What success?


Dear Artist,

While wandering around in Romania I inadvertently hit on some Wi-Fi and noticed what Ron Wilson had asked in the live comments: “I guess I know the answer to this, but do successful artists pretty well sell everything they paint?”

Thanks, Ron. I can’t attest for all artists, but in my case it’s a low percentage that sell quickly. My work is too erratic and varying. Also, as a lot of what I do is based on experiencing life and experimentation, all works aren’t “ships of the line,” and collector whiz-bangs.


“Pink feet geese”
oil on canvas
by Hugh Monaghan

On the other hand, I’ve known a few artists whose every work seems to be always spoken for or eagerly anticipated. One was Hugh Monaghan. He was essentially a painter of ducks coming in for a landing. He told me several times that he didn’t like painting very much, but I have to say he was darned good at it. Hugh was passionate about hunting, fishing and hanging out with his buddies. When Hugh passed away his estate consisted of one half-finished painting. He lived from easel to dealer to mouth.

It all has to do with perspective. A lot of us didn’t get into art to make money, but we grew fond of the position. By keeping at it we built a reasonable following. The advent of cash flow further propelled the creative hand and gave permission to the exploratory nose. Many artists see selling as part of the art, and I guess I’m one of them. “Art,” said Frank Zappa, “is making something out of nothing and selling it.” If a decent percentage of work eventually finds a home, you can live on it.

Art might be a tangible “thing,” but it’s also a process. It’s been my experience that you need to get the process more or less right and the other stuff sort of takes care of itself. My approach might be called the “shot gun effect.” Because I enjoy the process, I make a lot of art. When works are finished I try to make a small commercial decision as to where I might send it. I’ve taken a lifetime to build a stable of trusted dealers. Sometimes they groan when they see my stuff come in, even though I thought it was a good idea at the time. If the work doesn’t find a home in one gallery, we’ll eventually get it back and send it to another. Sometimes it ends up in my personal archives, and that’s not bad either.


“Under a Romanian Sky”
acrylic on canvas, 11 by 14 inches
by Robert Genn
— Now that I’m back in the studio I realize how much this place and others later in the Ukraine reminded me of some areas of northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Best regards,


PS: “The best things in life aren’t things.” (Art Buchwald)

Esoterica: I’m writing this from beside a country pond near Constanta, Romania. Ducks are coming in for a landing. A few yards away there’s a young girl wearing a black and red skirt and a button vest. She’s tending a goat. I’m wondering why she isn’t in school. From her perspective I’m a sorry sight — tapping from time to time on a laptop while dabbing at a little canvas that includes a wide Romanian sky and a distant Orthodox Church. I can tell by the look on her face that she thinks I’m a loser. Maybe she’s right. Unlike the goat cheese around here, I’ll probably never sell this thing.


Cheesy sales
by Regina Briskey


by Regina Briskey

I am generally known for my animal art and have been doing Florida cattle ranching subjects for many years. I have found that if I take any other type of animal art to a show concerning cattle ranching, no one is interested in it. One would think paintings of animals that live in the same area on ranchland would be relevant to a show like this, but not so. This then, is tough on sales. Thank you for your positive comments on goat’s cheese, I’ve been raising dairy goats for about 30 years, and up until recently, it has gone unappreciated in the U.S.

There are 2 comments for Cheesy sales by Regina Briskey

From: Regina Sabison — Nov 01, 2008

Hi Regina,Your goat is wonderful. My name is Regina as well, but I go by Reggie. That’s my art name. I have never tasted goat cheese, but if it’s as good as goat ice cream I’m sold. I live in a very small town- Wishart, Saskatchewan, Canada. I am a realist painter. My background is german. Your’s too??? Keep up the good work…Reggie.

From: cm cernetisch — Nov 03, 2008

I also got a kick of your goat — I also raise dairy goats, maybe its an artist thing? I get either a response of “eww!” or “I’d love to buy some”. I believe it is not appreciated because some of the commercial varieties taste as bad as a buck smells! maybe like art, if we keep at perfecting our product, it will gain the honors it deserves?


