Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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12/01/2004: "Quality or Quantity?"

Last night I finished the last painting for my show on Friday. Well, there are still a few that need some touch ups here and there, but for the most part they are all finished. I have 13 paintings and 9 framed source photographs.

There are two paintings however, that just sort of rub me the wrong way. I'm not sure why. I keep going back and forth on whether or not to include them. On one hand, I think they have interesting qualities that someone might enjoy, they just aren't my favorites. I'm not sure if including weaker pieces will lower the perception of quality for the entire show? If I take out the two that bother me, I'll still have 11 paintings, which isn't bad. What I'll probably do is take them all down to the room where they'll be on display and see what they look like once I get them all arranged on the walls.

Also, I still have to name them, I'm either going to name them after things like "Young Bay #1" and "Admiralty Cove #2" for the areas where I took the photographs, or I'll name all of them "Alluvial #1", "Alluvial #2", etc. I still can't decide on that either. I haven't made up my title cards yet, I haven't priced anything...I need to do that tonight. That also means I'll have to clean up tonight, my place is totally trashed.

Then, I've taken Friday off from work so I can install. One other strange thing, this place isn't really set up to do sales. I'm not sure if that will be an issue or not, as I'm not sure anything will sale...but if it does, I have to take care of it myself. I've never done that before...there has always been someone else to take care of it for me. I don't know what to do? Take a cash box? How would I take a credit card order? I could take credit card orders through PayPal but I won't have a computer with Internet then what, have someone fill out the bill of sale and charge them through PayPal the next day? I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable not getting the money up front. I hate this. I mean, I would be more disappointed if nothing from this show sales...but if it does...what should I do?

Replies: 6 Comments

on Wednesday, December 1st, Dave Loyd from Nebraska said

Good luck with your opening and your show. Where is it at? What kind of venue is it? Is the show up for a month or so? You are'nt planning on selling your work off the wall on opening night are you?
I'm sure you can handle your sales by yourself or with the help of a good freind on opening night. If you're OK with taking a check you should expect it at the time of the sale not when the show comes down.It's a given. Put a little red dot on the title card of any piece that they bought and that will let the other patrons know what the can or can not purchase.
I wouldn't worry about the credit card thing. If they insist then you'll just have to do it later, but I'm not sure I would want to take a piece out of the market on the hope that a credit card only buyer comes thru at a later date. I guess you just have to go with the flow and what feels right. Ya know?
I'd like to see the paintings you are unsure of. I've visited your work in progress gallery and have found all the work to be quite beautiful. (Maybe we could trade sometime)
I hope someone will take some pics at the opening. That would be interesting.
Good luck! Have fun!

on Wednesday, December 1st, Elise said

Hi Dave,
thanks for the tips. This show is at the public Radio/TV station in what they call the "community room" which is really just a conference room, no track lighting or anything. But it is a big empty room with plain white walls and they do have public art displays there every month so it is considered a venue for art openings. You can see the little blurb about it they put up on their website at: KTOO

As for selling work *crosses fingers hopefully* I've shown mostly at traditional galleries and museums in the past so there has always been an attendant to deal with sales...the down side of that is that they have always taken a cut from sales too (from 15-40%).

At this show, I'm agreeing to do a commissioned piece for their next fundraising auction in lieu of a % of sales. This works out good for me if I sale a lot, but not so good if I don't sell anything. Oh well, I would probably make a donation to them anyway...

The show will be up for the month of Dec. so I won't be selling work off the wall or anything like that. I have an art "Bill of Sale Contract" that I use, so if I did agree to take a credit card payment at a later date I'd have them sign the contract before I'd red dot the painting (I prefer colored smiley faces) though I would still worry about the credit card customer not following through on payment.

I like your idea of asking a friend to take care of it for me. I'm always so nervous and freaked out anyway that would be one less thing I'd have to worry about. The only down side of asking a friend, is if they make efforts to be there all night and then nothing sells. More embarassing than anything...but a good friend would understand.

Anyway, thanks for your comments and kind words. I'm going to be making one of a kind artist trading cards this weekend, maybe you'd be into trading those? Let me know and I'll try to get someone to take some photos at the opening. It might just be me and my money taking friend all by our lonesome!

on Wednesday, December 1st,">Jackie said

E: I think Dave Loyd from Nebraska's suggestion about asking a friend for help is an excellent one. That way you can schmooz instead of writing up receipts if you sell some work! We know how you love to schmooze... :laugh: Can they serve wine at KTOO?
I wouldn't even try to deal with the credit card isse.
I'm interested in trading trading cards...not that I have any yet. I've read about them somewhere - many somewheres - but now can't figure out where, and I'm not sure how they work??

on Wednesday, December 1st, Elise said

Hey Jackie,
check the entry I made for November 30th. It has links to an old post I made about them that links to external sites that deal with them too. I'd love to trade with you as well. I'll be making some this weekend...I've wanted to do them for a long time.

Anyway, I'll see about getting a friend think I should only take cash or check?

on Thursday, December 2nd,">Jackie said

E: Yes - take cash or check. If they really really want to buy it - they can probably swing it without using credit cards. Especially if they've been to art exhibits at KTOO before, then they'd realize there's no way to run a credit card purchase there.
We used to have one of the old-fashioned hand-crank credit card machines. I guess they still have those?
Good luck! And I did go back and read your entry on artist trading cards, then read your friend Evon's site about them - cool! I will see what I can do this weekend!

on Thursday, December 2nd, Elise said

Cool Jackie!
You will be my first official trade... I've wanted to do this for awhile because it will be fun to get a sample of other people's work and there won't be any shipping fees involved (I *hate* having to package canvases for shipping).

Anyway, the question about how to take money seems like it will probably be a moot point (see my latest entry).