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Monday, October 31, 2011

To discount or not? That is the question.

I received this question from another artist: "I have had work in my local gallery for some years now, but sales have now dropped off badly. (The economy, I guess) Currently I have no other gallery through which to cycle the works; as the paintings are more than a year old, what are your thoughts on discounting/marking-down? I need the money, but what effect will this have on my “image”?"

We were discussing markdowns at a gallery the other day – a well known artist has cut his prices by about 50%.
My feeling is that this was not a good move and would severely upset people who have bought his work in the past and now feel cheated because it’s worth so much less.
Also would position him as an artist on his way down not up so would not inspire confidence.
But it does rely naturally on how much work you have sold into the market – if its hundreds of pieces that hundreds of people who are going to be miffed.
If only a few then not such a serious move.

Still times are tough and you need to eat. So the way we felt best is to hold ones prices BUT make it clear to the gallery that you would be prepared to negotiate if that would swing the deal.

That way the client feels they have got a good deal and your pricing/image remains intact.
This does rely heavily on the integrity of the gallery, to be honest about when they have sold work for less and when not.

Better move though would be to find a few more galleries so you can  shift works around.
So often a painting that has stood unsold, when moving to another gallery suddenly sells.

I'm asked regulalry (at least14-20 times a year) to donate art to varies charities to auction. One charity this year came up with a new suggestion: they would  take my works for auction and instead of just giving them away, as I normally do, they offered to pay me an agreed amount for each work – what they earned above that went to the charity.
This was a great way of helping others and also helping oneself, as getting something was better than nothing. Win/win all round.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting work into galleries

How do I get work into galleries when they only are prepared to see emailed images and not the real work?

Reason galleries don’t want to see you one to one is
a)      time involved – much faster to scan through an email and see if the work may be in the genre you are looking for and some galleries get 20+ artists a week. At 30 minutes a person that’s an extra day and a half per week to their workload.
b)      It’s easier emotionally to say no in an email than face to face. Is less personal.
It’s just like the writing world where books are rejected with only a brief synopsis having been read and not the actual book.
Tends to be that if one gallery who is respected has your work, then others are more receptive valuing the other galleries choice.
So the key is to crack the first respected gallery.
Dangling a carrot such as: ‘To date in my private capacity I have sold xx works, so I know there is a market out there for my work…’ may be tempting for a gallery to look further (provided of course that you have sold an impressive amount of work independently.
Try a different approach so your email stands out.
I got “The girl who bites her nails and the man who is always late” published in the UK with an opening line: “Have you ever bitten your nails? Procrastinated? Etc What does it say about you as a person? ” I figured that the person reading the email would have had one of these habits mentioned and being human would be interested in finding out more about themselves. It worked!
You’re creative so think up a fresh approach that will intrigue/astound them. It may not work every time but at least you’ll stand out from all the “Hi my name is Susan and I‘m an artist and here are some examples of my work… yawn.”
Failing stalking the owners, (not recommended) that’s about the best advice I can offer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Have you got the email re getting your work published?

Received an invitation from 'Trycycle' publishing (and distributors, copywriters etc) requesting an investment on my part of R14,200 to appear in their proposed book. Doing the numbers, a 100 artists (suckers in my language) would give the 'publishers' a gross income of R1,420,000. Not bad you'll agree for putting a book together and previously a common ploy by a number of other so called 'vanity' publishers from across our shores. The eagle (vulture?) has landed now on our shores. So I replied as below to the request:
Hi Carmen,
All seems a bit vague for me to part with my R14,200.
How many artists are you intending to cover?
If say 500 and you are printing 2000 copies and giving away 2 to each artist that leaves only 1,000 for distribution - not a great investment in terms of potential buyers from my perspective.
What space will be allocated to each artist? - A page, a chapter 2 column centimetres?
What credibility will the publication have? I.e. will it be introduced by Sue Williamson for example?
If I am a seriously bad artist who paints either copies of other artist's work or "Arniston cottages no 943" can I still be accepted? In which case perhaps being associated with me will be detrimental to other better artists and therefore a waste of the R14,200.
See the publisher is also the distributor. Does this mean that you have agents countrywide as bigger distributors have?
Otherwise how will you cover the country?
What type of publicity and media do you have planned?
Publishing 'towards the end of the year' is pretty vague if you take my $$ and then nothing happens. Realise you are wanting upfront commitment but you are going to have to be a lot more definite for me so that should you renege on the specified deadline I have some sort of come back to demand my investment back.
You're going to have to do a lot more to convince me (and I suspect other artists) that is not simply a vanity publishing to enrich you (rather than enhance my career)
Ann Gadd

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How much work do you need in the marketplace to make a viable income?

