Life Goals

One of the main reasons I work at the gallery is to make connections. I want to learn how buyers interact with artists. I need to know how to approach gallery owners to get my work shown. While I am here, my plan is to cultivate good relationships within both groups. I am learning how to display pieces to get the maximum amount of attention to it. How to make something that looked kind of iffy into a sure sell. I plan on rocking this job for as long as I’m here. Who knows, maybe one day I will be a buyer and I can travel all over, evaluating new talent and collecting pieces to sell in the gallery. Wouldn’t that be great fun? One of my life goals is to travel and study the art in other countries. It would be great to get paid to do that. I would much rather be spending someone else’s money on travel if given the choice. I can just hear myself saying, “Yes, I bought that piece on a recent trip to Morocco…” Pretentious? Maybe. But still so very cool. This place is opening a lot of doors for me. I would be a fool not to take advantage of that in any way I can.

The next step in my plan is to be able to afford my own art studio. I want to have a space to go to and work. Kiss the (hopefully) boyfriend-turned-husband on the cheek after our morning coffee and say, “I’m off to the studio.” A place that is not also my bedroom, or a converted garage, or anything like that. I don’t care if I have to live with my parents for another five years as I save the money, I want that art space. I will get there, and not by compromising, either. I don’t want it to be some dingy shack the size of a sardine can. I want it to be clean and bright. With quality supplies. I did the starving artist bit in college and I have no desire to do it again now that I’ve graduated. That’s why I went to art school in the first place. I want to be climbing the ladder, you know? Not perpetually at the bottom of the chute. I have a lot of respect for those who do things that way, I am just not that person anymore. I can’t help it. I have champagne tastes on a boxed-wine kind of budget. I recognize that in myself and I own that. That’s why so much of my money goes into a savings account.

The end goal is simple. I would like to be a self-supporting artist one day. I know that if I keep putting myself out there, getting advice from other artists and networking with the people who will be showing and buying my art, there is no limit on what I can do. I just have to be patient.


I Can’t Paint Sitting Down

I can’t and don’t want to paint sitting down but I might have to if things continue as they are. If I am really absorbed in a painting, I can’t stop. I want to go on and on for hours or all night. I fear losing my train of creativity. There is the issue, however, of back pain and sore feet. Even my calves feel the burden of standing for so long. I also move about the studio retrieving certain colors or brushes. It all takes a toll. I tried massage therapy and it worked for a time, but the discomfort always came back, plus it was expensive as I needed it quite often. Would I have to resort to sitting and making only small works of art. It seemed an impossible solution.

After abandoning the massages as they took a lot of time out of my day, I went to a physical therapist recommended by my doctor. I didn’t need surgery or any dire treatment, but simply some exercises to loosen the muscles in my legs and feet. Most of all I needed to rest these muscles by taking breaks. When I work in the gallery, my part-time job, I can’t sit down at any time unless it is for lunch. I was indeed in a quandary to say the least. What was I going to do? I think it would be to suffer in silence. I asked around including family and friends and they all said, don’t work so hard. I was not going to heed this advice. It was counterproductive to my nature. When I am compelled to paint, I must proceed at the moment when inspiration arrives. What would you do?

The physical therapist was of help as the exercises worked to an extent, but the best part of our collaboration was that he recommended compression socks that nurses wear. These are for both men and women, and anyone who stands on their feet on the job. Nurses are known to have long shifts so I asked someone I knew to get more information. You can buy them in a medical supply store or online in any size and color you want. They are made from a nice, luxury fiber that stretches to fit the foot. They are super comfortable and move with you through your day, providing a nice, light massage-one you don’t have to pay for. You can wear them with any type of shoes from oxfords to sandals or you can wear them alone. This was how I used them when in the studio. Why wear shoes if you don’t have to. After a day or two, I can pop them in the washing machine. I have several pair in case I am not in the mood for laundry. I am so grateful for the good advice and am no longer surprised by the amount of time medical professionals spend on their feet.


You Break It, You Bought It!

Haven’t you been in a store such as a curio or antique shop and found a nasty sign that says “you break it you bought it?” It is more than intimidating even for serious buyers. Perhaps they are referring to children or pets, but the sign doesn’t make that clear. In fact, this policy is just plain insulting. I suppose they want to make sure you don’t move things around which could knock something valuable off a shelf. Then why make them hard to reach and so far apart?

