I have always put it down to my lack of business brain that things like sales and marketing have sat so uncomfortably with me. While I have plenty of gifts and talents, they do not tend to lie in the areas of what seems to be obvious to others, streetwise common sense or numbers, all of which are useful and maybe essential if you’re going to sell your work. I find such things a strange combination of scary and boring.


I’m wondering though whether the error lies in my assumptions and beliefs about what’s required, rather than in my perceived capacity to do something well and with ease. Maybe, in this new age of intuition and connection, there are ways of doing business as yet uncovered, or rarely used, because they don’t lie in the realm of left brain logic and systems.

When we get stuck in beliefs about how things are or ought to be done, based on observation, history and experience, we are not allowing for the infinite possibilities and potentials available.

flowers in her hair final

I do this frequently, in all sorts of areas, and a lot of it is unconscious because of the way I’ve always lived and the habits that have formed. Retreating in the way that I am ~ which allows for long periods of silence and opportunities to really look closely at how I do anything and everything ~ is slowly showing up the myriad ways in which I limit myself daily, and in places I never even considered.

In the realm of business ~ which in this case means selling my work ~ my way of doing things has always been ‘try to do what is taught/what everyone else does, and the discomfort just means you’re not used to it and it’s not one of your strengths so you need to work on it extra hard’. But I’ve also always been open to negotiation on each sale {which is, I realise, possibly something I should actually SAY somewhere on the website}.

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I feel very strongly that if a piece of art speaks to you, then it’s meant for you. If you can’t stop looking at it, keep coming back, want to touch it or otherwise interact with it, there is something it gives you that expands your energy field. {That’s how I felt about the first piece of art I ever bought for myself, and I love it as much now as I did then.} It’s like it was made for you.


If someone feels like that about one of my paintings, I want them to have it. It’s more important to me that my paintings go where they bring the most joy than that they sit around gathering dust waiting for someone who can pay the ‘right’ price for them. I do price my work, but I consider these prices more guidelines than fixed amounts. Art comes from the infinite field and I absolutely don’t think it is just for those who can afford it, which is less and less people in these times.

In order to make my work available to everyone, my instinct was to say, if you love this, we can make it yours, and then negotiate on an individual basis. Like bartering, I guess, but with a deeper connection.

Trees Are Poems

There are two main reasons I think why this hasn’t become a norm yet, at least round here. One is that I haven’t made it clear! The other is that people tend to feel uncomfortable about a swap or exchange, for fear of not offering enough, or of offering too much perhaps. There is concern about insulting the artist, or not feeling you have anything to give that would match its value. There is also the fact that while I don’t necessarily want my art to make me millions {ha}, I do want to be able to buy more materials. Even as I write this the can of worms opens wider and starts to spill everywhere.


Recently a friend and I have, without actually planning to, negotiated such an exchange, and the resulting feelings of satisfaction, connection, fulfilment and pleasure indicate to me how perfect this system is when it is in alignment with those creating the experience.

bookworm 001

It actually wasn’t a painting exchange, but sprang from a desire in my friend to send me a little something simply because she feels inspired by what I do. {I know, wow, right?!} She wasn’t expecting anything in return, but the gesture was so surprising and touching that I wanted to respond in a way that showed gratitude without making her feel I felt obliged {I didn’t}, and that honoured what she’d given me without over compensating. In other words, completing the cycle of giving and receiving not only balances the energy but it feels amazing to do. It’s like bartering but with soul.


That ‘feeling amazing’ is what I believe should be a fundamental part of all transactions. I’m not trying to revolutionise the world here; I can only do what I can do, but I want what I do to be in integrity, because when I’m honouring my values everything falls into place and everyone concerned benefits, and usually in ways far greater than originally anticipated.

Calling In The Storm

And of course, as is the way of the universe, I then found this post by Cynthia Lee of Spirit Uncaged, who not only operates in much the same way, but has actually given it a name and describes it here. Cynthia created an exchange with Deborah Weber, who wrote about her perspective on it here, and I realised that they were talking about what I have been heading towards and not yet quite articulated and brought into form.

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I am not for a moment dismissing money; I find it pretty useful! But as I step more and more into a life where energy is a far more powerful expression than the limited nature of the physical world, ideas like this become both more appealing and more obvious as solutions.


There’s no denying that buying and selling goods for money is a tried and tested system. But maybe there are other ways, new territories, that offer an exchange that fulfils on every level, not just the physical.

To receive a painting you love, for example, and be able to give something you know is of equal value to the artist, whether it’s money, or time, a treatment of some kind or some other thing, gives a fullness, a completeness to the transaction that a straight swap for money, where one side or the other may feel they are losing out a little, that feels far better to body and soul. It’s like holistic shopping!


I’m aware that there are potential issues with this concept that are probably why it is not a common way of doing things. It is easy enough for me to exchange with my friend because we already have a connection and an understanding that goes beyond the need to find common ground. A stranger wanting one of my paintings initially lacks that connectedness that allows a genuine exchange to take place. There is too much room for fear and discomfort to make it work at its most fulfilling for all concerned. Perhaps I am just being idealistic and living in the realms of fantasy. {It’s always so much more fun there though isn’t it!}

fairies square

So I have sat with this as I know that in the world of infinite possibility there are always solutions. Assuming the purchaser desires to enter into this kind of transaction, that already opens the door to connecting in such a way that there is a common goodwill and understanding. It opens the way to trust. This kind of exchange could not work without these kinds of feelings and values. And it may be that for many or most, a straight up goods for money swap is the easiest and most comfortable way to go. Which is totally fine by me, as art shops tend to like money for their goods! As Cynthia talks about, it’s about opening a dialogue and seeing where it takes you.

blue moon mountain

I’m not proclaiming to have all the answers. Although this way of doing things has been hovering around me for a while, I have not fully implemented it in such a way that I can offer a foolproof method for making it work. But I believe in it as one effective and joyful way to do business, and to that end I am now officially offering it as a way to sell my smaller work alongside the more traditional money-for-paintings set up. I haven’t yet found the place in me that’s comfortable with letting my much larger pieces go in this way yet, and that’s something I need to look at. But starting small will lay out the path.


So if there’s a painting of mine you have seen here on the blog {in this post or others}, or in my Etsy shop, that you would love to own, let’s make it yours!  Let’s play with this concept of exchange. What do you say? There is nothing to be lost by opening a conversation; even if the idea doesn’t ultimately work out, time spent in connection and discussions about art is never wasted!


If you have opinions, thoughts or ideas about this; whether you think it could work, whether you are already doing it, whether you tried it and found it didn’t work so well, or whether you have ideas about how to make it something really user friendly, I would love it if you would share in the comments. The very basis of the idea is rooted in dialogue and connection, so please do share your thoughts and feelings.


{the art throughout this post is all examples of work I have done for which I’d be happy to negotiate an exchange, although of course there’s plenty more}

three feathers