Should an Artist Discount ?

“Yosemite Humpback”
an older watercolor painting
22×30 inches


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 worth?”
Your comments are not only welcome, but solicited!

That Time of Year . . .

“Sonoma Foothills”
Watercolor 22 x 30 inches
OMG!   It’s that Tuff time of year again!   I am spending most of my time preparing for my annual Open Studio.   I know!  It is only the first part of September.   Truth be known, I have been prepping since the last ten days of August . . . .and not without a few challenges!
This year, I will be away during September, giving a workshop at the annual Florida Watercolor Society convention in Sarasota, Florida.  Then I return home only to leave again to judge an art show.
By the time I return from all that stuff, I will have but a short ten days to be ready to receive guests who come to see the art work . . . .and there will be PLENTY of NEW WORK.   
Painting en plein air nearly every Wednesday really makes the paintings pile up!   I have actually had to cull out the “non qualifying pieces” in order for there to be room.
There will be lots to see . . . . .20 new beautiful oil paintings . . . . and as many new watercolors . . .along with a few special pieces that I happen to think deserve the honor to be included.
So, Save the date, Friends!!  October 5,6 and 19,20.   Drop me an email for address and directions!

New Gallery and Reception

“Fragments of an Idea”
Watercolor 22 x 30 inches
Hooray!!  I just joined the VIEWPOINTS GALLERY in Los Altos, CA !   My work will be the featured work for the period Jan 29-Feb 23.   The show, entitled “Something Beyond the Obvious”  is featuring origninal abstract watercolor paintings.   These pieces are at the pinnacle of what I produce as an artist and painter.   Come to the RECEPTION February 1 from 4 PM to 8PM!   Mark your calendar and be there !

Your Nose in A Tent
Open Studio this coming weekend ! Open at 11 AM till 5PM.

What you see above is less than 1/6th of what will be on display. No kidding: over 100 framed pieces, both oil and watercolor. And plenty more unframed . . . . .SOOOO MUCH to see!!

If you need directions, just drop me an email to tell where you’ll be coming from and I’ll shoot directions to you. The email address is in the bright blue sentence almost directly to the right of this post.

Don’t miss this annual event! It is the only time I put up such a massive one man show.

Wine, cookies, nibbles, art chatter, giggling, general goofing off, and painting demos.

Come enjoy the fun!


The Endless Fountain . . .

watercolor 15 x 22 inches

Every year around this time, to get ready for Open Studio, I clean out my flat files . . .and sometimes, I move furniture in my studio to readjust things. There is a serendipity that occurs, literally, every single year: I find works I had forgotten about completely. Many times they are simple musings, others they are terrible failures I had hoped to save at some point. Yet, once in a while, an old painting will surface that rocks me back on my heels and makes me wonder why it was hidden away. Here is one, “Parade,” which I cannot imagine why it was hiding. Of course, I had to put a few finishing touches on it, but, for one reason or another, I love looking at it.

I believe this painting is approaching 12 to 14 years old. I can see quite a difference in the way the paint sits on the surface versus how I paint now. . . . . .a sure lesson for not throwing away your old paintings: we can really see our progress.

I found a few more, too. But you’ll have to wait to see those. 🙂 That flat file has been giving up surprises every year. There must be something pushing that stuff to the surface!
I have come to the point that I don’t worry too much about having paintings for Open Studio. 10 drawers of paintings have never let me down!
By the way . . .are you planning to come to Open Studio?

More Self Promotion

“Yosemite Awaiting Winter”
watercolor, 21 x 29 inches
There are just weeks where everything seems to work right . . . .that is to say work properly. And these last few weeks, have been very very exciting and rewarding . . .all the efforts are bringing wonderful rewards.

Over the last several weeks, I have been planning a trip to Yosemite while preparing for open studio. To say the least, I haven’t been able to get Yosemite out of my thoughts. A special about our National Parks on TV hasn’t helped, either. It served to hammer me into a mental place of craving to paint. So, this is another of the Yosemite pieces done while prepping for Open Studio.

Oh! Did I just say OPEN STUDIO again? I did. It is only half over. If you didn’t make it by my home and studio last weekend, there is still one more weekend . . . .October 17 and 18 from 11 AM to 6 PM.

The first weekend of OPEN STUDIO was exciting! We had approximately 500 people come to visit. Not all at once, but it was a steady flow of people for both days. With over 70 framed pieces up and my studio set up to accommodate lots of interesting art thoughts and demos, people were glad they came. Won’t you join us on the 17th and 18th?

Shameless Promotion . . .

“Low Water”
Watercolor, 22 x 30 inches
That time has come again. OPEN STUDIO at my house and studio.
In the haste to prep for OPEN STUDIO over the last several weeks . . . . . . .(Oh, yes! There is a ton of work to be done; framing, cleaning, setting up, arranging everything, cleaning and tidying and . . . .gads! The work is overwhelming! ) (Yes, I mentioned cleaning more than once.) . . . . . . . . . . .but where was I? Oh yes, In the haste for prepping for OPEN STUDIO, I found myself terribly distracted; to hell with cleaning. I wanna PAINT !!! I couldn’t resist. So, I managed to sandwhich it in while I was doing my diligence.

