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New Paintings

I mentioned in my Chiaroscuro WIP that I had been busy, so I thought some might like to see what I have been doing. Besides taking my catalog piece to be photographed and put on a CD and sent to the museum for their annual show.

The photos that follow, I shot myself in the studio just for my own records. This first one will appear in the catalog. It is 12 x20 and a scene I had done a quick oil sketch on location in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming several years ago. Several being close to 10 year, come to think of it. I also photographed it from my perspective that I was painting from. I would have liked to done a major piece with this material, but the market at some of these show, like the one this will be in is really down. Anything $5000 or more, in a show like this, has a very small chance of selling, so I will keep the 5 pieces I am sending under $4000. The largest piece I will send is not finished yet, but close and it is a 18x18 landscape. Pay no attention to my titles. I'm a painter not a writer. :D

So this is "Days End- Wind River Mountains" 12x20 oil on panel. The catalog piece.
#2 "Frosty Morning" 11x14 Oil on linen panel
#3 "Mountain Magenta" 8x12 Oil on panel
OK This last one is not quite finished in this photo I was just looking at it with this frame on it to see if it would work. The painting is finished now, there were only a few highlights and shadows to adjust, but I needed th pic to send to a friend for their opinion on the frame. I kept bouncing back and forth between this one and a gold leaf one. We are going with this one I think. :)
"Teton Dawn" 16x12 Oil on panel
One more to finish and the show is finished. The show is at the end of July in Cheyenne, Wyoming and held at the Old West Museum.
studioaniaRonnatjsvalentinGraciellaopnwyderChristeldencalGaryLindenHLizONeal[Deleted User]Mark_CardergfishMartin_J_CraneMelissaelenaCin_Dluis


  • I think they should be so glad to have these pieces in their show.
  • Thank you Grandma. I really do appreciate you saying that. :)
  • These have such "feeling" in them.....beautiful work AZ....I can only dream of painting like this someday
  • I love the mood in all your painting involve me!
  • I love seeing what you've been working on. Excellent work. I like your frame choices too.
  • All wonderful paintings. I agree with Grandma, they are lucky to have your work :) I think my favorite is the last painting Teton Dawn. I love the colors and the feeling you captured. They are so lovely!!!!
  • they are wonderful, and I will try to get up to Cheyenne to see them in person!
  • Teton Dawn is my favorite too! I hope your show is a great success!
  • I love the play of light and shadow of Days End
    You have beautifully captured the fading light of evening ^:)^ :)
  • ahhhhhh makes me want to take a big breath of fresh air.
  • 4 claps from Gary ! YEAAH!
  • Super. Wonderful job. Days End i like best. :-c
  • Thank you for all the very kind words from everyone. It is always nice receiving praise for what one has done, but I would also hope in looking at what I do, what Mark does and all the others on here that either paint as a professional, future pro or as a hobby are inspired to keep working, keep learning. I've been doing this nearly 40 years now and I am still learning something everytime I pick up a brush and start a new painting. I earn things from all of you as well, So keep an open mind and know there is no reason everyone of you cannot at least paint pictures you and your friends can enjoy and most of you can do quality work that you can be a pro. The economy we have now and will have for the foreseeable future i not conducive to making a lot of money as a professional. There are some markets like with the big auction houses that still sell millions of dollars in art work, but that is almost investment art. Do not use that as a sign the market is strong. It is not. The real art market that 95% of us deal with everyday is on it's knees or holding one to what they have. There are a ton of known artists without galleries and looking for new one since so many galleries have shut their doors for good. One I was in for 14 years began in 1847 in Chicago is now gone. The building has been empty for two years now and is rumored to be town down.

