View Full Version : Summer Art Shows!

06-27-2005, 10:48 AM
I thought it might be interesting and useful to people to start a thread where we can post about the various summer shows we do. Maybe include a bit of information about the particular show, about how many people do it, is it just artwork or are crafts included, the turnout, how sales went, and any awards we got (or didn’t get! :D). Also include how long you have done this particular show and how long you have been doing shows at all…maybe a bit about your “equipment”…whatever seems relevant and helpful..
Maybe even include a link, if there is one, to a page by the sponsors of the show in case someone is interested in trying it themselves.

Pictures might be nice too.

I know a lot of people here wonder about doing these shows. Although many WC-ers have been in them, many people think about it but are too nervous or feel unknowledgeable about them. Maybe seeing how some of us amateurs handle it all will encourage people…or, after some of the stories…convince them to never attempt it! :D

I already posted some information about the one I just did in last week’s scumble but I know not everyone reads that…and I didn’t give a lot of info about the show itself.

Saturday, June 25, Saco Sidewalk Festival, Saco, Maine 9-4, rain or shine
(from the Saco-Biddeford Chamber of Commerce Website http://www.biddefordsacochamber.org/calendar-of-events.shtml)
The Arts Festival is an annual cultural extravaganza occurring in June along the quaint and beautiful Main Street in Saco. A combination of visual arts, performing arts, crafts people and sculptors. Mediums include paintings in oil, acrylics, watercolors, pen and ink, prints, etchings, photography, paper casting and innovative sculptures. There are wonderful displays from members of the Southern Maine Craftsmen. The performing arts includes magicians, cloggers and musicians. There are concession stands, clowns and balloons for the kids, and a special time for all! We offer $12,000 in award money and purchase prizes. The show attracts many quality artists.

This is the second year I have done this show. It has been going on for several years. It is notorious for always being dreadful weather…either pouring buckets or intense heat! This year was intense heat (last year poured buckets)…it was almost 100 degrees. Not sure which is worse…honestly, I think the heat. The weather is something you have to consider when you do these shows. You have no control over the weather…funny about that. And generally the shows run rain or shine (it would be too difficult to have more than one date scheduled) and if you decide not to go you probably will not get a refund. On the other hand, they are not usually terribly expensive to set up. This was $40.

I’m not sure of the total number of people who do the show but I would guess at least 100. It is mostly “artwork” but some crafts (good and bad! :D). Not sure that I have seen any “performers” but maybe they are there and I miss them. I do usually have an opportunity to walk around, it is basically just along Main St. in downtown, but this year they added a new section, right off the main part. That’s where I ended up being set up. I was nervous about whether people would venture there but that did not seem to be a problem. In fact, most of the people commented how nice it was to have this new section. One thing that was nice about where I was, was that I was right next to a little coffee shop where you could get iced coffee or tea and other cold drinks and the portapotty was directly across the street.

I purchased an eZ-up tent from BJ’s a couple of years ago (for $199) and have mostly been happy with it. I got 4 metal display racks from Graphic Display and those are wonderful. It is all pretty easy to set up.

This year I brought about 25 paintings with me and a load of “prints” and greeting cards I print on my own computer. I find that here in Southern Maine at least, I don’t sell much original artwork, but lots of the cards and prints. I know that some people who have been doing it longer have built up a clientele and do sell more artwork.
I have been putting the cards on a table I bring but they tend to blow all over so I just got a card display rack from eBay…I’ll let you know how it works out!

I did have some shade from the tent and a little breeze but all in all it was unbearably hot. I gather it was even hotter on Maine Street, though. The heat really affected the turnout. I think there were more people last year in the rain…they just brought umbrellas. This year, there were people through in the morning but by after lunchtime it was pretty dead. And those coming through looked really beat. Honestly, I don’t think I would go to an art fair in that weather!

I sold a few prints and some cards, got my entrance fee back and made a few bucks. Nothing to write home about. Last year I won a purchase prize but this year I got my painting back. I had about 2 minutes of feeling sorry for myself then was able to just move on. “Their loss!” :D Seriously, you have to develop a thick skin about the sales and the awards…it just depends on who happens to be judging and who happens to walk by your booth that can afford to buy “real art”…the first show was tough but since then I have gotten better about it.
Last year I sold an original painting as well. There were defintely more people out then. Since the show has been going on for a long time, there are people who come every year.

