Friday, October 30, 2015

Favorite Paintings--When to Keep, When to Sell

"Summer Reflections" 18" x 24" in acrylic
     Every painting is a valuable learning experience, but some emerge as personal favorites. (Note that each photo caption is a link to earlier blog posts about that painting if you are interested in more background on any piece.) 

     Since we have down-sized our home in retirement and already have some treasured wall art, we have limited space for new pieces. If none of my babies left home, they would pile up under the bed and beyond, even though I am a slow painter with limited output. So, it has been delightful for me to connect with people who value a particular piece enough to purchase it. I have also enjoyed giving paintings as gifts--something I do carefully and only when I know for certain the recipient likes the work. 
"Castaway Island Cedars" 9" x 12" in acrylic

     However, a few particular paintings would be difficult to part with. They are not necessarily my best work; in fact some represent a creative struggle with a composition that stubbornly refused to come together for a time. Others feel like markers of growth and may have flaws or elements I would do differently now. My wonderful mentor, Linda Blondheim, taught me to value them all--from the earliest, awkward efforts on--because they represent the best I could create at the time.

"Look to the Hills, I" 18" x 24" in acrylic
     In a recent post, I showed you a painting called, "Hanna Park Heron", which found a wonderful home, but which I miss at times. Today's works are (at least for now) definitely not for sale. 

     Other artists (including the real professionals) seem to have varied viewpoints on keeping versus selling artwork. I have heard some say that "everything is for sale" and that it's foolish to hang on to anything, while others treasure certain works in what is often called "the collection of the artist". Of course, I am a simple hobbyist (though a serious one) and am fortunate not to have to make a living through my art (which would be a pitiful living, indeed!). That leaves me freer to choose what and when to sell.

     Why these three? The first is from 2014 and just pleases me no end; I particularly like the clear focal point, feeling of depth, and optimistic mood. The second is from a walk in a favorite preserve and feels serene and very typical of North Florida. The third is an earlier work, inspired by our 2006 revisiting of a lovely retreat center in New York and the memorable time we spent there with precious friends.

Question of the day: What special objects are your "keepers"--whether or not you made them?



  1. Mary, I have never just kept a painting that I felt was good enough to sell. I have one especially, here at home, that never sold and I like it a lot. Had nice compliments on it, but it never sold. Hmmm. I like paintings that bring back memories or make me smile.

  2. Has been fun catching up with your blog this morning! Many of my paintings are of family and were never meant for the market - I have sold a few that I would happily buy back - and hopefully have learned my lesson. If it means a lot to me and/or my husband, we keep it!

  3. So nice to hear from two fine artists/blogging friends! It's fascinating that you have different takes on the question--each for your own good reasons.

    Jo, i admire your ability to part with your creations, and I appreciate your further reflections on one that has stayed home (so far) and on what kinds of objects are special to you. I have also had the experience of receiving compliments from people on a piece that did not sell. I'm sure yours is lovely, but it takes a real "love connection" for most people to buy art--some sort of magical meaningfulness that we cannot predict or control.

    I seem to be more like you, Rosemary, in sometimes missing a sold piece and, consequently, having started to keep the ones I and/or my husband especially treasure. Thank you very much for spending time catching up on the blog and for considering the day's question.