Bonding With Your Gallery

1. Select a gallery that loves your work. That’s the first step in developing a long-lasting relationship that will benefit both parties. The gallery takes on the responsibility to educate the public about art in general and your work in particular. This process is most effective when the gallery has carefully chosen its artists and can enthusiastically discuss the work. The more the gallery can do this, the more clients it can turn into collectors. With the right fit, you, the artist, can express your inner voice while painting subjects that fit in with the general theme of the gallery.

5. Focus on painting. Your chief role is, as you’ve expected, to be a productive painter. You’re the one to select subject matter and decide how to paint it. Keep in mind that you may have to come out of your studio occasionally to make an appearance at opening receptions, or provide the gallery with a mailing list of past clients and individuals who have expressed interest in your work. Still, the gallery’s responsibility is to present and sell your art; yours is to paint.

6 Be open to different ideas. To comply with themes for group shows at your gallery, consider painting outside your usual technique or subject matter. As the artist, it’s up to you to produce works that speak from the heart. But as the gallery devises exhibit concepts, your input can benefit both your painting growth and gallery sales if you try something new once in a while. Painting something different allows your artistic muscles to stretch and keeps you flexible.

Here’s an example: For 20 years, Francesca Anderson has been asking the prominent artists she represents at her Lexington, Massachusetts, gallery to paint small works for a December holiday show. By mounting a show of “almost miniatures” during the gift-giving season, her artists who typically paint large canvases and full-size watercolor sheets provide affordable original art to a wider audience. These shows bring in many clients to the gallery, expose more art-lovers to more artists, and usually result in many sales.

Betsy Dillard Stroud, contributing editor to our sister publication, Watercolor Magic, became a Dolphin Fellow of the American Watercolor Society this year.

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