Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn


Visiting an Artist's Studio or Gallery, Happy Dance daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Happy Dance
5x7, acrylic on board

Those of us who have space in the Artist Colony at the Esplanade on Marco Island are doing the Happy Dance, just like the palms in today's Everglades painting. You may be quite comfortable visiting an art gallery or an artists studio, but if you're not, here's a few tips.

I've often had collectors visit my home studio. They've called ahead, know my work, may have something new in mind, or just want to see what's new. When I know someone is coming to visit I usually make my studio as neat as possible, and stop painting to spend time with the visitor. It's a little different at the Artist Colony.

At the new Artist Colony at the Esplanade and we're open to the public for many hours a day in a combination studio gallery. Anyone is welcome to come in, wander around, and see what's going on. Here's some advice to make stepping into an artist space a little easier:

Do come in. We're open because we want to introduce you to ourselves and our work. We may be at the easel painting or doing other chores like packing a painting for shipping or sketching out our next painting. Don't worry about interrupting us. We'll probably greet you, tell you what we're about, and then let you wander.

The work will probably be all around you, so feel free to take as long as you want to enjoy the work, and to identify any artwork that you'd like to know a little more about. Certain artists works will most likely to appeal to you more than others. We understand that.

Talk with us about what you see. It's OK to ask questions about the subject matter, the technique, or the color or design decisions that the artist has made. "Why did you paint the sky purple?" or "What is the inspiration for this painting?", are questions most artists will be happy to answer. It is best not to ask questions that are clearly geared to obtaining trade secrets.

It's OK to not like everything
. Art is very personal. You will probably like one artist's work more than others, and you will like certain paintings from the same artist more than others. If the art is original and considered, each piece will have a unique feel and response and it's OK to like some more than others. The artist probably does, too.

You don't have to buy. The purchase of a new piece of art is rarely a spur of the moment decision. Take your time, look at the work, and decide the style and subject matter are something you'd like to live with. You can start to follow that artist, become familiar with their work, and eventually become a collector.

However, when you do fall in love with an original, you should immediately indicate your interest in the piece to the artist so that you are not disappointed if a painting you especially like is sold to someone else.

Enjoy your visit. We'll be glad you stopped in. You may find that looking at, learning about, and talking about art is enjoyable. Come back often!


Anonymous said...

Buyers and future patrons are just as stymied by " art etiquette " as artists are about self-promotion.
I think you've done a fine job laying out the steps.
So fine in fact, that it would be interesting to see how people react if you post a copy of this outside the studio.
It's like instant permission.

I knew a very responsible and concerned bird shop owner who posted a sign in the front of his store which read :
10 Reasons For Not Buying a Bird.

It sorted out the flakes, and educated those sincerely interested.

I love seeing your work.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Sounds like a great plan. I'll try it and let you know if it works. Thanks, as always, for your comments.

Although many people tell me they read my blog, I get only an occasional comment so each is valuable to me.

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