Keep on keeping on
by Reda Kay, Asheville, NC, USA


mixed media
by Reda Kay

I am an artist (for only the past 15 years) and a member of a small, 28-person, art co-op Gallery in Asheville, NC. We have an opportunity every other year to be the “Artist of the Month” when we display our art work on the BIG wall and in the window as well as our regular 8′ x 8′ wall. The past two times I was AOM in 2004 and 2006, I sold at least six paintings from my show. This was very exciting and encouraging to me! However, this year (this month) I have not sold one painting! I keep telling myself it is the economy… but then I’m questioning my work as well. My art is primarily mixed media with some collage pieces mixed in. I’m hoping it’s the economy, but a little voice keeps saying otherwise. Your e-letter helped me to understand I should keep on painting regardless of selling. There’s always next month!


Keeping stuff around
by Jerry Conrad, WA, USA

I had, at one time, a lot of very sincere pottery students who just couldn’t bear to part with their works of art. I tried to explain to them two realities. One, you have to get rid of the stuff you do to make room for MORE STUFF you are going to do. Two, more seriously, you have to believe in yourself to the extent that you realize there is unlimited potential in you for growth and improvement and keeping a bunch of old stuff around can really drag you down unless it is truly seminal. Now, learning to make that judgment is a problem of another dimension — ah yes.


Just grateful for life
by Larry Moore, Orlando, FL, USA


“Mike and Ned”
oil painting, 24 x 24 inches
by Larry Moore

That last letter begs the question, what is a successful artist? I sell a medium percentage of what I create and that combined with a few illustration jobs and workshops, is enough to get by… so far. And, may I just say, it’s a weird way to make a living, sometimes not seeing a check for months. I tell people that I work half of the year as a volunteer. When I’m in the field and someone says, “Is that your profession or is it a hobby?” I always tell them that it’s the profession that pays like a hobby (with the inflexion on pays!!!).

And then a gallery will send a check or two and it’s all good. Every time I’m in the field painting or traveling to a new spot to paint, participating in a painting event with people I admire, I am so grateful for my life. It’s been my dream since I was a kid and I have the privilege of living it. That’s success to me. Though a 2000 sq ft studio with vaulted ceilings would be nice… maybe a house in Hawaii.


Gallery owner discovers process
by Sharon Cory, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve been working like an idiot for months now, not just on painting but on building a “successful” gallery that represents some terrific artists. I’ve never sold so many paintings and some of the artists are starting to get repeat buyers. So we’re all “successful,” or going to be. But I’m so tired and worn out. I drag my butt out of bed every day, put the coffee on and wonder what new bill will come to deplete my chequing account. I clean up the “surprise” my dog has left me in the basement, a routine she got into when I decided I had to be at work every day. I get myself to the gallery and deal with the latest closet artist who wants to give up his/her job and do what I do. Or the aging Boomer who has just retired and is sure that the world has been waiting for him/her to find the creative spirit. But your column came today and I laughed. In almost every way you epitomize the “successful” artist of this generation and yet you are still humble enough to poke holes in the balloon. You reminded me that I’m in it for the “process” and success lies in the next finished painting, no matter where it ends up.


Stick to internal vision
by Nancy Bea Miller, Philadelphia, PA, USA


“Parakeet Kiss”
by Nancy Bea Miller

In the art world, success is a difficult concept to measure, especially if you equate success with income and reputation as in most walks of life. Yes, there are the people who can make a living at it, or even the rare few who make a fortune at it! This does not always directly correspond to talent or genius. The artist has to resign him or herself to perhaps only rarely receiving outside approval in the form of money and honors, and continue true to their internal vision. Or else chuck it all in and go to Law School!

There are 2 comments for Stick to internal vision by Nancy Bea Miller

From: Noel — Oct 31, 2008

A relly neat idea in this painting – but why call a budgerigar a parakeet?

From: Shawn — Nov 02, 2008


No interest in success or money
by Roland Ford, Baltimore MD, USA

A true artist, a priest who continues with the life of creation and love of creation, will not let even poverty stand in his way. I have the unique situation where I don’t have to sell my work to live as an artist. I get a modest pension that keeps me from year to year and that’s all I require. As for the life of an artist I get by very well. However, I don’t know how successful I am because that degree doesn’t matter to one who isn’t interested in success or money. When I sell a painting or am commissioned to do a work I only ask that the patron write the check out to my Orthodox Church. The gift of art was given to me for a reason which is known only between myself and God. He has given me everything I need to continue with this gift and this is my way in thanking Him for that gift.

