Wednesday, September 2, 2009

how I sold my first painting

I was standing behind the counter, bored--fresh out of art school and working at my parent’s shop for the summer, I stood there making motions of dusting, not paying attention to the few customers who were browsing in the back of the store.

the west branch of the Dead River

The shop was called Old Port Artisans and was in the vibrant Old Port of Portland, Maine.  We carried the work of over 70 regional fine craftsmen and fine artists. A lovely selection of pottery, woodworking, jewelry, prints, fiber arts, a bit of everything.

The couple from the back came to the counter carrying something to purchase and asked me “can you tell us anything about this artist”?

As they set the piece on the counter, I realized with a shock it was my painting--a little gouache landscape of birch trees and a river scene (a favorite spot where my grandfather
took me fiddleheading
as a girl). 

I had a placed a few of my paintings in the shop earlier in the summer but hadn’t thought much more about it.

The couple looked at me expectantly. I stammered something about the artist being me, my face turning red.  Miraculously, they didn’t change their mind or point at me shrieking “YOU’RE the artist!?”  They paid for the painting and left the store, happily chatting about where they were going to hang it.

Well, that certainly changed the flavor of my day.  I stood up straighter, finished my shift, and ran home to get back at my easel.

The Dead River and a good fiddleheading spot

Sadly, the painting in the story is lost to me…this happened before I learned the valuable lesson to photograph every painting before it leaves my studio.  Hey, maybe it’ll resurface…if you purchased a lovely, little gouache in 1991 in Portland—get in touch!

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