    Now I am not telling you this because I want to be a downer. I am telling you this because I do not want any of you getting a case of the artist curse, Mark has spoken about because you aren't selling as well as normal or at all. No one is. This is the time to do what you can to sell, but mostly and more importantly it is a time to learn, to practice and hone your skills as and artist. If you do this, think positively, when the market does come back and it will someday, you will be so ready and will take the galleries and shows by storm and sell like crazy. Quality art always sells. I also tell students and anyone I hear say "Why a lot of paintings? Nothing is selling." This is the sign of someone who does not understand how the art world work and will likely never make a good or even decent living with art. The reason why is when you are painting and doing a lot o paintings, you are making money. You are building inventory. When a painting is sold you are not making money, it is just payday! If you don't have the inventory, what are you going to sell? Always remember that. I go into each show knowing reality, but also with a positive attitude that for whatever reason my paintings will appeal to people and all five will sell, in this show these paintings are going to.

    Sue, and any others that can go to Cheyenne in July, I hope you do. This is a fun show for patrons and artists. The Cheyenne Frontier Days Art Committee, put on a great show and know how to treat people right. They fee the artists and Opening night ticket holders a wonderful big meal with several main course choices, music from a live band and dancing and homemade ice cream the night before the show. The day of the show there is a meet and greet at the Governors Mansion all afternoon and then the show opens at 5 pm and goes until 8 pm when they blow the horn and draw the names from the buckets to see who gets to buy what piece of art work. A lucky buyer has 15 minutes to pay for the painting they chose at that point. If they are late it goes to the next name draw from the bucket. Each piece of art work has it's own numbered bucket. After this a big tent outside the Museum is opened and prime Rib and another full dinner is served to all. It is one of the best shows as far as fun goes and used to be a great selling show as well and will be again. The quality of the art is top notch and almost every media one could want to see. So I hope many of you will get to go and enjoy it. I really miss going up there, but my breathing as it is, just does not allow me to attend any more, but most of the artists will be in attendance.
    Thanks again to everyone of you. You ake an old geezer fell good. :D
  • Great paintings AZ and hope you do well at the show. I recently talked to an artist from Ormond Beach, FL and she said she had never had sales as slow as now. She has been in it for many years.
    AZ, do you do your own framing, custom frame or mail order frames from on-line companies. Your frame choices are very nice?
  • Gfish, this market is as bad as I have seen in 40 years in the business. During the 1978 through 1982-'83 recession I thought, as many artists did, that was bad, but that was nothing like this one. Back in the '78'-'82, '83 recession, there were no long time galleries closing, now they are dropping like flies. Scottsdale had well over 130 to 150 art galleries just three years ago, there is less than 75 now I was told by the owner of the gallery that handles my work. This time of year, is what we call "the season" all the tourists are here, the winter residents from up north that we affectionately call "Snowbirds." The Barrett Jackson auction the PGA and all kinds of other big events that draw people here also tend to be art buyers These folks used to come into town a day or two before the events and stay a day or two after them. The last three years, they arrived maybe the afternoon before and event and many left the day it ended. The art district saw non of the normal people they see and there were no crowds on Thursday night Artwalk. Want to book a resort for a big weekend in Scottsdale.? Great they have plenty of vacancies and are offering deal in the winter! It is pretty unbelievable. But this will pass, the trick is to keep putting on foot in front of the other and keep spreading the paint and learning all we can to make a better painting so when the market does come back we are all ready for them with some great art. :)

    Framing. I buy from custom framers for some things and some of the online framers for smaller pieces, but I am very selective. They must be top quality frames. One I would highly recommend we all check out is Omega Frames. Incredibly good prices for absolutely quality frames. Only problem is an artist must stick to standard sizes when using someone like Omega For those in the Northwest US look at Classic Gallery Framing. Good people, good prices and good quality gallery quality frames. Both are on line.
  • I suspect the new age of the Internet has something to do with stores/galleries closing. Yesterday I went to my favorite book store and it was empty!! Didn't even know it was closing.
  • A tiny bit of silver lining on the black cloud you've been describing. My little hometown (Mount Dora) located in central Florida is really into arts, crafts, antiques and outdoor activities. We have many festivals each year involving these activities and are well known for them. Like you, our biggest season for art activities is the snowbird season. One of the largest events is a juried fine art festival held each Feb for just a single weekend. This year was our 38th annual festival and it attracted about 250,000 folks (big crowd for a little town of 12,000 folks). Almost 400 artists from all over the US and a few from Canada set up their tents and waited. The results (sales) were tremendous. I talked with many of the artists on Sunday afternoon and found everyone of them very pleased with their was reported several days later that this years event was one of the top 5 events in sales since the festival began. Just in case your curious.....the prices for individual paintings were generally from 800 to 1200 dollars with many in the range of $2500......I know of two sales of individual pieces well over $5000 each. The low sales point was hit in 2008, has slowly been building back and this year things were 'back to normal'. Our two largest juried craft shows (Oct. and March) were also very successful. This may not be a good comparison for gallery sales but it does show folks may be starting to buy art once again like 'the old days'. Here's hoping it stays that way! :)
  • I ask myself a question... the drop in sales comes maybe also paintings prices?