I've created a formula that works for me. Obviously its not cast in stone and will vary depending on the popularity of the artist, but I work with an average return factor of 10% of the consigned value of the work. So for instance if you have R100,000 rands worth of consigned work in the marketplace, I'd expect an average monthly return of R10,000. In summer that'll rise to 20-30% but decrease to maybe only 5% in the winter months. This formula excludes special exhibitions etc. Point is if you have R100,000 worth of work in galleries its unlikely that you'll be erning R50,000 a month. Seems obvious but many artists are afraid to have too much consigned work - they want everything to sell as its completed. If you want a R50,000 average monthly gross income and your work sells price to artist for say R5,000, then in order to achieve R50,000, you'll need R5000,000's worth of art in galleries which translates to 100 paintings. Try it and see if it works for you.

Rejection - the artists' lament

Receieved an email from an artist who was angry because of the numerous rejections she had received from galleries. The frustration caused her to sympathise with van Gogh's ear cutting escapade. Having experienced rejection first hand both through art and writing, rejection has become a familiar friend and one that pushes me out of my comfort zone to explore new directions. My reply to the artist: (abbreviated)
I understand your frustration and anger.
The art and the writing worlds are hard nuts to crack.
Commercial galleries, as mentioned in the book, are for the most part, business who sell art rather than art lovers who have a business.If they know the work has been proven to sell/be of commercial value, then they want to cash in on that success.There's less risk with known artists.
If the business has artists on board who are working for them, unless the art is really something completely new and exciting, the hassle of taking on another artist is not attractive. (Here I play Devil's advocate.) So to be accepted takes the 'Wow' factor.
The galleries are not the enemy. They are businesses. It's simply a matter of can this sell or not?
Sometimes they naturally do get it wrong, but most of them are still in business because they know what their market wants.

(It's no different in the writing world where there are thousands of books written about let's say yoga. To get a book published now on yoga means that your approach/content needs to be different from all the other yoga books. Even if your book is well written and researched, why would they want a repeat of what has already been said?

So, no chopping off of ears. Rather listen to the feedback galleries give you when you do manage to get through the door. And keep on exploring new directions with your art. Dig deep within yourself until you find the unique expression that is you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bogus email orders - how to spot them

Received an email from a 'Lucy Courtney' working forLindsey and Richard Cpmpany in Manila. They were interested in some of my work for their stores and requested a website or mailing list of available work. Already was finding this a bit odd as most people access me via my site but played along and sent a list. They oredered two paintings requesting that I use their shipping company and assuring me they would pay for the paintings with a credit card. This was odd - they hadn't even asked to see what the paintings looked like and no one in their right mind would do that so the alarm bells were ringing big time. But, there's always that 1% chance that they may have been genuine, so I replied sending them an invoice for credit card payment and insisting on an emailed copy of the front and back of their credit card. (They could have a number of another persons card that they might have stolen.) I also insisted that if they wanted to use their shipping company, that they paid them direct and not, as they had requested, get me to do so.
This is where the scam was. I would be conned into paying shipping costs to a bogus company upfront and the payment to me would either not be made or would be fraudulent.
So just be aware. These guys were pretty dumb, the next lot may be wiser!
So lesson - be wary if:
  1. The email sounds vague, such as" we are interested in your work for our stores..."Any would be buyer would know about you and your work and be more specific.
  2. If they request using their couriers/fright company unless they pay them, don't.
  3. If they seem dodgy insist on a back and front copy of their credit card.
  4. If they dangle large payment promises and seem in a rush to get the transaction happening.
  5. They get otherwise when you don't roll over for their requests
  6. They don't ask you to send an image of the work they have just requested
  7. Sadly certain countries get me worried upfront as we've had bad experiences in the past :Montenegro, Nigeria and the Phillipnes are a few I'd avoid.
  8. Don't be afraid to offend them with security questions - if they are genuine buyers they will understand your vulnerability
  9. If they appear to have overpaid you and then ask you to use the balance to buy a computer etc to send with the work refuse to do so. Chances are the payment will bounce in a couple of days and you'll be left minus paintings and a computer.
  10. Check on where they first saw your work, what interested them about it etc. If they can't answer these questions, then end the correspondance.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

To frame or not to frame?