I used to bristle at such signs and would stop frequenting that store, but something happened in the gallery where I work which changed my tune. While we want people to feel comfortable walking around and approaching the works of art, they can bump into something by accident. Now I question how I would respond? Would I make them pay? I think the director would but it depends on the person who perpetuated an ugly scene. Imagine pieces of a ceramic statue all over the floor. Imagine the look of horror on everyone’s face—the boss, the receptionist, and mine. True destruction is infrequent and sometimes you can repair an object. I must say that is not often and it is quite expensive. There are fine artisans who can do it for a hefty price. If the client or visitor wants to buy it, he or she can pay for the repair.

I saw my boss get livid and start seething. I was afraid he would start lecturing the person to be more careful. In the end, he made the man pay. There was no loss to the gallery but self-respect. It seemed greedy to me in the long run. Meanwhile it was my job to clean the mess up and I quickly grabbed the vacuum in the utility closet in the kitchen. We have a simple, inexpensive model that cost less than a hundred dollars but it has good suction and performed its task well. All the pieces, large and small, were in the bag inside. It was a thankless job because I could see that the person who had obliterated the statue was upset. He even offered to vacuum it himself. Of course, that was absurd. Patrons, no matter their evils, must be respected. I went on to finish the job and proceeded to empty the bag in the kitchen and inspect the pieces. Nothing was salvageable but the head. It was a nice artwork executed by a local artist with talent galore. I kept the head in my pocket. After I returned the vacuum to its storage place, I packed up my things to go home.

I put the ceramic head on my work desk where I do sketches. It made a nice paperweight. Something good came out of the gallery fiasco. At least the artist’s work lives on. I may do some sketches of it to send to him, but I was loath to reveal what had happened.


Me and My Great Ideas

I am on a mission. It requires special creativity and inspiration. I am painting a surprise gift for my boyfriend. It isn’t easy when you are demanding of yourself and I know it will take forever to get it right. I have started well ahead of the gift date as a result. I have to make sure whenever he comes over, the painting is out of sight. When complete, I have the perfect hiding spot under a high quality mattress protector that I use to cover old canvases. It used to be in the linen closet but I found a better use for it. Whatever stage the painting is in, it will be invisible to visitors.

This is particularly important as it is a kind of expressionistic portrait with heightened color and thick brushwork. The paint brush traces are visible everywhere, a kind of chronicle of my esteem. The impasto paint will take a long time to dry and I am a little concerned about some of it rubbing off on the mattress protector. I must make sure there is space between the artwork and the vinyl. I suppose if it happens, I can use turpentine to get it off. Oil paint, in case you don’t know, takes three or more days to dry and if it is laid on in a thick manner, it may never fully dry—or at least not in a few months. I will then apply a sealer so when the painting is in my boyfriend’s home, it won’t damage the wall.

I usually use acrylic paint but it has a different texture. I wanted an old-world quality to the portrait and evidence of my influence from the great era of abstract expressionism. He knows art history and would be pleased to see this reference. This will set it apart from typical portraits that you see in galleries. While there is a good likeness and skilled brushwork, it is often thin and transparent. Most of the portraits look like they were done by one painter. Thus, my great idea to make my work different. I want it to stand the test of time. I never want my boyfriend to cast it aside, full of grime and dust from sitting in the closet. If it is a good work of art, he will mount it on the wall in public. That is my dream.

I am working diligently at the project and am making progress. The day of giving is drawing near. The paint below the surface is starting to dry and soon the top coat will follow suit. If you dry the paint with a hair dryer or heater, it will eventually crack. You can’t rush the process. Oil painting requires knowledge and skill which I have learned over time. Goodbye acrylics if this is a success. I am heading in a new direction that could be permanent. Artists discover themselves as they go along and you never know what is your destiny for sure.


Who Knew Construction Workers Look Kinda Like Performance Artists?

