I may be a "cock-eyed optimist", but my gut tells me the economy is improving. Or maybe it's "the season" when all the snow birds are here with their money. The "season" didn't make ANY DIFFERENCE in 2010 and 2011, two excruciating years for a small business, especially in Florida.
January 2013 was a tremendous month highwaymen art commerce, and here I am, 3 days into February, the first show hasn't even started yet (Friday Feb. 8 in West Palm) and it's already blown away January results. Go ahead and ask me if I'm relishing the moment.
And then you can ask me if I relished the eight or ten shows I did in the last few years, all of them with weekend expenses equal to $1000.00, where I had sales volumes of less than $400.00 and included more than a fair share of complete shutouts with zero sales results.
So, I still have a couple of years of catching up to do.
I was going through some old files and noticed this beautiful sunset by Sam Newton, classic 24x36 on upson board with the original 1960's crown molding frame.
The promoter of the first Florida Memorabilia show, which was probably in 2005 as that's the date on this image from my files, had asked me to meet her at the Tampa Tribune and bring along a half dozen highwaymen paintings for a TV-newspaper photo shoot, and this is one that I brought.
Annette Ross is unquestionably the most effective owner-promoter of any of these types of shows that I've been doing for 18 years now, and she kicked off this continuing annual series , now called the Floridiana-Highwaymen Show, usually in St. Pete, but always at least close to her home base, Hula Hula Productions, in a big way with a big media blitz.
This particular one, her first specialized one of this nature, was crowded into the "Old Sunken Gardens" in St. Pete. The Sunken Gardens itself is crowded into the concrete and asphalt of the area.
The newspaper ran a special section for "What to do this weekend" and the front page of that section featured a large photo in full color to headline and highlight the "featured attraction". I had no idea ahead of time, but when I picked up a copy of the paper on Friday, (the show was on Sunday) I was both amazed and thrilled that the editors had chosen a piece of my inventory as the "hook" to catch people's attention.
This beauty was one of the first pieces of many to sell at the show, we stayed very busy that day. A woman had seen it in the newspaper and fell in love with it immediately. Upon attending the show and seeing it in person, she had to own it.
They ALWAYS look better in person than any Internet image or photograph of any kind.
And that's a fact, Jack.....
So, of course, we negotiated the price respectfully for a little bit, and she brought it home with her.
Unfortunately I had only bought one copy of the newspaper, which I had brought along to the show for obvious reasons, and she insisted on having it, so of course I gave it to her.
Lord knows, I've bought and sold at least 50 Sam Newton sunsets of varying sizes and ages, including new ones, in this market, but this particular piece is certainly my most memorable one.
This year the show is in the Palladium in St Pete on Sunday February 24.