The kind of art my fellow Baltimorian Frank Zappa is talking about is not for the immortals, it is for the fly by night artists who, though talented, cheapens their art with the measure of monetary gain. The result? When they die, eventually their art will die out as well.

There is 1 comment for No interest in success or money by Roland Ford

From: Anonymous — Oct 31, 2008

Are you kidding me? ..the fly by night artists who, though talented, cheapen their art with the measure of monetary gain…


Can one be self-taught?
by Mark Anthony, Nathalie, VA, USA


by Mark Anthony

My father always used to say, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Unfortunately, that isn’t always true. When I decided 3 years ago to become a full time artist, I found that I started doing portrait commissions, murals, hell even painted furniture in order to pay the bills. The limitations were I was always painting someone else’s vision, so I never took the time to nurture my own style. Now, I have been getting offers to do one-man shows (well one-woman shows — my name is Mark but I’m a girl) and I find I don’t have enough of my own work to display, because most have been commissions. I also have been facing my own inner demons of finding my path in art, instead of relying on reference that someone gives me. In contrast I am sure through diligence I will get there, but your latest post got me to thinking what success might be to me.

I could paint something I enjoy (that came from my head) and be able to fill a gallery and sell enough to pay my light bill and buy a little supplies in order to do another, I would be fulfilled. My question to you, Robert: Is it feasible to believe that I can achieve this by being self-taught? Will I ever be accepted in the gallery world without the extensive education to back me up?

(RG note) Thanks, Mark. No one ever walked into an art gallery and said, “Do you have any work by someone with an extensive education?” Education in our business means self-education. It takes sweat, character and no little bit of sacrifice. I know lots of fine artists who have done it on their own.


Who’s having any fun?
by John Ferrie, Vancouver, BC, Canada


“Luminaries 7”
acrylic painting
by John Ferrie

There is something about our inner voice, tapping into our creative and quietly going about expressing ourselves. Once an artist starts to sell their work is when it can really go haywire. Galleries step in, and let’s face it, they can be two steps below the used car salesman. They claim to have orders for previous works that an artist is no longer doing. Often they will dictate what an artist will paint based on what they know they can sell. I wonder about artists I admire where there is apparently up to a two year waiting list to get one of their pieces. Who is having any fun at that point?



Romanian art scene
by Laurentiu Bontea, Transylvania, Romania


computer-aided painting
by Laurentiu Bontea

You have to look hard to find good Romanian art. And this is normal, partly because it’s something that falls automatically under the law of probabilities. The chances are that a small country will yield a smaller number of exceptional people than a larger one.

The traditional art in Romania had its peak about a hundred years ago when Grigorescu, Andreescu, Brancusi, Luchian, Baba and others were very well known in Europe. Then, the communism obstructed almost any form of free expression, interfering with the natural evolution of the Romanian art scene. It stripped off its identity and replaced it with soviet characteristics. There are almost 20 years since the revolution and artists are still recovering slowly by patching their holes with borrowed styles, mostly from the Western trendsetters.

This is why I can hardly feel any Romanian specific art reminiscent in the artists that I see around. It’s all international. The Internet mixes everything. My “traditional” education at the University of Art in Cluj-Napoca consisted mostly in staying late on the Web at school studying the Western artists I liked.

With graduation breathing on the back of my neck, the idea of making a living out of my scribbles started to worry me because I knew that art was selling very cheap, if at all. Seeing the Romanian art marketplace crawling I decided to choose a different path. Being broke, the idea of not having to pay for the materials sounded very good, so I decided to paint digitally. At that moment I contacted a small company that was selling paintings made by art students on eBay for a huge fee. It was unacceptable. I had to make three paintings so I can afford a $30 cheap tablet. But I was so happy that all I was breathing was enthusiasm.

Soon, after a bit of practice I saw myself freelancing overseas, working with small companies from the gaming industry; and now, I’m preparing my portfolio for a job as a concept artist — creating fantastic characters and environments is part of my childhood dreams. Obviously it was the hand of the Western culture that managed to infiltrate my small hometown here in Transylvania.

In a world which demands for narrowly specialized jobs and at the same time offers unlimited choices and possibilities, I dream of fulfilling and enjoying every curiosity I have. I enjoy almost every form of artistic expression: creating music, oil painting, sculpting, taking photographs etc., but all of these look to me like a rainbow-colored bubble that cannot burst within survivalism. Creativity and quality work are directly linked to the level of mind relaxation and it’s hard to achieve that while starving.

