Many years ago, I had a Tarot Card Reading done by a friend. The one thing I remember most clearly? She told me that what I would be doing in the future, I could not even imagine then because it didn’t exist! . . .I was very excited that there could be something out there that I could not imagine. This reading was done at the beginning of the eighties, and who could ever have imagined the world we live in now?!
But the truth is, at least in my life, I never can imagine what’s coming – even month to month, and barely day-to-day. This is one of the excuses I give my husband for never throwing anything away. He doesn’t buy it.
At the beginning of January, after a stand-off with my landlord over raising the rent, I won and gave my gallery life for three more years. Standing there with my fists on my hips, having been pretty sure I would be walking away, I had not a clue what our direction would be for the next year, let alone three.
Standing there in the wash of victory, having taken my fists off my hips in order to wring my hands, I knew something would come to me, but what? I am amazed by what has happened since then.
A gallery is a living thing and cannot be stagnant. It must always be enlivened by “new and different”, but I had no idea what that new and different would be.
Three years ago, we moved to a new location that is on “gallery row” in downtown Santa Fe. For three blocks west from the Santa Fe Plaza until you reach the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, there is nothing but high-end galleries and another art museum. Not a restaurant or shop of any other kind. No souvenir shops or rug dealers.
So, you figure that nobody will come down that way unless they love art. And it’s true. By the time they get to us, though, most folks have sticker shock, and mention it because our gallery is the most reasonable of them all. But even with our pricing, we notice that most of these art lovers cannot afford a piece of real art. They look and love and go home with just a postcard from the second best art city in the country (we are always #2 or #3 behind New York, depending on whether LA gets in between).
I had been thinking for a long time about how this could be remedied, and then I ran into a book about Daily Painters. A number of artists online had decided to paint more and smaller for less money and more collectors. And it was working for them.
That sounded good to me. I talked to a few of our artists about it and it sounded interesting to them. We decided to use standard canvases – 8″x 8″ and 1.5″ deep with a gallery wrap so no frame would be needed. We decided to start at a price of $100 per original. This will probably go up a little by Summer. We could get the canvases for a very good price if we bought in bulk. The problem was for everybody to scale back what they do – to work at a much smaller size for a smaller price.
The problem for me was that I am a watercolorist who hates absorbent ground and watercolor canvas does not come in the deep gallery wrap profile to match everybody else. I don’t care for watercolor canvas anyway.
OMG! I would have to learn to be an acrylic painter in three weeks!!
It was fun, frustrating, and a total fiasco. After watercolor, it felt like painting with colored Elmer’s Glue. I surely couldn’t do what I am used to doing, so I bought books and watched videos and tried to do what other people do.
I did not go out and buy a lot of supplies. I HAD them from all my failed attempts at acrylics in the past – BECAUSE I never throw anything away. YES – the mister got a big I-told-you-so.
The best thing about acrylics is that you can paint over your disasters. And there were plenty. I also got more paint on myself and my pristine watercolor studio than on the canvases.
I finally realized that I can’t do what others do. I must do what I do, so I must bend the paint to my will as I had done with watercolor so many years ago.
And I completed 14 canvases by the time we hung the new section of the gallery on February 2. I am pretty happy about that. Daily Painting is right!
Then we decided to put the whole $100 collection online, which I did this past week. Four artists are represented so far (40+ paintings), and three more artists are working on pieces to join the fun. We call this program The First Collectors Gallery and it can be found HERE
This will be constantly updated so you might want to bookmark the page, or you can always find the link to my gallery in the sidebar to this blog.
This is a great opportunity to become a collector of original art. Buying art is buying a piece of happiness that makes you smile every time you look at it. That’s the truth and anybody who lives with art will back me up on this.
Here is one of my newest paintings that suggests that wherever you are going, you are probably going up.