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How my art sells- sort of sideways

December 8, 2012

 Book of Hours  Oil pastel collage SOLD

Book of Hours Oil   pastel collage SOLD

I’m feeling quite good because I’ve sold some of my art to a friend. Obviously it is heartening when someone likes your work enough to want to give it a place in their lives. But a lot of the satisfaction also comes from the fact that this has been accomplished without Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any promotional effort at all.

Because, after a long career as an exhibiting artist, I have chosen to now work outside the gallery system, and i don’t make a big effort to profile as a selling artist on the web,  I don’t sell much art. But when I do, it is usually a rewarding personal contact that leaves me feeling valued, and the buyer feeling happy to be walking away with an original creation which somehow has connected with his/her soul.

The people who buy my work also pay 30-50% less for my art than comparable work by other professionals who do work with galleries.

You might think that artists sell their work for the gallery price only during the exhibition. But the gallery owner will usually ask you to agree to pay the same commission on work that they’ve shown, even if you sell it privately later. I suppose it is to prevent friends from waiting until the show is over so they can buy directly from the artist and avoid paying the commission. However, most exhibiting artists choose to sell at the gallery rate to avoid having different prices for the same work.

In a recent BrushBuzz ( a great source for painting tips and marketing for artists), was the post, ‘The myth that Good art sells itself’.  I would argue that good work, combined with several other factors, eventually finds its way to the people who will value it and pay for it.  It isn’t that you can sit back and wait for the work to sell itself, of course that isn’t effective. But I’ve found that there are rules operating far outside the normal ideas of promotion and selling which often work in my life. They aren’t linear-‘if you do A, then B will happen’,  but operate sort of sideways. For instance, when I am working hard and consistently on one area of my art like my painting, I’ll often get a commission or sale from another area like calligraphy or instrument decoration. It is as if all that energy being put out there by focused effort somehow calls forth a response, but don’t ask me how it works. 🙂

Tuscan landscape-  oil pastel  SOLD

Tuscan landscape- oil pastel SOLD

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9 Responses to “How my art sells- sort of sideways”


  1. Congratulations on your sales a nice feeling indeed.
    It is fascinating how things manifest in different areas at different times. It seems that when you concentrate so hard on wishing something to happen, it doesn’t but when you forget about it and focus on putting your passion into something else, the thing you were wishing for will just materialise while you’re not looking. Go figure as Americans say.

    • szoutewelle Says:

      thanks Sonia. ‘Go figure’would have also been a good title for this post. And I think you have explained one aspect of this phenomenon. And it contradicts all the self help books which have you name your passoin, figure out 10 steps to acheiving it, and then supposedly just follow them to success. It has seldom if ever worked that way for me.


  2. How awesome! I love your style of free enterprise!


  3. Oh, yes, and the paintings…..beautiful!

  4. ArtbyLinz Says:

    Wow! I am so happy I stumbled upon your page!! I am in love with your work! Simply amazing and magical. Awesome work 🙂


  5. Hi Sarah,
    I am so happy you made your way over to my blog so I could find you. Your work is so wonderfully colorful and has a fresh whimsy all it’s own. I have enjoyed reading your posts, especially your thoughts on Hockney and the others as well. Hockney is one of my faves but I doubt I shall see his work as you were lucky enough to. how wonderful.

    Thank you, too, for your lovely comment. I so appreciate it and hope you return. I look forward to following along here on your journeys in painting. 🙂


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