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Thinking… and re-thinking

March 11, 2011

I spend way too much time thinking.  As a result, I end up spending even more time re-thinking.  I’m getting too old to be agonizing over certain things.  Part of the problem is that I’ve never been able to fully embrace the K.I.S.S. philosophy.  I tend to overthink things sometimes.  And that’s what I’ve been doing lately where my art is concerned.  I’m having to remind myself to Keep It Simple, Stupid.

In a recent post, I stated that I was going to discontinue varnishing my gouache paintings.  I’ve decided that’s not a wise move.  At a show last year, an artist we had met previously, walked into my booth, strode over to my work, looked at the prices, and said “Well, I see you’re still giving your work away.”  He was right, and I did raise my prices somewhat after that.  But not a lot.

We truly enjoy doing small shows and festivals.  Many of those shows are a mix of art and crafts.  As we continue to do those smaller shows and markets, and appeal to the buyers who are attending those shows, I will continue to price my work accordingly.  I know the school of thought that says if your prices are low, some people will think your work must not be any good.  Those people are not my buyers.  My buyers recognize the quality of my work, appreciate what I do, and want to own a piece of it.  But in this economy, they aren’t going to spend big bucks.  So, if I want them to continue to buy it, I have to keep a tight rein on my prices.   And my costs.

In researching the costs of the additional materials required to stop varnishing my gouache paintings, including mats and plexiglass – or spacers in lieu of mats, it’s obvious that I would either have to raise my prices, or make less from the sale.  Neither of those appeals to me in the current market, so I’ll continue to do as I’ve done for the last two years.  I’ll continue to varnish the paintings and place them directly into open frames.  Space will be at a premium in the motorhome, I have to take that into consideration as well.  We will, of course, still need to carry a small stock of mats and plexiglass for drawings and little watercolors.  But that’s not the same as stocking enough to frame every gouache painting under plexiglass.  That’s a lot of extra stuff.  I’m still manipulating the travelling inventory, packing and repacking it into large plastic tubs that can be stored in the “basement” compartments.  There is the framed art, of course, ready to show.  Then there are spare frames and foamcore backing boards.  And unframed, finished work… with space for new work, sketches, and what I hope will be a large amount of plein air studies. 

It doesn’t make sense to complicate things even more with additional materials and steps.  So I’ll continue to varnish my paintings as I’ve always done.  As for the issue of being a nuisance to others when I spray the varnish, well… I’ll just drive somewhere a distance away and varnish several at one time.  I like the way my paintings look when they’re framed.  I think my buyers do, too.

And while re-thinking all of these processes, I’ve decided to eliminate the idea of selling reproductions, at least for the foreseeable future.  The Etsy shop, instead of a gallery of reproductions, will serve instead as the showcase and point of sale for original drawings, sketches, and small paintings.  Reproductions could potentially generate additional income, but I don’t think the time and space spent on maintaining an inventory of reproductions would be well spent.  Better to spend that time actually drawing, sketching and painting new work, which is where my heart lies anyway.

I guess I just had to work my way through all this in my cluttered mind.

Now I can get on with more important stuff.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Debra Hayden permalink
    April 28, 2011 4:35 pm

    On varnishing.
    I am experimenting with using linseed oil it seems to change the look less and does not have to be sprayed on. I can wash the applicator brush with dish washing soap. it takes about 2 coats and seems to be working so far. I will next try combining a small amount of egg yolk mixed with the linseed oil.
    I used to be an illustrator and designer for 25 years but teach full time now. I teach middle school and have started using tempra with water color under paintings with my students. They are loving the tonal variations of layering the colors. They love it and are creating copies of master works this way.
    Teaching them this medium has revived my love of guoache. I love your work and will let you know how my linseed experiements proceed.

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