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View Full Version : When did you decide you were ready for shows?


Sarah Rose
04-13-2014, 12:58 PM
I still feel like such a beginner, but once in while I get lucky and will pull of a pretty good painting. Maybe 1 out of 4-5 paintings...maybe. I have sold quite a few, and I have gotten some pretty good prices a time or two. I totally don't feel that I am a 'real' painter, I am ponderously slow, I struggle with simple concepts, I get so frustrated that I don't want to paint at all anymore. Then I fall in love with it again.

I have been getting some show offers lately. One was for a one woman show at a local bank. I have gone to one of their openings and think they do a fine job. I do not have anywhere near the quantity of paintings that would be needed for this, though, so that gets me off the hook for awhile. The woman who organizes the show told me to let her know when I have enough paintings.

She also sent me some info for a free booth space at a music festival at our ski area this summer. Not as intimidating of a prospect as filling a bank with good paintings. She will be presenting several interested painters and a committee will pick one.

I sorta want these things, but sorta dread it too, because I start feeling the pressure to chose between being a hobby painter and having to step it up to try to be a 'real' painter. How did those of you out there make this choice? What did you chose? Are you happy with your choice? Or am I making a bigger issue out of this than it really is?

DAK723
04-13-2014, 05:00 PM
I have sold quite a few, and I have gotten some pretty good prices a time or two. I totally don't feel that I am a 'real' painter...
You should definitely feel like a real painter - especially since you are a selling painter!

I am ponderously slow, I struggle with simple concepts, I get so frustrated that I don't want to paint at all anymore. Then I fall in love with it again.
Degas has a great quote which goes something like this: "Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!"

I have been getting some show offers lately. One was for a one woman show at a local bank. I have gone to one of their openings and think they do a fine job. I do not have anywhere near the quantity of paintings that would be needed for this, though, so that gets me off the hook for awhile. The woman who organizes the show told me to let her know when I have enough paintings.
If people are offering you shows - then you are ready! I have painted for 35 years and no one has offered me a show - so best to take advantage!

I sorta want these things, but sorta dread it too, because I start feeling the pressure to chose between being a hobby painter and having to step it up to try to be a 'real' painter. How did those of you out there make this choice? What did you chose? Are you happy with your choice? Or am I making a bigger issue out of this than it really is?
The only pressure in being a real painter is if you need to sell to make a living. If you don't need to sell, then there should be no "actual" pressure, in my opinion. If you make sales, then great! If you don't sell anything - well, then you will be like most of us other "real" painters! So, I wouldn't make this distinction you are making between "hobby" painters and "real" painters. A hobby painter is usually someone who doesn't want to sell. If you want to sell - and do sell - then you are not just a real painter, but a successful real painter!

Don

Sarah Rose
04-13-2014, 05:41 PM
"Degas has a great quote which goes something like this: "Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do!""

SO TRUE! It seems like such a delicate balance, but it is more enjoyable when I let go a bit.

I have sold paintings in large part to my sculpture customers, so it isn't like I found new customers. I have only sold one or two to anyone outside of my customer group. The offering of a show is because a neighbor of mine is friends with the person who organizes the shows and she told her about me. It certainly wasn't because she 'discovered' my work! I sorta have to laugh a bit because when I did my sculpture in bronze (I now do resin for a hobby market) I was never the person someone offered a show to. I was in lots of juried shows and galleries, though, but never made that much $$$. I want painting to just be fun. I guess that makes me a 'real hobby painter' ha ha!

Equus Art
04-14-2014, 07:13 AM
When I was confident in my pastel usage with my subjects of choice i.e. horses and dogs currently. Until I get a better working relationship with landscapes, I will stick to submitting my best work doing the subjects that I love to do. That might mean that I am only submitting my work to juried shows that are animal specific, but never the less, it is definitely a confidence booster to have my work accepted.

I was quite surprised recently to have my animal art accepted into a rather large open juried show here in VA. You never know unless you stick your neck out.

Sold is sold. It doesn't matter how. Obviously, your work spoke to those who purchased it.

Paint what you love and it will be fun and it will reflect in your work.

Cat

jeaneade2001
04-14-2014, 09:31 AM
You sound like me ... A ditherer! But you're probably ready. The longer you put it off the more excuses you are going to manufacture so you have to take the first step as soon as it's offered, or you'll never get anywhere! And you must be good to get the offers so go for it! And good luck.

water girl
04-14-2014, 12:30 PM
Here's a thought. If you hesitate to do it alone because you do not have a great number of pieces, ask if they would consider showing 2 or 3 artists at the same time. I've been showing annually with 6 other women for eight years.