Something I did not include in the book, was the issue of framing? Do you spend serious $$ and get your work framed, only to have the client request the painting sans frame. (Has happened to me several times and have been left with a frame that didn't really work on anything else.) To avoid the issue I, and many other artists, started using deeper frames - 5-10cms meaning that framing was not needed. Given the cost of framing this made sense. Lets say a frame cost you R500. The gallery would double that cost and add 14% meaning an additional R1,140 added to the cost of the work. The R500 you would have to carry until the work was sold. Fine if your work sells for R15,000 a pop but not fine if your work is in the below R5,000 region. The extra cost could be the difference between a sale and a no sale.
Many clients have strong views on framing, even if its only to match the decor. Your choice may not be their ideal. So they may ask for the painting sans the framing cost. Leaving you (as mentioned) with a frame you're going to have to match with another work.
If you are not going to frame do make your edges neat - either carry the painting around the sides, keep them clean (masking tapped wrapped around the edges while you paint works well for this), or paint a complimentary colour around the edges.
Occasionally galleries want to frame work at their cost. It can make certain work really look good and if they're carrying the cost I don't complain. Problem comes though, if the work doesn't sell and whilst you own the painting, the frame is theirs. Hasn't happened to date with us, but its a possibility. There are some more conservative galleries that won't take unframed work, so you may be forced to frame simply to get on the wall. many of them have a sideline framing business and may offer a discount for the job. (Just be careful not to frame all your work for their profit, rather than your promotion.)
For overseas clients framing is usually a big no as it adds considerably to transport costs and many not allow for the cheaper option of rolling your work.
Personally, apart from watercolours, I avoid if possible, leaving the client free to decide for themselves.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

NY Arts magazine, The Broadway Gallery NYC and Beijing Gallery Scam

Ah the delight of getting an email waxing lyrical about your work and inviting you to participate in a New York art exhibition PLUS be included in the latest edition of NY Arts magazine.. (All for only $1,900!)

The email: 
Dear Ann,
I am pleased to inform you of an exciting opportunity to exhibit your artwork in New York City.

My name is Abraham Lubelski, the publisher of NY Arts Magazine, and owner of The Broadway Gallery NYC and Beijing Arts Space in China. Recently my staff came across your works while researching for upcoming projects, and by their recommendation I would like to invite you to exhibit your works in New York City in July 2011. I am interested in your work "The Diet" and I believe it would be an important addition to our program.  Your figures are so funny and so thought provoking and true at the same time. They show us so much of our reality through nice interpretations. By paying close attention to the intuitive works of each artist, we are hoping to construct an exhibition of works that truly speak to the viewer. 

The promotion/publicity project also offers an exhibition and an international publicity program for a fee ($1,900 see details below). This promotion/publicity is a media driven event and offers both emerging and established artists the broadest media coverage possible.

*Exhibit your work in the major art capital of the world.
*International media exposure/publicity on web & in print
*Two (2) catalogues within our magazines, with bookstore distribution, web, and print directories.
*3 million plus Internet hits per month (major Internet sites).
*Three major international print publications.

Thank you,
Abraham Lubelski
NY Arts Magazine 
473 Broadway, 7th floor, NY, NY 10013 | 212-274-8993

However, I've been around long enough in the art world to sense SCAM. So I Googled it and lo and behold, the words 'Lubelski' 'NY Arts Magazine' and 'scam' appear together rather more often  than is comfortable. Certainly enough times to make me keep my cheque book in my handbag. So be warned, it appears this setup is just legal enough to allow it to continue to operate, but its not all it appears to be.

