an older watercolor painting
Recently, I watched a bona fide buyer offer an artist $1000
for a $1500 painting. That would be 33%
off or 2/3 of the asking price.
Should the artist have accepted the offer?
Let’s have a look at the thoughts of the artist before we decide. . . . . . . . .
This painting, an original painting without any
reproductions of any sort, is the ONLY
PAINTING LIKE IT IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. This painting exists completely ALONE in the entire world!! That is to say that this painting did not come off a production
line where everything before it and after it were exact clones of each
other. In the case of manufactured multiples, where there are myriads of copies of any product, the inherent value decreases.
Moreover, what is not considered by the buyer is all of the
years of developing the skills and all of the spoiled paintings that led up to
this one painting. For all that the
buyer knew, there could have been 50 failures in the attempt to make this one
painting (in many cases there are far more than 50!!). When one really thinks about all of the
experience, study, trials, errors, frustration and years of non success, which
must accumulate before such a painting can come to life, it is almost overwhelming. In fact, when it is all put in front of us,
we would actually wonder why anyone
would attempt to become a painter?
We painters refer to this process of accumulating experience,
in a humorous vein, as brush miles. Thousands of brush miles must accumulate
before an artist can actually become “good” at what he or she does.
And did I mention the artist’s frustration and emotional
angst (that we live with daily) to make
this one painting come out as it was intended?
Some art viewers, and, sadly, buyers, believe that artists
are born “talented” . . . or
skilled. That making paintings is some magical gift and that the artist has done this, effortlessly, since birth. They somehow have the
impression that painters make paintings without sweat or effort. Obviously, considering all that has been
said to this point, that is not the case! Talent is only
the desire or the compulsion to make art.
The skills must endure the crucible of hard won experience and lots of
failure before becoming refined.
So, do you think the artist should be insulted by the
obvious underlying meaning that the buyer doesn’t
acknowledge the value in the painting?
This artist declined the offer and the painting remained for
sale at the asking price. Aside from
the need for money, was she right in doing so?
And all of this discussion really brings into focus the
question: “How Much is a painting really
Your comments are not only welcome, but solicited!