I'm In Sales

I spent the weekend going back and forth to Battle Ground, a small community about 26 minutes from here (according to my Google maps app). Each community’s art guild normally hosts one or two art shows a year, and most have a spring show. This weekend was Battle Ground Art Alliance’s show. I entered two paintings: Redwoods Sky, as their theme this year was something like “underneath the surface,” and since the perspective of Redwoods Sky is looking up through the trees, it was the best I could do to match the theme. I also brought along “Agate Beach Morning” because they were able to take paintings up to 36 inches, which, because of the size of our hanging partitions, our guild is not.

 Redwoods Sky, oil on canvas (palette knife application), 20" x 20"

Redwoods Sky, oil on canvas (palette knife application), 20" x 20"

It was a short show, which meant entering the paintings on Friday, attending the artists’ reception on Saturday, and then picking up the paintings on Sunday. Lots of driving, helloing, smiling, and feeling intimidated by better work.

I didn’t win or place in this show, which is understandable, as the talent on display varied greatly, from adorably amateurish to awe-inspiringly-out-of-place-in-this-small-show. If I had to put a quality judgment on my art compared to the others hanging, mine would have been very much at the top of the bell curve cluster along with all the other “nice” work. 

 Agate Beach Morning, oil on canvas, 36" x 24"

Agate Beach Morning, oil on canvas, 36" x 24"

All the driving gave me time to think about the nature of self employment and employment in general. My least favorite jobs have been sales. I don’t like – no, I hate asking people for anything, let alone asking them to buy what I have to sell. This is not good for someone who is now devoting a lot of her time to asking people to buy what she has to sell. But at least the thing that I am selling is something I love.

But can one escape sales? You can get past most of it if you long to be a waste disposal technician, but even then you have to convince your employer to hire you, and then continue to convince them not to fire you. But most jobs have a sales angle to them, and the more you make, the better chance that someone expects you to look and act like you deserve the money they are paying you.

Have you been watching Better Call Saul? You know, the spin-off of Breaking Bad, which follows the pre-BB exploits of Saul Goodman, ne Jimmy McGill. Jimmy is battling his own sleazy instincts to try to fit into high-powered, high-class lawyer world, and is struggling because the fancy suit doesn’t fit. He convinced the firm to hire him (sales) by bringing them a big case (sales). In the latest episode, his friend is in the doghouse for allegedly knowing about one of Jimmy’s misguided sales schemes and not saying anything. How does she try to get back into the good graces of the company partners? Sales. She cold-calls and cold-calls until she brings in a juicy, lucrative client. And from what I observed in my career as a paralegal, that is what an easy fifty percent of lawyering is. Sales. Winning the case before you can win the case.

I am pretty sure that if I approach enough galleries along the coast and/or in Central Oregon, I could find gallery partners, for as adequate as they may be, many of my paintings feature beaches and/or Central Oregon scenes, which vacationing gallery visitors are suckers for. But first I must approach. Sales. Ugh.