I did have a near disaster late in the day. I had one back panel up for shade and because I like the white behind my paintings. It was billowing a bit during the day but seemed fine. At about 2:45 a big gust came through and the panel basically turned into a sail….fortunately I was sitting right next to a tent leg and grabbed that…held on for dear life…yelled for help and people came running…we got the tent down and took down the back wall and it was stable again. It lifted up with the sandbags attached! The only thing I can think for the future is that if I see the walls billowing like that I should take the wall down…not sure what else. Maybe double sandbags. I have done 9 shows with no problem…so not sure what to think about it.

We have to be at the show early (this one is about 7:30…the next one the parking is awful so we get there about 6:00am!). My husband helps me set up, sometimes drops in during the day, and then comes back to get me taken down. I am mostly on my own. But I know many people there and so I can have someone watch the booth if I need a quick break. I would love to have someone to stay with me but it just doesn’t work out for me. I do not think I could set it all up by myself though…some people do. Theoretically the ez-up you can do alone but I am not quite tall enough and it is just too much.
One thing I have learned that helps me out a lot is I set up the display racks before the show (in the garage) and arrange the paintings. Then I take a digital photo and print it out. I find that it makes it a bit less stressful for me during set up. It takes me a while to get things looking the way I want and to fit in what I want.

Okay…so that was probably way more information than you ever wanted! Seriously, I think I would have found it helpful to read before I did my first show, which was only 2 years ago, by the way. Although, I did do outdoor antique shows before that. I didn’t have my own tent, but the concept of setting up and sitting all day, either selling or not selling, was not new to me.

There is a picture of my display in last week’s scumble, if anyone is interested.

So…who’s next?


Piper Ballou
06-27-2005, 11:05 AM
Sandy- Thank you for starting this thread, I am not to the point of going to a show yet, but have been thinking of it. This will be great to hear everyone's ideas and thoughts

06-28-2005, 08:33 AM
Thanks Piper.
Keep thinking...and then do it! :D Really, it is a lot of work but it's good to get your artwork out there. YOu meet people and you hear their comments. People take business cards and although I have not yet heard from anyone after a show I know it happens.
You also get to see other people's work and talk to them. It's just a good way to network.


Kathryn Wilson
06-28-2005, 09:27 AM
:clap: This is a great thread Sandy, so I've rated it "Excellent" so that it will go into the Pastel Library for future reference.

We only have one show in town and it's quite a big affair and well attended. I've often thought of applying, but there is a waiting list as there are artists from all over the U.S. in attendance. I think I need to find a smaller show to get started. I too have done antique shows so I know how it all goes - right along with the rotten weather that always seems to happen. I think that is the only factor that really puts me off.

I rather like your idea of taking a photo of your painting set-up before you get to the show - excellent idea!

My other question to you, and anyone else who has done these shows, is have you ever tried to do a demo painting while at the show. I would think that would spark interest, but if you are by yourself it would be difficult painting and selling things - it almost would require two people working the tent.

Thanks for starting the thread Sandy - I know we will refer back to it often.

06-28-2005, 09:39 AM
I rate an excellent! Wow! :clap:

Some people do paint at their set up and I keep thinking maybe I will do it. It does attract interest. I think it would not be a real problem as long as you bring something that you can easily set aside. To be honest, even on the busiest days, it is not that busy at all times so it shouldn't be a problem. It's not like you have people standing in line waiting to be served. Well, I have had it couple of times with cards and stuff but nothing major.
It would also help pass the time when things are slow. I usually bring a book to read.

One thing I am curious about myself is the issue of credit cards. I keep looking into it and deciding the fees are not worth it to me. So far I have not seemed to have lost business because of not having credit cards. People always manage to go get cash or borrow it from a friend or something. I do take personal checks. However, I really wonder if I had a sign saying I took credit cards whether I would get some impulse buyers. That's the kind of thing you would not know you are losing if you don't offer the service.
Just curious how many people actually take them. I know some of the people in the shows I do, do take them..but not a lot.
Our local group was going to get one that we could all have access to but it turns out the the wway the credit card company works, everyone on the board of directors then becomes responsible for any problems...ie identity theft or something. NOt sure exactly but we decided we couldn't put the board members into that position.


