Peanuts online
Robert Genn

October 26, 2010

Yesterday, Randall Cogburn of Alvin, Texas wrote, "Self taught with little 
experience, I'm now on Blogspot where my small paintings are for sale and not 
selling. I'm wondering if what I've done so far is worth the price? No one says, 
'Oooh, nice one! I gotta have that little jewel.'"

Thanks, Randall. Your prices ($50.00 for 7"x 5") are certainly inexpensive. FYI, 
we've put a selection of Randall's work at the top of the current clickback. 

Randall, you need to put the prices right on your site so casual passersby will 
actually see them--not everyone wants to press "buy now" until they know how much. 
Second, paint consistently in standard sizes--6"x 8", 8"x 10" etc.--the frames are 
more readily available. Third, as an option, offer them beautifully framed and make 
sure you double your money on the frame. Fourth, make your goal to get into 
galleries at much better prices--and gain credibility and a more professional 
standing. Fifth, if you want to be "out there" you may also consider eBay, Blogger, 
Artquest, Artfair, Artgallery, or countless others.

Randall's efforts are part of the current trend where everyone and his sister have 
tiny sketches (peanuts) and "one-a-days" available online at fire-sale prices. Some 
of our subscribers report they are attracting first-time buyers and helping to make 
ends meet in tough times. Others say it's tough all over. Your further input is 

While the Internet may be a whole new venue, there's a lot of evidence that you 
can't have it both ways. In other words, brick and mortar galleries seldom handle 
artists who can be had cheaply online. Further, current online artists who opt for 
the gallery system may need to desist from private selling online.

But there's a wider question. Are we, like the local baker, simply making a line of 
tarts for popular consumption, or are we engaged in something more lofty and 
significant? Many would say the difference is passion, and while there are 
undoubtedly passionate bakers, our painterly productivity needs to be based on a 
noble drive and not on calculated reasoning and bare commerce. With the chimera of 
making a living online, artists may be in for downstream distress. Quality develops 
when an artist falls in love with an often complex and personal process on the way 
to a distinctive style and a unique vision. Blinded by the possibilities of tiny 
cash flow, which may not occur anyway, passion is subjugated by price points. 

Best regards,


PS: "Passion should overwhelm reason time and again." (Alvaro Castagnet)

Esoterica: There are those among us who consider themselves blessed--their work 
happens to coincide with their passions--and the passions of collectors coincide 
with those of the artist. Ideally, we'd like to think that the great passions 
arrive independently of ulterior motive and that the greatest work is developed in 
commercial innocence. On the other hand, some exciting artists are mainly motivated 
by greens. I'll stick with idealism.

"On life's vast ocean diversely we sail,
Reason's the card, but passion's the gale." (Alexander Pope)