Learning experiences on the Art Show Trail

This has been a marathon year for art shows with so many surprises and learning experiences at every one.  I just did the June shows starting with the Artist's Gallery show indoors and then on to the Va. Bch. Boardwalk show.  

 The small table allowed me the room to paint in the open yet gave the viewer room to move.

The small table allowed me the room to paint in the open yet gave the viewer room to move.

It's always an incredible honor to get into the boardwalk show and this year was no exception.  The judges were incredibly polite and informative and genuinely showed an appreciation for "your obvious uniqueness, dedication to laborious painting technique, and passion for your art".  It was really nice to actually hear that for a change when so often I feel like a Klingon with my cloaking device activated as they go by without a word.  These folks were genuinely concerned about each and every artist.  The heat was unbearable for many but we persevered and sold quite well.  This was in fact my very best boardwalk show ever thanks to some local supporters and several small paintings that I did in the 8" X 10" range with deep canvas edges in the $175.00 price range.  This strategy worked very well and it also filled the gaps between the bigger pieces. Finding the right sizes for your booth is one of the more complicated things in this business but once you figure it out, sales go much better and so does the load in and out with the display.

 My booth at the Under The Oaks Show, Whalehead, Corolla, NC

My booth at the Under The Oaks Show, Whalehead, Corolla, NC

The very next day after my five grueling days on the boardwalk was in North Carolina at the annual Under the Oaks Show at Whalehead, Corolla.  This was by far the hottest show I have ever done which is not unusual this time of year. I nearly passed out the first day while painting because of the heat. This was a Plein Aire test unlike anything I have ever done.  The paint dries so fast in this kind of heat.  The promoters treated us very nicely and my accommodations were well worth the cost at the Inn at Corolla Light. I plan on doing a whole series of paintings of that place soon based on my photos.  They are also very dog friendly and that made for a good time for all even though it rained during one of the two days.  It was great having an air conditioned place to keep Rusty and Raven during the show.

 The Inn At Corolla Light

The Inn At Corolla Light

 What a great place to have a glass of wine after a long hot hard day!

What a great place to have a glass of wine after a long hot hard day!

 The view from the Inn looking out on the sound.

The view from the Inn looking out on the sound.

I was truly appreciative of my sale of one of the OBX series of paintings I did this year during the final minute, of the final day of the show.  I was literally packing up when a customer fell in love with the OBX piece.  Thank you!

Today, the very day after the whale head show I am setting up on Knotts Island, NC for the Peach Festival.  This turned out to be a real winner for me last year inspire of its remote location.

I have learned so much this year about doing art shows and of course, always want to pass on information to the "Newbies" who are trying to "figure it out".  Keeping a cleaner and less cluttered booth along with unifying the sizes and frames of the work is really a big step forward. It just makes the overall presentation better and increases sales while impressing the judges.

I also got a lot more "waitlisted" notices this year.  Unlike many artists who apply to several shows the same weekend and then choose the one they want, I apply to only one and if I don't get in then I have an open weekend to surf or paint which is just fine by me.  I really don't see the point of paying to board the dogs, a hotel room, and then showing up at some bizarre hour of the morning for a "maybe I can get in" situation.  I just can't afford to do business like that.  The hotel room and the boarding are nonrefundable and if I don't get in the show that's a huge waste of money!  I know a lot of fellow artists and juror/board members out there will disagree with me on this but I refuse to be someone else's puppet in this life.  I plan on making a difference through my actions and good deeds and will not be a slave to bad vibes that get tossed my way.  With that in mind, I encourage all of you to continue on showing your work, applying to shows, and learn along the way to improve yourself and not be manipulated by others and their narrow perspectives on this business.  Stay positive and open minded to new ways of doing things and all will be just fine.