Tag Archives: online

How Do You Buy a Painting Online Direct from the Artist?

26 Mar

Buying art directly from the artist isn’t such an unusual thing. In these days of galleries and exhibitions and professional art organizations and non-profit art cooperatives, we’ve been trained into thinking that we can’t deal with, talk to, or see the artist directly, but really, this is one of the best ways to purchase art.

An original painting is an investment of time and love.

An original painting is an investment of time and love.

Why? First and foremost, when an artist doesn’t need to compensate for a gallery commission, he doesn’t need to raise his prices to adjust for it. That’s definitely a winning factor for the purchaser.

Just as importantly, the purchaser learns more about the painting and the painter, adding even more interest to the artwork.

Now when you live in the same town, or near to, the artist in question, you can frequently call to make a studio visit, and thereby view the artwork in person. When you live across the country, or even on another continent, this is more difficult, but as we purchase more and more items over the Internet, buying art online opens up wider vistas of possibilities for our walls.

At Steve Henderson Fine Art, we encourage people to look through the website and enjoy the images of Steve’s various works. On each page, an artwork will be identified by its medium (oil, watercolor), size of the painting itself — unframed — in inches, whether or not it is framed, price, and availability. When a client finds a piece in which he or she is interested, we encourage them to read about Our Prices, which gives an overview of why Steve’s works are priced the way they are.

Anyone who has looked for original fine art quickly learns that artwork has no hard or fast rule for how it is priced, and some really dreadful work out there is priced very, very high. Our Prices seeks to demystify some of this process, and further you along in your art purchasing education. Fine art, skillfully executed, is the result of an artist’s passion and expertise, and producing a beautiful painting takes time and ability.

Signed, limited edition prints are an affordable artwork option

Signed, limited edition prints are an affordable artwork option

Once a potential client finds an artwork in which he or she is interested, the next step is to contact the artist. We have a Contact form on our site — it’s easy to fill out, and if a form isn’t your thing, we provide a direct e-mail to Carolyn, the manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. We also chat with clients over the phone or via Skype, and this communication process is designed to answer clients’ questions and provide more information about the artwork and how it will fit into the space that the client has designed for it.

Do not be shy about this communication process — purchasing art is, indeed, a process, and an artist’s happiest clients are those who have had all their questions answered and feel confident about the artwork they are purchasing — they know its colors and subject matter, and how those elements will fit into the environment they have set up for it; they measure out its size on the wall to get an idea of how it will hang there; they are conversant with the artist and know more about the painting they are looking at; they are comfortable with the final price and have worked out with the artist a means of paying for it (we frequently set up no-interest payment plans).

We even offer posters of Steve's work -- very affordable fine art gifts for yourself and others.

We even offer posters of Steve’s work — very affordable fine art gifts for yourself and others.

Of course, hitting the PayPal Buy Now button is always an option, and many people who purchase signed, limited edition prints and posters do so with the same confidence that they download an e-book, but always, the option to contact the artist and get those questions answered is a valid one.

Don’t be shy.

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Buying Fine Art Directly from the Artist

21 Feb

I don’t know about you, but ten years ago I had difficulty buying anything but a book online over the Internet. I mean, what if I bought socks and they didn’t fit? (This problem was solved when I started knitting my own socks.) Or shoes?

And then I started buying things. I started with tea — I found a reputable tea dealer (Upton Tea, for those of you who are interested), and was ecstatic to find that their product — in addition to being something I couldn’t find locally — was superb, and their customer service was unparalleled.

Buying direct from the artist -- at least this artist -- saves you money. AND you can communicate with the artist personally.

Buying direct from the artist — at least this artist — saves you money. AND you can communicate with the artist personally.

From tea we went to all sorts of products, and now, a significant amount of our monthly purchases are made online through the Internet.

So what about fine art? Can you successfully purchase it over the Internet?

Given that we sell Steve’s paintings online, I would say, “Yes, definitely, depending from whom you are purchasing.” In the same way that I was ecstatic over my tea purveyor’s selection, quality, and customer service, we at Steve Henderson Fine Art take seriously these same elements:

1) We have a wide selection of artwork, in various prices, from which to choose. From originals to limited edition prints to posters, we span the price range and meet any budget.

