It can be difficult to pluck up the courage to show your work, ready for sale. It takes guts and determination. But sometimes it doesn’t go the way you planned and in the end that worked out all the better.
I want to share my experience and what it has taught me and hopefully make it easier for you to get your art out there and be viewed and hopefully sold.
You can also read my The Etiquette of Approaching Galleries that will give you tips on how to approach Galleries.
In the Beginning
Many years ago when the decorative arts were huge, I came across a lovely decorator shop in Berry, NSW. It was at a time when the kids were off to school, and I had some free time to get back to my love of art and creating.
I had been trying out different techniques and subjects and was having a great time in my headspace of creative energy. It was also at a time after major surgery, and I was in a bit of a slump emotionally so this was perfect and got me out of a blue mood. I had been selling and giving away pieces to friends and family and was building up some stock, and some courage.
So off I went with the car packed up with boxes of painted up stock to the beautiful little decorator shop in Berry, full of courage. Yes, I was here, and I was going to take on the world with my one of a kind amazing artworks.
Yes, well that was until I pulled up outside the store, walked up to the door and the nerves hit. I walked up and down the street trying to pluck up courage and find out where that confidence had vanished to.
Eventually and after a couple of coffees across the street I went into the shop minus the stock, that was still in the car, and bought a gift card!
This charade went on for about the next five visits to Berry, which was an hour’s drive from my house. By this time, I had a lovely collection of gift cards and pretty little pottery pieces bought from each visit to the store of which the owner had no idea of my dilemma.
However, what did happen over that few months was that I got to know the owner and eventually felt comfortable to mention my work. She was very happy for me to bring a few pieces of work in to show her.
Very tentatively and picking a time when the shop wasn’t too busy I bought in a box seat, some antique boxes and a few old wares all painted up with teddy bears. The shop owner was delighted.
Just as I was showing these, a customer walked in and bought the lot! You can imagine my surprise and the boost to my confidence. I enjoyed 15 years selling my art to this beautiful little shop in Berry, and long after the decorative arts craze had diminished, I was still selling paintings there until the owner retired and closed the shop.
Bellissima opened many doors for me. The customer who bought everything on that first day worked for a magazine which held fairs in the Sydney Town Hall which I traded at for about ten years and during that time was invited to trade at fairs in Hobart, Melbourne and Brisbane where outlets followed stocking my painted bits and pieces.
Magazine articles and tutorials followed. Overseas visitors who attended these fairs began collecting my works, and I had outlets in the UK and Singapore. I joked that my paintings were better travelled than me and yearned to travel to the destinations that I was sending work to all over the world. A dream became a reality. I met some lovely people including someone who has remained a close friend for over 20 years.
Eventually, I moved on to explore my art in new ways, and I have never looked back.
I laugh when I remember my first nervous and feeble attempts at getting my art out to the public. However, I remain eternally grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way.
Remember building relationships works well. They can take time but are well worth the effort.