Open for Business

16 Dec

You’d think that with an artist in permanent residence, there would be ample paintings for the walls, even if we do get to enjoy them only until they’re sold. But the Norwegian Artist, like many artists, enjoys collecting the works of colleagues, especially those whom we get to know personally, or, e-personally.

Many Hued, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

To this end, I was at a gallery last week and was just at the point of purchasing a miniature by a talented watercolorist. But I decided to go to lunch first and finalize the purchase in my mind. (This is another great reason for artists to purchase art — you begin to understand the mindset of a purchaser and see that you, too, do not lightly and impulsively undertake the additions to your collection.)

“How long are you open?” I asked the gallery associate.

“Three p.m.,” he answered.

So off I went for Thai red curry beef and coconut ice cream with black bean sauce (this latter is oddly tasty, not remotely resembling refried beans over ice cubes). At 2:40 I was back — to a closed gallery.

While apparently, according to a second associate, it had been a slow day, this really isn’t a good reason to close up shop 20 minutes, or even five minutes, early. In our little town, we have a bakery that is successful through no efforts of its own, since it regularly runs out of popular items, employs baristas who cannot make the same two coffee orders resemble one another, and indiscriminately closes early when things feel slow and everyone just feels like wandering on home.

Do not try this in your own business.

Maybe you’re like us, with a studio open by appointment and with much of your communication done via e-mail, phone, and the website — in this case, while your day doesn’t necessarily run from 8 to 5, you also don’t have to be on board 24/7. You just have to be on top of things enough to respond well within a business day to an inquiring client or gallery. While I may send an inquiry out at 11 p.m. on a Friday, I sure don’t expect a response until Monday or Tuesday, and most people are of the same level of reasonability.

But if you do have regular, posted hours, will you please keep them?

Regarding that watercolor, I still want it, and it’s not the artist’s fault that the place closed early. I will, however, let him know, so that he can let his gallery know, and hopefully, I can enjoy a green chicken curry this time, polished off by more coconut ice cream and black bean sauce, with a final dessert of that gorgeous little watercolor.


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