Talent is not enough…

It’s not enough, simply to have artistic talent. Oh, it may be enough for the painting of beautiful pictures, but artists have to eat, too.

One of the hardest parts of making a living out of art is sometimes not the making of the actual artworks, it’s getting people in through the door. And selling them artwork, of course, but getting them through the door is the first task.

I exhibit with a small group of artists we call ‘Spring Farm Arts‘, after our venue. I wouldn’t exactly say we are in the middle of nowhere – we are not quite that central. In the Somerset rural landscape the view is lovely, but it isn’t exactly teeming with people ready to drop in at our open days. So sometimes one of the most important activities as a self-employed artist is the wielding of a sharp Stanley knife to cut up large pieces of yellow corrugated plastic, and an ability to sneak up and put up signs on grass verges and whip them away again before the council get too upset about it.

Spring Farm Arts yellow arrows
Spring Farm Arts yellow arrows

We’re pretty good at leaflets, too… and articles for the local papers, who would charge for an advert, but if we send them something interesting with a nice photo, will often put it in as a feature for free. Of course thinking up something new to say each time is the trick.

But now, I had to show you this – one of my fine and sturdy plastic arrows wedged immovably in our village post box!

The unfortunate fate of a noble yellow arrow
The unfortunate fate of a noble yellow arrow

It was no doubt hilarious to some drunk people, as, apparently, was the attempted removal of one of the doors of one of Spring Farm’s tractors in the same night, and miscellaneous other petty acts of vandalism.

On the bright side, this sort of thing doesn’t generally go on round here, and it does at least give me a reason to show you our post box at all. It is green. Sage green to match the windows of the house it’s in. The ex-postmistress, whose house it is, paints it to match. Once, when she was on holiday, the post office people snuck out and painted it post office red again. Only once… I think she scared them because they have never tried since.

The bejewelled crown at the top was my work, after she glued on some jewels for the Queens birthday one year and complained that someone had peeled them off. I am no particular Royalist, but this was a technical challenge, and if I stick jewels on a postbox I expect them to stay there for quite some time. They’ve been there for years now, though the gold could do with a bit of a touch up. It’s amazing the variety of skills that come in handy with this job…

Sage green and bejewelled: Moorlinch's unique postbox
Sage green and bejewelled: Moorlinch’s unique postbox

6 Comments

  1. Nancy how nice to see an artist admit that one has to be a ‘tradesman’ too,as was Turner, Constable and |Gainsborough to name a few.
    They had to sell work to live and some of those old chaps were pretty commercial about it in their day. So much for a portrait, so much if you wanted your wife in it and so much more if the horse and the family seat were in the background. And the steel engravings that were done of Turners coastal pictures were the equivalent of making a pop record almost.
    So don’t apologize for putting yourself about a bit and not hiding your light under a bushell , go for it.

    1. Thank you Michael! Words from a well-known Somerset artist are particularly appreciated… Hello and thank you for stopping by here!

  2. Reblogged this on notes to the milkman and commented:
    Having recently sold just one of my prints for £20 at a fair where I’d paid £25 for the table, I know how Nancy feels!

  3. Nice. I love it when small details get the respect they deserve. Like the grace notes on Victorian ironwork.

    1. Quite right: It’s all about the details, if you think they’re not important then the whole thing fails…

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