How I Sold My Last 4 Paintings

Artists need patrons. That’s the way it’s always been and it’s still true today. The work of the great painters and sculptors of the Renaissance were commissions for the papacy; today, we visit the Sistine Chapel and reap the aesthetic benefit of that patronage six hundred years ago. And where would we be without our community libraries built by Andrew Carnegie? We all owe a debt of gratitude to community members who support the arts via patronage. It is their willingness to help artists keep working that benefits everyone.

Patronage today is a form of radical community activism. The best communities are the ones with a rich cultural life, whether your community is the size of a village or the size of Seattle.

Which brings me to how I sold four paintings last month. One of my earliest collectors is a professional leader in her community. She sits on lots of boards, and hosts events at her home on behalf of organizations she supports. Recently, she was organizing a donor appreciation dinner at her home for 36 guests, to thank donors of a non-profit for whom she sits on the board. She approached me and asked whether I’d be interested in a private showing of my artwork at this event, since it would introduce many new eyes to my work. I’ve been to her home many times, delivering paintings she’s acquired, and knew my work looks gorgeous there. She has a large home with lots of wall space. She had me hang several large pieces in the entrance hallway and living room, a medium sized piece in the study, and a small piece just outside the guest bathroom.

The event was a success, but the biggest surprise came when my collector told me that she’s decided to buy all four of my paintings, since they look so fantastic in her home that she can’t bear to part with them.

This is a win-win… she’s got art she absolutely loves, I’ve made some sales, found happy homes for art I loved making, and can return to the easel with renewed enthusiasm that people like my work. “Proof of concept” is how I’ve heard it described. It doesn’t get any better!