Romania is an absolutely fantastic country, but even if I was born here, I feel like going home anywhere I find people that share common sense and use logic, creativity and joy to find their way in life.


How to sign a diptych?
by Edward Vincent, Sydney, Australia

Can you advise the way a diptych is signed by the artist, if it’s intended that the pieces may be sold individually? Sign one only, sign both (looks silly if they’re bought as a pair.)…..?? Your advice would indeed be appreciated, thank you.

(RG note) Thanks, Ed. I believe in signing every unit. To avoid the goofy repetition look, understate the signatures or hide them in some obscure place, foliage, etc. Nothing worse than an orphan tych of a diptych or a triptych that wanders the world unknown.


‘Double award’ jurying
by Verena Heroux, Newport, NC, USA

My friends and myself entered a big art show and it’s an annual event and usually receives between 450 to 650 entries. Out of the four of us only one received an Honorable Mention. When I went to pick up our declines I looked at the chosen show and noticed at least three paintings were awarded two awards. I haven’t heard of this before and people I’ve talked to have said this must be a mistake. For example, the person who received Best in Show also received a First Place and another artist received a really nice Memorial Award and an Honorable Mention for the same piece (there were fifty pieces picked for the show). I don’t understand the thinking in this. It doesn’t make sense to me. Best in Show says it all — you can’t get any better. To be awarded also a first, a lesser award, doesn’t make sense. My question is, is this common practice?

(RG note) Thanks, Verena. I have a slight recollection something like that may have happened in a show I helped jury where we were desperate, but it’s certainly not common practice in my neck of the woods. I’m a believer in “one work — one reward,” and a surfeit of available rewards should be withheld when the jury thinks the slate doesn’t deserve them.

There are 3 comments for ‘Double award’ jurying by Verena Heroux

From: Brigitte Nowak — Oct 31, 2008

Re Double Award jurying: it could be that the placements were for a specific medium, say oils, or watercolour, or for a particular subject, e.g. landscape, and that the works were then juried for Best in Show. This is also the way it works in dog shows: Winners Dog (or Bitch) competes for Best of Winners, which competes (with the champions of record) for Best of Breed, who then goes on to the Group judging, and then on to Best in Show. It would be interesting to know, if fifty pieces were accepted in to the show, how many received some sort of award?

From: Anonymous — Oct 31, 2008

I suspected some bitches were involved in that…

From: Anonymous 2 — Oct 31, 2008

What gets me is some juried shows that certain artists get multiple works in, each one almost identical to the others, when most artists are very lucky to get one painting accepted. Art clubs work in their own hermetic universe. Cash donations in advance of annual big exhibitions can guarantee acceptance in some shows, with the resultant uneven quality of work exhibited, not to mention questionable award winners.


Rights to collectors’ names
by Linda Hobley, Calgary, AB, Canada


“Life Cycles”
oil painting, 18 x 32 inches
by Linda Hobley

I have been painting professionally since the early ’90s, and have been represented over the years by several galleries. I recently ended a 10 year relationship with a well known gallery. This gallery sold over 50 of my paintings since 1998. Since I am no longer represented by this gallery, are they under any obligation to provide me with the names of the owners of my work? I know this is a sensitive topic, as client lists are not generally shared with the artists, but as the artist, do I not have a right to know who has collected my work? What if the gallery were to go out of business, which has happened with two of the galleries I have been with, should this information then be made available to the artists if they requested it? Do I even have a right to ask the gallery for this information?

(RG note) Thanks, Linda. Galleries don’t really have a legal obligation to tell you who their customers are. If you left the gallery on good terms and they continue to wish you well in your career, and they are nice about it, they may pass this valuable information on to you. It won’t hurt to ask. Try to think of a way it might be beneficial to them. We don’t always get what we think we deserve, but we often get what we negotiate.


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for What success?



From: Melissa Evangeline Keyes — Oct 28, 2008

“Ducks.” the man said flatly. I tried to chat him up a bit, I had a space in a show, selling trinkets and paintings.

“Ducks.” he said once more, rather disgustedly, and left. A short while later he came back, explaining he’d moved to Wisconsin, and everybody wanted paintings of nothing but ducks. He couldn’t sell any of the paintings he loved doing.

“Ducks.” ha said, again, shaking his head, and wandered away.

If there’s something they’ll buy, you could stay there and paint what they will buy, and make a living, hey? Open a factory!

