When Your Art Becomes An Exhibit.

What happens when you try to exhibit?

After sorting through about 50 paintings, the task of selecting a small amount for my art exhibit seemed daunting. If I painted it, you know I love it. I take my art personally. It was like I was offering up my kids on the auction block.

Suddenly, I realized I was selfish because I was an Art Hoarder! Art is to be seen, not hidden. 

I wish I knew what exhibiting would entail!  Physically, at my age, it was a challenge going up ladders, reaching overhead to hang art and to descend safely. Truthfully, heights never bothered me. 

I once went up in a hot air balloon and it was the time of my life, one that I would love to repeat.  I remember the thrill of helping to fill the balloon with the hot air generated by a flamed inferno of some sort. Before we realized it, the tether was loose and up we went, high above Orlando.

So take note. I am not afraid of heights, but five foot tall ladder? It made me feel fragile and I am not the sort to take ’fragile’ lightly. Then I realized that this artist has changed over the decades. I’m not steady on ladders!

My mantra has always been, ”Go for it! Just don’t be stupid”. Suddenly hanging art from a ladder was not my idea of ‘safe and sound’. Who else was there to do it? Thus I told myself, “Get it over quickly” (as if that would remove the risk I was taking). I ignored my common sense.

Finally, I opened my show with thirty-something paintings. Some were large framed pieces and others were unframed paintings in labeled portfolios. I did it this way because I had limited wall space for most of them.

Some of my art in the main exhibit area.

When it came time to sell my fav paintings of Key West, dear friends bought the ’Key West Lighthouse’ and I felt guilty for selling off one of my favored children (LOL). I am delighted these friends decided to invest in my art.

All of a sudden, things got confusing. Listen, I am a great planner. I covered all the bases for this art show and it is not my first rodeo. When clients asked to see more art in my studio, I stupidly complied. First of all, it is the smallest room in the house. Suddenly there were 4 people jammed in there with me.

I love my studio space even though it is full of stuff. I am an artist. We are collectors of what might be part of our art someday!

Besides, my studio art was not priced yet!

It caused confusion for Patti, the friend who was tracking my sales. She had no idea what was going on except the work was not on her price sheet.

Back in the studio, I flung out prices off the top of my head, not considering the time it took to make the work, the size and the cost of materials. Actually I discovered that it was not so stupid after all since I sold three works from inside my studio.

Artists create solely for the pleasure of creating.

I loved seeing my friends in my home more than selling my art. It gave me a warm feeling to observe their interest in what I did. Many never saw an artist’s studio or an exhibit and this was a first. All my art was hidden in portfolios for decades. So, why create if no one sees it?

Art making is a challenge. Some of the work goes well. Other times it is difficult to even finish a piece. Other times it ends in the trash. Good art involves an artist’s intuition of what is working and what we have to change. It is a back and forth kind of thing.

Remember, it may take months to complete a painting. Sometimes it will be a year to revise one. It is hard work. Very few artists are fortunate enough to make a living solely on their art.

When my clients show appreciation for my work and my creative process, I feel encouraged to keep on keeping on, because my work brings them visual pleasure. Thus they have connected with my art and therefore with me!

A special thanks goes to Kelly Varner-Jones for doing my photography. ;o}