Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Theme is Humble

Alone in the field

The end of the year always brings about agonizing reappraisal. And a questioning of my assumptions. It is always easier to do this with others but not as easy to do it with ourselves. I have promised myself to do better this year at that.

A local business just announced it was closing. They blamed us locals because we didn't shop there enough. But who would want to? I asked myself. And I was one of those that shopped there. They stocked products I wanted, but increasingly I was willing to drive over the mountain to get those products.

The economy gets a lot of blame for failure of businesses. I do not have enough money to shop local a lot. I try to eat at least one restaurant meal a week. It is a budget line item. If I had more money I would spend more money. I blame the economy for the low sales at my studio. That and Google Maps had me in the wrong spot. But maybe it is that I am not a good painter. Or I have a toxic personality. Admittedly nobody needs a painting. And everyone thinks their iphone takes a great photograph.

A few years back this agonizing reappraisal stuff led me to give up painting for two years. I spent my creative energy on photography. That was rewarding but painters don't choose to paint. They need to paint so I went back to it. Our valley has several well known painters and I am probably the least of those. I do know I am third on prices, and second on google listings. I promised myself when I went back to painting that I would paint what I wanted to paint. Maybe that isn't what others want to buy. The mustang paintings go very well, but I get tired of the question, "Do you paint aspens?" "I photograph those," I reply nicely. But everyone photographs aspens. My old truck photographs sell better. Note: I did do a couple aspen paintings. Neither sold.

And one of the reasons I quit painting for those two years was the production line of churches. I sold a lot of churches. "Paint churches. Everyone buys churches." But I still have churches in the studio I have not sold. And a new one I just finished recently. It is from a photograph I took which moved me to paint it.

Alone on the High Plains

I do not know if I have an answer on this appraisal of my business acumen. But the theme is humble because I find I tend to blame myself. And what is the line between humble and self-abuse? Don't worry. I am not going to cut off an ear. Nor will I turn to painting 2000 flowers. That would not make me happy.

I paint what makes me happy. And every once in a while a painting makes someone just as happy as it made me, and it goes home with them.

Thunder Run

 I am a painter and a photographer but not a great sales person. I keep taking course on marketing. But I am better at passing that information on to others than utilizing it for myself. 

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