23 February 2012

Customer Visit

Loch Tay, oil on canvas
Yesterday, I had a lovely day.

A customer  had been exploring my website and phoned to ask if she could come to the studio to see my work in person.

I've never had a request like that before, so, I suppose unlike a number of artists, I said yes. I spend a lot of time on my own.

What a joy, having someone who was here to see my work. We spent time talking about paintings and although she was interested in my prints, it was great to chat to her about the originals. It was very refreshing for me, and gave me a wee bit of an ego boost, I have to admit.

I always felt that my studio was strictly my domain, but sharing my space with someone, although briefly, who likes my work, gave me the opportunity to see what I do through someone else's eyes.

A reinvigorating day.

9 February 2012

Gallery Blues, and a Deep Dark Prussian Blue at That

Spring's Bluebells, mixed media on canvas
I'm really not having a good time at the moment. I'm owed a lot of money from different sources, and no one is paying.

I have found, over the years, that a number of galleries (not all) are just not willing to pay artists for the paintings, prints and cards they have sold. Galleries can take from between 40 - 60% of a painting's sales price, and on top of that, a few will even charge artists for the printing of invitations for the private view as well as all that is consumed at the event. If you think about it, the artist has also paid for all the framing, the paints (which can be very expensive), the canvas and the shipping of work to the gallery. It's a huge initial outlay when there is no guarantee that your work will sell. So you would think that a gallery would appreciate that and promptly pay you. Well a number of good ones do - Smithy Gallery for example. A lot don't.

I placed the above painting at a gallery in England. After 3 months I phoned them to find out how things were going, and they told me it had sold a couple of months before. Delighted with the news, and a bit confused as to why I no one had told me, I asked when I would receive my cheque. It took another 6 months of badgering to get it out of them. How can this possibly be right?

Korean Tiger, Extinct, mixed media on canvas board
And now I am fighting with a gallery in Edinburgh trying to get my money for the painting mentioned in my post Korean Tiger, Extinct. It turns out the gallery sent out a group email and I could see every artist involved's address. So I got in touch - they hadn't been paid either. We all got together by email, Facebook and other internet and electronic methods and got in touch with the gallery as a group. Hopefully, by the end of the month, there will be activity in my bank account as a result.

These aren't isolated incidents. Card shops have to be chased repeatedly too as well as organisers of charity auctions who sold my work. I hear you saying that we should have an artist's union. We do. They don't reply to emails and calls either.

Maybe the answer is in the internet as the artists involved with the Edinburgh gallery have shown. Perhaps galleries and exhibition organisers should be legally obliged to give all artists taking part in a show one another's contact details so that we can band together as a group and stand up for ourselves as one.

Might work - I'll let you know at the end of the month.

1 February 2012

A Post From Smithy Gallery

This post is on my sister's blog and I thought I would share it with you. Natalie owns Smithy Gallery based in Blanefield, and as you can see, art is in the family...

Mum's the Word

I'm so pleased to announce that I will at last be having a solo exhibition of new paintings by Laura Harrison, opening at the beginning of March.

She is one of Scotland's best kept secrets, and I plan to change that with this exhibition.

She studied at Glasgow School of Art in the 1960s under David Donaldson, Limner to the Queen, and is a true painterly product of the Art School in what I believe to be its heyday.

Some of Scotland's greatest talent emerged at this time.  The 60s were such a powerful time, when the constraints on freedom of expression were being loosened, yet the artists were still under the umbrella of focused tutelage on the foundations of painting and drawing.  There were mighty talents teaching at the school at this time, and they made sure students had the privilege of both structure and the freedom to express.

Laura Harrison has been a collectible painter for years. She has shown with Smithy Gallery several times in group exhibitions and has always been one of our best sellers.

But this will be her first solo exhibition with us, and that's why I'm excited because the work needs to be seen en masse for it's strength and beauty to be fully appreciated. The new paintings are beautiful. Bold and vibrant still lifes and landscapes. It will make for a strong and exciting exhibition. Just what I like!

And yes, she is also my mum, she gave me my love of art, and is my main inspiration.

We all know that family can be our biggest critics, so when I say that these paintings are very, very good, you know that I mean it.