Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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06/15/2010: "Selling art IS important after all"

I have probably never worked as hard on a show, or felt as confident in the quality of the work, as I did on my current show at the The Canvas gallery. Before the opening I told friends that it didn't matter so much to me if the paintings sold well or not, for a change I *knew* that the paintings were really good. I even raised my prices a bit and felt like if they didn't sell, I'd be happy to keep them.

Then the reception came (a tough day all around, including getting rear-ended while trying to park in front of the gallery at the start of the opening). I spent the first 15 minutes of the show crying in the bathroom. My eyes were beat red when I came out, people probably thought I was really high or something.

I was frazzled. My brand new car (first in 15 years) got a crunched bumper and I was so rushed to get to the opening that we didn't call the police to report the accident or anything.

I tried to stay focused on schmoozing with the people who came to see the show but it was really hard. There was a big turn out yet only three paintings sold (out of 20) and they sold to incredibly supportive friends (thank you thank you thank you!!!) so even though I'd claimed (and believed) that I wouldn't be disappointed if little sold...I *was* disappointed.

And I've been kind of in a funk ever since, which tends to happen after every show, no matter how wonderful.

Anyway, last night Aaron called me at work to tell me that an AK state representative bought THREE paintings (two of the largest ones) to add to his collection of Alaskan art that he displays in his large hotel in Fairbanks. Wow. Talk about a turn around! In my experience, it's rare to make sales after the opening.

I can't explain it, but this has completely reinvigorated me as an artist. I mean, for one thing...I had just canceled an order for new canvases because I didn't feel like I could afford the $180 for shipping to Juneau, and now I can after all! I also felt like...justified or something, in my confidence in the work because this guy is an art collector and *not* a personal friend of mine.

Look, I am not an overly confident artist, I worry all the time that I'm a terrible hack...but I guess I knew this time I'd done just about as good of a job with these paintings as I'm capable of. To know that someone else liked my work enough to buy three paintings and pay for shipping to boot, helped. a lot.

Replies: 10 Comments

on Tuesday, June 15th,">Kjerstin Boorstein said

Hi Elise,

I haven't look at your blog in a really long time, but thought of it today as I was wondering how your show went. How exciting to sell another 3 paintings today! Hope things are looking up again. I do love that Fireweed painting. Did you sell it?

We fly back to Anchorage tomorrow, for good! I'm so excited to be heading home again.

Take care!

on Tuesday, June 15th, Elise said

Hi Kjerstin,
That was the first painting to go! But as I mentioned before, I will probably do other similar paintings in the future, and once you're settled you might want to commission me to do a piece just for you, with your favorite mountain profile in the background. With a commission, the price is the same but you can specify a size and contribute other ideas into the process, sort of a collaborative approach that some people really like. I am scaling back from doing commissions for strangers because I have too many of my own ideas to work on, but I'd be open to it with you if you're ever interested. I'm really happy that you're moving back to AK for good. You know, I read the guy's profile online (who bought the 3 paintings) and he went to Lathrope High. Isn't that the same school you went to? Small world eh?

on Tuesday, June 15th, dad said

How did you come out on the fender bender? :crazy:

on Wednesday, June 16th,">Luann said

Elise, I am sorry your show started off ruff, I wish I lived close to be able to make it to your shows to in gulf my self in all your beautiful work!! You have so many beautiful paintings I wish I could afford one to give to myself, not that I think they are to much I just don't have the means to buy at this time, I am sure they are there weight in gold.. To me priceless because of the beauty you as an artess has put in them!!! Please keep painting I am hoping one day I will be able to get one!!!
Hope everything came ok on your fender bender!!!!

on Wednesday, June 16th, Elise said

Well dad, the bumper was not *nearly* as bad as I originally feared. It made a horrible crunching sound and looked all bumpy and black (even though it's a red bumper the same color as the car) but we were able to buff nearly all of the black off and the actual damage to the bumper is minimal and only noticeable in certain light from certain angles so we aren't going to file a claim.

And Luann, thanks for your kind words and support! It really does help. I know that artists are supposed to not care whether anyone likes there work but I *do* care (obviously) so thanks!

on Wednesday, June 16th,">Matt said

I too hadnt checked the sight in a bit, but just had the urge to see if there were any new postings. Glad to hear the good ending to a tough day. And I gotta say I really love the brutal honesty, your awesome. We're heading up anchorage and then up to healy and fairbanks to visit family next thursday....Cant wait to be in your state again,and thanks again for answering my random questions. Keep up the good work and positive attitude.
Your San Francisco Friends

on Thursday, June 17th, dad said


on Thursday, June 17th, dad said

I need to proof read before I post. You already know I can't spell I just try to get it close so you can guess, also my captials get left on as I can only type withe one hand my right which dosen't help being left handed up untill 8 years ago. must be getting old starting to ramble. :)

on Thursday, June 17th, marja-leena said

Congrats on the show and sales, Elise! I do check your blog from time to time, so am thrilled you commented on mine today so that I could catch up with your latest exciting news. Will you be putting up your newest works on your website for us all to see?

on Thursday, June 17th, Elise said

Hi dad, don't worry, you are *perfect* to me!

Matt, I'm sooo happy you get to come visit our great state. Too bad you won't be in Southeast or I could give you guys a tour of the fine eating establishments of Juneau!
And Marja-leena, yours is one of the few blogs I still read regularly...seems facebook has changed how many of us communicate, although with fb everything has to be pithy and clever...not nearly as fun!

Anyway, I will be putting up the new stuff soon. I got crazy tired at work this afternoon and had to come home early after which I slept for over 6 hours. Must have caught a bug. But this weekend I'll update EVERYTHING. I'm hoping to try a new look for my site and I'd love your feedback.