How to go about representing an artist's work?
I'm interested in learning how to best go about selling my grandmother’s artwork. She's a very talented lady in her 80's that has been painting since she was 5. She creates mixed-media works nearly as large as herself. She is split almost evenly between abstract and representational work. She's sold many pieces, been in plenty of exhibitions, and has won many awards. However, her husband acted as her manager for most of her working life, and since he died her success has been declining.
This is due to a few reasons. First, she paints just to paint and has enough money to do so without worrying much about selling. She also lacks business skills, and would rather hoard her paintings than spend time promoting and selling her work. Also, she is in a small city not known for its art, and as she is a little too edgy for this town. Most art here is rather commercial, or “flora and fauna” as she puts it. There simply isn't a large demand for large, abstract work that is a bit unorthodox for the yuppies here. Also, since her works are larger, her prices are higher and put her outside the range of the average art buyer’s budget. She has no interest in changing her style or size, so is content with stockpiling over 300 paintings throughout her house and storage.
Though she is still pretty well-off, money has been getting tighter especially as she spends about $300 - $400 on framing and supply costs per piece. Plus, she gets a lot of happiness from recognition and validation via selling, exhibitions, and winning awards. She had an artist representative that was helping her and had big plans but disappeared in the middle of things due to family tragedy. A couple others didn't pan out for various reasons. So, I've decided i’d like to help her by either becoming her temporary/permanent representative, or at least getting her to the point where she can find a steady one. I love art and am an artist myself, though in the field of photography and nowhere near her level. I think my passion and relative intelligence can make up for a lack of business and social skills.
So far I've photographed most of her work, built her a website, and produced a book for her. But I realize in order to promote her work there is so much more to be done. I'd like some advice on how to best go about selling her work, getting her exhibitions, and advertising her to galleries, collectors, and the public. She is located in Naples, Florida and as i said it's not a great location for artists - the closest decent city being Miami (which I've suggested her to move many times).
There are a lot of art festivals here, are they worth the effort and investment? Should I just pound the streets and visit galleries? Focus on online promotion or real work contacts? What kind of help or resources should I seek? Is this in the end too much for me, and if so, how do I find someone better prepared?
Her site: Joanbsonnenberg.com