Kathryn Wilson
06-28-2005, 09:54 AM
Sandy, that was my next question - I was wondering about payment and credit cards, or debit cards.

We just got a new machine at the antique mall that takes debit cards and credit cards - I've not looked into it personally, but is it not the only time you (the seller) gets charged is when there is a sale, OR is there a monthly fee no matter if there had been sales or not? See, I don't know and should.

On our on-line business, we take Paypal which really makes it super easy for people to pay and I think taking credit cards would generate business, especially for more expensive purchases. So many people use Paypal these days, I wonder if there would be a way to make that work.


06-28-2005, 10:34 AM
No reason why you would not know the answers Kat, unless you had looked into it.
From what I can tell, there is a small fee when someone charges but most of the companies also have a monthly fee, at least for us little guys. I can understand it, although I don't like it. They are there to make money. Plus, you have to rent or buy the equipment.
The monthly fee is usually about $25 a month. That's not that bad but I don't realy want to have to pay it during the months I don't do shows and have no reason to use it.
I also use Paypal and that has been wonderful. So far I don't think there is any way to do that offline. Well, I can't see how it would work.
Eventually I'll probably do the credit card schtick...it's probably unavoidable if I want to continue doing shows. I'm still chewing on it.


Kathryn Wilson
06-28-2005, 10:45 AM
My brain is abuzzing about Paypal - how about a laptop computer, they sign on to Paypal on their account and pay you right there? I probably am not seeing the big picture here, but it sounds like it might work.

06-28-2005, 10:49 AM
Well, it is a thought. But I have a hunch, at least here in Maine, that people who don't already have it would not be that quick to sit there out in the open and give all that personal bank and credit card info into my computer. Even though you and I are familiar with Paypal because of eBay, a lot of people have never heard of it.
But...I could be wrong. And maybe some of them already have Paypal. It is a thought. I suppose it costs nothing to take the laptop and try it.

This is funny...I see that people are watching this conversation! :D


Kathryn Wilson
06-28-2005, 11:26 AM
This is funny...I see that people are watching this conversation! :D


LOL - it is amazing how many people do look at the posts, but never join in. As Moderator, I am always looking at the post numbers and shaking my head wondering who they are. It's not like we eat people alive - ;)

I can imagine the reluctance of using someone else's computer - it was a thought.

Piper Ballou
06-28-2005, 11:27 AM
since I have only been painting for less then a year, I do not have a large number of paintings finished and are ready to be framed. That is what I am working on next, thinking maybe this fall would be a nice time to have a show.

Sandy- you mentioned that you print your cards and prints on your home computer, do you have a special printer for this, what type of paper do you use? We printed a couple on very high quality paper- acid free and I really liked them, we also found out that we can have prints made at about 6 dollars a pop, not thrilled with that at all.

At one of the shows here, some one had their original paintings and then had prints in frames, think the prints were selling the best, they also had prints in plastic wrap to sell. Since my husband is my framer that keeps costs down so it may be worth it for us to think about framing some of the prints.

I also think I would do a demo, or just have painting I am working on, I have seen those and always stop to watch.


06-28-2005, 02:47 PM
Piper, I have an Epson 2200 which prints oversized things. But all you realy need is a decent printer. I think the paper is the most important issue. FOr the cards I usually get the Avery card sets but I have been looking for a more cheaper alternative. I'm not sure what it breaks down to though with the Avery...they are not that expensive.
For the prints, as long as it is 8 1/2 x 11 I use Crane's Museo which I really like. It costs about $1 a sheet, plus you have to somehow factor in the ink but I sell them in different sizes, but if it is roughly 8x10 and I use an 11 x 14 mat I have been getting $30 for a print so that isn't bad. I have not been framing them although it doesn't seem like a bad idea. I have considered pickijng up some inexpensive metal frames or something.
It is true that people love the prints. I know there is controversy over selling them. Some people really feel that you need to only sell the original artwork, that it is sort of dumbing down art. But I think you just have to be realistic and recognize that most people today cannot afford to buy the real thing. So why not let them have a piece of your artwork to hang on their wall? I still make money on it. And I'm getting my name out there. Maybe someday one of them will come back and buy the real thing.
I'm not holding my breath though! :D

Anyhow, I know there are posts all over WC about printing your own stuff. And to be honest, getting them done for $6 is not that bad a deal if you can get $30. I know you need a mat, but they are not that expensive.

