Why Sell Art? Why Buy it?

by Laureen on December 5, 2012

Judy Gunter, “#5081 Davidson, 2009”

I’m sitting in the gallery. It’s a slow week and sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. Then a woman walks in. Without hesitating, she heads to the print rack where the unframed photographs live and begins to flip through them. “Do you have any more of Judy Gunter‘s pictures?” she asks. Judy is a Val Marie photographer who specializes in intimate portrayals of the ranching way of life and the people who live it. “I saw one of them at someone’s house and I need to have that one.”

Elaine Robitaille, sunflower bracelet

It’s another day in the gallery. Two little girls are looking at small glass bowls hand-decorated by Elaine Robitaille. Elaine uses polymer clay to make beads that are delicate and faithful reproductions of prairie flowers and makes them into lovely earrings, bracelets and necklaces.  The little girls have asked about the jewellery, but these pieces cost just a bit too much for little girls. But Elaine also incorporates fine versions of the beads onto glass bowls and vases or strings them onto three-dimensional bookmarks, which she sells at seemingly impossibly low prices. The girls are doing their Christmas shopping, and for $10 each they have found perfect gifts for their moms. Their faces are so proud.

Robert Ducan, belt buckle, Cherry Creek jasper

One more day. I’m sitting at the gallery’s table at the local craft fair. I’ve never done this before. I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would want what I have to offer. A man almost passes by, then he stops. He picks up one of Robert Ducan‘s hand-polished stone belt buckles, and he turns it over in his hand. He puts it down and picks up another, and another. He picks up the first one again, and I can tell from the way he handles it that he is marveling at its beauty. He has clearly fallen in love.

James R Page, “Badger

Later that afternoon, someone looks slowly and carefully at everything on the table, but she’s caught by small-format wildlife photos by James R Page. They sit in a basket, unframed, and they show us the quiet lives of Grasslands birds and animals as if the photographer somehow weren’t present. The camera must be there, because we have the images, but the animals seem to accept the photographer and his equipment and us and carry on with their days. The woman goes through all the photos, and she goes through them again. She chooses three.

Catherine Macaulay, “Grasslands Garden: Prickly Pear”, watercolour on paper

Another woman is brought to a standstill by Catherine Macaulay‘s watercolours. One is placed on an easel and another lies flat on the table.  Catherine paints the prairie, but she doesn’t paint the vista we expect to see. Catherine focuses on plants we might otherwise just walk over, and meditates intently through her paintings on the Grasslands outside her home and studio window. The woman picks up the painting on the table and gazes at it. She holds it for some time.

Maria Enns and Cecilia Enns Schulz, Notebook: “Find Beauty in Moments: Gold”

Someone else discovers that she loves the handmade notebooks of recycled paper made by Maria Enns and Cecilia Enns Schulz. Each one is different, and each has surprises on every page. They’re almost magic. I don’t blame this person for needing two trips to the table to select the one she will make hers.

This is what I’m doing here. I’m offering people the gift that changes lives.  Art can change your life, or the life of someone you care about. And it costs less than you think. There’s a wonderful selection in the gallery and in the gallery’s online shop. I can’t wait to show you.

Grasslands Gallery is open two more weeks only this year, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday until December 15. We happily gift wrap all gift orders placed by December 12, send them to anywhere you choose, and include a note from you – all you need to do is let us know.

PS — Know someone else who might enjoy this? Pass it on!

The blog is a series of posts from one artist/art gallery owner in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. I hope you will find yourself and your spirit reflected in it.


Jeanne Apelseth December 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

Laureen, I look forward to and just love reading your blog posts. Always inspiring! Makes me wish I was in your area so I could be a part of your gallery! 🙂

Laureen December 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Jeanne, what a lovely thing to say! Thank you. At least maybe you can come visit some time and we can get acquainted for real. Your photos are gorgeous.

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