Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

Essential to the Human Spirit

February 12, 2017 in Art,art education,Art Gallery,Artists,Color,Colorado,Fine Art,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Oils,Old Colorado City,Paintings,Personal Development,PTSD | Comments (0)

arthumanspiritBecause I own an art gallery, I am often asked if I am an artist. No, but I love art and value art creators. I have been passionate about art since I could hold a crayon in my hand.  By the time I entered high school, I was hooked and collecting was most satisfying to me. I started collecting glass and small paintings on trips outside the country. Then I took a closer look at local artists and changed my focus. Today, my passion for art takes me wherever I can find it, to writing about it, and to working closely with artists and those who want to learn.

I’ve written and read dozens of articles about why art is important in our lives and talked about how it impacts our lives. In spite of my passion, I believe more people misunderstand art than those who appreciate it.  Art has been important to mankind since the first cave man etched in stone and continues to be used for purposes beyond creativity, self-expression, and communication.

What I love most about art is that it brings people together.  I’ve never heard of art starting a war, committing a violent act against another person, transmitting a deadly disease or hating its viewer because of some prejudice. Art welcomes your stares and dialog. Art doesn’t care if you can speak the language of the artist; it does not discriminate. It isn’t concerned if you have limitations, acute senses or not, are educated, successful, rich or poor. People with opposite beliefs, from different cultures, having different abilities can all appreciate the same work of art or dismiss it. Art is here for everyone to engage in and enjoy, using one’s own aptitude and skill. Let’s not forget, today art is more affordable than ever before and can be purchased and enjoyed in our homes and the workplace. It is more easily acquired than any time in history.

There are so many reasons why Art is important and essential to the human spirit. It can serve as therapy and heal broken lives. Art affects us all in different ways and only you can determine its value. It can transport us to the past and launch us into the future. The connection we make with a piece of art is sometimes surprising and can be life-changing.

It is impossible to experience art without experiencing values of home and family, work and play, the individual and community, nature and the environment, war and peace, beauty and ugliness, pain and love. At Hunter-Wolff Gallery we bring you art that you can experience and value in your own special way. We look forward to hearing how art is important in your life and what plans you have to bring it into your life in 2017.

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Collecting Art: A Journey of Tiny Steps

May 7, 2015 in Art,art education,Art Gallery,Colorado,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Oils,Personal Development | Comments (0)

GalleryJanelleMy adult children often quote their Dad who wisely pointed out, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”  — one of his favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson. He would urge our children and friends to enjoy life’s journey regardless of outcome even when they experienced a disappointment.

Collecting art is a journey too.  Sometimes we are afraid of what we don’t know and don’t trust our instincts.  As an art collector and gallery owner, I have often seen the look in someone’s eyes, even tears, when a special work of art triggers an emotion. But too often they walk away empty handed because of their lack of experience or understanding of a particular art form. They fail to experience the wonderful gift of art as part of their personal journey.

Like anything one does in life, it is important to be confident and trust ones instincts when considering  art.  A meaningful work of art in our life adds a new dimension to the person we can be.  It connects us to the world we live in similar to other art forms such as a beautiful song or memorable stage performance or award-winning literature. These experiences make us who we are, a more fulfilled and interesting being.
How often have you purchased tickets for a show and walked out disappointed?  Started a book everyone raved about, and put it down out of boredom? You might even purchase a piece of art that you are less than enchanted with later, but does that mean that you can’t enjoy art … or read another book or go to another performance?   Taking tiny steps, on your journey of life, allows you to grow and  smell the roses along the way. As you get more confident with your own tastes and spend a little time exploring what types of art speak to you, you will find the perfect gem to make your life sweeter.
Start today. Take a step toward the journey of collecting.  It is fascinating and exciting. In closing, I share another Emerson quote that happens to be one of my favorites:  “It is not the length of life, but the depth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Your Pathway to Learning

