The 2013 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction

Armand Cabrera

The 2013 Coer d’Alene Art Auction has just wrapped up pulling in a nice 28.5 million in sales for 2013. The auction is a mix of historical and contemporary western art. Peppermill Resort Spa Reno, Nevada. Of the top prices paid for paintings Howard Terpning is the only living artist included in the 5 highest sales for 2013 coming in third and fourth at 1.5 million and 900,000.

Highlights of the hammer prices  included

 Frederick Remington $5 million

Norman Rockwell $3.8 million

Howard Terpning $1.5 Million

Howard Terpning $900,000

Charlie Russell $600,000

You can see all of the paintings that were for sale and what prices were paid for them 

Behind the Scenes


Armand Cabrera

Most of the work for an art show goes on behind the scenes. I usually do two or three shows a year. That’s on average 20 to twenty five paintings for each show and this is on top of my normal production schedule that I maintain with my galleries and other clients in entertainment.

Shows take a lot of effort to plan and produce. There are editorial copy and ads and invitations to write and disseminate for all of the various outlets that we target for a specific show. The theme of the show must be decided upon well in advance. Travel arrangements made and trip logistics planned.  All of this needs to happen before or in tandem with the paintings being completed on time.
I am lucky in that both Diane and I are technical enough to handle all of the promotion and prep from our side. The gallery or venue is also busy with preparations and plans and everything has to be timed just right for a successful show.
Of course new commissions will crop up and new opportunities will come along while we make our plans and must be fitted into a reasonable schedule to keep everyone happy.

The paintings have to be framed and shipped and the space hung. I like to have paintings finished a month or more before a show and ship everything at least two weeks before the opening.  This doesn’t mean I don’t swap things out at the last minute or change my mind about what to include in a show but I make sure I have the body of work finished before I do that.  I like to offer a range of sizes and subjects for my shows and to demonstrate the range of my interests at that particular time in my career.  I think all of this helps educate my clients about my work.

My normal practice is to over-produce so I can pick what I consider the best pieces for a venue. So if I decide on 20 paintings for a show, most likely I will paint 40. This gives me a little wiggle room for subsequent shows and gallery requests later in the year. It also allows the gallery to veto a piece or two if they feel they wouldn’t be a good fit for their clientele.  I prefer this to having anyone else participate in my paintings choices beforehand. Those decisions are all mine and they are what keeps me painting and growing as an artist.

Setting Goals in Your Career

Armand Cabrera

I am pleased to announce I have been juried into the Illuxcon Imaginative Realism main show at the Allentown Museum for 2015. This will be my fourth time at Illuxcon and my third time as a main show artist. Illuxcon is the premiere venue for this type of art and I am honored to be in a show with such talented people.

My goal in 2011 was to start painting imaginative work again. I had been focused on traditional painting subjects since leaving full time production art in 2001. Although I still work digitally on projects for games and do some illustration, I wasn’t painting it traditionally. This was unusual for me as most of my career was creating fantasy and science fiction work starting in the early 80’s until I stopped in 2001.

 I missed painting the subject matter and I was ready to jump back into imaginative stuff but wasn’t sure there was a market large enough or a venue for what I wanted to do. There were people working as illustrators and production artists and selling personal work on the side but no one as far as I knew at the time was painting for themselves making a living painting like a gallery artist. I was coming at it from a gallery artist’s perspective and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off but I was going to try.

I’d heard about Illuxcon at the end of 2011. Illuxcon had been set up to showcase the best imaginative work made with traditional media. Artists were travelling from all over the world to attend the show. My goal then was to get into the main show at Illuxcon within five years and try to garner one of the coveted commissions given out every year to a handful of artists by the people in charge of the show. To do this I had to create a new body of work just to show for the Illuxcon venue.  I spent most of the year working on pieces in between my traditional landscape work for galleries and commissions.
In 2012 I grabbed a spot in the weekend salon which is the open non-juried part of the show. This gave me a chance to see how the venue worked, what type of work was being shown, the quality of the work and the prices people were asking. My idea was to show imaginative work not made for any product and informed by my plein air painting and traditional gallery style. My style was a little different compared to most of the work in the show. I didn’t want to change my style of painting to chase a new market; instead I wanted to see if the market would accept my genre work even though it wasn’t quite what they were used to seeing stylistically. Although I had a positive response to my work at the show, I still didn’t sell anything.
I thought the reason I didn’t sell was price point. Even though I had established a decent price for my work in galleries only the very top people in this new market commanded those kind of prices. These people had worked to establish those prices in their market over many years of hard work. I wasn’t going to be able to just come into the market at the top; I was going to have to build my presence up.  I worked even harder for 2013 including some figurative pieces of characters from fantasy books I loved. With all of my painting I wanted to continue to explore light and color in this work the way I do with my traditional work for galleries. I applied again and was juried into the main show.  I got great responses from the other artists with the new paintings but still didn’t sell anything.
About a month after IlluXcon, I was approached by Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire (who run Illuxcon) about painting one of the commissions for 2014 or later shows. We talked about size and price and settled on a fairly large piece. I decided to go with the 2014 slot so the painting would be shown the next year. Even though I hadn’t sold at the show in 2013 I did get one of the commissions, so I was ahead of schedule with part of my goal but still needed to do better with sales.
I decided I would really focus on having some major imaginative paintings for 2014. I had a show coming up that May for one of my traditional galleries and I needed 15 paintings in a range of sizes for that show. I had to paint another 20 paintings for two new galleries that I had picked up. I knew I needed to have the work ready for Illuxcon 2014 by August. My plan was to have 25 new paintings, plus the 3 x 5 foot commission ready for the show. I was committing myself to more than 60 paintings in various sizes just for the shows and galleries in eight months’ time. It felt good to have these goals in place for the year.
2014 broke my dry spell and I had a good show with lots of sales at Illuxcon. I had inquiries about paintings before and after the show so I am looking forward to 2015 and building in this market and keeping this subject matter as part of my repertoire. Setting those goals a few years ago has helped me to do this.