Friday, July 16, 2010

The One That Got Away

     When I look back on my early career, it seems as if things took off fast in some aspects, and in others, it felt like I was crawling.  Within the first year, I was asked to exhibit in good galleries and there was respectable interest in my work.  But I also struggled to gain admittance into national shows, and the major art magazines weren’t exactly beating down my door.  I realized rather quickly that out-producing the competition was going to take focus, direction and action.
     Interestingly enough, while being so totally focused and working on producing the best quality of work I could, I let a painting I really should have kept in my personal collection slip away.
    I had just recently been accepted to a small, but quality, gallery in Breckenridge, Colorado.  In my excitement to stack this gallery with the unbelievable works of Mark Kohler, I sent a painting of my wife Pam, titled “The Ending”.
     I immediately felt a nagging regret as soon as the painting left the studio, but put the negative thoughts on the back burner --- put it right out of my mind.  I might get a sale!
     Two weeks later, with that small still voice picking away at my conscience, I made the call to the gallery to return the piece.  The owner informed me that the painting was out on consignment, meaning a potential buyer was living with the painting to determine if it was compatible with themselves and their home.
     I informed the gallery that I wished the painting returned if the buyer declined the purchase.  This became a lesson I learned the hard way!  The only real chance I had of getting that painting back was to keep my mouth shut and hope they declined.  Of course, since I had expressed my desire for the painting, well, you can guess the outcome.
     Never have I been so disappointed in a sale!  The $850 purchase price was hardly compensation for such a hasty and rash decision.  Fifteen years later, I still think about that painting.
     So why am I telling you this sad story?  To save you the angst I have suffered.  If you have a connection to a painting, live with it awhile; let it hang around.  You might find it has more of a hold on your soul than you realized.  Pieces of soul grow back slowly with time, and are usually accompanied by regret….. and more time ….. and more regret.
     Use my map through the fire as an example of what not to do.   Paintings are a part of you and meant to be shared.  But there are some that lay claim to your heart and you should never let them go.  Take it from me!                                            All content and images © Mark Kohler Studio. 


  1. How about repainting it? Or using an updated shot to do another painting of Pam?

    ...Okay, yes, I realise it's not the same thing.

  2. For me, I had that one good photo, that resulted in a painting that meant something to me, and now I can't get it back. Maybe the buyers will stumble across this blog.

    Wouldn't that be something?

  3. If I had it, I'd give it to you. Then you'd be in my debt forever.

  4. I'm already in your debt with my saddle chair. I love you, but you scare me!

  5. I suppose you could use the same picture to do an exact replica. How about doing an updated version? Take some shots of Pam doing her Pam things. You already know she's an excellent subject. :-) (And she makes a mean lunch!)

    As for Linda, don't worry about her. You're not blood nor marriage related so you've got a free pass for life. Me, on the other hand.... ;-p

  6. Some say artists get too attached to their "work", not realizing that as the image evolves it can connect through and to the soul and develop it's own heartbeat. Like a favorite horse that "got away", there is sometimes an immediate feeling that we shouldn't have sold it and sometimes it's only years later that we recognize the loss. I admire your willingness to share your feelings of loss with us and the obvious love you have for Pam. I hope you are blessed to create another painting of her that touches you so deeply. And when you do, that we are blessed to see it.

  7. Thanks for the great comment and it's obvious you understand what our work means to us. This blog has been a great way to express all the emotions, trials and rewards of being an artist. And it's great when my readers respond. I hope you will continue to check in every day to see what's on my mind and in my heart.