August 29, 2014 in American Made,Art,art education,Art Gallery,Artists,Justin Clements oils,Oils,Old Colorado City,Paintings,Personal Development | Comments (0)

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OnionsAGlass Bottle12x161Artists are inspired by all sorts of things that can lead them down a new path causing a change or improvement in their style. One of Hunter-Wolff Gallery’s up and coming artists Justin Clements, recently delivered a  dozen or so new paintings that grabbed my attention.  I noticed he was doing something new with bits of color that looked like confetti over his painting.  This new addition to his work has an interesting effect and I  specifically asked  about the little pieces of color. At first, he smiled and was pleased I noticed but  didn’t have a ready answer.

After leaving to return to his studio, he  started  thinking about my probing question and realized something that had not occurred to him before. The last six months or so Justin had been studying the French impressionist movement and, specifically, the timeless works of Claude Monet. Monet’s work truly moved him and had a profound affect on Justin. Although several days had gone by, Justin contacted me to let me know he believed studying Monet’s style  influenced him to look at problems of light and color in a new way. Justin thanked me for noticing the tiny change that made such a big difference in his work and mentioning the detail that lead to this fun realization.

You never know where, when or how your questions might trigger deeper thought.  This is what art does.  Original art makes us think and stimulate conversation.  Take time today to look deeply at a piece of original art and see if you can come up with several questions for the artist or owner of the art.  You never know what path your question will take you. Learning about art is fun. See more new original paintings today at Hunter-Wolff Gallery.

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Uninspired? It’s Only Temporary

August 2, 2014 in Art,Art Gallery,Artists,Paintings,Personal Development | Comments (0)

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWe all have moments, or maybe even years go by, when we  feel uninspired and wish we could find that magic  to do something creative or rewarding. Inspiration is about the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something special but it might be simply just to DO SOMETHING.

In the art world, we often talk about inspiration and where it comes from and how get it.  There are even workshops to help with “inspirational block” similar to writer’s block. If you talk to a dozen artists about where they get their inspiration from, each has a different answer. It is particularly important to artists to learn how to tap into that magic as it is critical to their livelihood.

Whether an artist or not, inspiration can be just as important in ones everyday life. Being inspired allows us to respond in a positive way from the right mental stimulation, feel something extraordinary, and do those things that bring joy and added excitement. Those who feel inspired tend to have a more rewarding life filled with unexpected pleasure.

For example, I learned a valuable lesson years ago when I met a man who was a master gardener and his property was surrounded with beautiful gardens, gorgeous plants and flowers artistically displayed. It was a masterpiece and inspired many in our neighborhood to plant and learn more about gardening.  But the biggest reward was how this man brought our little neighborhood together where friendships grew as much as the interest in gardening. Because of this one experience, gardening is a special time for me.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment and often becomes a gateway to new friendships.  The inspiration we collectively felt by this one individual was a turning point for our little neighborhood and I often think about how it applies to life in general.

The key to tapping into inspiration is to be aware of your surroundings, those around you and your own thoughts.  For artists, taking time to visit an art gallery might  be the impetus to finding the inspiration they need to create their next masterpiece. For the rest of us, inspirational block is typically temporary and the key to unlock ones creativity can be closer than you know. Walt Disney said it best, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

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Gallery Representation: A Strong Relationship

April 8, 2014 in Art,art education,Art Gallery,Artists,Development,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Personal Development | Comments (0)

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WherepiritDaVinciAs an art gallery entrepreneur, artists frequently ask what I expect from an artist. Getting your foot in the door is one thing, but after representation is offered, the difficulty many artists have is staying on course with the gallery.  Too few artists understand that their long-term success in a gallery depends on one thing – “building a strong relationship”.

When two people come together, one business and one creative, the expectations need to be clear from the start for the relationship to thrive. Much like marriage where opposites attract, the relationship becomes an opportunity to learn from one another and appreciate each other’s strengths.  

