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114 Elders Fine Art Gallery.. never give up


This painting “Christmas for the Elders family” was commissioned by Jim Elders from the Elders Fine Art Gallery in Adelaide, South Australia, a man I much admire and without whom I would not be enjoying this wonderful career as an Artist.

artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison's painting of art gallery owner Jim Elders and his family at Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Elders Fine Art Gallery

I have told you how I started painting in How it all began, which is something that I did every minute of the day (in-between looking after a new baby & going back to modelling) early morning, late into the evening, when baby Kai had his naps, and all weekend when hubby took over the child minding.


Friends and family was highly amused at my newfound love of painting and would come over to see the latest artwork.   They would giggle and laugh and I am sure in a lot of instances pat me on the head, shake their heads and think that at least I am amusing myself but it won’t amount to anything much, LOL.


Not that I thought it would either I just knew that I could not stop and if I wasn’t painting I thought about painting, dreamt about it or talked about it, like a woman obsessed.  My dad, who is an artist himself but generally more in the abstract area or as a junk art sculptor, would encourage me and buy me paints and materials.  After a while he said:” you know honey I think you are on to something – there is a genre in the art world called Naive Art and although it does not look anything like yours it seems to be in the same vein.”  So dad got me a few books and I started to dream that maybe one day I could become a “real artist”.

It took about 2 years for this penny to drop and I thought I should see if I could get representation from a gallery.  Now obviously as my father was already an artist with gallery backing and I had quite a public profile from being the Australian Model of the Year it probably would have been much easier to take advantage of that but I wanted to make it on my own arts merit.


So armed with the Yellow Pages (Telephone Directory) I started calling galleries.  I started with the less known and worked my way up the list.  In the most polite of fashions I explained that I was a new artist and was wondering if at some stage I could either come in or send them an image of my work.  Without fail every single gallery I called said: “sorry we are not interested in seeing any new artists, or we are totally booked out”, and some of them were rather rude and abrupt.  At this stage there were only 2 Galleries left in South Australia (that I hadn’t called) and that was the two most famous ones 20 years ago;  BMG (Kim Bonython’s) and Elders Fine Art Gallery, and as luck would have it I called Elders first.

Jim Elder answered the phone himself and I couldn’t believe it when he said; “sure come on in!  I will warn you however that I very rarely take on any new artists but I always look”, and with that we made an appointment.


So on the allotted day I turn up, Jim is very busy getting a show up and hardly acknowledges me but points at where I should put my work along the walls on the floor.  I had 14 works with me so it took quite a while back and forth from the car and finally it’s all in and eventually Jim comes to take a look.

His face gave nothing away, he looked grumpy to me and sort of huffed and asked what the price on this and that one is?  I said that I had no idea at all what the prices were, so Jim said, well that painting I think would be 300 dollars, and this one 500 and the artwork with the flowers 950.  By this stage my eyes were round as saucers as I listen to this obviously quite mad man, lol.  But who was I to argue and when he then said he would buy, this one and that one and the other outright, counting up 10 of the artworks and taking in the other 4 on commission basis I nearly fainted.  I left Elders Fine Art Gallery that day with a cheque for nearly 7 thousand dollars, which with a young family and a mortgage made me skip to the car!

The paintings sold the following weekend in their Christmas show and I now had a new career painting full time and the rest of it is history as they say!

So thank you Jim and Helen Elders, you provided the most wonderful start to my career and I am forever in your debt.  It goes without saying, that if the Elders had not changed the gallery to an Auction house: Elders Fine Art & Auctioneers, I would still happily be on their books.

So here is a quote by George Allen,  I think fits very well in here with light of what everyone thought initially about my art career, lol.

“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit.  Most men succeed because they are determined to.

Till next time happy painting and sculpting to you all,

Love Marie xxx  (c)

Why not come and have a look at Marie Jonsson-Harrison’s PAINTINGS FOR SALEGICLEE PRINTS FOR SALE and SCULPTURES for sale or WALLBASED SCULPTURES.  Enjoy an original artwork on your walls or perhaps one on your bed ARTnBED.

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