A couple weeks ago a little girl came in for the first time to Art Village to do some painting. Usually a first time visitor will want to paint pottery, but this little girl decided she was going to do a painting on one of our prepared painting boards. I gave her the paints and brushes and instructed a little bit about color mixing and away she went. She was very deliberate about what she wanted to paint. She painted an owl in a tree at night. It was very nice. When she was finished she came up to the counter and asked how she could sell the painting.
I thought about my own experiences as a child. I made art all the time but I had never thought of participating in the grown up world. This request made me realize that Art Village is doing what I set out to do. Here, everyone is on equal ground. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been painting for years or just starting out. This is where anyone can make art and if they want to, they can sell it too. I was happy to help her sell her painting.
I asked her how much she would like to sell her painting for. She said, “I think $1.75”. I asked her if she didn’t want to ask more for the painting. The business side of me figured, after the studio fee, and materials, she wasn’t breaking even. She looked at me and said. “I think $1.75 is good because that painting hanging on the wall over there is $3.00 and it’s really good”. She pointed to one of my paintings on the wall that has a price of $300 on it. I smiled and said “Well how about we put $2.00 on it then.”
I told this story to some members of a business network I belong to. They were impressed by the young artist’s courage and belief in her own abilities. I ended up selling the painting to one of the business-owners sight unseen.
What I love about this story is that this little girl wasn’t waiting to go for it. She made a painting and that very day, she set out to sell it. There was no inner turmoil about, is this good enough, or am I really ready. No need for her to take a business class, or hire an agent. Or research the market. She just decided that she was going to do this. I love that! So many people have dreams of doing something creative with their lives, but they put that dream on the “someday shelf” because they don’t feel that now is a good time.
The other thing that strikes me about this is how she valued herself. Value is really a matter of perception. I think we create our own value in our lives. Many times we hold ourselves back by putting ourselves on life’s “Clearance” rack. We don’t put value on our own abilities and talents. We guess that others won’t either so we put creative action on hold. We can all learn from this young artist. She did the work, and felt it was of value and assumed someone else would too. And they did.
If you have a dream, and I think everyone should have one, what’s holding you back? Do you feel like you’re not good enough or don’t deserve it? We all have talents, skills, abilities and interests specifically and creatively wired together for a reason. We shouldn’t underestimate ourselves. Be bold,. Take the first step towards your dream. Walk up to the counter of life and ask. “How do I sell my painting?” you’ll be surprised how doors will begin to open and opportunities present themselves when you take the first step.
Art Saves Lives!