The Westport Art Fair is technically free, but you'll have to negotiate the terms of acquisition with the individual artists. A good hardline approach is to circle a painting several times, making disapproving grunting sounds and other noises of disapprobation like "Gah! Horrible!" This will lower the floor of the artist's insecurity and set the stage for some wheeling and dealing.
Pick up the painting and check its heft, and make some comments about how much your spouse will hate it. If there's a price tag on it, laugh. Then quote a price 60 percent lower. If that doesn't work, check to see if the artist is aware that your child could, if prompted, produce work of equal or better quality. If you can produce the child, an easel, canvas, paints and brushes, and prove it on the spot, so much the better.
By following these helpful tips, you can make yourself unwelcome at future art fairs and possibly find some great new paintings for your house.
Sept. 5-7, 2008