Monday, July 11, 2011

Success...in an unexpected manner!

Yesterday turned out to be something I wasn't quite expecting...fun!  I've never done an art show/expo/stall type thingy before, and thought I'd possibly be nervous...shy...uncomfortable...bored...but actually I was none of the above, once I'd managed to calm myself down and actually get the wing nuts done up holding my sign onto my table (very fiddly, and already responsible for one broken nail on my guitar plucking hand)!
What you can't see is my ugg boots...it was VERY cold yesterday (mind you, that's Perth cold, which of course isn't REAL cold!)  But it's OK, they are very swish ugg boots...purple with braid around the top, he he!

What was also unexpected was that I didn't sell any small items other than 1 print and a few cards, though lots of people showed a lot of interest in the wooden hangers.  But what I DID sell was 'Storm Spirit Moving', the large painting in the lower left of the photo.  I thought that the smaller and cheaper items would be the bigger sellers (seemed a logical assumption!) and didn't think it very likely that any of the big ones would be sold.  Not that I'm complaining!  I actually made a profit after taking out the $350 or so costs.  But I think it was a bit of a lucky fluke, the right people happened to come along, and if they hadn't I would be very out of pocket.  Has anyone else found this to be true, that market type situations often defy all your expectations and you end up with a most unlikely outcome?

But 'Storm Spirit' has found a new home, and it was rather wonderful too.  A lovely couple and their daughter came along, and admired all my work and we chatted for a bit.  Then they moved on to look at all the other stalls and I didn't think any more of it.  But a while later they came back and wanted to have another look at 'Storm Spirit', and then they said the magic words 'Yes, we'll take it, thank you!'  It turned out that their daughter turned 21 last year, and they'd promised her a painting for her 21st birthday, and she has been looking and looking for the right one.  I think 'Storm Spirit' whispered to her, and I wonder if perhaps she whispered back?  Perhaps the 'true' owners of a painting are the ones who know the painting's story and the painting senses it and whispers "you are the one who can tell me my tale, and only you."  What do you think?

Other unexpected things happened too.  I've long despaired that my work is so eclectic (or rather, all-over-the-place with no rhyme or reason!) that there doesn't seem to be any unifying theme or identifiable style.  And yet, I found myself telling people over and over yesterday that the one thing that appears in all my work is STORY.  It was only when I'd said it about 5 times that it dawned on me what I was saying and I realised, that's it, that's what holds my work together, whether it's a large acrylic, or a pencil sketch, or a stitched piece or a piece of wood and pyrography.  It has a story.

I also found myself being told very sternly that I am a writer!  I was chatting away to a lady who told me I should really do book illustrations, and I laughed and said it's a one-day dream and that I'm just a frustrated writer.  Then she listened as I chatted on (waving my hands around a lot as I do when I'm excited and enthusiastic), telling her the story behind the 'girl in the boat' paintings and 'Shipwreck Coast', and she listened as I talked about the Talesingr and all the little stories I'd written for her, and she flicked through my book of 'prints available' and asked me if I'd written the info and little 'blurbs' for each one.  And she said 'so you wrote this?'  Then she pointed to the flyers and sign about the Talesingr, "and you wrote that?'  Then she looked me right in the eye and very seriously said, "so you're ALREADY a writer, aren't you!"  Perhaps I am.

I even plucked up the courage to take Cordelia along, making sure my neighbouring stall holders were happy for me to play guitar.  And I plucked away (as well as I could with no decent fingernails!), and even sang a bit, very quietly.  And the lady in the stall next door told me it was lovely, and when I stopped and put Cordelia back in her stand for a bit, the lady opposite popped up and came over to tell me not to stop, that it was beautiful!

Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned is that I'm actually quite good at the 'chatting to the customer' thing.  Normally, I'm pretty shy and the idea of starting up a conversation with a complete stranger makes me nervous.  I'm just no good at all at small talk and general chit-chat, utterly hopeless at parties.  But if people stop and ask me about my work, I can chat away and tell them all about it and enjoy doing so.  I had some really interesting conversations with people, getting their impressions and ideas about my work too, which is always refreshing and interesting, and lots of people took my cards and pamphlets, so perhaps they might even pop in here.  So if any of you are people I met yesterday, thank you so much, I had a lovely day and enjoyed talking to all of you!

So while I DIDN'T learn what is a 'sure fire' seller at an Art market, I did learn lots of other things that may ultimately be more useful!

11 comments:

Valerianna said...

Congratulations! Sounds like a great day... and a great sale!!

KeLLy aNN said...

Your art always fascinates me! We use/love a lot of the same elements ~ flying ships, dreamy skies, plants.
If I could only get my blues and greens like yours.
Congrats on the art show. I'm glad you had fun~

Mo Crow said...

What good news Christina! Are any Talesingr children for sale in your Etsy shop yet?

Jean said...

Sound like you had a wonderful day and success. Your art is truly beautiful.

Michelle said...

Your work is beautiful and you reallay deserved to have a good day like that! Isn't it amazing that sometimes, good fortune comes in the most unexpected ways?! I've yet to do an art fair.. but you've made me feel less nervous at the prospect.

Trish said...

That was lovely to read about your day. The painting Storm Spirit looks amazing. I love your story of how the painting and it's true owners whisper to each other. It gave me goosebumps!
Your work is beautiful.
Much love.

Pussycats and Angels said...

I was sitting here reading your post and Daughter walked into the room and pointed at the painting in the photo and said 'oh' Mum I love that painting..Yes you've guessed it, it was the one you sold..I then proceeded to tell her the story...She turns 21 next year (spooky)...
Your work is truly inspiring..
Blessings
Julie x

Swan Artworks said...

That all sounds fantastic! I'm so glad you sold a big piece and had so much positive feedback - and I utterly agree with that lady about your writing! I was away at the weekend so I'm looking forward to catching up with your Talesingr posts in two ticks...
Stories are the main spark for my art too, they are so intertwined - I see pictures when I write and hear echoes of story when I paint...
As for predicting the art market, it is a fickle thing I find - we run a small gallery alongside our picture framing - for instance we did a Valentines day window with lots of small cheap prints that were kind of impulse buy budget, and three big expensively framed art prints. I sold none of the cheap ones, only a few enquiries as to just how cheaply thay could frame them... but sold two of the big expensive ones to customers with no hesitiations who didn't blink twice at the price!
I think if someone has a connection with a piece of art, the price can become almost irrelevent, but its all such a personal emotional thing isn't it...
Anyway I'm starting to go on a bit here! Well done again on the show, wish I could've seen it!
Carrie... :)

naomi orana said...

Warmest Congratulations!
You should most definitely think about writing and illustrating a book - you are very talented in both fields.
I'm surprised that you can't see a connection in your works. You have a very beautiful, unique style and use of colours.
Great news!

Julia Kelly said...

Of course you should do childrens book- and yes you are a great writer!

Lunar Hine said...

You know, if you'd have done a straw poll, we could have told you you're already a writer.
Congratulations on selling a big piece. It is surely a beautiful thing when art finds its new home - like a parent 'giving away' a child to their spouse.
A lovely, lovely post.

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