    In these economically difficult times, shell out 4000 or 5000 dollars for a painting seems to me rather surrealist...

    What do you think?
  • I am not sure how the internet would be part of this down turn in art, but also other items of discretionary spending as well, like Jewelry, not diamonds or gold, but jewelry and other items that are more a luxury than a necessity are way down in sales. Books I understand, because of the eReaders, Kindle, Nook, etc. as well as the internet. Which personally I think it sad. I am a book addict and cannot walk or drive past a book store without going in. Even the large book stores are going out of business. This has been going on for some time.

    Gary, that sounds great, but these types of shows usually are filled with crafts as well as fine art, though I cannot speak to yours, but that is a different "world" from galleries, Museum shows and the like. Here in Arizona we have a group called the Thunderbird Artists who do outdoor shows. They do pretty well, but they are as much craft as they are art and the art people are dying on the vine while the crafts people are thriving. But crafts in general can be used in everyday things, Pottery, quilts, etc. plus many crafts are much less expensive than art such as paintings and bronzes.

    Cristel, you are the closest you the correct answer, so to speak. It is hard to drop the price of paintings, because of several things and none have to do with production costs other than bronzes. A painting will not work as a roof over your head, feed your family, keep them healthy or warm. It is a luxury item and has some myths surrounding it that also sabotage it. Over the past 75 to 100 years art has been looked at as a investment as well as a luxury. It isn't and that has been proved over and over. Now someone might point to the auction houses like Sotheby's and such, or the big Picasso sale just recently. The art market cannot be judged by those sales. I mention another "world" separating outdoor shows from galleries and such. Well, there is an even larger gap between the sales like the Picasso and auction houses from the galleries and the main art market, many of us are in or watch. The Picasso/Van Gogh/ Rembrandt world has so much money wrapped up in it that the people who do buy and sell in that world protect each other by keeping prices up, plus there will not be all that many more Picasso's, Rembrandts produced anymore. :) I'm being facetious but it is a limited product, a true one of a kind. Believe it or not a few people have tried to bring these to worlds together, but it had disastrous results for the artists, the buyers and the dealers! That is a long story by itself. But back to the real world. For years people have perpetuated a myth that fine art does not devalue. Wrong! It's like real estate, yeah and we all have seen how true that is! Art does have some similarities to real estate, but mostly in how it is sold, not it's prices. Clients are the ones who get angry with artists and art dealers when paintings go down.because of the myths about art's value. Dropping prices usually means a bigger drop in sales. A buyer is ticked off because he paid X amount for a Joe Blow painting the gallery said was a good investment, but now it is only worth Y. It is crazy and most professional artists know this. There is absolutely now real reason that art prices can't go up or down just like stocks and bonds if you wish to think of them as investments. Reality is any painting by any artist dead or alive is worth exactly whatever someone will give you for it at the time. Heresy, some will scream. Others will point to it's esthetic value, which is closer to it's real value, but not entirely. Let's say someone has a inexpensive locket with an old photo in it. It is one of a kind. It has tremendous sentimental value to someone, but go try and sell it for a sentimental value price. It's not going to happen.