Oh...I scan my stuff in. That way I have it all on my computer and ready to go.


Piper Ballou
06-28-2005, 08:33 PM
Sandy- thanks for all the information. Do you usually mat with just white- or an off white mat for the prints?

06-28-2005, 08:52 PM
I always use white or off white with my paintings. With the prints I usually do, but sometimes I do use colors. Pastelly ones. But I have found that people buying prints seem sort of into that type of thing! They spend time pondering which color mat will work best for where they are hanging the picture.
I usually pick up inexpensive ready made acid free mats when I see them.

07-05-2005, 08:35 AM
Okay, show #2 for me. I wish someone else would post a show report!

Anyhow, yesterday, July 4 we the first of 4 shows that I do with the local group here in Maine. It is Saco Bay Artists and we show on the library lawn in Ocean Park. They have been doing it for many years. There are I think about 40 artists showing. This show has art and photographs but no crafts are allowed. There are several photographers but mostly artwork. And interestingly, this group includes many pastsellists. Including, for the first time, Serguei Oussik, a Russian master pastellist who is apparently teaching some classes (very expensive) in the area. His work is incredible. Sort of reminds me a bit of Jackie's with the wonderful light.
Anyhow, there is always a good turnout, especially in the morning since there is a holiday parade that goes around the area. Of course, most of those turning out do not even have wallets on them! :D But...I have had many instances of people seeing something they like and going home to get their wallets...or borrowing money from a friend. I have not ever sold a ton of origianl artwork here but some artwork and lots of cards and prints.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day...the kind you never get for shows. Sunny, in the high 70s! Outstanding. I sold a painting and lots of cards. Lots of wonderful comments.
The painting I sold was actually done from some photos I took there last year of the parade. It was that funky one with the car and the kids and dog, all decked out in July 4 splendor. They guy who bought it was the father of the little boy in the painting! :D I was blown away! He was thrilled...had to go home to get his checkbook.
Anyhow, it was fun and I felt pleased with the results. It is not an expensive show to do. I am a member and go to business meeting so it is only $20 a show. NOt bad!
Here is a view of the show:

and a neat one from the parade!


and a link to a page I found with Serguie Ossuok's paintings....no close ups but you get an idea.

Okay...let's see someone other people's reports!


Deborah Secor
07-05-2005, 12:28 PM
Great thread, Sandy! Wow--you've put a lot into it already!

I did outdoor and indoor A&C Fairs for about 20 years here in the greater southwest... I'm really burned out on them (see Sandy's post about 100 degree heat) and hope not to have to go back, but they paid the bills for a lotta years.

My credit card company charges me $2 a month for the privilege of maintaining an account, and the % is scandalous (I'd have to check, but think 5%) per sale. It's made a HUGE difference in the price point I could sell, in the past. I found that far more people who were purchasing, say, three paintings for a total of $1500-$2000 wanted to use the card. It gave them recourse when buying something in an 'iffy' setting, meaning that it wasn't a gallery where they could walk in and say that the wire broke and the painting fell off the wall, breaking the glass and damaging the frame...or some such problem! Sometimes they wanted to take advantage of buyer's points, or other promotional deals from the card companies (frequent flier miles, that kind of thing) so they were happy to charge a high dollar sale with the card. In fact, I think on occasion that upped the decision to buy a second or third painting... My policy was always to ask what they wanted to use to buy the painting, and then mention that I preferred a local check over using a card if they didn't mind. When they asked why, I would explain that it cost me a percentage (something they were often unaware of!) and very often they agreed to give me a check instead...

I never sold prints. I made inexpensive originals, but not prints. I even painted original cards on the spot for people to take with them for a mere $12 per card, back in the 80s. My advice on that is that if you want to make any real money making prints you must develop an entirely different market than that for originals, whether at fairs or in shops. Galleries don't want to sell prints. A lot of the upper end shows will only allow a certain percentage of prints in a booth, and they cannot be framed and on the wall. In a market where people want to buy prints you can't sell much original art, or at least not anything that's perceived as 'too expensive.' So you have to choose your market.

