I met my dad and sister at the gallery yesterday to share my art with them. When I walked in, the gallery owner sat casually in shorts and bare feet, painting at a table just under my paintings.
"Oh, I'm glad you're here." he said, "A couple was here earlier and they are interested in buying your whole set."
"Ha... wouldn't that be nice." I said, going along with the joke.
"No, seriously. They want to buy all of your paintings."
If you had told me a week ago that it was possible for me to sell even five or six, I would have been over the moon. I frankly didn't have my heart set on even selling one. Now this! All of them?
You would think that my first reaction would be one of utter delight, but I felt a sinking disappointment swallow my heart. Those are my babies, figuratively and literally. I had imagined bringing home those paintings and grouping the ones of my five children together, and mooning over them from time to time the way mamas do. The notion of loosing all of the paintings at once... the shoes, the children, the road to my mother's grave..., it is all very complex.
You see, when some wants to bring home a painting I have made, it's like they are saying, "You and I understand this thing, together. We are connected somehow by it. By wanting this painting, I understand the part of your heart that made it come into being." The thing is, that the paintings in that gallery were born out of many places in my heart. By wanting them all, it is like these strangers are saying they know all of the parts of my heart that these paintings came from. They want to take home pieces of me.
Or worse, that they don't, and I am sending my babies off to be orphans, unloved and misunderstood by a glutton! I mean, how is it possible that someone could want ALL of them? What if they sit in a closet somewhere? Or a box? What if their new family doesn't feed them or take care of them?
Okay, now it just got weird. Sigh.
So, lessons I have learned so far:
Paint from the heart, but don't give your heart away.
Never make a threat you don't intend to follow through with,
and never put a painting up for sale that you know you can't part with.
More landscapes (because who doesn't like a landscape?
Plus, they take like, one tenth the time to paint).
Don't take 11 children to a gallery, it freaks people out.
(this one can be applied to many settings)
I guess I have also learned that if it hadn't been for this show, those paintings wouldn't exist at all. And since they came from my heart, they can never leave it. If I really love the images that I created, there is nothing to stop me from painting some of those images again, just for me.
The folks who want the paintings also wanted a discount for buying all of them. That had to be approved of before the sale could be made. In the mean time, the gallery assistant lost the phone number for the couple. It is entirely possible that they will change their minds in the time that it takes to get the whole thing sorted out.
I kind of hope they do, but I will have to be okay with it if they don't. Who would have thought that I would be disappointed to sell my art?
Four of my masterpieces, and 6 of my sister's.