Sarah Rose
04-14-2014, 01:49 PM
Ha! I just sent her an email asking the same thing. Plus that feels less intimidating to me. The idea of doing a one woman show feels terrifying, this big thing that is saying to everyone "Come look at ME! I am SO wonderful!". Ugh....scary....not ready....

DBfarmgirl
04-14-2014, 06:54 PM
I understand hating to be the center of attention. I ran away to get married so I wouldn't have to be "princess for the day".

That said- do they do a big "Opening Night" thing? The three exhibits I have done were -hang your stuff, -write a short bio, -prices -They hand out my business card if anyone is interested. No stress, no drama, no center of attention. Most of the people walking by weren't even aware that I did the paintings (great for overhearing TRUE comments). If there isn't some big gathering and "tea with the artist thing" it isn't too bad, even for a hermit such as myself.

If you don't have enough pieces of your own, I think the idea of a couple people showing at the same time would be a nice way to ease into it. Your work is very nice- why wait? The unfortunate part of this art "business" is self promotion, some places seem to want the big presentation and gala, some just want art.

Sarah Rose
04-15-2014, 10:55 AM
Great advice everyone! I think this first opportunity will just be part of a tent for a day at a music festival. So not a ton of pressure. The show they do at the bank they have a nice opening reception for, but she told me it will be awhile because they are adding a wing to the bank or something (whew!) I want to enter our local arts center's juried show in July. That would be fun, they have a nice reception with whoever wants to come and each accepted artist will have 1-3 paintings in the show.

So, I guess one thing at a time. I am trying to build up some inventory now but my success rate is lower because I had to work at my real job for three months and didn't paint :(

jackiesimmonds
04-17-2014, 05:12 AM
slowly slowly catchee monkey.

do not do anything which feels REALLY uncomfortable to you. you will be giving yourself too much pressure. Painting for speed because you haven'[t enough finished works is a nightmare. Building inventory is a good plan.

Start small, work with others, do the music festival, build confidence...your work is certainly, obviously, good enough to show but you need to show in your own time, in a way which feels comfortable to you.

You need to know what floats your boat, as an artist. I rather like the pressure of doing one woman shows, I find they give me a focus and reason to paint. I prefer not to show with others on the whole. My reason for this is that sometimes, my work looks weak alongside someone else's, particularly if theirs is very bold and bright colours and abstract...and also sometimes, the opposite happens, I sell well and they do not and I feel bad for them....I find this all quite tricky.

I do not show in order to say "look at me". It is because I WANT to sell, and justify my art career to myself. It is an important part of being an artist, for me. If you are happy being a hobby painter and have no interest in selling, then so be it, we are all different. I thought, at one point when painting was getting me down a bit, that I would become a hobby craftsperson - working with glass, enamel on copper and ceramics when I am not painting - but I still have Open Studios and want to sell! It is who I am. you have to know yourself and what drives you.

You will be fine.

rugman
04-18-2014, 09:01 AM
My thoughts would be to enter your local shows. Juried or not. My first shows were not juried, and included the open art show at county fair. From there, it progressed to local jury shows. They are not high pressure, and its fun to meet other artists at opening reception. Plus, no extra costs involving shipping of paintings, traveling. Build up inventory is good idea too (one of my personal goals this year, but not going so good at moment, yikes)

Sarah Rose
04-20-2014, 12:43 AM
Thank you Jackie and Ron :) I think I will give the music fest tent a go, it might be fun and I enjoy meeting new people whether I sell anything or not. I am really looking forward to entering our local arts center's juried show in July, too. My friend that used to paint was in their shows several times and we always went to the openings and it was nice :) I think a one person show is just too intimidating for now. Thanks again!

jackiesimmonds
04-20-2014, 05:36 AM
A thought for you.

If you have a local "Open Studios" or "Art Trail", think about joining in. I do this annually.....it means I can show what I want, without having to please any gallery owner. This year, I will be showing paintings, enamelled copper bowls, framed enamel panels, ceramics and glass! I will have just a few of each, more bowls than anything else, but it does not matter because it is entirely up to me, what I show. This is the flyer I have produced for this year, I will have several hundred printed and a local newsagent will put one inside every newspaper he delivers, for very little cost. I used Powerpoint to make this, it is pretty easy to do:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Apr-2014/1805-OS_jpg_2014_A5_flyer.jpg

This takes the pressure right off, it is fun to do in one's own home, or sharing with another artist somewhere if your home is unsuitable.

OR

I had a friend once who used to show annually, in a barn on her neighbour's farm. She began by inviting all her friends and family, put out posters around the area, and asked everyone to "bring a friend". Everyone who came, went into her visitors book. She added names to her mailing list at every opportunity. After a few years of doing this, she had a very big mailing list, and every time, got more visitors. She sells well.