Monday, October 21, 2013

Musing on Stolen Art

Next Year, Florida, 4 x 12, acrylic on canvas
Elizabeth W. Seaver

In the past, I've had a few pieces of artwork disappear off of my work table here and there--pins drying, cards drying--little things, easy to palm, slip into a pocket or under a shirt. I've always thought of it as the price of doing business, especially in a large arts workshop with open studios and wandering visitors. That's how we get folks to look at our work and meet us. We work out in the open and make ourselves available for comments and questions and just plain conversation. I love it.

But yesterday, I went to check my showing space and found four empty nails on my wall. I did not jump right to the happy conclusion that all four paintings had sold. Why is that? After all, they're pretty cute, if I do say so myself. They make people smile, and most of their brothers and sisters from a 30 paintings in 30 days challenge have sold already.

But my stomach got that funny feeling--something wasn't right. For one thing, if I had sold four paintings at once, my behind-the-counter-buddies would have been as happy as I, and before the Square screen was dark, they'd have been on the phone to me.

So--the paintings are gone. And my friends and I all have guesses about what general category of folk have the stones (and the backpacks) to carry away four original artworks measuring just about the size of a box of granola bars.

But, here's the thing I wanted to share: I am hurt and sad and angry. I'm not flattered. In fact, I'm not sure those paintings were even wanted--I expect they were just the object of a momentary thrill.

Those of you in creative pursuits know exactly how much time, effort, money and love goes into doing what you do. And never with enough compensation. I feel assaulted by this event. But, I am trying not to let it weigh too heavily on my spirit. Time will help. And painting.

I got up and painted at 3:30 this morning. Because I will not let the bad guys win.

Thanks for listening.

14 comments:

Vivian said...


I am appalled that someone would steal paintings off the wall of a gallery. I can understand your grief and hope they will be restored to you in the near future.

Sooo sorry V

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Yeah, my fantasy is that since the original thrill is gone, they'll want to get it back by returning them from whence they came.

But, the paintings probably now reside under some pile of dirty laundry on the floor!

Anna M. Branner said...

I too am sad, angry and appalled. I'll be watching my work at the Gallery even more closely.

Katherine Kean said...

That must feel just awful. I'm so sorry to hear about this. I hope they find their way back to you!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Thanks Anna. I hope no one else has the same difficulty, but being watchful is the best way to keep it from happening, I think.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Hi, Katherine. I am surprised how awful I feel, really. Thank you for your kind words.

Polly Birchall said...

It's not just that your paintings went, it's the thought that someone actually did it that hurts too, I should imagine. It's the ideas and the journey of the paintings that is gone. It is sick, Don't let it pray on your mind

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Thank you, Polly. I think that is the hardest part, that not letting it get to me. That is why I HAD to get up and paint in the middle of the night. I needed to "get back on the horse that threw me," so to speak. I really appreciate your encouragement.

Cathy Engberg said...

That is terrible! I'm so sorry that happened to you. I'm glad you painting your way through this. Keep painting sister!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Thanks, Cathy. I knew you all would get it!

Jim Serrett said...

I am going to go with the idea that the thieves were so desperate for a serving of art that they stole.
And that you feed the starving soul.
Thank you and Paint On!

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Thanks, Jim! Good positive thoughts!

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

I am so sorry to hear this, Elizabeth. All that work and expression...gone. I know you are sad and hurt and angry. Good for you to channel that back into your craft. Don't let those jerks win.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Hi, Kim--it took a while to get there, but I do think that is the only way to go forward. Thank you for your kind comment.