As for painting in the booth, I did it as often as I could. It gives people a chance to walk in and see the work without feeling like you're going to 'sell' to them, it gives you something to talk about, it's a great pastime during the slower hours, and it can sell right off the easel! I advise that you stand--or perch on a tall stool--so that you don't have to stand up when a customer starts to give you that body language telling you he's really interested. Too often when you stand up it's a signal that you're 'selling' them again and they retreat. If you're on your feet or perching, you can ease away from the easel and get ready to sell the one they've been looking at for a half hour while you painted and chatted with them! I also advise you to have a nice large umbrella that the customers can stand under to watch, if you have the space, AND one of those dandy fans with the spray of water wafting over them, if you have electricity and the water doesn't spray your paper as you paint. It really keeps the crowd around you!

I recommend you have good support info to hand out--a brochure you make on your computer, business cards, of course, and maybe a sheet with a photo of you and a bit of your work, telling about what you're currently working on. This translates to recognition over time. I give these to my gallery to give out even now.

I could ramble on but will stop for now. Good thread--I'll keep checking in on it, too!


Piper Ballou
07-06-2005, 11:44 PM
Sandy, I am no where near ready to have a show...but thinking about it, checking out a few local places that do have shows (that means within a 200 mile radius or so) there is one local but not until May.
Oh by the way, my husband looked up the printer that you use...now it is on his christmas list :eek: too funny

07-07-2005, 06:35 AM
an interesting thread :cat:

I'm taking part in a couple of shows in September with friends as part of the Open Studios in our area

The first will be in a village hall in Billesdon near Leicester on 17th and 18th September and the second at Cross Corners, Belgrave Hall (a lovely Georgian house) with lots of space to hang, on 24th and 25th September.

Some of our group are organisers of the Open Studios a county wide event with lots of different artists - textiles, jewellery, sculptors, installation and performance as well as painters and printmakers.

the website for our group (that I'm currently creating) is website (http://sitekreator.com/theassociationofleicestershireartists/index.html)

There will be thousands of catalogues for the event, with images and details of individual artists, a website ( Hidden Treasures (http://www.hiddentreasures.org.uk/) ) and zillions of exhibitions, open studios and events going on for the month of September. it should be great if anyone is in the area :cat:

08-03-2005, 09:50 AM
Just a quick update to report that I did break down and get set up with the credit card schtick. I had it at the last show I did.
The show was very slow (it was a wonderful beach day) and many people sold nothing at all or just a couple of greeting cards. A couple came by and took a painting off the rack and handed me their credit card! Yikes! I freaked out :D But I did it! Of course after they left it occurred to me I should have asked if they would have bought it had I not taken credit cards. But...I didn't.
ANyhow, obviously it was worth it for me. I also sold a bunch of cards and a print but those were cash.
I got the credit card information from my local bank, who put me in touch with the company they use, Power Pay. It seemed like a very reasonable deal to me. There was a relatively small start up fee, a very small monthly payment, but I can "shut it off" during the winter if I want and then just turn it back on again next summer. And the percentage is small as well. It really seems pretty simple and reasonable to me, now that I am doing it. WE'll see how it works out in the end.


Kathryn Wilson
08-03-2005, 09:56 AM
Sandy, did you need to have electricity to operate the credit card - how did it work? I might be interested in it for shows - antique and art shows.

08-03-2005, 10:16 AM
It is just the hand held thing for the actual show. You have to be sure to get their zip code and to check an ID to be sure they are who they say they are!!! Then you take it home and enter it into the little machine that is hooked up to the phone at home. It was all pretty simple. From what I can tell, anyone else at the show who has it does it the same way. And it is amazing how many people are taking credit cards.
Obviously, if you are indoors (or bring alittle generator!) you could bring the little machine to the show and run the card through there. That gives you a bit better rate and is more secure because you get the approval right off the bat. But I don't really think it is a problem with art shows...I hope!


Kathryn Wilson
08-03-2005, 09:08 PM
We are definitely looking into this - we checked out Paypal and their Virtual Terminal, but not sure how that works. I am convinced that taking CC's is the way to go - 50% of our sales at the Antique mall are credit cards or debit cards.

08-03-2005, 09:51 PM
Kat, check with your bank. These days most banks either offer credit card services themselves or they have an "agent" who works with them and the money will be deposited in your account at their bank. But shop around...I know there asre good deals and bad...but mostly you want to trust the people doing it.


