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What you pay for when you buy an original piece of art

Early October. That time of year when we are just trying to get our households through Halloween before we even want to hear a Christmas song or see a decoration... but for me preparing holiday work began in August (and that feels late).

As artists we need to anticipate busy times of year, such as shows or times of year when sales are key, such as Christmas. And part of my anticipation is starting my annual holiday ornaments.

I was lucky enough last year to sell out of my little wood ornaments, and at the rate I'm going it does not look like this year will be an exception (darn why didn't I start in June!). And when people come to me to buy the ornaments, or a painting to give for the holidays, it always gives me a sense of profound gratitude (yes every single time). There is a saying that a local business will do a little dance every time you support them, and it is very true.

So what are you really paying for when you buy a piece of art?

There are the more obvious direct things that come to mind. For example, the ornaments I sell each year pay for all of our holiday gifts and make that Santa gift under the tree extra special for our kids. The ornaments and paintings I sell also go towards all the expensive winter gear for two growing boys, and it pays for our family's extra curricular activities. This creates a quality of life that we are really grateful for.

But when you buy an original art piece, you are also supporting the artist so they can purchase more supplies, undertake workshops or classes to improve their skills and find their community. But one of the biggest impacts you have when you buy a piece of art, is that you are supporting that artist's confidence. The fact that you chose to spend your dollars to buy something that is a personal expression, something that took a lot of vulnerability and courage to put out into the world, is incredibly affirming. It helps us as working artist keep going, knowing that our process and our project felt like a worthwhile endeavour.

I always tell my preschool art students that we never say anything negative about anyone else's artwork, because art comes from our hearts.

Thank you to all of you out there who purchase work from artists, we are a grateful bunch, and your support means the world.

Now, onto planning Halloween costumes...

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