    I am going on way to much over this and sounding very negative. That is not the way I think or feel. I am a realist and I make decisions based on facts available to me and plan accordingly. This coming show in Cheyenne is an example. I used to send a painting priced from $8000 to $10,000 as a center piece, two at $5000-$7000, two at $2000-$3000 and one at $950-$1200. That makes six paintings and I have had sell outs the opening night for years. Then about four years ago sales dropped through the floor! Many sold nothing. I and a few others were lucky to sell one or two pieces. Overall sales opening night averaging around $1 million dropped to $300,000 yet quality was up. Now most artists in the show began dropping the sizes of painting to bring prices down. I did. Sales did not pick up and in fact dropped closer to the $100,000 overall sales range. There is a big difference in the size of the crowds at the opening night and through out the following 10 days of the show. Now, like last year I am sending smaller paintings even yet. My biggest piece is not even $4000 and the show has dropped the limit on each artist to five pieces and upped the commission the museum takes. At this rate, there is a very real possibility there will be no show within the next couple of years. I know exactly what is causing this,from buyers I know well and have done business with for years. One of the biggest collectors in the country of western art have all told me exactly the reason over and over. I will only say this as this is not the place for discussion of the reason and I have gone on way to long on this subject. The reasons is called national economic growth (or lack of it),taxes, uncertainty in to many areas, and unemployment.

    So yes Cristel most professional artist I know and are aware of are finding ways of dropping our prices, but there is a limit because we still have to make a living and many of us, like myself, it is a bit late in life to start new careers. :D
  • John,

    Thank you for this exciting answer :-*
    It is certain that the price of a painting is also the quality of the painter who cannot will devalue itself too by lowering its prices... I guess it takes lot of time also to a painter so that it represents a certain value on the art market
    It was surely a difficult balance to find that putting a price on a painting while the economy requires buyers to more 'necessary' expenditure

    In more museums increase commissions! They don't know your difficulties?
    In the US, museums are not state subsidies? I'm talking about the Federal Government... Although the question also applies for each State
  • Federal subsidies for the arts is one of the budget cuts in this package of cuts that has been in our news so much this past couple of months.
  • Thanks Grandma... when a Government has to make in its overall budget cuts, the Arts are often the first to be reduced...
  • Hi John.....I think your correct about most art festivals. However, in our little town, the Feb. fine art show is focused on paintings mainly. The two more expense paintings I mentioned were bought from Jan Peng Wang, a Canadian artist and a very delightful, soft spoken gentleman to chat with about art. Both of the pieces were rather large and both were paintings of Chinese minorities which is one of his favorite subjects. While he has much of his art in gallaries, when I asked him why he came to the Mount Dora festival, he told me that he sells many paintings at the festivals. He was on his way to another Florida festival in the Gulf coast in St. Petersburg. Here is a link showing some of his work in one of the gallaries that carries his art. (

    There are two large craft shows (Oct. and March) which is almost totally crafts. In our fine art festival, the second largest category is clay art (about 50 of the artists of the 400 artists).....and these did very well too. This however, isn't your everyday pottery with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars up to well over a thousand dollars. My wife and I bought four clay pieces ranging from $300 to $800 for our new home. I still think it is a sign, in our area anyway, that folks are beginning to buy art once again. Hope things turn more positive in your area very soon. :)
  • Christel, you are correct on all of these counts.. I did not go into everything because of space and I did not want to "hog" this thread with what some might see as of topic.
    Or bore everyone to death with a comment twice as long as this already is. :D

    Museums in this country can be privately owned, city, county or state owned and very few are federally owned. Smithsonian, National Gallery are probably the two most well know federally owned museums. The Old West Museum I think is a city or maybe state owned museum. This is where the show I am doing is held at. They have expenditures in just putting on the show and raising money to run the museum through the year. They previously only charged 25% of an artists total sales. They raised it to 30%. Privately owned galleries now charge 40% at minimum, commonly 50% and a few as high as 60%, so the museum commission is not a bad deal and I do not begrudge them at all. They make me a lot of money (usually) for a rather small amount. They do everything. They have people doing the selling for each artist, They feed us three very good meals, entertain us and pay for all advertising, website with everyone's paintings listed and shown and if anything is not sold will crate and ship the remaining work to a gallery or back to the artist for free. They earn every dime they make in this case and most Museum shows. I have no heartburn over their commission. The artist go and just enjoy the trip and the show. I don't go because of health issues, but there will be a known community person selling my work for me. These sales people usually know everyone in Cheyenne and often the state of Wyoming and Denver and north in Colorado and South Dakota. :)