I love my job. I am an artist (I hope up and coming) who works in a fine arts gallery where all kinds of interesting things happen. You never know what to expect from day to day. Artists come in toting their new work in the hopes of getting interest in a show. Patrons love to see the new art and discussions with them are always interesting. We talk about collecting and what motivates a particular purchase. Some people stick with paintings, others with works on paper. Still more three-dimensional objects. They show me photos of their homes and offices in the hope that I will comment positively. I would never be negative and deter a client from making a new acquisition. I don’t always love everything on display, but as far as sales go, everything is wonderful. There is an art to selling art to put it mildly. I am not trying to be funny. I want to get better at it so I can expand my current duties at the gallery which entail computer documentation, mounting shows, and processing mail.

One of the discussions that I have with clients from time to time is how you cannot collect or even capture performance art. This kind of art is ephemeral. Something occurs for one moment only. The artist conceives of the art work as more of a process than something tangible. Only photographs can document what happens. It is hard for some collectors to get into this experience but more and more people are coming to understand it. You can be very surprised what is appropriately called performance art. A famous artist long ago shot himself in the arm to make a political statement about weapons. Another wraps buildings and fences. The covering is only there for a short time and thus the work is a statement about time and change. I am fascinated by this kind of vision that is rather philosophical.

Feeling this way about performance art, you can imagine what I was thinking when I entered the gallery one day and found a few “artists” using an air compressor. What a great idea for performance art, I thought. This is really something different. Boy was I wrong. In front of me were two construction workers making some repairs to the space. I had mistaken them for performance artists. It just goes to show you that anything goes in the contemporary art world. My boss, the gallery director, had mentioned upgrades or that anyone would be coming. I had fooled myself which was rather embarrassing, but fortunately I hadn’t mentioned by misassumption to anyone else. They would have had a good laugh, unless they were caught in the same dilemma.

Let’s hear it for performance art as a viable modern form of expression. Let’s welcome new artists, but let’s also be sure of their status. I won’t be caught unaware the next time around.


A Weekend of Inspiration

It was the boyfriend and my year anniversary this past weekend. When that homebody told me that he was taking me away for a three-day holiday, I jumped at the chanceto actually go somewhere with him. He had rented a cabin on a lake, of all things. The weather was not supposed to be very good but it never is this time of year. I put on my snow boots, packed some hot chocolate, and hoped for the best.

The drive was nothing special, especially since we didn’t head out until after he left work for the day on Friday. In other words, it was just dark outside. Oh and it rained. That was fun. Luckily the cabin was only about a half hour away so we got there before the temperature dropped and everything froze. We were exhausted from the long day and the weather-induced tense drive out to the lake. Not the greatest start to a romantic weekend. We didn’t see much of the cabin before we collapsed on the bed and were out for the night.

I woke up the next morning and looked out these fabulous floor-to-ceiling windows in the bedroom. The rain had turned everything outside into a sparkling ice wonderland. It took my breath away. I was tempted to wake up the boy but he’s cute when he is sleeping and I knew he needed the rest. So I quietly grabbed my boots and camera to sneak outside to get some photos of everything. I fell on my butt several times. My rear and my pride were the only things damaged, the camera was unscathed. Lucky, I know. The things I do for my art! I am still having trouble sitting down and that was days ago.

It was so beautiful and quiet there. I was probably the only person outside for miles around. I could have lived in that moment forever. My awe didn’t end there. Over the next couple of days, everything thawed. Except for a good portion of the lake. We saw a bald eagle trying to ice fish, watched a chipmunk scurry right across our path, and witnessed some of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life. We also drank all the hot chocolate, of course! There was romance and happy anniversary celebrations but I felt like my mind was going the whole time, trying to record every single moment. I took even more photos. I cannot wait to go home and use them as a reference to paint. I am not the greatest photographer. Things never come out in the picture the way they are in my head but they are helpful for me when I paint. At the very least I can use them as a reference for the colors to use.

If I ever find myself unable to come up with a subject for my art, I will have to remember to go back up to that cabin. I have so many ideas from just a three-day trip, I cannot imagine what it would be like to stay there for a whole week. Or a month!


Not My Job Description

I love working in an art gallery. It is a dream for an artist just starting out. You learn the ropes, get exposure, and feel a part of a special realm. I also love time in my studio when I am in the midst of creation. I feel blessed to have been born with aesthetic talent so that I have a ready road to personal fulfillment. I never thought about entering a different field such as business, medicine, education, or mechanics. My path was always laid out in one direction, or so my parents believed. I am earning my stripes in the art gallery and making art as I write. I feel compelled to share my experience to help others in the same boat—artists who want to make a living but with the kind of work they admire and believe in. I don’t want to have to compromise my values to please the public. Don’t get me wrong. I do want to please the public, but not at the expense of my pride.