From: Tom Semmes — Oct 28, 2008

I would like to hear more about how people make selling part of the process of creating art. I always saw it as necessary but as separate from the process. Though I wonder how motivated I would be to paint if I didn’t have an upcoming show. Knowing people are going to be looking and judging your work does make a difference.

From: Alex S — Oct 28, 2008

Robert…. will we have a chance to see the paintings that you’ve made while traveling? Would be nice to see the sketches, etc. right here on Painter’s Keys.

From: Cathy Harville — Oct 28, 2008

I love to paint. And having a person connect with a painting enough to actually buy it, is the conclusion of the process. What an honor!

I historically paint small. But I have discovered that most people buy big paintings. So now I paint big. And I like it. But I still paint what I want. It may take 4 or 5 years, but someone may eventually connect with it. If not, paintings make great gifts, when finances are tight. And I have plenty of wall space at home. But I paint what I want. Because when it comes from my heart and soul, people can tell. People know when there is no passion. And art without passion is just meaningless, to me, anyway. Peace and cheers, Cathy

From: Adonica — Oct 28, 2008

I am extremely jealous of your trip, and each mail I read you are somewhere I want to go: Italy, Greece, Turkey, Romania. Reading about it is torturous, yet I want more. Please post anything and everything from your adventures so I can live vicariously thru you. Please stay away from France because I don’t think I can take it. ;)

From: Cheryl Webster — Oct 28, 2008

My husband and I are recently retired folk and as a result the pennies are fewer and further between! I restarted my art about a year ago and found that I am getting interested in actually selling it. Firstly, to pay for the supplies, and secondly for the recognition it brings. In a sense we are like actors, we have to have a stage and an audience who identifies with us and enjoys our talent. But therein lies the difficulty – do I paint what I know will sell (Ducks) or what MOVES me but is not necessarily going to look ‘nice’ on someone’s living room wall. An artist friend said recently, ‘paint, have fun, enjoy what you do and forget the rest’. Maybe at my age, and in a sense, just starting off, I should do just that and let the future take care of itself.

From: Suzette Fram — Oct 28, 2008

Robert, thanks for sharing that with us (“it’s a low percentage that sell quickly”). It’s encouraging to know that we’re all in the same boat. For me, a very few sell right away, the great majority take some time to sell, and some never sell. That’s my reality. After a while, I need to make a decision on the ones that don’t sell: if I like them, I keep them for myself, and I’ve grown tired of them, then maybe it’s time to destroy them or paint over them. That’s the circle of a painter’s life.

From: Rick Rotante — Oct 28, 2008

What is wonderful about this site is the dialogue, apart from the travelogues; the parallel lines one begins to see between peoples’ lives that practice the same vocation.

I too know of several California artists who are having trouble keeping up with the demand for their work. Life can be tough for some.

I on the other hand fall into the “Robert Genn” category. I toss ‘em out and some get picked up while others fall hopelessly to the ground only to be retrieved and stored, painted over or destroyed.

I don’t paint to sell and yet I do paint in the hopes of selling. I’m not being tricky here. If you are an artist, you must paint, whether you sell or not. This subject has been covered many times.

I must be doing something right because I have clients who own more than one piece, some own as many as six pieces. I say this not to brag just to say a few people at least consider my work worth buying.

Many more people would like to buy my work but cost is a major consideration. Not that my work is overpriced, but art in general for the general public is a hard choice when they also have to have a roof over their heads and hungry mouths to feed. I understand this from a personal point of view. I also like to own artwork of painters I admire, but alas, price is a major consideration for artists also.

I say all this to show that whether we paint for ourselves, others or for sales. The process is not a secret formula to be followed and certainly not an infallible process. The road to “self employment” is a fickle one, and is not reliant on talent alone. There are so many variables that anyone with any ability at all will find a customer willing to purchase a small treasure from anyone.

From: Susan Connelly — Oct 28, 2008

Each sale IS an affirmation. Yes, you are indeed an artist! And you connected with another human being! It always touches me and is a thrill, no matter the amount of money, to think that someone cares enough about your work to want to live with it. Amen.

From: Frank Hills — Oct 28, 2008

I changed one word in your quote and now it is mine.

I can tell by the look on her face that she thinks I’m a loser. Maybe she’s right. Unlike the — Tamales — around here, I’ll probably never sell this thing.

