) and they agreed to the price and the husband quickly asked if the price included the unfinished painting. Since I had only an hour or so into the piece I decided to include it with the framed painting.
Further conversation brought praise for the quality of my work and they asked if I would be willing to meet them in town with art they selected from my website - I agreed since images cannot capture the detail and color that can be appreciated when view the original. My response was positive and asked them to contact me after they made their selection.
This episode reaffirmed my decision to stick with the style of painting that inspires me, realism with a touch of impressionism.
Before the night was over another gentleman stopped and watched while I was touching up one of the paintings on canvas paper. He also like my work so I gave him one of my calling cards with my website information so he can look at some of my other work. He said he lived in Louisiana and was leaving for home the next day - I mentioned that I had ship paintings as far away as Alaska so if he found a painting I would be happy to ship him his selection.
This is why it is so important to get your work out where the public can see it - one never knows who the painting will speak to. However, even satisfied customers drop the ball. I thought for sure Priscilla, one of the women who purchase two paintings in St Augustine, would promote my work with friends and I even offered to come over to the area if she wanted to hold a personal art showing. She seemed so enthusiastic about my work and even said I would be hearing from others after they saw her paintings.
Stop the presses! I just got an email from the couple who purchase the painting on Friday and they want to come over to view other paintings. Who knows, perhaps this could be a new source.