Here's some of the info I received:
World Art Media in New York is absolutely a scam! They target impressionable naive artists thousands of dollars to be a part of NY Arts Magazine. The introductory fee is $500. But they charge thousands for articles and other silly projects like having one slide shown on a screen during an art fair for 0.5 seconds. Don't give into them..they will buy your soul and shame your artwork.”
And from:!!/
And finally, after I out a few questions myself out on line, a anonymous person was kind enough to write to me and tell me what I really needed to know:
Dear Helen I saw your question in the blog about NYArtmagazine and World Art Media. I worked for them, don`t make any agreement with, it's a scam company Wish you Good Luck a new yorker friend”

and then another email;

"Yes, World Art Media is a completely scam. Besides they deceive naive artists, they do the same with naive candidates who apply for a position.They promise you a high comission (10%) that you must achieve in a short period of 30 days(impossible goal for so short period) and a payment of $ 1,00 for each  e-mail you send. You must send 40 e-mails by day, besides research,( the time you spend looking for web sites of artists), what means that you work 8 hours non stop in front of a computer and in the end of the day you receive the fantastic amount of $40,00 dolars.After a month sending 800 e-mails and receiving the "huge" amount of $ 800,00 dolars for 160 hours of work,  without close any deal, of course! So, as you couldn't reach the "golden goal" of 10% comission, you are fired! After I left the company they post in craiglist at least one/two adds by month looking for a "energetic sales associate" with a promise of a great  earning based on comission,goal that you never will achieve in a periodo of a month. After 30 days you ended with a misery salary of $ 800,00 dolars and leave to them a big data base of artists around the world, this list they keep forever in their files.What a "great deal".! Better to get a job and work in Mac Donald's, so you can get a higher payment by hour(more than $ 40 dollars by day) making a mindless work and at least you won`t be working under stress, pressure and  won`t be deceive with promisses of high comission percentual, a impossible goal that you never will reach in a short period of 30 days."
And from another blog:
It appears World Art Media and NY Arts magazine (same company) send out thousands of unsolicited emails each month to artists on their websites promising art representation via online sources, publications, gallery shows etc. for a FEE. They do not advertise their fee on their website anymore, but I learned from other artists the fee starts at $500 and goes up from there to $4000 and $6000 depending on what they say they are doing for you.

World Art Media does publish your work in the NY Art magazine. However, it does not have the millions of viewers, buyers, and following that they claim. One New Yorker said it is sold only in the newstand down the street from their NY office.
NY Arts Magazine promises promotion, publicity and articles in their magazine and an art show in their gallery, 450 BROADWAY GALLERY, which, although it exists is in the inaccessible, interminable, unclimable 4th floor walkup at that address. The gallery isn't even listed on the local Gallery Guide. However, It is listed in, where else, the NY World Arts Magazine.
It is also my understanding, that even the so called 'Marketing Associates' get ripped off. Most of their positions are continually advertised on Craig's List. When they sign on, they are promised wonderful commissions. After working like crazy soliciting artists, they are not given these commissions. One guy wrote, that after working for World Art Media, he could have made more money had he been employed flipping hamburgers at McDonald's.
World Art Media seems to be just 'legit enough' to keep from getting arrested. However, they operate in an unethical manner. They don't tell the entire truth about what they can/will do for artists and actually charge you ridiculous fees for their services. This is not the kind of company I choose to do business with ever! My advice? far away.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Whose work is it anyway?

Called a Gauteng gallery who has had a few pieces of my work for some time with no recent sales. Would have left it there, but for the fact that I had heard that other artists were having extreme problems getting payment from them. (We're talking lawyers letters etc). Throughout my dealings with them, struggling to get payment has also been my experience. An email to the gallery owner was replied to via a cc to the manager asking her to display my work more visibly. (No direct response.) So, as the message wasn't being heard, I called and asked if they could return the work.The response was: "Will ask the owner and get back to you." I'm amazed! The work is consigned and so belongs to me, yet the gallery seems to feel they have a right to withold it. Having dealings with galleries like this makes me treasure my relationships with those galleries who do pay timeously, who do tell you when work is sold and who do value their artists. Creates a mutual respect and trust which is the foundation of a good and winning relationship. Whats' your experiences with galleries been like?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A stranger walks up to you and says: 'I think I like you." You hand over a cheque for R20,000.
They say: "I'll pay you back," and walk off with your cheque.
Absolutely, but in principle thats what we do every time a gallery asks us to consign work. They take no risk (if our work proves unpopular there's always a storeroom.) And in handing over what is essentially merchandise we could say that we are financing their business. Thats step one. Step two is when work sells and we don't get paid, so our R20,000 investment hangs around gathering no interest and no return on our investment while the gallery is using our work to finance their business. That is basically what we as artists are doing. An example: a gallery I've had dealings with over the years have always claimed that they only work on consignment. Another artist comes along and says: "no ways, you want my work, you buy it from me." They roll over and the gallery coughs up. Perhaps their is a case for unknown artists consigning work, but surely more established artists should atuomatically work on a buy the painting upfront basis. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Florence Biennale - to go or not to go?