Entrepreneurs assess opportunities and weigh the risks. They are planners and have financial goals. A new artist is a risk but their potential is important to the gallery’s goals.  Depending on the artist’s potential, the gallery determines how much time, money and display space to invest.  The artist gains an advantage when he/she comes to the table not only with potential but with commitment, personal goals, and core values that align with the gallery.

There isn’t anything more disappointing than having invested in an artist who decides to leave shortly after arrival because they decide to promote their work in a different way or do something else with their lives. Research also shows that the absentee artist and one-hit wonders are disappointments that make galleries cringe.  Galleries are also super cautious about artists who are capable, but show signs of limitations, are unreliable, change style frequently, or simply behave unprofessionally.

From a business perspective, I appreciate artists who have some knowledge of business and recognize what a successful business partnership involves. Those lacking business experience need to show a willingness to learn and accept the terms of their new relationship. Everyone values artists who understand their role in the partnership, even in times of hardship or adversity. The relationship can only blossom when players are cooperative.

After an artist lands a position in a gallery, he/she cannot assume everything is peachy because time has passed without major issues.  An artist needs to be attentive because the gallery is ALWAYS looking at the future if they want to be in the future.  Being a silent partner does not make a good partner.  Relationships will continue to advance when responsibility is shared. Communicate with your gallery and take time to ask how to make improvements. There are artists out there as qualified as you and ready to take your spot, and galleries are ALWAYS looking for opportunities to improve their future. 

Successful partners share prosperity and enjoy a rewarding, long-term relationship.  It’s not just about getting along, but showing mutual respect for what each brings to the table. Frequently gallery owners describe their ideal business relationships with artists like friendships. Personalities have to match. “It’s easy to love great art work but when personalities clash, a business relationship will never work.” It doesn’t have to be a love-fest but partners do have to get along and have respect for one another.

Here’s a few tips to keep your gallery happy and forge a relationship that will stand the test of time:

  • Become familiar with the gallery’s history, plans, and philosophy.
  • Get acquainted with all staff members and help educate your representatives about your technique and background.  Stories sell art!
  • Make promotion of your work easy for the gallery.  Provide quality images and full descriptions, videos, schedule live demonstrations, and keep up with the gallery’s social networks.
  • Stay engaged!  It only takes minutes to call or send a text message and keep communications open.
  • Be flexible about pricing and willing to work with the gallery to make sales. Do not let someone else’s advice convince you to increase your prices.  Trust your gallery; they have knowledge that can guide your strategic plans. An inappropriate price increase can push your prices too high resulting in lost sales. Be aware that it is far better to sell everything at reasonable prices than nothing at unreasonable prices.
  • Ask your gallery what they need for their clientele.  Never deliver new work without approval or push work that is not wanted.
  • Keep requests to a minimum and never make demands. Remember, you are not the business owner and the owner is responsible for the bottom-line.
  • Keep in contact without overdoing it.  Ask the gallery how often makes sense to “check-in” if you are unsure.  Some might want to communicate every week while other gallery owners are comfortable with once a month.

Stay positive and remember to recognize all the work your gallery does on your behalf. Send us tips that work for you too and they will  be shared in a follow-up post.

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Gallery Representation: Getting Your Foot In The Door

April 2, 2014 in Art Gallery,Artists,Development,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Personal Development,Teaching | Comments (0)

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HWGshowroomHow does an artist find the best gallery representation? … Not perfect but best?  Like any relationship, it will be more satisfying if you search for the best scenario and not expect perfection. As a gallery owner, I advise artists to think about finding a gallery like looking for a job.  It is more productive to identify a few potential galleries and determine if you are a good match, then working hard to make it happen. If you have a good body of work and are ready, take the next step to make contact.

