Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Quiet Day at the Gallery

As I write this, I am sitting at an old desk in the Stillwater Art Guild Gallery, of which I am a member. It is a cold, yet sunny Sunday afternoon, and I am fulfilling my bimonthly obligation to work. So far today, there does not appear to be a tremendous demand for local art, since we have had only 12 visitors in the first 3 hours that we have been open, and no one has made a purchase.

While it isn't good that the front door is not opening very often, these are the kind of days that I have found I can spend time evaluating my display wall, examining the art done by fellow gallery members (there are over 60 of us), and sometimes plot out a new direction. I am able to focus on nothing but art for several hours, and often it leads to ideas for new work. There is a wealth of talent in this group, and one can learn a lot by studying the work of others.

When another gallery member stops in to upgrade their display or pay rent, or simply to stay in touch, it gives us a chance to chat. We are all experiencing the same economic challenges with regard to our art, and we are all searching for ideas to promote our business, and stay fresh and relevant in our work.

And then, at any given moment, a solitary customer may walk in, or an older couple who have time to browse, or newlyweds who need something to hang on their walls. They start to ask questions about a particular artist or a subject that they are interested in, their favorite colors, or a style of painting they admire. I try to be as neutral as possible in directing them to an artist or a piece that will meet their requirements, obviously hoping I can guide them to my work. Sometimes it leads to a sale of one of my paintings, and sometimes a different artist's work. In the big picture, it doesn't matter. It is a great feeling to complete a sale of any art, witnessing how thrilled the customer is with their purchase, and anticipating how grateful the artist will be when I call to tell them they have had a good day at the gallery.

The customer leaves, and silence returns, broken only by soft background music from the CD player, and the creaking of the floor in the antique shop upstairs. I go back to my art magazine, or my blogging, or sketching. I will patiently wait for the next art lover to walk through that front door.

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