08-03-2005, 11:58 PM
I am watching this thread with interest. I'm not ready this year for a show with a booth but I'm looking ahead to next year. In the fall we have several shows in the region that follow one after the other. These attract artists from all over the country. They include crafts but have a lot of fine art as well. One is sponsored by my art association and members are given entrance preference when juried in. I wasn't thinking about light coming through a tent when I bought an EZup for recreation, thinking I could use it for shows as well. It however is green. I'm wondering if I could canopy a white cloth in the top and use lights (electricity is available for some booths). About 250 booths are represented and the show lasts 3 days.

***One of the pastelists who has shown there has given me a caution I will pass on. Be careful that your work doesn't gather condensation under the glass if it's in the sun, or just from heat and humidity. She had this happen ruining several fine pieces.

In the meantime, my only current show experience is with the association's gallery show that is changed monthly. This has a featured artist who can show however many pieces she or he wishes. Others may enter 3 works in any mediums at a fee of $5 apiece. Volunteers hang the work and put on a beautiful reception. The reception and gallery are open to the public and manned by volunteer docents from the assoc.We may put as many prints and cards as desired into available racks. The gallery takes a %20 commission on sales and sales are fairlly steady. some artists, of course do better or worse than others. Twice a year the show is judged. This has made a great reintroduction to shows without any of the hassle. Many many years ago i participated frequently in Santa Barbara California's sidewalk show at the beach which has become a huge affair but was far more casual then. There were no booths (and still aren't), just display boards and easels or even art leaned against a wall or chairs. It was fun, good networking, good publicity, and often good sales. If one was smart they took an umbrella to sit under. The view was spectacular and there was always an ocean breeze. It was a near weekly event in the summer so among the crowd were many regular purchasers as well as exhibitors. My Mom and I did this together and we often dressed in bohemian costumes, especially during Fiesta Week when we dressed in Mexican folk costumes. This was effective in bringing people to our exhibit.I sold more work there than I did from any galleries. Were I doing that show now, I would have a little table with business cards, brochures and note cards. I would also have prints in addition to the originals.
I hope more people report in with show experiences. This is really educational.

08-06-2005, 08:45 PM
I have a good show report this time! What a surprise...it was another beautiful beach day and not a huge number of browsers came through, but on the whole people sold more than they did at the last show.
I sold a bunch of greeting cards, 2 actual paintings and...ta-da...I won a 2nd prize ribbon! I was really pleased. Last year I got an honorable mention so I figure this means I have improved! :D Seriously, I am pleased. It is given for overall work and they just do one each, 1st, 2nd and 3rd and then 3 honorable mentions. I'd say the day was a success... I can't complain at all.


08-07-2005, 09:30 AM
:cat: well done :clap:

08-08-2005, 10:24 AM
Sandy, congratulations on your 2 paintings sold! and the ribbon!! What great news!
Ok, here's some of my weekend first show....
My husband and I had our first 2 shows in Rangeley and Oquossoc, Maine, and we were very pleased with our experience. I sold the lake painting of Stephen Phillips I recently posted, and a small gallery/store took 3 others on commission. I also had interest of a commission for me to paint a couple's mountain scene they loved so perhaps that will come about as well. My husband sold 5 of his carved painted fish and found many interested parties to network with, it being a huge fishing region.

The first show was from 10am to 4pm and even though on a Thursday it still attracted a great crowd early in the day. After noontime, it slowed down tremendously. The customer who bought Stephen Phillips was very much on a mission to purchase art for his camp and had quite a few other pieces in his arms. Here's a pic of the afternoon crowd! My booth is midway down on the right.

The second show was on a Saturday but very slow. I think it was such a beautiful day that people were out having fun on the water. The show was small and in the parking lot of the gallery. My husband did well and sold 2 of his fish and met many interested people. This was the day the couple expressed interest in me painting something for them... and this was the gallery that took 3 of mine to sell.

It was set in the parking lot of the complex amid forest and blue skies. It was warm but enough of a breeze to keep people from being too uncomfortable.

I found that the first show was very intense in setting up and getting everything just right. The second show was a breeze since we now knew how to set up the tent and booth walls and basic layout of the artwork. We borrowed the E-Z up tent and walls from a friend and found them to be just that, easy. Of course, that's with 2 people. It would have taken a VERY long time for me to set up alone, I'm thinking.

