Need a simple way to sell or give away paintings
August 26, 2018 7:19 PM   Subscribe

My mother used to paint Chinese-inspired watercolor nature paintings (here's an actual example) and created many dozens of paintings over many years, but is about to move and needs to sell or donate a significant number of them. We've never tried selling paintings. What are our options in the Pasadena or Santa Barbara areas?

The paintings are all mounted, framed, and covered with glass. They are all medium-sized, about 18-30" on a side. They are currently at her house on the walls or in boxes. There are probably around paintings 50 to sell. She doesn't need to get much money for them; she would be happy to simply recover the cost of the framing, so around $30-100 each. (The more the better, as you can imagine, but it's not critical.) Searching on the topic of selling art gets me art galleries, which probably means fine art, which is not the level of art we are talking about here. We also don't have much time – two months at most to get rid of them. And finally, since the work will have to be done pretty much all by me, and I'm already too busy, it needs to be a method that doesn't take up too much of my own time.

My spouse also suggested donating the art to places such as shelters, which would be fantastic and what I would do if it where up to me, but my mother will resist giving anything away for free so I'm trying to explore selling first. But it is a backup plan (and suggestions along those lines would be welcome too).
posted by StrawberryPie to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That is cute!

Sell them at the big swapmeet at the Rosebowl, or go to the one on Sundays at Melrose and Fairfax. Seriously! Price them to sell and watch them all get loving new homes!
posted by jbenben at 7:46 PM on August 26, 2018 [7 favorites]

A friend of mine puts photos of her paintings in a public facebook gallery with a price listed in each description and sells a fair number just like that. Hers are usually a bit more expensive, $200-450ish, so I feel like sub-$100 should move even better.

If they don't sell, would your mother perhaps like the idea of donating them to be auctioned by a charity as a fundraiser, instead of just hung on a wall?
posted by teremala at 8:21 PM on August 26, 2018 [8 favorites]

How about a local restaurant? We often see restaurants with mini-exhibitions from an artist, with prices displayed.
posted by dum spiro spero at 8:53 PM on August 26, 2018 [6 favorites]

If the others are more traditionally Chinese in style, Pasadena would be a better sales base than Santa Barbara. But your mother can paint and properly presented, these should move. Try listing with good photos on with an open house date a few weeks in advance and letting people know you'll sell individual paintings ahead of time.
posted by Scram at 9:03 PM on August 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

Better yet how about the PCC Swap Meet? Much cheaper and more accessible than the Rose Bowl and it would be a fun outing for both of you (this is in Pasadena).
posted by arnicae at 9:09 PM on August 26, 2018 [3 favorites]

Santa Barbara art walk! Every Sunday on the beach...get a booth!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:32 PM on August 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

If she's moving to a retirement community, they may have wall space available. Mom's ccrc has monthly art shows, the halls are filled with beautiful donated art, and they have a thrift shop on site.
posted by MichelleinMD at 6:59 AM on August 27, 2018

May I suggest that if you do any of the weekend craft show booths, you write up a little bio of your mom that plays up something cute and heart-warming about her or the paintings. Like, "Janice took up water color painting in her 40s to celebrate her Chinese heritage and give her an excuse to leave the children at home with her husband on weekends."

My grandfather did this for his folk art woodworking business and now has a legit side hustle. He hand writes all the little tags and people go absolutely ape-shit over it. It's pretty awesome.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:56 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

« Older Points north   |   Back me up buttercup! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.