Meanwhile I apply myself daily as needed in the gallery. This means sometimes doing things that I don’t feel are in my job description. I process the mail which includes a lot of images that would-be artists have submitted for consideration. We are very selective about what we show so I have to answer them back. I keep tabs of inventory and pull out work from storage to show clients. I clean up after an opening and help serve the snacks. I update the computer with new purchases and client information. All in all, I have a lot of variety going on. I love greeting people as they come through the door and most of all like discussing the current work on view. The gallery is in the business of selling art so I never deter people from making an acquisition, even if something is not my taste. But I never would push a painting on a novice art lover just for the sake of a sale.

Something was added to my job description the other day. The gallery director was concerned about the air quality in the ample space and wanted me to select and install a new air purifier. What could be harming the paintings? It didn’t matter that I know: I now had a task. I set out to research the subject and stumbled on a mid-size unit that would cover our square footage. It was the type that people use in hospitals or children’s rooms to help those with allergies breathe better.

There is nothing specifically made for an art gallery. There is an expensive model for museums to prevent chemicals from reacting with the artwork, but this is not what we needed for sure. I got a regular air purifier that per the product description would clearly do the job. The museum purifiers have fancy settings that can be changed according to the climate. I think what I found will do nicely. Cleaner air is around us.


No Way, A Tropical Getaway!

If you had the means, the time, and the choice, where would you go for a fabulous beach vacation. I assume that all of you readers love the shore as I do. There are so many great places from Hawaii to Tahiti, but for me I vote for the Caribbean. Think of all those tropical islands and how glorious the sand and water are. I would give anything for a week of fun in the sun. We all need to rejuvenate and relax no matter how much we like our work. Life gets dull and discolored if you don’t take a break and change your point of view. I mean that literally: it is important to have a change of scene and get a new lease on life. And because I am an artist, I invite the inspiration that the beach always brings.

So, my friend and I have set a date for a long weekend in the Caribbean on a picturesque isle. We picture ourselves side by side on lounge chairs with a large beach umbrella overhead. Its big stripes match our giant towels. You can’t miss us for miles away. So, we made this dream a reality and off we went. Not a minute off the plane, we headed for our resort and the sand. We jumped into our swimsuits, grabbed the towels and ran to the water. Just a few feet away we set up “camp.” We had a cooler by now with water and beverages not to mention a few tasty snacks. We rented the chairs and an umbrella so we would not burn. The sun in this region can be intense. We applied sunscreen, put on dark glasses, and we were ready to surf. Come late evening, we were loath to move a muscle.

What is it about the beach that is so magical? Sure, you can ski in fresh powder snow, go boating on a lake or a river, or hike in the mountains when the weather is fine. But when it comes to rest and relaxation, not to mention artistic inspiration, I vote for the beach every time. I mentioned that I am an artist so I bring along a pad of paper and some colored pencils and make sketches of the people and the scenery. I take the work home and make some of the better works into paintings. I also like the fresh spontaneity of watercolors. I wish I could take them with me, but once when I did, they got full of sand.

I don’t get a beach vacation more than once a year and then we vary the location. Sometime I will have paintings of so many destinations that required recreation in paint. Perhaps this is the perfect fodder for a one-man art show at the gallery. If I work hard and finish enough, there will be ample paintings to fill the gallery space. I will have large and small versions of my beach vacations. Hopefully, they will remind people of the joy of the ocean.


Inspiration is Everywhere

I work long hours at an easel as a practicing artist. Then there is my apprentice time in an art gallery where I am learning the ropes. I welcome the opportunity to get out now and then for some fresh air. Plus, I like to see what is going on in the neighborhood. From personal experience, I know that inspiration is everywhere. Recently, I found it at a street festival a few blocks a way that I visited with a friend. We both love a fun atmosphere and seeing the excitement on the smiling faces of the kids near the bouncy house. It makes us feel more alive. Kids will bring out the best in most people. We decided to spend considerable time and observe and take photos. My friend is a writer, a different kind of artist, and took ample notes.