I did not have prints, just the originals you all saw me post here, but I had no requests for any, either. Not that anyone would have probably asked...I would imagine if they saw prints they would have just browsed spontaneously. The photographer next to us sold all cards and had a great day, she said.

I found a split of 50%, between cash and cards. I am sure that accepting cards is just a matter of convenience for everyone these days and most consumers can't imagine that they CAN'T buy with their cards at just about everyplace.

If I do this again, I will bring my pastels and paint there for a little bit of time. Having prepared for this show so intensively it felt only natural that I take any free time and use it to paint!! I found a fishing pack that I carry my pastels in that's easy on the back with a big shoulder strap for comfort...here're pics of my traveling case. I would say if you can find even more shallow trays, all the better.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2005/51674-PastelTravelCase1036.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Aug-2005/51674-PastelBins1037.jpg

The shows did go pretty fast, I didn't feel like I was watching the clock at any time, but of course, that could be the excitement of the first show.....I met a few of the artists and we chatted alot of the day between the crowds. One of my neighbors to the left of us was a pen and ink artist from whom my sister had bought me a print from 12 years ago! Small world.

All in all, it was great to have had this as a goal and I'd try it again.

Hope this helped someone to see that it can be done because if I could pull this off, so can you!

08-08-2005, 10:41 AM
Congratulations, Cindy! YOu survived your first shows...and quite well I think. Good for you that you sold stuff...not that I am surprised. Your work is super!
Everything you describe pretty much fits what I feel. The ezUp is terrific, as long as I have my hubby. He comes to help set up, stops by at lunch, and helps take me down. People watch us and are amazed at how quickly we work. WE are done and on our way before anyone! :D I wrap my paintings in towels and use big plastic tubs...I think that helps a lot too. The bigger paintings just get the towel job and set in the car behind the seats.
I agree about the credit cards...it just makes sense these days. ANd frankly, it doesn't cost that much to do it.
I find I sell more cards than prints lately. NOt sure why...well, probably cost. And since I do the cards at home myself it is no big deal to make them up. YOu might try a few if you feel like it. I don't think people ask...if they are there they'll browse through them. But not everyone does it. SOme people do have serious issues with doing that and I wouldn't argue with anyone. I understand where they are coming from.
But you went quite a distance to do your show! HOw long did it take to drive there? All my shows are very local...I feel as if driving too far would make me tired to begin with! Well, I used to do antique shows and we drove almost 2 hours to get there...pain in the butt...but we did it. Boy, was I pooped when I got home! Art shows are a breeze compared to that.
On my latest show "wish list" is the mesh panels made by Flourish....you add metal brace bars to the bottom of the ezUp, which makes it more stable, and then these wonderful mesh panels for walls so you don't need the racks. The paintings look wonderful, you have much more wall space...and they cost a fortune! Well, it is $595 for the 3 walls and the bars. I just can't justify it at this point. But I am keeping my eyes open for some used ones. Only one person at these shows has them and i covet them! :D
Anyhow, once again, congrats, Cindy! I bet you are glad the shows are over!
By the way...your photos are terrific...thanks for posting them. The one where you said that was the gallery that took some of your paintings...was that their booth or is that you in your booth? I was confused!


