First Friends, Later Collectors

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First Friends Notes

A lot of people ask me how I sell art and can make a living as a painter? I tell them “first friends, later collectors”.  Not all of my collectors become friends. Some I only sell to once and then never hear from again. Many of those collectors live far away or the painting sells in a gallery, so I don’t meet the buyer. Some of my collectors I meet once, and then they follow my career for years, purchasing occasionally through my web site, newsletter or blog.

Most of my paintings sell to folk that I meet personally and whom I spend time with, getting to know and eventually, developing real friendships together.  This takes patience.  Some of my collectors are my friends, long before they begin to collect my work.

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Collectors are the most important people in my career. I never take them for granted. I go into relationships with a sense of gratitude, that friends care about what I do and appreciate the glorious wild places that I visit and paint. Many of my collectors have a common love for rural, agricultural Florida and trees with me. We share passion for land and for natural Florida.

Building collectors is about friendship more than anything else. My collectors aren’t the kind that go to a lot of art openings and hang around much in museums. They are biologists, land conservationists, farmers, ranchers and stewards of our natural world. Some have exotic careers, some highly educated and professional, and others not. Some buy big paintings and some buy 10.00 miniatures. I am deeply grateful to all of them. We understand each other. We don’t use art speak. We talk about our dreams and experiences. We share the joy of nature and common values.

Acquiring a collector is wonderful, but they must be nurtured as in any long lasting friendship. There are times when I need to do favors, to be supportive and to listen as any friend would. It is not a one way street. I, like other collectors, am interested in my favorite artists and their lives, outside of their career. I think collectors love the artist as much as the art, and I am so fortunate to have so many friends.

My collectors and followers have helped me in so many ways. They share my blog posts, share my work on social media. They bring me students, and they even bring me supplies for my studio. I couldn’t possibly have this marvelous life and career without them. I am deeply grateful for their care and support.

More Musings for Artists and Collectors to come……

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