Last Friday night (4/6/2018) I was downtown Spokane WA for First Friday at the Spokane Watercolor Society Membership Show 2018 opening reception. The host of our show is the Inland Northwest Land Conservancy, which is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helps willing landowners place conservation easements on their properties to protect land in watershed areas. The show location is their Community Building lobby, at 35 West Main Avenue, (corner Browne and Main) all hanging art will be on display from April 6th through April 27th 2018.
During the reception I was helping teach watercolor techniques at a table we had there. A great thing for me as I find it difficult to mingle with large crowds of people I don’t know, exchanging meaningless pleasantries. Public events can make me feel down, hearing careless comments about “starving artists” and the general low rumblings from fellow artists about low sales and other struggles of the industry.
There was a bin setup on the side that I had placed some small pieces of unframed art (I did not want to keep anymore). They were not marked with a price, and I was fine with them being free giveaways. I am trying to clear out excess inventory in the studio with a goal being to find a nice home for my art children if possible.
A beautiful lady went through the pictures and prints that were in the bin, Quickly picking up a small watercolor that I had entitled, “Chocolate Delight”. She asked how much it was and who painted it at the front desk so they came over to me asking if it was me, and how much etc.
When I saw the absolute love on her face as she held the piece close to her chest I felt instant joy all over . I said, “Yes, it was me,” and asked her “You like it?”
“Definitely, it is emotion and…”
I shared with her that I remembered painting it as a testimony to how I feel when eating a piece of Dove chocolate. She absolutely got it, loving the way that the facial features showed the rapture of chocolate flavor almost to the pint of having tears come from her eyes.
In my mind I thought, “The illusion of the tears on the piece were more a watercolor lucky imperfection than a planned process by me. I love how watercolors give me those surprises.” A comforting envelope of relief came over me as I signed the back and endorsed it with her name, Darlene. Next I was telling her the price was free, and she immediately replied, “No, I insist to pay for it.” It is funny that I was worried about not making sales and should I keep making art earlier and her love of my work just blew that worry away. The emotional connection is what is important, not the money. I collected the funds she offered, thanking her with another hug. An angel just when I needed it. She and her husband enjoyed the rest of the show and left shortly after.
A daily art creation routine is really a creative venture or experiment where the artist tries to share their innermost soul with the world, our feelings and emotions that touch us so very very deeply. It is always my hope that my art will be able to give the same depth of feelings to any collector feeling drawn to purchase it.
I was given a gift from Darlene worth more than money. She gave me undeniable assurance that my work does touch hearts and is worthwhile. I may need to offer it up for discounted amounts to clear the inventory in my studio, but that does not mean that it then becomes worthless art to the people that receive the gift.
BTW this story is not over, it has a part two for the next post.