2) The quality of Steve’s work — both of the actual artwork and the materials upon which it rests — is superb.

3) We stand behind everything we sell, from a PDF Article Booklet to an original painting.

4) We work as closely with our clients as they wish — each and every purchase made through the Buy Now Button is inidividually acknowledged, and clients are given detailed information as to when and how their product will be shipped. Many of our clients who purchase originals or limited edition prints communicate with us back and forth via e-mail or phone (and we now have the option to Skype), and we ensure that their questions are answered to their satisfaction — before, during, and after the sale.

5) For those people who wonder, “Who are you, anyway? How do I know it’s safe to buy through the individual artist as opposed to a ‘real’ gallery?” we willingly provide business and character references. You will not offend us by asking.

As you will see by reading Our Prices, one of the best things about buying directly from the artist — at least this artist — is that you do not pay the extra price to cover the gallery’s commission, which is frequently 50 percent of the painting’s sale price. Buying direct, in this case, really does save money.

Please feel free to contact us anytime at Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt.com.

The Punctuation Princess Says: Easy on the Exclamation Points! Please!

3 Feb

Cascadia, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

One of my favorite features of our daily newspaper, other than my own column, of course, is the Letters to the Editor page.

I have to hand it to the people at the Walla Walla Union Bulletin — not only do they print a balanced array of opinionated writers, from Clarence Page to John Stossel — they make a genuine point of printing each and every letter, and other than fxing obvius spllng mstakes, they keep the content pure and unadulterated.

With all respect to Misters Stossel and Page, I read the ordinary people first, and as a writer, I get especial enjoyment out of the variety of ways a variety of people have of saying a variety of things.

One itsy bitsy element stops me in my tracks, however, and this is the overuse of exclamation points.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These little ditties are like Tiramisu, the cloyingly rich Italian dessert composed of Savoiardi finger biscuits dipped in strong coffee, and encapsulated with Mascarpone cheese, spirits, sugar, cocoa, and double cream.

If it sounds like something that you shouldn’t eat for dinner every night, you’re right. Too much of a good thing.

A good thing!

Cascade Head, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

In the same way, exclamation points are punctuation items meant to be brought out for that special occasion, when the selective choice of the right adjective, adverb, noun, or verb, just doesn’t do the job.

Aarrrrgh!

Sometimes an inarticulate grunt or gasp or cry of anguish manages to express our feelings on the matter, but an entire composition of these utterances makes one wonder why the primeval Neanderthal bothered with the scratches on the cave walls in the first place.

Too often, people tack an exclamation point to the end of an insipid sentence, with the mistaken notion that it will somehow infuse hot scarlet overtones into a sepia-toned lithograph:

“This is so stupid!”

or, for even greater emphasis,

“This is soooooooo stupid!”

Aside from the obvious point that calling people or complex issues stupid does nothing to bring the other side into your court, this verbal laziness undermines the integrity of the writer, giving the reader the impression that this person is overly emotional, underly sensitive, and possessive of a working vocabulary of less than 500 words.

The better authors give examples:

“The other driver pulled into the opposing lane and rapidly accelerated to pass me — in an elementary school zone, during the lunch period, and at the crossing intersection. It is amazing how quickly a stout, middle-aged former heavy weight boxer crossing guard can react.”

or understate the issue for emphasis:

“I found the mayor’s conduct unprofessional when he flung his Dixie cup of fruit juice at the opposing councilman, and question whether his explanation that he had tripped is a valid one, given that both men were sitting down at the time.”

Al Fresco, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Decidedly, when a writer takes time to frame his phrases into strong constructions using words more complex than “nice,” “dumb,” “cool, man,”  or “gross,” then the letter on the whole is not only more interesting to read, it is highly likely that it actually says something, whether or not we agree with the writer’s opinion.

So, take that little box of exclamation points and put it in the back of the cupboard, removing it only on special, special occasions — which, incidentally, pretty much never occur on resumes, cover letters to prospective employees, business reports, or essays for a 101 English paper.