The young ones didn’t take notice of our presence. No one else seemed to mind as we were bearing down on the revelers. We watched and waited as the line of children dwindled. Each one had his turn in the bouncy house. Inside were brightly colored balls and the little heads would pop out of the mass of roundness with glee. It was magical as the balls moved quickly around to form new configurations. Suddenly, I had an idea. I would create an artwork out of these colored balls. I could either paint them on a large canvas as an abstraction or I could literally use them in a “construction,” a type of sculpture.

When you use something that exists in reality already such as a ball, it is called a readymade. I had never done anything with such objects before. I thought back to the bottle rack of Marcel Duchamp from the early twentieth century. I would be in good company if I pursued my idea. I thought long and hard and abandoned the concept of a painting. That would be too simple and mundane. I started looking online and found that you could find a cheap bounce house for kids, and asked the supplier about acquiring just some balls. They do sell them for people who have purchased a bounce house and need some spares or just want to decorate their kid’s sandbox. I selected about a dozen of them in assorted colors.

I took them up to my studio and arranged them in an interesting group. I sat and contemplated their sizes, shapes, and hues. This is the essence of art. I then made a wooden fence to go around them to kept the design intact. It was starting to look interesting. I needed to keep the balls in place so I inserted a piece of plastic under the entire construction. Then I decided to change the placement of the balls. I hit the nail on the head this time. When the work of art was on view in a gallery (my dream and fantasy), the observer can change the composition at will. He or she could be imaginative and contribute to the artistic experience of my original object. The day at the street fair had been very profitable.


Sold My First Piece!

I just had to log on and tell you all some big news! No, the boyfriend did not pop the question. Read the title of this post again. That’s right, I sold my first piece!! I know, I can’t believe it either!

The painting was a landscape I saw in a dream. There was a jagged mountain and in the dream, I was trying to climb it. I don’t know how but I just knew that the view would be spectacular if I could get to the top. I have never seen this place in real life and I have no idea how to climb a mountain either. But dream me was determined. I had my art equipment with me and I remember it being hard to climb while having to lug all of that stuff. I kept trying even though the rocky surface was cutting up my hands. In the dream, I hit my head as I was climbing. It didn’t hurt but it bled, and the blood ran into my eye. When I got to the top, I couldn’t see the view because my vision was cloudy. I wouldn’t have been able to paint anyway because my hands were so bloody and wounded from the climb. And I had lost most of my art supplies on the way up. I remember thinking in the dream that it had not been worth the struggle to get to the top. I was looking around for a way to get down when I finally woke up.

Yes, I know it was a messed-up dream.

The painting kind of reflected all that. I have to say, it was really good. The colors were all red and purple and angsty. I used a putty knife to make the sharp edges of the mountain and you could almost believe that if you touched the painting, it would cut you. You could feel the potential in the view at the apex but you just couldn’t quite see it yet. There was beauty and also a lot of frustration.

Anyway, so I had taken a picture to show the receptionist, Jamie, who knew all about the dream. He was just as disturbed by the dream as I had been so I thought he would like to see what I had done with it. While I was showing Jamie, the boss came by. He stopped to look at the picture and asked me where I’d taken it. He was surprised when I told him it was of a painting I had made. He asked me to bring it in and who am I to argue with the guy who signs my paychecks?

I brought it in the next day and he told me that if I wouldn’t mind selling, he thought he had the perfect buyer for it. No, can’t say I minded selling! We agreed on a price and then he added his fee on top. The number seemed a little silly to me. I didn’t think anybody would really pay THAT much money for something that little ol’ me made. But it turned out that Boss Man was spot on. He sent a (much better quality) photo to the buyer, who responded immediately with some questions about yours truly. Mostly if I had any other works similar to that one. Um. No. That was pretty much lightning in a bottle. She came in, stared at it for what felt like a half hour, and haggled on the price a little. I didn’t care what she paid for it as long as I got to brag that somebody paid for something I painted.

Somebody paid (a nice amount) for something I painted!Apparently, all I had to do was have a nightmare to get it done. Who knew?

I am taking the boyfriend out for dinner tonight, people. Somewhere that has cloth napkins!