Received a query from an artist invited to the Florence Biennale later this year. having taken part in 2007 felt equipped to answwer her question as to whether the expense (2,700 euros entry and courier of paintings R15,000) and effort were worth it.

Here is my abbreviated response:

re your query: Depends what you are after.

If its sales, there are very few buyers if any. (Same goes for art critics etc) Mostly the viewers are the 800 artists and their buddies/partners plus local students.
That being said I did manage to sell my 3 works (discounted) and with a bit of ingenuity but it was very much the exception not the rule. 
There are 800+ artists involved so being 'discovered' is unlikely even if your work is really good, as the cognoscenti of the art world do not view this event on the same level as say the Venice Biennale for instance. If you are fortunate enough to be one of the handful of prize winners though, this may alter this and would look good on your CV.
With 800 artists it goes without saying that the work will range from weak to great.

Ok that’s the more negative aspects.

The positive aspects are getting to meet lots of other artists from around the world.
Staying in a beautiful city when it's not over run with tourists. (It's cold though then, so take warm stuff .) And just basking in art and feeling part of it all is a once in a lifetime experience.(Have been invited again this year and if I wasn't educating children we'd be going!)

re courier: A number of artists did take their work as baggage with them, which is obviously cheaper. Would opt for this myself should I go again.

So short answer - if you haveR80,000 to spare(flight +-R8,000, budget hotel/b&b/food R12,000, other expenses - taxis etc, plus courier and entry)to spare - it’s a great experience. If it means eating lentils and living in overdraft for the rest of your days, enlarge the invite and hang it on your wall as testimony of your achievement/brilliance!

Hope that helps

Thursday, March 3, 2011

To me or not to me - artists painting under pseudonyms

Recieved an email from an artist today asking for my views on her signing her work with a nickname. There are a number of artists who do this, 'Munro' is a local example. I guess if you are painting across styles it makes it easier for the audience to see each style belonging to a different personality, just as authors, writing different genres of books often use pseudonyms. If you are fortunate enough to become wildly famous, it could be confusing for the media I'm guessing. In the end don't know any rules as such. Guess its up to the individual to decide. What are your thoughts/feelings?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Success is hard work!

Anthony made the point this morning that no where in the book had I made mention of how hard most artists need to work to be succesful. Sure you can structure your time (we just went Stand Up Paddleboarding with dolphins!) but there is seldom a weekend that we both aren't working at least some of the time and often most of the time. To produce enough art to live off usually requires a lot of hard work, so being an artist is NOT an easy option, in fact compared to my days in advertising, its a lot more work. (Its just that the work is more enjoyable!)

Review in Sarie Magazine

Making your art work, Ann Gadd (Create Yourself Publications, R180)
Hierdie is ‘n baie praktiese gids van alles wat jy moet weet, as jy geld uit jou kunswerke wil maak. Ann Gadd is self ‘n kunstenaar en weet hoe moeilik dit is om jouself as kunstenaar te bemark en seker te maak dat jou kunswerke by die regte galery uitkom, waar jy verseker kan wees van ‘n mark wat in jou werk sal belangstel.
Haar wenke begin met hoe jy moet dink oor jou werk en jouself om jouself as professioneel te kan bestempel. Dan neem sy mens stap vir stap deur die roete van hoe om by jou eindbestemming te kom - om geld te verdien. Sy wys duidelik die slaggate uit en haar hele aanslag is prakties. Dis beslis ‘n boek wat enige potensiële kunstenaar behoort te lees, veral as jy nie weet waar om te begin nie.
Die belangrikste ding van die hele proses is dat jy natuurlik ook talent moet hê!
Die boek is beskikbaar by toonaangewende boekwinkels, maar kan ook bestel word by Vir meer oor Ann Gadd self en haar kunswerke, besoek
 From: Feb 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The comission that wasn't

