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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gallery Ground Rules

"Rose Parade"
Oil on Linen 10x8"

A recent experience has stimulated some serious pondering about the value of a good gallery. What this looks like is different for every artist, and of course galleries have their own thoughts on it.

After a wide range of experiences, and a few years clattering around the planet, I have gained clarity on what is essential for me when choosing to team up in a business partnership with a gallery. The best way I can think of to share this it to list the qualities that exist in the owner of a gallery that currently represents me. Without fail, she shows up in this way:
  • She has integrity in all of our dealings.
  • She's accessible and easy to talk with about art, and the business of art.
  • She respects my opinions and finds value in them.
  • She believes in my work.
  • She's passionate about art and constantly broadening her exposure to what's out there.
  • She 110% supports my quest to grow as an artist, and gives me the breathing room to make that a priority.
  • She's curious about my other passions and believes they enhance my art.
  • When a sale has been made, she lets me know that a check is on the way and a ballpark time I can expect it. WOW! When you live in world of inconsistent income, this is golden.
What I strive to offer in return are many of the same qualities, as well as honoring my commitments regarding shows, trusting that she's doing a great job whether work is selling or not (not calling her frequently to "see if anything has sold"), never undercutting, fostering great relationships with my collectors and focusing my energy on continually raising the quality of my work.

Your relationship with the person who sells you art deserves the same respect and attention as the other valuable relationships in your life. In many cases your galleries are your future collector's first connection with your work, the impression they make will have lasting effects. Choose wisely, and do your best to honor the partnership and your artistic journey with equal care.


  1. A beautifully composed and rendered painting. Red roses are particularly hard.
    Amen to the gallery comments.

  2. This painting is magical! Love everything about it - the rich colors and strong values and the subject itself! Excellent!

  3. Liz, love how you take those dreaded red roses and pull out a beautiful painting. Well done. Great comments on the ground rules.

  4. Yes, those ground rules you have are great ones - there is nothing worse than a gallery owner walking on higher ground than you. Love these roses! Awesome contrast!

  5. A beautiful painting. Amen to the gallery rules as well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Liz,
    Another beautiful painting! Great post,

  7. You're such an inspiration, Liz! These roses are fantastic. And you are right-on about the artist/gallery relationship.

  8. Beautiful painting and arrangement. Thank you for your insight and sensitivity regarding galleries.

  9. The colors in this painting are so rich and vibrant! Love it!!

  10. Sounds like an equal partnership among honorable business people and exactly what I would want too!

  11. Sounds like your have a great relationship with your gallery. Definitely something to protect and foster. Love the roses.