Keep in mind before taking that step, however, that there will be a time when things don’t go exactly as planned. Like any career, if you work long enough you will experience some downs with the ups—and may have to endure a difficult boss (or gallery) for a brief period. But I believe that the majority of time, business dealings are positive and that goes for gallery relationships too. It is counterproductive to let a few bad experiences color your beliefs and attitudes about gallery relationships—especially those rumored.  Remember, dealing with an art gallery is a business relationship and it takes two to tango! As in all cases, there are always two sides to a story so don’t put much stock into the tales (gossip) from a third party.  Some people are very good at pointing fingers and blaming others when things don’t work out.

You will benefit by taking time to scope out a gallery quietly.  Visit their website, read their newsletters, attend their events, talk to their artists and visit to observe how the staff conducts business.  You will learn a ton of information just by observing.  You want the gallery to work for you and the gallery wants you to work for them. Would you work for a company that was short on integrity or had a poor reputation?  Of course not. Nor would a gallery want “to hire” someone without integrity or commitment. Make sure your prospects are a good fit and your art could benefit or contribute to the gallery. Don’t overlook the fact that a gallery has its own personality and it should fit with yours. Then call or write for a personal interview with the decision maker (gallery owner). If you can’t find information on the gallery’s website about how their submission process works, be sure to ask.  Never show up without an appointment.  Be respectful of the gallery’s business hours and the staff’s time.

To prepare for your interview, be sure to complete your due diligence ahead of time and stick to the schedule the gallery sets up for your meeting. Be professional, dress appropriately and take examples of your best work or portfolio.  The gallery will have a list of questions for you, so you too should be prepared with answers about your track record and your own questions about their processes and programs.

If and when you are invited to join a gallery, work hard to meet the gallery’s expectation and don’t forget to ask them “what can I do?” to help with sales and promotion.  Like any relationship, it takes two working together to achieve a long and rewarding experience.

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Blazing My Own Trail

September 20, 2013 in Art,art education,Art Gallery,Fine Art,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Old Colorado City,Personal Development | Comments (0)

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Welcome to Hunter-Wolff Gallery

It is nearly 8 years since we opened our door on W. Colorado Avenue in Colorado Springs.  I have to admit, I wasn’t sure it was something I would be good at or even enjoy.  Owning a gallery in charming Old Colorado City was one of the best decisions I ever made regarding career choices.  It’s hard to imagine that I spent almost three decades in the high-tech telecom field, traveling around the world, and giving up the things I really loved to do.  Not anymore.

Today, I pour my heart and soul into what I do and love every minute of it.  Yes, there are days when I shake my head and question why I work so many long hours, but it is just something that is in my blood. We’ve all heard it before, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Isn’t that the way it should be?  Finding your right place in the world is so important and doing what brings pleasure and satisfaction keeps the world turning.  I can’t image doing anything else and I plan to be on this “trail” for as long as possible.  I hope you come and visit Hunter-Wolff Gallery and meet some of the amazing people who make my day almost perfect.

I wish you too a happy career — where you too never have to work a day in your life.  It’s out there, you just have to look and take a chance.

 

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Slow Down, Take Time to Smell the Roses

May 19, 2013 in American Made,Art,art education,Art Gallery,Artists,Best of the Springs,Color,Colorado,Custom Art,Fine Art,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Oils,Old Colorado City,Paintings,Personal Development,Shop Small | Comments (0)

Beautiful Oils by Justin Clements under $375

Have you ever thought about who you would like to meet from the past, if it was possible? My list is long and includes many artists like Michelangelo, Marc Chagall, Leonardo Di Vinci, Claude Monet, Andy Warhol, etc., but one American author, poet, and philosopher, would have to be Henry David Thoreau.  I love the brilliance of this man and that he said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” This truth resonates with me every time I walk into Hunter-Wolff Gallery.

