Some people ask how I can sell something I’m happy with. Well, there has only ever been one painting that I have done that I would not part with for love nor money…. That is the painting of my cat ‘Whiskey’.
Now and again I do a piece that gives me great satisfaction to look at, especially if it achieved what I had set out to achieve but even then I’m happy to sell it. But a strange thing also happens… when I finish a painting/batik/drawing somehow it no longer is mine. After the, sometimes, intense relationship you have in the creating of the piece, at its finish, that is over and there’s an almost immediate emotional detachment. And although I might sell a painting, I still have the image; I keep a photographic or digital image of each piece I do so I haven’t lost that image forever. It has to be said that I also need to sell the work to pay the bills, especially if the sales have been slow for a while. If I couldn’t bear to part with any of my paintings I couldn’t pay any bills, so I wouldn’t be able to paint/work as an illustrator for a living. I’m lucky in that I have the zoo job bringing me in some ‘guaranteed’ money for part of the year, but the zoo is a charity organisation so the pay is much, much lower than if I worked as a commercial illustrator out in the ‘big wide world’. Since going part-time my zoo wages barely keep my head above water, so I need every sale I can get.
Though I am very pleased with my cheetah painting, I have no qualms about putting it forward for the auction. My only hope is that it sells as well through the auction as it might through a gallery.
I was sat looking at it today and my eyes kept travelling around the landscape looking for animals half hidden in the foliage. Of course I know exactly what is there, but the painting gives me a feeling of being back in Africa and who knows, something might just come out from behind that dense shrub or a bird might flit into one of the bushes at the sides then onto the ground searching for tasty morsels. I guess it’s not the painting that is doing this to me, as such, but the memories it evokes of early morning game drives in Amboseli and sitting in our camp and looking out into the bush. I just hope something similar happens when prospective buyers look at it and that encourages them to bid for it.