Guess I’ll Keep on Lookin’

I am plumb out of room in my studio. There are paintings and objects everywhere plus a mess of supplies. I can hardly walk from one end of the small room to another. It is time to move on. But there is a big problem: how do I pack up all this stuff? It won’t be easy but nevertheless I am on a quest to find the perfect space. This is going to take time. I make a list from ads in the paper and organize them by location. For some I can go on foot, but for others I will need my car. I have a list of requirements so I will see what matches my specifications. Here’s what I want:

A large room with separate fully-loaded kitchen. I need an oven and stove, at least a small refrigerator, and some counter space for food preparation.

I don’t require a bedroom but one adjacent to my studio would be nice. It can be miniscule for all I care.

I must have a private bathroom in my studio, however compact. I don’t want to go down the hall and find that other residents are there.

I need central heating and air conditioning. Our weather can turn bad in the winter and steamy in the summer. I want to be comfortable so I can work on my creations day or night. I don’t want to sleep when it is either freezing or sweltering. I just want a good, solid system so I can be effective at my self-imposed job.

I don’t care if it has an elevator unless I am on the top floor. I need a way to tote artwork up to my quarters. It can be something I had out on loan or a large canvas that won’t be easy to carry upstairs.

This is what I had in mind when I set out on my journey. I went from one place to another and checked off my list. I thought I had found the perfect studio but balked when I was informed that it had no heating system. I initially turned it down. Now it was decision time. The price for rent was fair and the space was super large. I would be very content here. I loved the apartment-size kitchen as it had everything I needed. The bathroom was newly renovated and clean. I couldn’t turn this bargain down. I thought long and hard. I finally came up with an energy efficient space heater as my ultimate solution. It would be portable and I could carry it about and set it in the area in which I wanted to work.

I wasn’t worried for very long. The space heater, not being a desktop model, was perfect. It kept me warm and toasty at night. I was careful about a fire hazard but the front was well covered with metal mesh. I was so happy that I didn’t stick with my instincts and turn the place away.


Another New Show Coming Up

I have all the tools of the artist’s trade. These include palette knives, brushes of different sizes and materials, sponges, and cleaning cloths. There is a huge assortment of paints grouped according to type: acrylic or oil. My studio is a little ramshackle, but I can always find everything I need. I particularly love my large staple gun with which I create canvases from scratch. Instead of buying the readymade versions that are more expensive, you buy a piece of fabric and the appropriate wood stretcher bars. You then staple the fabric to the frame in your desired size. Some fabric comes pretreated and some you can find raw. It depends if you want the paint to “stain” the canvas or sit on top. You can also treat your raw canvas with gesso and make your own coating, again saving money.

The point is that I know my way around staple guns. It is a good thing because recently I needed to use one at the gallery. I knew just how to load and operate it. Since it is a smaller size than the one I use to make canvases, I don’t often find it in my hands. Now the gallery is having a new show in a couple of days and Jamie, the receptionist, and I need to staple booklets together. There are several pages in full color that illustrate the work of the show artist. It will be given out to patrons as they enter the gallery at the opening. They were supposed to be stapled at the printer, but someone forgot to add this request to the order. Honestly, where was my head on that day? No matter. Jamie and I can handle the job swiftly. It doesn’t take much special skill. You do have to watch for wayward staples as one or two have been known to land on a finger or two.

It took a while and Jamie and I passed the time discussing our favorite artists and what is happening in the local museums and other galleries. It was a good chance to catch up and we bonded over our love of art. We both like abstract painting of the expressionist kind. We share a love of Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, and Clifford Still. We pulled out a few artbooks and old catalogues from the gallery shelves and pointed out our preferences. It is so wonderful to talk to a fellow aficionado. We discussed new trends in performance art and what impact the environmentalists were having on contemporary creation. What are the signs of the times and will they prevail? There are so many interesting and provocative questions to ask. We could talk for hours. The books were finished soon enough and the discussions were curbed for a time. I look forward to another project we can do together. It sure beats opening mail, put away artwork that has been pulled out for clients, and mopping the gallery floor.


