Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Workshop with Collage Artist Nancy Barch

Collage had already made its way into my paintings for quite some time, but I wanted to take a workshop to learn more about materials and techniques. The three days I spent with Nancy Barch did not disappoint. Nancy is a gifted teacher who is able to inspire beginners as well as encourage those who are comfortable working on their own. 

We were shown detailed demos and then given the projects to try ourselves. Above is a redo of the first project which I totally did not get. I painted over the whole thing and used it for the second project which was image transfer. The bird is a transfer from an ink-jet copy using gel medium. Also used are a found leaf, a monoprint on rice paper, part of an acrylic painting, a tea bag paper and some charcoal drawing. It measures 9" X 12".

This one is on 10" X 15" illustration board which was first painted with layers of color. The section with trees is part of an old painting. I added monoprints on deli paper, painted paper towels, fabric and a piece of painted mat board with a bone button from an old assemblage piece. I also rolled on a pattern in the background at some point. And some acrylic ink was squirted here and there.

Also 10" X 15". Much the same approach and materials as the one above with the addition of gauze, commercially printed paper, dry wall tape, fabric, and a bit of drawing with charcoal. I will probably work on this one some more; applying more color to the gauze, integrating that piece of green, highlighting the little houses.

This one was so much fun! It's big, two 24" X 24" wood panels as a diptych. Painted the gold first, then applied various materials where I wanted to put the cat and the birds, cut stencils for the animal shapes and held the stencil onto the surface and scraped paint over the edges to create the silhoutte shapes. There are many materials used here; painted wax paper, monoprints with ink on deli paper and rice paper, construction paper, Thai banana paper, old painting pieces...some rolled pattern. Not finished yet, still in process. I hope to show you the finish next post.

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So, you might be wondering whatever happened with the gallery that wanted to return my paintings (last post). I will share the following with the sole intention of providing information to those of you who are in this business of selling your art so that through my experience you won't have to make the same mistake I made and I in no way mean to speak disparagingly of the gallery, which will remain nameless. Again, the bottom line is; get a written contract. It is the only way to make sure that you and the gallery you are working with is speaking the same language and to avoid a lot of headaches for both parties.

I proposed to the gallery that I would be willing to take back the paintings they didn't sell over the summer if they would consider changing our sales arrangement to one of consignment and reimburse me at that percentage (60/40 vs 50/50) for the paintings they did sell. Whether that changed their minds or something else I don't know, but I was then told that they would keep the paintings and I received a check for the paintings plus a 5% handling fee which was less than my original invoice. Let me explain.

My invoice was for the 13 paintings sold plus a shipping/handling cost which came to about 9% of the total cost of the paintings. The 9% was my total expenditure for getting the pieces to the gallery (gas) plus all the packaging.

When the people from the gallery bought the 13 paintings at the show I was so giddy I started babbling about how much fun it would be to deliver the pieces myself and see a part of the country I've never seen before. The way they understood this was that I was willing to ship these 13 paintings the considerable distance for nothing. A stupid mistake on my part, not to mention unprofessional. They had asked me what my additional percentage was and I said 5%, meaning 5% for handling in addition to shipping costs, but did I actually say that? No. I assumed (a really bad word here) that like most galleries, they would cover shipping costs in addition to the handling fee.

The next thing that happened was that an artist who had sold to the gallery for many years informed me that they required custom boxes and packaging for each piece. I did write a snail mail letter to the gallery asking them to confirm this and didn't get a reply, but I went ahead and ordered all the custom packaging materials anyway. Now, in all the discussion about all of this the gallery has never told me that I needed to do that. So, I can't really expect them to reimburse me for all that, can I? The artist who told me about the packaging also offered to take the pieces to the gallery with his if I could bring them halfway to his house. This was my gas expense. I asked this artist how he worked out the s/h charge with the gallery and was told his formula for gas plus packaging and that it all came out for him around 6%. This works well for him because the gallery buys big with him and 6% of big covers his expenses. My total was not as big, so my 5% barely covered the cost of some of the packaging let alone the travel.

So, after a lot of messy back and forth about who said or didn't say what, I'm still not sure it's a win/win. I did get paid, but lost some money in the transaction, and the gallery gets stuck with 10 paintings they probably don't have great feelings about anymore. All of which would have been avoided with an agreement in writing about how things were going to happen and what was expected of each of us. Not only that, this is a super gallery where I probably could have had a great future. Please learn from this! Take care of yourself.

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