Having spent a fair amount of time selecting and sharing beautiful art work at Hunter-Wolff Gallery in Colorado Springs, there isn’t a more appropriate quote to stimulate a conversation. This often leads to digging a little deeper and learning what triggers a connection between the viewer and the art.  Be sure to take time (more than a glance please!) to experience a painting or some other form of art to find a connection with what you are looking at. When we “take time to smell the roses” we have a more rewarding experience and it is just as important to “take time to feel the art”.  Life is short and making time to enjoy the gifts of fine artists is a fulfilling experience.
The next time you visit Hunter-Wolff Gallery or any other art venue, slow down, turn off your cell phone (or better yet, leave it at home), and appreciate the talent that is before you.  Be sure to ask questions about the artist and his work and learn something new for a more fulfilled life!

 

“Life is short, Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.” Mark Twain

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A New Journey

April 14, 2013 in Art,art education,Art Gallery,Artists,Development,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Paintings,Personal Development,Teaching | Comments (0)

Prairie Storm, 9 x 12, by Pamela Poll

My late husband always said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”  — one of his favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was a wise man and so was my husband.  He would urge our children and friends to enjoy life’s journey regardless of outcome when they experienced a disappointment or failure with this quote.  Collecting art is a journey too.  Sometimes we are afraid of what we don’t know and don’t trust our instincts.  As a gallery owner, I have often seen the look in someone’s eyes, even tears, when a special painting triggers an emotion, but because of their lack of experience or understanding of a particular art form they walk away empty handed. They fail to experience the wonderful gift of art as part of their journey.

Like anything we do in life, it is important to trust our instincts when thinking about art.  Including meaningful works of art in our life changes who we are.  It adds a new dimension to the person we can be.  It connects us to the world we live in similiar to other art forms such as a beautiful song, or memorable stage performance or award-winning literature. These experiences make us who we are, a more fullfilled being.
How often have you purchased tickets for a show and walked out disappointed?  Started a book everyone raved about, and put it down out of boredom? You might even purchase a piece of art that you are less than enchanted with months down the road, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy art … or reading another book or going to another performance?  We all make mistakes. Taking tiny steps, on your journey of life, allows you to grow and … smell the roses along the way. As you get more familiar with your own interests, tastes, and spend a little time exploring what types of art speak to you, you will find the perfect gem to make your life sweeter.  Take a step toward the journey of collecting.  It is fastinating and exciting.
In closing, I share another Emerson quote that happens to be one of my favorites:  “It is not the length of life, but the depth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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You Want to be a What?

January 10, 2013 in Art,Art Gallery,Colorado,Development,Events,Hunter-Wolff Gallery,Old Colorado City,Paintings,Personal Development,Small Business,Teaching | Comments (0)

When you own a business, you are likely approached by job-seekers at some point in the day or week or month.  If you are lucky, the job opportunities you offer are well defined and responsibilities are clear.  Then there are the jobs like “curator” that isn’t always well-defined and the job seeker can’t clearly define what they are experienced at or the value of their skills.

People want to work.  People needs jobs and people need purpose.  When I ask ‘Job-Seeking Joe’ to describe to me what he thinks a curator does, the reply is often met with a blank stare or the comment, “I can hang pictures.”  Well, I am here to tell you a curator does more than that and the following is just the beginning.

What is a gallery curator and his responsibility? The curator is the overseer of the gallery art collection and the key responsibilities at the top of the list are generally managing the acquisition of art, handling delivery/returns, developing short- and long-term exhibit plans, and displaying a collection in order to inform, educate and inspire the public as well as provide proper exposure for the artist. The specific needs of a curator can vary from gallery to gallery, resulting in an opportunity for the job seeker to develop his/her own responsibilities.

In smaller galleries, the curator may also handle public relations, marketing, fundraising, and events. Curators prepare and manage budgets, train and manage staff, and build relationships with both internal and external partners, clients, and stakeholders.

Sounds like the curator is a business owner? Sometimes the entrepreneurial owner is the curator. It is not unusual to find galleries managed single-handedly or with few staff or sales personnel.  It’s a challenge that takes many talents, business skills and a level of expertise, and experience grows with time.  I’ve been curating for seven years and few would want my job . . . and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

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