Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"I Just About Came Apart When I Learned Why She Wanted My Painting"...

SBD-5... Slow, But Deadly!
I received an interesting phone call this morning from a woman who visited Marc Poole and me at the airshow two weekends ago. She seemed to really appreciate my efforts rendering the WWII Navy SBD-5 Dauntless, and as many had asked me, she wanted to know when I would finish the painting. I told her that I needed to finish it that day if I wanted to claim it as a "En Plein Air" completed work. This was a Friday.
I couldn't continue on Saturday, as it was my wife's birthday. So, I gave the woman my "commercial art" business card and told her that if I didn't finish the painting, to my satisfaction, that I'd return on Sunday, to complete it. But on Sunday, the entire airshow was cancelled due to inclement weather. So, I considered the painting finished. That, was that!
That was that, until I received a phone call from that very woman, who was quite serious about buying the painting. But, when I gave her the $500 price tag for the piece, there was silence. I knew it was not what she hoped to pay for it.
We talked for a few minutes about pricing, and donating, and even discussed an offer from the pilot who flew the plane from its Texas base to the airshow in New Orleans. When I gave him me price, he slowly backed away to ask if I would consider donating it for an auction for the Commemorative Air Force, which, if I was donating it to anyone, the Commemorative Air Force, would certainly be a good cause.
Intrigued, I asked her why would she want a painting, from an airshow, of a vintage WWII bomber and not some wonderful landscape, or a still life vase of flowers, or a ubiquitous bayou scene. It seemed rather a strange thing to hang above a living room sofa.
"You buying it for your husband's"man cave?"
"Not quite, she replied. "I am sixty-one years old and a survivor of a double mastectomy. Later this month, I will have to go to surgery again," she said.
"I saw your painting and it inspired me enough to do a bit of research on that aircraft," she continued. "I read that the plane was past it's prime, obsolete, like me, but it still got the job done!"
"It had qualities I relate to, like it's ruggedness to go the distance." It was slow, but effective, and always there when you needed it. It was dependable!"
I just about came apart.
I told her that my intentions were to bring in, to my booth, some male viewers at the upcoming Three Rivers Art Festival. The little Dauntless was an important part of my research. But then, I thought...
"Oh, Diane, have I got a great video for you!" I said. "You'll love it!"
It is all about this American pilot who, against all odds, in that "old, obsolete dive bomber, dispatched three attacking, top of the line, Japanese A6M-3 Zeros." "And, talk about ruggedness,"I said, "Wait till you see how he shot down the third attacker... You'll love it!"
I could not believe I was recommending a combat video to a woman!. But, I gave her the YouTube url, and promised her that if my Dauntless did not sell for my original asking price, at the art festival this November 14th/15th... An upcoming art festival here in Covington, LA. that I'd sell it to her at a discounted amount we both could agree on.
"And, if I do sell it, I'll paint you another one!"

( Here's the link to the video I sent to Diane! )

Copyright 2015/Ben Bensen III


  1. So sorry to hear about her fight with cancer. I know the experience. But reading this made me mad again at the little value people place on our craft. It's a beautiful painting and worth a lot more than $500 (hope you get more), especially when you see the prices for much crappier work on the walls of local galleries.

    1. Jeff, I've been scammed before, but I think this one is true. Still, it is quite disconcerting to compete with artists that don't know the value of their work. The trickle down is that it affects all artists, who like me, know the value, but can't compete with that kind of ignorance.

      In a way, it is why I still take commercial work and yes... storyboards.

  2. Ad people know the value... and, by the way, thanks for your thoughts. It will help me not feel like a "heel" when, and if, I stand by my original pricing.