This past weekend was open studios, a three day event that enables artists to sell and promote their work directly from their studios. Normally, for me, it is where I make most of my money for the year. I have sold many pieces in the past and it always felt good to see and hear that people like my work. This year, all that has changed and I am finding it hard not to tie my self worth as an artist in with sales during these events.
In April of this year, I was "picked up" buy two galleries and an art consultant who now represent me. Because of this relationship, my prices for each painting has doubled, and in some sizes, more than doubled. It's what happens when one's career starts to move up and it's a good thing, I don't deny or begrudge that. But because of my price increase, I find that my sales during open studios has dropped DRASTICALLY. No longer am I selling a majority of my paintings and having people become upset that the painting they wanted has already sold. I am still getting lots of people telling me they love my work but no longer are they taking out their check books and writing me checks with such ease that they have in the past.
This past weekend I didn't sell one major piece. All of my new work was admired but will not be finding new homes anytime soon. I still made some money off of some tiny pieces and older work, but I would hardly call this weekend a success. From what I hear from other artists in my space, it was a disappointing weekend all around.
So now it is the day after a disappointing weekend and I am having a hard time not feeling depressed about how low my sales were. I KNOW that I do good work. I KNOW that people like my paintings. I KNOW that the galleries that show my work have gotten good responses. I KNOW that people are buying these paintings at their current prices. I KNOW that I am good at what I do. So why do I feel so horrible about this weekend? Why am I tying my self worth with my dismal sales from the past three days? It's hard to separate what I know to be true with what I feel, despite logic and reasoning from my brain.
I understand that the more successful I become, the higher my prices will be. It's something to strive for, not be upset about. It may be that I am no longer in the price range to do an open studios in the area that I am in and make the money that I used to make. I may be out of the price range of my previous clients but with that, hopefully I will acquire new clients in a different price range, who will appreciate my work as well. Ideally, it would be great to have ALL sales dealt through a gallery so that I can focus on what I do best, paint. In the mean time, I need to remind myself that one weekend's sales doesn't define me as a good or bad artist. It's a hard thing to understand emotionally though.