I got a call awhile back, from a thrift store. It seems the $1200. painting that I donated to the church for their fundraiser had not sold. Instead of returning it to me, they had donated it to a thrift store. Some worker there had marked it for $25. The owner called me, having looked me up on my website. She wanted to know the “real” price of the painting.

At first, I was devastated in the heart. How could anyone dis-respect my work so much? Then, I realized that it was only because I had not provided protection, myself. Even more important (at least I think so in this moment) than for work which I sell, it is critical to attach a contract to work which I may donate as well, providing for return upon the contingency that it does not find a happy home. Needless to say, I will think more than twice before I consider donating anything to that church again.

I know that some of my work may take a long while to sell. I have an extensive collection of pieces yet waiting to be discovered and claimed by the one for whom it was painted. And, maybe, in the end, that person is me.

I paint directed by the muse. It is a spiritual process that is not attached to the foibles of the marketplace. That’s why I do graphic design and illustration for a living: to allow myself complete freedom from the limitations of cultures accepted style of the moment.

Certainly it could be up to me to educate people like those in charge of the donations collection at the church about respecting an artists work, or I could just build in the respect with a contract. Either way, I don’t take it personally.