08-08-2005, 11:10 AM
Congratulations, Cindy! YOu survived your first shows...and quite well I think. Good for you that you sold stuff...not that I am surprised. Your work is super!
Hi Sandy, thank you so much!
Everything you describe pretty much fits what I feel. The ezUp is terrific, as long as I have my hubby. He comes to help set up, stops by at lunch, and helps take me down. People watch us and are amazed at how quickly we work. WE are done and on our way before anyone! :D I wrap my paintings in towels and use big plastic tubs...I think that helps a lot too. The bigger paintings just get the towel job and set in the car behind the seats.
My artist friend we borrowed the setup from, (Thank You, Julie!), also made these wonderful flat bags out of vinyl and an industrial polytype of material with a foam type of thickness on the inside, very soft, and the paintings easily slip in one open side and are protected just fine. I asked her where she bought them and she said, oh, just sew these up yourself...they worked just wonderfully, and I did fit most of mine in a plastic tub, too.
But you went quite a distance to do your show! HOw long did it take to drive there? All my shows are very local...I feel as if driving too far would make me tired to begin with! Well, I used to do antique shows and we drove almost 2 hours to get there...pain in the butt...but we did it. Boy, was I pooped when I got home! Art shows are a breeze compared to that..
We also visited with my husband's family since they have a home there so there was more than one reason to make the trip, which is 5 hours average. We try to make it more than a weekend, definitely 3+ days when we go. One evening, the stars were falling quite often. This weekend is supposed to be a great show up there in the skies at night with shooting stars.
On my latest show "wish list" is the mesh panels made by Flourish....you add metal brace bars to the bottom of the ezUp, which makes it more stable, and then these wonderful mesh panels for walls so you don't need the racks. The paintings look wonderful, you have much more wall space...and they cost a fortune! Well, it is $595 for the 3 walls and the bars. I just can't justify it at this point. But I am keeping my eyes open for some used ones. Only one person at these shows has them and i covet them! :D
Yah, as I was looking around, I noticed alot of really nice booths but I know alot of these were homemade and very intensive in setup. Beautiful trellises and wooden structures that need more than one person to help set up. Now, how to make something that is exciting, lightweight, a great presentation, and costs pennies..hmmm, that is the challenge.
Anyhow, once again, congrats, Cindy! I bet you are glad the shows are over!
By the way...your photos are terrific...thanks for posting them. The one where you said that was the gallery that took some of your paintings...was that their booth or is that you in your booth? I was confused!

Thanks, Sandy! It was exciting and I'm glad I'm home but there is a draw, I feel it, to see what's next and how I can keep this artworld alive for me, as you must know, too!
That is me in our booth in the parking lot and the smaller horizontal pic of the store/gallery front is to the left of our booth.
Great thread! I hope more people contribute their experiences!

08-08-2005, 11:17 AM
Ah! I suspected that was you in your booth...and the booth does look super. Good job across the board! I'm glad it all went well and you enjoyed it...and that it was successful as well.


Kathryn Wilson
08-08-2005, 11:22 AM
Wow, Bing, congratulations on your successful shows. It must be very gratifying to have people stop by, admire your work and then BUY!

I wish there were more shows like that here - unfortunately, there is only one locally and that is just once a year - it is huge and you have to be juried in. Maybe I will hear from other NC'ers about their shows, but so far, I've seen nothing very local.

BTW, that is a wonderful looking gallery too - just color me :envy:


08-08-2005, 11:33 AM
I noticed alot of really nice booths but I know alot of these were homemade and very intensive in setup. Beautiful trellises and wooden structures that need more than one person to help set up.

Just wanted to add that you are very right about these homemade things being very labor intensive. And although they sometimes look nice, from what I have seen, they are usually the ones most likely to go blowing over in wind or any off weather.
By the way, if you decide to spring for your own set up, you can get a terrific deal at BJ's or Sam's Club on the eZups. It is $199 for the whole shebang...the walls, the weights, all of it. If you order online from eZup you end up paying a lot more. I don't know why, but that's how it goes. They usually sell them in the spring, in time for the summer shows.


Piper Ballou
08-08-2005, 12:14 PM
Cindy, So glad you had such a postive experience. Thanks for posting lots of photos I enjoyed looking at them.

08-09-2005, 04:03 PM
Cindy, Sandy, huge congrats and ((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))and clappies x10 for such successful and professional showings. Cindy your booth looked very classy and of course the art and the framing are top drawer. Kudos for the perseverance and courage.

08-09-2005, 05:03 PM
Hi Kat, Piper, Sandy, and TJ, thanks so much! You all make this worth posting here on this site. It can be a quiet world, this artworld, even with the tv around the corner, and it's great to share it with people who are really interested.
Sandy, I loved reading about your shows....please share the rest of the shows you'll be doing!
It was a great experience and I'm certainly hoping I'll keep this momentum going with my art although, I'm going to keep the 4-5 hour nights of sleep down to a minimum. Now, gotta decide if I go towards abstract or portraiture or more landscapes...got plenty of those I can work from, zillions of photos over the years from trips out west and here at home.
Kat, could you start a show with a few fellow artists in your area? It seems like Raleigh could be a great place to have a show and needs your help starting one!!
Sandy, thanks for the info on the EZ tent, I will check that out if my husband and I think this is a worthwhile venture. I've got to research this show world a bit.
Piper, I had a few more pix but they were just closeups of the booth.
TJ, thanks for your kind support! It's warmly appreciated.

I'd love to see other shows people have experienced. Anyone else lately?