My Favorite Piece in the Gallery

We are doing a photography show for the next couple of weeks. I like this one because there are a lot of different photographers on display. I like the variety of the subjects, the mix of color and black and white that has taken over the gallery. I have been able to talk to most of the photographers so I could learn more about the subjects of the photos—it helps to know these things when you sell them. People often ask, especially with photographs, where it was taken and things like that. But I ask also because I am curious. I love having time with the artists we represent. As I’ve said before, I like all aspects of art, including the business side. I do like to know why artists decide to sell the pieces they do. This exhibit has been a lot of fun because there are so many artists to talk to and I am sure it will bring in a bunch of potential buyers. People like photography. It is always a good seller for us.

So I was doing my traditional walk-through to familiarize myself with the layout and the different photographs for sale. I turned a corner and in front of me was a photograph that just knocked my socks off. It was a picture of a cherry blossom tree with kites flying in the sky around it. The colors were super saturated and rich. It was like walking into a gorgeous, breezy spring day. I didn’t just want the photo, I wanted to be there in that moment. I wanted to watch the kites flying overhead, smell the blooming flowers, feel the warm sun on my face. It was everything that I love about art. The photographer was right there and must have seen my expression because she stopped what she was doing to smile at me. I immediately asked her where she took it. Seems Washington, D.C. has a Blossom Kite festival. It must be so incredibly beautiful to see in person. I chatted with the photographer for a bit more and then headed off to look at the other photos on display.

There was nothing else as beautiful as the kites. I went back again and looked at the price tag. Well, that was a kick in the teeth! It was probably priced pretty fairly but fell very wide of my “I can rationalize this cost in my head” mentality. Oh well. I had resigned myself to saying goodbye to this beautiful photo when the photographer came back over to me. She handed me a postcard that had the Blossom Kite photo on the front. She had gotten a few printed to drum up interest in the photos she was selling here. I couldn’t believe my luck! I stopped off on my way home to get a frame and now it is happily sitting on my nightstand where I can see it every morning when I wake up.

I love my job.


Adding Art to Your Everyday Life

I think that art should be integrated into the daily lives of people. I do not mean that everyone needs a copy of a great masterwork in their living room, either. I mean art in the truest sense: the pieces that make us feel something meaningful. That beautify our surroundings. That make a place feel like home. The main reason why I got a job in a gallery instead of a museum was because I think art should be part of life and not behind a velvet rope or locked away.

I am not picky, either. I am not going to argue with anybody about taste. With all of my education, I certainly have an appreciation for pieces done by the masters. But that might not reflect your real life. And that’s fine with me. I don’t care if you still have your kid’s handprint turkey on the wall and they are now 40. If you walk past that turkey with a smile and think, “I remember the day he brought that home. He was so proud of himself. Look at how small his little hand was!” It is evoking an emotion in you. Guess what that means? That handprint turkey is art. It is something woven into the fabric of your life and your home. Rather than tell you to take it down and put up a Matisse reprint, I’d tell you to hang more.

Art isn’t about how much you spent on a piece or whose signature is on it. What matters is what speaks to you. The art that you like is a reflection of you and what you value. Make the space that you live and work a reflection of you and the things you care about. I don’t care what you choose as long as you choose something. Look around the walls in the places you spend the most time: the living room. Your desk at work. Your bedroom. Are the walls blank? Have you hung anything? What does that space say about you? And the more important question: do you like what it says about you?

If you go on vacation and you take a gorgeous picture of the landscape, don’t doom it forever to life on your memory card. Or worse, sit on a hard drive somewhere. Get it printed. Heck, get it enlarged. Put it in a frame. Get it matted. Go crazy and get it printed on canvas. Make it look like the art that it is. Hang it somewhere people can see it and then brag about it. Every time you see it, you will remember that moment and how you felt. It will make the dark days a little brighter and shine a light on those tough times at work.If you can’t make holes in the walls, use that 3M stuff. Buy cheap posters if you are low on funds. Buy your favorite children’s book, gently remove your favorite page and frame it for your baby’s room. Take apart an old calendar and hang the pictures. Put postcards (either side, who cares!) in frames. Paint something. Paint anything. Go on a paint night with friends. Paint with your kids. Use a 3d printer to make something. Use a computer drawing program and print it out. There are so many ways to add life and color to your surroundings. Look around you. Change your space. Add art. Change your life.