Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It's been a rough start to the year. I lost my sister two weeks ago, unexpectedly, although she was nearly twenty years older than me and in poor health, so it wasn't a total shock. But losing someone is never easy, even when it's not totally unexpected. We hadn't spent as much time together in the last couple of years as we used to. I've been so busy, and she had mobility problems, so getting together took more effort and planning than it used to. But when we did get together, we always had so much fun, taking long drives (especially to the ocean) and eating out. She was one of a kind, and my life won't be the same without her. I miss you, Sis!

On the painting front, I'm starting to feel a little bit discouraged. Sales are moving slowly. As in, pretty much not moving at all. I have a number of paintings listed at Etsy, and I've had exactly one sale there (Hi, Deb!) in the last sixty days. I've been listing new items and re-listing old ones, but no bites. I hadn't listed at eBay since before Christmas, but I moved four items over there from Etsy a few days ago. All four auctions ended this morning, with several watchers but no sales. I'm spending more money in eBay fees than I'm making. So this morning, I cancelled my eBay store. I still plan to sell there, but I can't justify paying the monthly fee for a store when I'm not bringing in any money from it. The listing fees are bad enough with no sales, but adding the store fee on top of those makes no sense. No matter how you look at it, that's a loss. I know it's this lousy economy. So I decided to slash prices in my Etsy store, and now most everything there is listed at half of what I was trying to sell it for before. We'll see if that makes a difference.

I'm so torn. I can undervalue my work, sell it so low I'm pretty much giving it away, and I'll have sales. Not a lot of sales, but I'll have sales. But if I list it for anywhere near what I believe it's worth, the sales just aren't there. I don't want to give away my work. On the other hand, if I want to keep on painting, with the cost of supplies and the lack of space for hanging them in my house, I have to sell. So I guess for the time being, until the economy improves, my philosophy will be that selling anything, even at a low price, is better than selling nothing. At least my work will be seen, and I'll continue to build a following.

She said hopefully.

The good news is that I did sell a painting this week to a local chiropractor and his wife, and they plan to hang it in his downtown office, plus they want me to do a commission of downtown for them, also for the office. So I'm not at a standstill, just a slowdown. This past Sunday, my daughter Jennifer and I went to Boston for Chinese New Year. I took hundreds of photos, and I'm hoping I may get a painting or two out of them. It was a nice break from the usual humdrum winter routine, and both of us needed the lift. We don't get as many days together as we'd like, because we're both working full-time and we live sixty miles apart in snowy Maine. But we try to always make it to Boston for the Chinese New Year celebration. It's the highlight of my year, with the dancing dragons, the bright colors, the firecrackers, and all the commotion!


Debra said...

Laurie, I am so sorry about the loss of your sister.

You are right about the economy, it is definitely affecting the sale of art - pls don't take it personally!

I think you are making a smart decision, you should do what you need to do, the bottom line is to keep painting!

I just love the last painting I bought from you, and you are right - I bought it because it captured a (positive) feeling or emotion that I associated with a place in my past.

Just a thought...I don't know if offering a smaller size, maybe 8 x 10's, would help or not...?

Painting the Light said...

Thanks so much, Debra. And I'm glad you like the painting, it was one of my favorites. You know, I really like your idea about painting 8x10's. When money is tight, people are much more likely to spend $30 on a painting than $100. Not sure why this idea hadn't occurred to me already. I have painted a couple of smaller ones, but most of my paintings have been 11x14 or larger. My daughter and I have applied to participate in an art show in Boston in mid-May (she does photography). If we're accepted (fingers crossed), 8x10 would be a really good size to take. Easy to transport and show, and inexpensive enough so people would buy them without feeling like they're breaking the bank. What a great idea. Thanks!