    Grandma, I am likely to cause a riot, but I truly hope the entire federal subsidies for the arts completely defunded and disbanded. This is a huge boondoogle with almost no money going to real artists and none for anything remotely representational of any kind. Here in Phoenix is a prime example. Some years ago when a central north south freeway was built, they wanted to decorate it with something relating to Arizona. Some one said how about pottery. Well everyone was for that and immediately thought of large representations of pre columbian pottery we are known for. The feds gave a grant to the city for this as long as a specific artist was used. This artist was not even from Arizona so no funds came here for this. What we got was a giant teacup with part of it broken and the shard beside it. We got a large dinner plate about 6 foot in diameter, At 10 foot pitcher and some vases. Not one made of clay, but instead fiberglass and painted white. Arizonan's hated it and felt ripped off and began placing toilet bowls on the walls every mile among the so called pottery. This fiberglass junk cost the American taxpayers a couple of million dollars. It has most been removed now and we have nothing. Or how about a few million to hook an bunch of donated bras across the Grand Canyon? Great art, right? No! Let PBS compete like other TV networks, no more P*** Christ's Or Elephant Dung Madonnas. If you were to talk to professional artist who make their livings from their art and you will be hard pressed to find a single one in support of the National Endowment For the Arts. The Art world and art business would be far better off without the NEA.
  • All Please know, I am not knocking these shows in anyway, just commenting on my long past experience that almost exactly matches Kingstons description of these shows and the ones I see here. in my area. Many very fine artists began in these shows. I know quite a few who made it in galleries and went to the top with their art. My point was this is a different "world" and market than galleries, but out here they are also beginning to struggle.

    Gary, what you mentioned about it being strictly fine art was the exception I made and I am really glad they are so successful.Florida is not taxed like many states like Texas. California, one of the wealthier more disposable income states is taxing people as much as 60% of their income as of this year. People and businesses are even leaving the state because of this. That is not a good art market. It is not just taxes, it is unions. I did a show years ago in New York and one in Michigan. I was not allowed to set up my own display or lighting in these two states. I had to hire union people at whatever their scale was. Both show were in public facilities (convention centers). I will not ever show in either state again outside of a gallery and that's "iffy." :D
  • I understand much better why many of you give courses to earn money, live only of his painting seems to be a sweet dream... on both sides of the Atlantic

    Thank you, Gentlemen, for this very interesting topic :)
  • Great paintings, frames fit the painting perfect. You should have a great show. Did a lot of shows market up or down the cream floats to the top. (and sells)
  • @AZPainter you have actually made me feel much better. I used to sell quite a bit and when my sales tanked I lost so much confidence. I started thinking, well, I guess I just suck at painting. Epic fail. But you know, I'm starting to come around. Lately I've been easier on myself. It's the economy! I sure hope it starts getting better. Home sales are crazy now. You put up your sign and you'd better have a place to go. Come on economy, get better.
  • Housing is getting better as you say, but that is because they are so devalued and the interests rates on mortgages are ridiculously low, but there are far more problems out there that are likely to get worse before they get better. It is a simple fact that no one can spend their way out of debt and that is what is going on right now.

    But, that being said it is the economy and not you or the quality of your work. I am going to write a little piece, send it to Mark and David and then with their permission post it here and it has to do with this and statements I have made in bits and pieces in different threads, but I think will help many feel a little better and give food for thought is selling their work. :) No guarantees, but we all have to try different things and adapt to what we have to work with. You and everyone else, keep learning, practicing and painting wonderful paintings. The time will come when things do become better economically and you will have some great inventory for the buyers. :)
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