Friday, December 5, 2008

Just in case you missed this by Robert Genn.

Recently Linda Menke of Sarasota, Florida, asked, "Is it expected or appropriate to send a thank-you note to the person who buys your painting? A local artist did this for us when we bought one of his. It felt nice. On the other hand, I have never sent one to a buyer of my own work. Is there an artists' etiquette in this matter?"

Thanks, Linda. This may seem a bit smug, but while collectors have been very kind to appreciate my art and keep me in bread, I've always thought I was the one doing them a favour. I don't think I've ever written and thanked a person for a purchase, even when it was the Queen. Maybe it's an artists' etiquette I'm not aware of.

On the other hand, something of genuine and permanent interest tucked in the back of the painting when it leaves the studio is often treasured by the buyer. Further, it gives the gallery a talking point and adds long-term value. All works of art don't lend themselves to this, but when there is something to say, it's an artist's way of thanking the Universe. Sharing that with a buyer is thanks enough.

I know it's a bit limp-brained and sentimental, but it's even fun to include "stuff." I've been known to tack a small zip-lock bag to the stretcher with a few pebbles from the stream in the painting, a feather from a passing grouse or a spare limpet (complete with the sniff-factor) from the beach. We've illustrated some examples that might be of value to you at the top of the current clickback.

One of the best items to find tucked into the back of a painting is a map. A photocopy, with an "X" where the work was painted, adds a treasure hunt to the art-buying event. Not a few buyers have tracked down the source of their paintings, even travelling to foreign countries.

Your works of art are an ever-changing record of your personal interests and growth. You don't want to trivialize or monetize the progress of that growth. Sensitive collectors know this. A genuinely-felt thought or observation--without going overboard--tucked away with the art, cements you to your vision and shares with others your hours of joy and struggle.

No comments: