Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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12/15/2005: "Mixed feelings about my work being "resold""

Well, one last post for the road, as I will be heading off into the cloudy grey skies in a matter of hours.

Anyway, I just received an email from a woman who has purchased several paintings from me in the past. I always considered her one of my biggest fans and so I was a bit taken back by what she said. Basically that she had sold 2 of my paintings through a local gallery, one to a gallery associate and one sale was simply brokered through the gallery at "a price a good deal higher than I paid for it".

On one hand, I understand her reasoning. The way she viewed the work of "strong single women" had changed as she recognized she had been isolating herself and wanted to start thinking of herself in "doubles and multiples". It's an interesting concept, that the artwork we respond to and surround ourselves with is in some ways dictated by how we see our place in the world. I never really thought much about how my women are always quietly alone, I guess that’s how I see myself and in some ways maybe it *is* who I am.

So, I’m happy for her, that she's making changes in her life to bring about the things that she wants and needs to be happy. I also feel happy that she was able to resell the work at a profit and that the paintings have gone to people who will display them and they won't sit in a storage unit somewhere gathering dust. Really the only thing that makes me feel bad, is how her thoughts (very nicely stated btw) made me feel about…well…about myself. It is an emotional response not an intellectual one, a reflection that comes at the holidays as I’m about to surround myself with large happy families.

Anyway, my mixed feelings are not related to her decision, as she also wrote back “I still LOVE your work -your styles, your colors and your composition, and I am glad that your business is taking off!”…and in fact, I’m glad that she told me. Now that I’m using the National Fine Arts Registry for doing title transfers etc. I’ll have to contact that gallery and get some paperwork filled out. I guess all's well that ends well, I just wish I didn’t suddenly feel so…alone.

So, happy F&*^$@* holidays to all the doubles and multiples out there!

Replies: 16 Comments

on Thursday, December 15th, holly said

I've never even thought about your figures being alone. Huh. I guess I like them more for the formal qualities. However, if I start thinking of myself in "doubles and multiples" (WTF?!?), I'll be looking into some schizo therapy.

Damn. Your work is awesome. Enjoy your solitude and be glad you can live with who you are.

on Thursday, December 15th, Elise said

Damn Holly, that last line sounded like "I'm glad that you can live with who you brave brave girl"
But you know what she meant, that she wanted images of couples, of families, or maybe even groups of friends...people together with other people. I can understand how that would appeal to someone who had been isolating herself and who had come to think of herself as a solitary figure when that wasn't the life she wanted.

I feel that for all its ups and downs, my life is one of my own crafting. I've made my bed as they say, now I'll have to lie in it (alone apparently...forever!)

on Thursday, December 15th, Raymond Betancourt said

Regarding the painting she sold through a gallery, some states have resale royalty laws that entitle an artist to a certain percentage when a work is resold through a gallery or auction house, and I was wondering if Alaska does?

on Thursday, December 15th, subi said

i respond so much better to the lone women pics...though, i would never think, hmm that woman is alone. tho i can understand to some degree if she started relating to the egos in the pieces too well. i actually wrote a poem about this regarding both a painting called 'of winged domino' as well as a mogdigliani woman... anyhoo, i'll sjow you sometime...

on Thursday, December 15th, subi said

here's the link to the Penrose piece, which i will always have a mental copy of...sigh

happy holiday! i dreamt you and I were traveling together by bus somewhere!s

on Thursday, December 15th, Rod said

This Blog entry topic has way too much for me to respond upon in such a short time and frankly it has gotten me all worked up! So I will wait till tomorrow on my day off and try to crystallize my thoughts.

P.S. Have a great time in Nebraska! and drink lots of eggnog. BTW it tastes a lot better with rum in it. ;)

on Friday, December 16th, holly said

Woman, please! Learn to recognize a compliment would you? If there's one thing I really admire about *you* (as opposed to your work) it's that you seem perfectly at ease with yourself and that you know exactly what your (perceived) weaknesses and strengths are, and that you're perfectly fine with that. You know how refreshing it is to "meet" someone who isn't constantly trying to reinvent themselves out of sheer self-loathing and the need to belong to a herd? Having said that, I'll be really embarassed if you actually turn out to be a large man just pretending to be a powerhouse pixie of a woman (and those pictures of "Elise" are actually photos of your sister).

I've always liked Jack Daniels in the eggnog.

on Friday, December 16th, kASIA said

Hey, Elise! You are not alone! Remember that Mariah's song: "Anytime you need a friend, i will be here, even if you're MILES AWAY I'm by your side" ? Or something like that. (It is a shame, I know, but I like certain Mariah's songs).
And don't say "forever". there's no "forever" and no "for sure". You never know what will happen and that's beautiful. The most amazing thing in life is the "UNCERTAIN". So keep on singing your own song and have a good time in Nebraska!:)

on Friday, December 16th, ann said

I never think of the women in your paintings as being alone. (Although, obviously they are.) It's simply that they seem to be strong, beautiful women. I don't think of them missing anything or lacking anything... or lonely. Alone does not equal lonely!

The woman who bought (and now sold) your paintings obviously thought a lot about them and they meant something special to her. But what she sees isn't necessarily what we all see... and it's not necessarily a reflection on your life or your choices. As far as I'm concerned, you paint strong beautiful women because you are strong and beautiful. And the glorious colors in your paintings are a reflection of the glorious colors inside you.

on Friday, December 16th,">Rob said

resales piss me off.
you are the one promoting your work. you are the one increasing the value. all of the effort is yours. nice of the person to tell you, but better would be a check for 10% of the difference in sale less purchase price.

