About five years ago I relinquished my management position and moved into a teaching position (both full-time positions) so that I could devote more head space to my art. I then went part-time because I needed ‘time’ to paint. I also secured a permanent market stall site (#30) at Salamanca Market in Tasmania. Working part-time and having a stall is somewhat of a game changer. My art has to supplement my income, and now I find myself in the new realm of managing the tension between what I want to paint and painting what sells. There are plenty of positives with this but sometimes it feels a little like a conflict-of-interest inner struggle is happening.
I painted these two paintings pre-part-time employment. One sold like hotcakes and the other not. Can you guess which the best seller was?
I sell 100/100 limited edition prints. I quickly sold 100 Beauty Queens and about six prints of Beauty Queens I. I’ve painted a replacement Beauty Queens and now with only two left, I’m painting it again as this is a popular print.
I’m in my comfort zone painting emus at the hair salon and it’s fun to paint. I’ve decided to mix it up a bit this time otherwise it starts to feel a bit too comfortable, which actually makes me feel uncomfortable with my art. For me, probably the most challenging part is composition. My favourite emu in the Beauty Queens I painting is the emu with the row of curlers down her neck. I’m painting three versions and then deciding which one I think works or doesn’t work. I find it too difficult to be able to predict which composition is good until I see how the colour and form work together.
Which one do you think works best?
Thanks for reading my post. I’d love to hear from you, about your art, earning a living from art, composition dilemmas or ….
Yes, there are some cold, dark, Saturday mornings in the winter that I moan and groan with the thought of struggling all day to keep my toes warm, despite wearing three layers of everything. It is really not an enticing prospect to help motivate me to get out of bed but most of the time this is not the case. I really like having a Pjpaintings permanent stall at Salamanca Market.
Setting up and taking down each Saturday is not as bad as it sounds and it is a source of weight lifting and exercise without the gym fees. During the setting and packing up time, before the gazebo walls go up, is actually the easiest time to chat with your neighbours and the market community around you. Close bonds are developed as we get to catch up every week over many years.
The best thing about having a stall is the conversations with people from all over the world. Salamanca Market is a major Tasmanian tourist attraction that gives me the opportunity to meet and interact with people from everywhere, including Canada and Belgium, where I have spent some of my life. I sometimes even attempt to have a conversation in French.
Art exhibitions or galleries’ privacy clauses prevents me from finding out who bought, or where my art work went, whereas at Salamanca Market I can interact with those that are taking home my artwork. It is such a buzz to be able to talk about your art work with those that love it enough to buy it, to hear how they connect with it and their stories. For example, a couple who sold their house in Brisbane and moved to Emu Park, Queensland, were looking for a piece of artwork featuring an emu and were thrilled to discover my stall-full of emu art.
The motto of my art is “helping put smiles on faces”. It is lovely seeing all the smiles at my stall and when people see the perfect gift for a baby, daughter, son, family members and friends or gifts to take with them to give to hosts when travelling and relatives abroad.
Also, you meet many people that are attending all sorts of conferences, competitions and events in Tasmania that I would have never had known about, if it wasn’t visitors telling me about them. I am amazed at how much we host here. Recently we’ve hosted the Australian Society of Micro Biologists Conference, Sausage Conference, Underwater Hockey Championship and much more.
And finally, all the great stories I hear on Saturdays and the interesting characters I have the privilege of meeting, makes great weekly writing material and another avenue of connecting with people through the written form.