I was asked to do a comission by a gallery, which I did. I sent the painting and also emailed the tracking number for collection. About 7 weeks later I received the painting back as "undelivered." So I called the gallery. It appears that the right hand knew-ith not what the left hand hath not done.So time, postage etc was lost.
As no sales have been reported for over 18 months, (after an initial good start), I am currently trying to get all my work back. Yet inspite of calls, emails etc nothing has been arrived. I suspect, as has been the case in the past work has sold and I've not been informed.
Its a problem dealing with galleries that are far from home. As there is no way of checking on what has sold or what is still there, and so you are in a position of trust. If a gallery breaks that trust, its a tricky situation. When speaking politely or begging results in getting no response, do you
a) Jump on a plane? (costly)
b) Get your buddy who is a lawyer to get heavy? (No doubt you are joining a long queue of other irate artists)
c) Name and shame the gallery?
d) Beg and grovel further? (Not good for self-esteem and seldom works)
e) Accept the loss and move on?
 P.S. Seems like they can only find 6 of the 10 paintings they had on consignment, which means four have sold....
Q) Why was I not told?
Q) Why was I not paid?
Sadly this scenario plays itself out all too often in the art world.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trashing your work

I'm sometimes tempted to trash a painting if it hasn't sold after a period of time. Have learnt though, that no sooner have I taken an NT cutter to the work that I get a request for it - no kidding this must have happened about 10 times. If I don't like the work, I will still destory it, but now I store away any older works (sometimes obscure sheep concepts) knowing that one day they will just click with someone. Ant is the problem though - he trashes paintings that many times I feel are good works and could have sold. Still it takes a lot to convince him of this sometimes....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What percentage markup for direct sales?

Galleries understandably do not like artists to sell directly to customers. However, it is going to happen. What should you charge? The same price as the gallery is charging ie double what you are being paid by the gallery? What you charge the gallery ie 50% of the gallery price (not designed to make you popular with a gallery though the clients will love you!) Its a contentious issue.What are your thoughts?

52 down 8 to go.....

Am doing a book of the paintings for a UK publisher. 60 paintings didn't seem like a lot when initially discussed in October, but as I see 52 of the 60 piled up waiting to be scanned, looks like a lot of paintings! There is a wonderfull feeling though of achievement when a goal/deadline is met.(virtuousness but freedom as well from the big "SHOULD." Sort of feel phew and in need of a little bubbly!
Happy N'ewe Year!

Review in Jan/Feb 2011 Craftwise Magazine on 'Making Your Art Work'

Scarcely a week goes by that we do not receive questions from artists asking advice on how they can turn their hobby into a business where they can sell their work. It's a very common dilemma and Ann addresses it superbly in this book. She is a fine artist and author of a number of self-help motivational books and was personally faced with this question. In this book, she tacjkles the question from a number of different angles, including self-analysis, creative blocks, marketing, the use of galleries and the internet as sales platforms. It's not a magic wand quick-fix book of answers. If you want to sell your art, this book can assist you, but you will need to actually put the words into action. There is good solid advice and very thought provoking material to ponder on, which, if you make it your own can get you onto the road of independence. If you want to make money from your art, then buy this book. And read it.
Owen Calverley. Craftwise


The subject of beetles in stretchers has fortunately never occured in our artistic lives, until a few weeks ago, when I went to a well known gallery to swop a couple of works around. The gallery owner causually mentioned there had been a problem. (Obeechie wood is a partyicular favourite of these beetles.) Thought no more of it until I returned home and noticed ominous looking holes in the stretchers of the two paintings. Called the gallery owner who assured me they had been fumigated in a room specially constructed for the job. Problem is don't feel I can sell the works holes et al. So will have to restretch the canvases on new stretchers. (Did consider a sheep braai using the 'sheep' paintings as both lamb and wood, but perhaps the wine had taken its toll at this point...) What are your thoughts? Just an act of nature so no liability on the galleries part? Anyhow something to be aware of and maybe avoid obeechie stretchers in the future.