At the least a nice bottle of wine.

A long time ago I thought about having purchasers sign a resale contract, but thought is onerous.

I know Rauschenberg is a champion of artist right to resale profits. He is really miffed at people selling work for millions that were purchased for hundreds...if we could all be so lucky!

on Friday, December 16th, greg said

Yeh, Michelangelos' David always was found wanting because of his monumental singularity *snarf*

hey you had a great musical trio once - um.. or was that one you painted over?? perhaps bad example, tho' I LOVED it as a trio!:blush:

What's great about your single figures they are strong and as nudes in nature, confident & proud, I'd dare say! After all, it's who were all are basically: indifreeking individuals!

So your buyer/reseller is in a weird crisis now, and neither you nor your works should suffer for it. Tell her to buy three paintings and hang them right next to each other :P

Anyhoo ... you're never alone, as Kasia says and the rest of us can attest!

Have a great trip, and enjoy some wonderful holy days as we think of Love and our own wholeness. Peace! :)

on Friday, December 16th, Elise said

Hi Raymond,
I'm not sure if Alaska has that law or not, I'll have to check just out of curiosity but to be honest, even if we did (which I highly doubt) I wouldn't do anything about it in the case of this particular collector because she has always supported me and purchased my work when it wasn't selling very well and I'll always be highly appreciative for that.

Also, who knows how much profit she actually made...maybe only 50 bucks or something...I mean, she could have just been trying to make me feel in, see, the value of your work is going up (which btw, that *did* kind of make me feel better)...

And Subi, I'd like to read the poem about the mogdigliani woman (one of my all-time fav artists)...I worked at the Glory Hole (it's a soup kitchen, the name is based on a gold mining term so no laughing) last weekend and a woman I met told me all about a bio pic she saw about mogdigliani and I'm so excited to see it but I don't know what it's callled, does anyone know anything about this?

And Rod, you tease! I guess I'll just have to wait...

Thanks for the compliment Holly, I was kind of feeling like an open wound yesterday and (mostly) joking about the "I'm glad you can live with yourself" rif...everyone deserves to have a nice little pity party from time to time. I'm over it.
And Kasia, you are really so sweet, wouldn't it be fun if Subi and I could come and visit you in Poland sometime? Subi has actually been there before and really loved it (as I recall?)

And Ann, ah shucks...I love the image of having glorious colors inside of reminds me of a trip I took once...sign (JOKE!)

And Hi Rob! I meant to write you back yesterday before I left town but then forgot to. But yes, I would love to meet you in real life and get together for a beer or something when I get back and talk about art and maybe having a show sometime in the future...good luck with January! Oh, and as for the resale thing...if you find anything out about that (for future reference for collectors I who are strangers etc.) let us know about what you find out.

And Greg, how funny that you bring up the Trio painting, the only one I can remember doing in years and years with multiple people....THAT I PAINTED OVER WITH A SINGLE WOMAN! OMG. It's funny how unaware I've been of that proclivity. hmmm.

And really, I don't feel alone, I was having a weird moment of weakness yesterday, stressed from getting ready for my upcoming trip and just got the email at a random moment and it just affected me in a way it probably wouldn't have it I'd gotten it at any other time.

I really must reiterate hom much I really and truly like and admire this woman (who emailed me) and that my dark feeling was no slight on her at all.

Thanks so much to all of you for stopping by...I'm safe and sound in my papa's house now and it was fun to run to his computer first thing and find all of your interesting perspectives and good vibes waiting for me!

on Friday, December 16th,">Jackie said

E: It's good that the collector at least told you she had sold your paintings. I never even thought about resales. I would have next to no way of finding out about all the pieces I've sold over the past. I guess I'd rather the original buyer sell my work, than having some rip-off gallery do it, and get the profit. That's a whole nother topic.

As far as your solitary women making one feel 'alone' or lonely...well, the thought sure never crossed my mind! Of course, I love women, and would rather be surrounded by singular or group paintings of women than men any day. the Art work I hang on my walls - whether my own, or someone else's, actually makes me feel like I have companions. They are alive to me, and each has its own spirit. I don't live alone though - can't remember the last time I was truly 'alone'!And you can feel alone/lonely even if you live with people, if you don't have a good relationship with them or with yourself. Been there, done that.
Anyhoo - Happy Holidays! Glad we don't have to miss out on conversing with you. Nebraska is no further away than Alaska when the Internet is involved!

on Friday, December 16th, Elise said

Well said Jackie!

You know, you might want to consider looking into that National Fine Arts Registry service I mentioned before. It's a way to keep track of who owns your work in case you ever need to photograph it or if you want to show it in a retrospective someday.

A couple years ago I started having anyone who purchases an original fill out a sales contract speically designed for works of art that spells out all the sipulations (rights of access, that I retain reproduction rights which is automatically built into US copyright law but is more to let the buy know)...etc.

I think taking these steps early on will save artists a lot of headaches later on.

Oh, and I agree that having these women on the walls of my studio/home is like being among friends. When I take them to a gallery and come home to blank white walls I always feel a little sad, like my roommates have moved out or something. (OK, now I'm sounding weird huh?)

on Saturday, December 17th, Kasia said

Elise, you are always welcome in my country! Do come and visit me!

on Saturday, December 17th, Elise said

thanks Kasia! Maybe someday, I really don't have the money to travel much these days unless I can have enough "frequent flyer" miles. But if I'm ever in the position to be able to see Poland, it really would be nice to visit!