Invest in a physical thesaurus or use an online one, and play with different words in your writing (you might want to confirm the meanings in a dictionary as well — you can call your fiancee “buxom”, but she probably wouldn’t appreciate “ample”), and if a particular sentence doesn’t have the punch and panache you want without an exclamation point, it probably needs more thought as opposed to a line with a dot.

Focus on the Artist is a division of Steve Henderson Fine Art, providing articles to art lovers and people who want to be art lovers on art issues, writing matters, and general topics of interest.

Buying a Painting Online: Make Sure That What You See Is What You Get

1 Feb

Red Hills, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

As I mentioned in an earlier article, Purchasing a Painting over the Internet: Is It Safe? buying original fine artwork online is an increasingly viable and enjoyable way for people to improve the look of their living room walls.

Anyone who has looked up a recipe online knows that there are thousands of choices, and even a five-star rating does not guarantee success (against my better judgment, I once made a banana bread recipe calling for two cups of mashed bananas for one loaf of bread; the result, despite the five-stars, was a thick conglomerate of baked umber ooze more suitable as a doorstop than breakfast).

A painting, however, is more of a monetary investment than failed banana bread, and the prospective collector of an artist’s work wants to ensure that what he is seeing, and has fallen in love with, on the computer screen, looks even better once it is unpacked and hung over the sofa.

The first step toward achieving this satisfaction is using the common sense that I should have used with the banana bread recipe: if something doesn’t seem right — with the work, with the artist, with the website — then don’t blindly plunge ahead thinking that all will come out right in the end. If you have questions, then ask them, and continue asking questions until you are satisfied with the answers.

At Steve Henderson Fine Art, we communicate with studio clients via e-mail and phone, beginning with the initial contact (“I saw this painting I absolutely LOVE on your site,”) and following up with a series of communiques that acquaint us all more firmly with one another. Although Buy Now buttons are appended to studio pieces on the website, we have found that prospective buyers want to engage in conversation about a work first before hitting the button or sending the check, and rightly so.

Al Fresco by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Many clients want to know the story behind a particular piece — why Steve painted it, where it is located, whether it was painted on site or in the studio. Because Steve uses reference material that he has collected personally — and not from stock photo sites — we are able to supply a personal story for each work, from the historic Hughes House setting for Madonna and Toddler to the quirky race hiker encountered on the 9-mile trek to Hidden Lake. The Fruit Vendor remains my favorite story, a soft-spoken, Colombian market businesswoman who always saved behind the counter a special bunch of  bananas for her regular customers.

The story behind the work is an added bonus, as most people decide on purchasing a painting because it latches onto their psyche and demands to be a part of their lives. What matters is that they own it, and through the years, their own stories are added to its history.

It is important to us, when dealing with clients who are unable to come to the studio and see the work in person, that they have a firm idea of what the painting looks like in real life. An image on a backlit computer screen can look more  — or less — vibrant and colorful than it actually is, and Steve works to mitigate this issue by ensuring, through PhotoShop, that the image posted on the website is as accurate a replica of the original as he can make it. Individual screens vary, however, and what looks one way on one screen looks slightly different on another.

In our communications with clients, we send larger views of the work so that the buyer can zoom in and see the nature of the brushstrokes and the application of paint. If there is a gallery nearby (and with several in the Northwest, one in Arizona, one in Montana, and one in Connecticut, there are options), we encourage the buyer to visit and see Steve’s works in person, to get an idea of his overall style and palette.

On the Horizon, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

Because a painting is an investment — and a personalized one at that — many quality galleries have a policy of allowing the buyer a set period of time, generally two weeks to 30 days, to fully finalize the sale, with the option of returning the painting — unharmed and in its original condition — to the gallery should the buyer decide not to make the purchase.

We also ascribe to this policy, and it is in both our and our clients’ best interest to ensure that everything we can possibly do to educate a client about a work — BEFORE we complete the bill of sale and send the work to the client’s home — is done. To date, we have never yet welcomed back a work from its outward journey, and the general response has been, “It looks even better in real life than it does on the website!”

So, how much can you expect to pay for an original painting by an emerging or mid-career artist — the best, most affordable source of original work for the collector of non-Lear-jet means?

An excellent question, and one that deserves a future column of its own. Stay tuned . . .