The first serious piece of art I fell in love with was a serigraph of an Odalesque in turquoise, magenta and gold, very simple and elegant. I think I was all of 12 or 13 at the time. It was in a gallery window and it was very expensive, considering I was charging 25 cents an hour for babysitting in those days. I kept going to visit it, and then one day there was a going out of business sign in the window. I panicked and asked my Dad what I should do. He told me to ask the owner if I could give him $5 a month until I paid it off. The owner said yes. Since that time I have built my own art collection that same way: falling in love with a piece and paying whatever I can until I own it. I purchased one of Cathy Weber's "Stone, Bone Poems" this way, among others, and I've never had a gallery decline an offer when I've asked.
When I first started selling my work (in 1974, and pieces were $60-100) I made it my policy that if someone loved a painting and wanted it I would accept whatever payment plan they were comfortable with. I have done this many, many times. This past December, a woman who had started buying her painting 2 years ago after having seen it in an exhibit came to Philadelphia to meet, make her final payment and pick it up as her birthday gift to herself. I could go on, but there are other creative ways to buy a piece. One of my clients bought a piece as a wedding gift for her spouse. Your friends and loved ones might want to give you something you will truly cherish for the rest of your life as a gift for a special birthday. And you will have something to remember them by every time you look at it! Never be shy about asking.