Thanks once again for pulling me off the pity pot

From: Robert Newport — Oct 28, 2008

“I’ve taken a lifetime to build a stable of trusted dealers.” At the rate I am going, no number of lifetimes is going to get me a stable, or even one, trusted dealer. My work, which sells to friends and colleagues, gets the requisite praise, and, I like to look at it and make it. BUT, I have sent, now dozens of copies of my portfolio, hundreds of “evites”, made dozens and dozens of ‘cold calls’, had interviews, and with out a single result. So what is the secrete here. ( I might add that I have gotten professional consultation on every piece of marketing material that I have sent out). Some magic dust to sprinkle on the packages? I certainly smile and am ‘upbeat’ when I go in to a gallery. I am relatively new, an “emerging artist” so to speak. I get nice letters back from gallerists. Is this really going to take a lifetime? What should be my response rate? I live in Los Angeles, lots of art here, How do I make that next step in to a gallery on a more or less permanent basis? I’ll bet I am not the only one who is asking this question!

From: Wayne Wright — Oct 28, 2008

Good Morning, I am happy that you are still able to continue your travels, your descriptions are most vivid and your comments well phrased. Today you talked about selling one’s art, and producing enough for market. My problem is just the opposite, I have no market here in a small town of 1400 in Wyoming, but I enjoy painting, it is a part of my therapy for my mental illness. After saturating the halls of the institution in which I reside, I ponder what do I do with the work I continue to produce for some of it is quite good -at least in my opinion.

Could you possibly discuss the other side of the coin?

From: Peggy Guichu — Oct 28, 2008

I’ve suffered with the entire emotional effect of sales or no sales. I’ve written before that as an artist I can’t paint to sell, but I have found that when I do sell a painting it gives me that extra boost which is transformed onto the canvas. Self-esteem is critical for me to do well. If I’m feeling badly about myself, i.e., not selling my work, it shows in the painting I’m working on. After I have sold a piece my emotions are high and this is reflected into my art. For those of you that sell continuously, I wonder if it becomes mundane? Personally, I would love to find out.

From: Diane Overcash — Oct 28, 2008

I do appreciate being able to peer over your shoulder as you travel and paint. It’s the next best thing to being there myself.

There are times that my sales are great and still I have stacks of paintings here in the studio. It doesn’t seem to matter to me how many I have stockpiled, if I have an idea, and I always do, I keep right on painting. I try to do the best job I can on each painting and stretch myself little as I go.

There are times that I have to go do something else to make money while the sales catch up. I don’t seem to be able to give up the painting. I’m always thinking about it, looking at books, looking at other paintings…know what I mean? I would love to be able to live completely on my painting sales, but I don’t think it would matter. I’d keep right on painting regardless.

From: Jon Conkey — Oct 28, 2008

Enjoy whatever sales you can muster while they last! Most artists have no idea of what is happening right before their eyes today, most are too busy chasing “their” interests, and haven’t a clue of what is coming down the pipe.

It will all be over soon enough, (the global economies that is), but feel free to keep on painting…just don’t expect anyone to pay for it, most will be happy with food, shelter, and warm clothing.

From: Lanita — Oct 28, 2008

If I could sell 25% of what I paint I would be in heaven . But the reality is that I have a lot of inventory stored in closets and under beds and in relatives houses . But I can’t stop and a sale encourages me to keep at it . Besides the practice only improves me . I keep changing the ones at the gallery and send out E Mails with the new paintings and hand out a lot of greeting cards with contact information on the back . The market is hard at best right now so a sale is cause for celebration.

From: Ion Danu — Oct 28, 2008

I really enjoyed your last letter! Not only because you are in my native country – not yet near the montains of Transylvania but still… and there are some extraordinary monasteries in Dobrogea, where you are: cilik-dere, for instance… – but also because I’ve found inspiration and well, yes, amusement, in it… I especially enjoyed your citation of Frank Zappa who made me think of one of my prefered citation from W. H. Auden: “A man is a form of life that dream in order to act and acts in order to dream” (and artist even more so…)

Thanks again and keep up the good work! And I hope you’ll salute also my native town, Sibiu, for me…

From: Laurentiu Bontea — Oct 28, 2008

I just read your last letter and found out that you’re painting on the Black Sea shore of Romania. I’d like to know if it’s possible to come to Constanta to meet you. I am Laurentiu Bontea, a novice artist and I graduated from Art University here in Romania. I recently decided to break into the fine art world and having a good word from someone like you would mean very much to me.

