So, what do galleries look for? Well, here is a rough guide to what I look for in a painting. Firstly, remember we are a business, we are in it to make money, so I look for paintings that I think will sell. Not always easy as trends can change and tastes vary but primarily it has to be of a professional standard. No self-indulgent, art student, shock value stuff. It's not big and it's not clever and, whatever you may think, it has been done before. No depressing 'art-to-commit-suicide-by' work. Edvard Munch may have got away with it but most people don't want to see that sort of thing on their wall. Yes, art should provoke an emotion but I believe it should be a positive one.
That's what not to do, so what should you do? By all means do a seascape or flowers or whatever but do it in a different way, put your own mark on it, make it dramatic. We want to see the personality of the artist in the work. Don't over price your work. If you haven't sold much before don't expect to get a couple of grand for it just because you've seen one by somebody else at that price. Start low, if they sell, gradually put your prices up.
Learn from other professional artists. If you want to see the master of seascapes look at Duncan Hopkins' work, dramatic, moody and imposing. Or David Dare, who's detail and composition are immaculate and his use of light brings his work to life. Then there is Sarah Woolfenden, her wonderful black and white line drawings are distinctively her. She has found an individual style that suits her, they are well executed, beautifully presented and priced to sell. She is also clever enough to realise that not everyone can afford one of her originals so she supplements them with giclée prints and cards, covering all markets.
As an artist myself, I know the hardest thing is to get an honest appraisal, people don't want to hurt your feelings. I am lucky there, Belinda tells it like it is, if my work is not good enough she leaves me in no doubt! Having said that, my work is by far the best seller in the gallery, so I must be doing something right. And I don't push my work over other artists, on the contrary, Belinda has told me off for not letting people know that I am the artist when they buy a piece. Well, it's awkward isn't it?
So what is my formula? Well, there isn't one really, I paint pictures that are different and unusual, both in subject matter and in style, painted in a bold, confident manner and reasonably priced. Again, I offer giclée prints and cards, a must these days if you want to maximise the return on the work put in to the original.
Well, I hope that gives you a bit of an insight in to what we look for. If you are an artist it is worth considering these points and if you think you are good enough get in touch and I can give you a brutally honest appraisal. You never know, I might say I don't like it... I love it!