This painting came as a result of several small studies I did at the easel while I was procrastinating getting ready for OPEN STUDIO. My mind was on a few other things, like lessons in value organization and composition for my classes. Those studies revealed this composition which has some merit, I think, for value discussions. But that is another subject . . . . . . . .

OPEN STUDIO IS THIS WEEKEND (OCTOBER 3&4) FROM 11 TO 6 PM. If you are in Santa Cruz, go toward Felton on Graham Hill Road. Once past the horse grounds (2.5 miles) you will see the green signs, with “BAILEY” on them, directing you directly to the house. Coming from San Jose, take 17 over the mountain and get off on the Sims Road / Graham Hill Road Exit . . .turn left on the frontage road. Proceed to the stop sign at Sims and turn right. At the end of Sims at Graham Hill Road, you will see the green signs. Follow them.

Can’t make it this weekend? We are also open October 17 & 18 11 to 6.
In addition to OPEN STUDIO, my work is on display at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz and County Bank of Santa Cruz. There is a reception at the bank’s main office the Friday evening.

Okay. I admit it. I am promoting myself and my art here sans shame. (Last nite I was a guest on a local radio program to promote it, also). Nope!! My modesty could be noted as a weakness, I suppose. But Hey! Let’s forget all that and let’s party at my Open Studio!! Be there or be square, as they say!!! :-))

An Update

“Greyhound Rock”
oil on canvas panel, 8″ x 10″
This painting is of a landmark north of here called Greyhound Rock. I have, as you probably already know, a fascination with the vivid colors of ice plant. On this day, however, the foreground ice plant was green . . .almost kelly green. So, taking artistic license, I chose to use different colors to help throw the focus up onto the rocks and sea. (By now you must be getting bored with this, but I can’t help myself!)

On another note, I should say THANKS to all who came to my open studio. Many artists, including myself, often measure the success of such an event in the numbers of paintings sold and the dollars brought in. I must take pause, however, this year for the obvious reasons relating to the economy, and make sure that I don’t drift too far into the mercenary mire of revenue versus artistic success.

Considering the financial climate we are all suffering, I had a fabulous open studio. The first weekend averaged about 130 visitors per day. The second wasn’t quite as well attended, but still, very worthwhile.

The studio was set up with several lessons that the lay person and artists alike would find to be interesting, such as a simple still life set up painted in 9 different color strategies to show how mood is often determined by the artist’s color choices. There was also a large board onto which I collaged (loosely) around 20 plus pencil sketches of preliminary studies. This board was next to two watercolor paintings (posted a few weeks ago) which were derived from those sketches. People found these displays fascinating . . . and the studio, too. ( Art studios are where mystical magic happens!) There was something for everyone from over 100 framed, original paintings on display around the property to the studio to the informative displays.

Open studios, as I reflect on it, are exciting and fun, like ‘open house’ kinds of parties . . . . . . . . .where friends and neighbors drop in, munch a little, chat, visit, update each other and eventually wander out refreshed and glad they came. This is similar, but there is much that happens in the way of expanded networking and being introduced to other artists and art events. In short, it is a function from which many new challenges and activities grow. Aside from selling nearly thirty paintings, this was a rich and enlivening experience. I could go on and on about the value (priceless!) of such events, but I shan’t bore you with my verbosity. Just know that with all the complaining about the amount of work, I will do it over and over again.

Thought you’d like to know how it went. If you came, thanks for coming. If you didn’t, I hope to see you next year!


My Brush Counter / Taboret
Yesterday was one of those bizzzzy daze !! Lots of great visitors and sold several nice paintings.
Myrna and her husband came by and spent some time and took a bunch of photos. Her blog has several photos and comments about what was here. Check it out. link
Note, the sign at the upper left sez, “Truth: There is no way in hell this studio is ever this tidy!”
The calligraphy in the green mat hangs in my studio where I see it daily. It is so very important to me that I should share what it says here:
EXCELLENCE can be attained if you . . . .CARE more than others think is wise . . .RISK more than others think is safe . . .DREAM more than others think is practical . . .EXPECT more than others think is possible.
Back to open studio.


Open Studio Invitation
postcard image
If you live in the Bay Area or are going to be visiting during the dates in the title, please come by my studio for a visit. There will be LOTS and LOTS of artwork on display, a demonstration or two, great munchies, wine and plenty to talk about. It is a biiiiig event in this town. There will be some 270 artists exhibiting . . . half on the weekend of the 4th and 5th, the other half on the above dates. MY STUDIO IS OPEN THE 11, 12th and THE 18, 19th. The address is 105 Geneva Court in Santa Cruz. Join us!! We’d love to see you!