Thursday, January 01, 2009



A painter opened his email and was thrilled to find a note from a gallery owner who appeared to own a nice gallery in a faraway city. The note explained that the gallery owner had visited the painter’s website, loved the painter’s work, but noticed that there were no prices posted. What, the gallery owner wondered, were the artist’s prices? This question sent the artist into a tizzy, as he had no idea if his prices were perhaps ridiculously high or, just as possibly, perhaps ridiculously low. He stewed about the matter for several days, feeling his usual lack of confidence grow exponentially. Finally he visited his friend, a successful artist with a great deal of confidence. “What should I do?” the painter cried. “I know I’m blowing this opportunity by not replying, but I don’t know what to say!”

His friend shook his head and laughed. “Get me the gallery’s phone number,” he said. The painter did that. His friend picked up the phone, dialed, and said, “I represent Jack Sprat. You emailed him about his prices. We are setting new prices this year and would love your input. His recent works, the ones you saw on his site, are each two feet by three feet. How would you like to price them?” The painter watched his friend listen, occasionally nod, and finally say, “Thanks! We’ll follow up on that in a day or two.” When his friend hung up, the painter almost leaped on him. “What did he say?” he cried. “That he would charge $2400 retail,” his friend replied, “and that he would like to try out two of your paintings, the blue one and the red one.” The painter was beside himself with joy. Then, suddenly, he said, “How did you DO that? You just picked up the phone and called!” At this, his friend shook his head. “Jack,” he said, “how could you NOT do that? The things that we need to do are actually incredibly simple … until our anxiety turns them into monsters!”


Patti Greco said...

Thank you so much for this incredibly inspiring column! Its honesty will help many talented artists gain an earthier perspective on the value of their work. It also describes an act of love between friends -- and that sharing only increases our abundance. Where would our lives take us if we could only imagine in larger circles? Patti Greco, professional intuitive and artist,

Beth Barany said...

Ah, yes, those anxiety monsters. They just blow things OUT of proportion. Thanks for this story!

May we all be able to pick up the phone and make those calls!

--Beth Barany, Novelist, Creativity Coach for Writers, and Artist Entrepreneur,

Lisa A. Riley said...

Funny, when we get the courage to face the monster (fear & anxiety) straight on, lean into it, see what's in the dark, it slowly loses its power and the monster isn't so scary after all :-)

Beth Barany said...

Lisa, I so agree with you. Sometimes, though, it's hard to slow down enough to "face the dragon." Whenever I do, I am so surprised and grateful for the results.

Lois J. de Vries said...

For some of us, it isn't fear, but perfectionism. "If I don't choose the exact, precise language that the potential buyer wants to hear, I won't make the sale...."