From: Nick Vladulescu — Oct 28, 2008

I can not believe you are in Roumania:-) Of course you are far away from my point of residence but still in Roumania. By any chance are you going to visit Bucharest to?. November first a national theatre festival begin in Bucharest and I have been invited there and I will stay for 10 days. I’m the general manager of the professional theatre in my home town which geographical is positioned in west site of Roumania. I would like to meet you if is possible if not, at list give me a call or tell me the name of the hotel where I can reach you. What a surprise. I wish you all the best and enjoy your staying here in Roumania.

Your truly admirer,

Nick Vladulescu

From: Marni California — Oct 29, 2008

It was really lovely to read, for a change, about Hugh Monaghan’s dislike of painting. I sometimes think I’m the only artist in the universe who doesn’t get excited about a blank canvas and only feels good about my work when it’s finished… I also sometimes think the best part of being an artist is buying art supplies! Cheers!

From: Joyce Goden — Oct 29, 2008
From: Rick Rotante — Oct 29, 2008

Peggy- IT IS NEVER MUNDANE! I assume your were referring to sales (?) If you were referring to painting…that doesn’t need a response.

I speak only for myself but I’m sure from reading the letter here that many of us are in the same (artistic) boat.

Sales are unnecessary to create art; sales ARE necessary for the health, ego and well being of the artist not to mention the monetary boost. The personal satisfaction that someone else is interested in your work is healthy and would give a sense of worth to any individual.

But the more important thing for those of us who paint is the personal search for self, the expression of your inner feelings about your environment and the world in general.

JON CONKEY – Don’t presume to speak for all artists. I, for one know exactly what is going on in the world. I daresay many artists are aware and interested in what is happening in the world.

Because we don’t speak of it on the site doesn’t mean we have our head up our a-s!

From: Gavin Calf — Oct 30, 2008
From: Mike — Oct 30, 2008

Hi Robert I always look forward to receiving your twice weekly letter. however I challenge your recent I’m a loser affirmation, in reference to your Rumania visit. The inner creative life responds with like for like, it doesn’t see it just listens. If you speak negatively to it, it will create that which you do not want. It is the proverbial genie of the lamp.

Regards Mike

From: Brigitte Nowak — Oct 31, 2008

To Dr. Robert Newport re gallery representation:

Having been in your position (seeking gallery representation) and now with several galleries and beginning to see positive results, I’d like to make a couple of suggestions (I’ve checked out the work on your website):

1) you’ve had your “marketing materials professionally critiqued”: do the same with your art, and send out only the best

2) you say you live in Los Angeles, a significant art market. Try galleries outside the metropolis (I live in Toronto, Canada, and while I now have a smaller gallery in Toronto that sells my work, I began with galleries in smaller communities: it is easier to get your feet wet that way, build a reputation and gain some confidence.

3) make sure you visit the galleries where you are submitting your work, to be sure that the gallery shows the type of work you are producing.

4) Before submitting your work, check with the gallery to ensure you are submitting your work in the format they want (slides, CD, etc.)

5) Good luck.

From: Daniela Ionesco — Nov 01, 2008
From: Ted Openshaw — Nov 02, 2008

I dont understand why some people submit comments anonymously. Do they sign their art that way also?

From: Anonymous — Nov 03, 2008

To be anonymous is necessary in situations when there is no protection for whistleblowers. Many an unfairness has been exposed by anonymous people. Not signing concerns has nothing to do with signing art.





African Family Love

mixed media 22 x 22 inches
Jaxine Cummins, Arizona, USA


You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.

That includes Andrea Sinclair of Melbourne, Australia, who wrote, “I long to get to Romania one day. My family emigrated to Canada from Constanta and Alba in 1902, at the time to the vast Canadian prairie of Saskatchewan. I don’t think Romania has changed much since then and I really hope I get to see it in person before modern life creeps in.”

And also Susie O’Brien who wrote, “I’ve been so lucky for 20 years… hardly any inventory… but art is changing and the economy is killing art… so I shall have to move on and think of new ways to sell my wares.”

And also Fulvia Luciano who wrote, “As for the girl, the goat, the cheese, the laptop and you — it is all a matter of priorities, nothing more, nothing less.”


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