Canterbury Shaker Village

Every year, the NH Plein Air group participates in the celebration of Mother Ann Day at the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, NH. Mother Ann was the founder of the Shaker way of life. We paint from whenever we get there, until three p.m., when the still-wet paintings go on sale. “Wet Paint Sale” as it is called. We can also bring framed paintings previously painted at CSV. I have about six of those but was not organized enough to get them framed for this year’s event, which took place yesterday on Sunday, August 1.

In past years, I have finished as many as three paintings in the single day of the wet paint sale, but this year I decided to try a complex subject and spend the whole day on it. Here is a photo of the “Farm Stand” area before I started on my painting.

Note that the big white barn door was closed and the umbrellas were folded–both would change when the farm stand opened for business. I tried to capture the shadows as they existed at this early hour, and I had to squeeze the composition in order to fit in all the elements that interested me. Here is a shot of the painting when it was more than halfway completed.

From there to finished product, it was only a matter of refinements and details.

CSV: Farm Stand 11×14

My painting did not sell. I put a price on it of $380, which maybe was the highest price there for an unframed painting. Usually I discount a wet painting by 25%, but usually I paint at least 2 in a day, so I thought it would be appropriate to leave the price at $380. I hope price was not a factor in its failing to sell. Or maybe I hope it was the price that kept it from selling.

It’s always hard to predict what will sell and what won’t, but one thing I have observed over my short experience: good paintings sell. (Unfortunately, that does not mean that ALL good paintings sell.) All of the paintings bought from me have been among my best, and I respect the intuitive judgement of the buying public. Hence, I am a little disappointed when Farm Stand was left on table. (Five paintings were sold, so there were at least five people there in the market for a painting.)

What I would like to know from my blog readers–is this painting any good? I can see a problem with perspective in one area, which I will now be able to fix, so that is a good thing. Does it have another flaw that I could correct? Or is the composition so awful that I should wipe it out and start over? Maybe I should have kept the wheelbarrow in, or added people. Could still do that.

Likely moral: For wet paint sales, keep it simple. I shall remember that in the future.

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