Ever a story... waiting to be told

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Show and Tell

Graphite Drawing "Detention" SOLD
My very first outdoor art show has come and gone... THANK GOODNESS! I'm not saying that I'll never do an outdoor show again, but it's going to be a very long time before I do! I was way out of my league last Sunday. 
My studiomates had assured me that I didn't need to purchase the big fancy canopy top or the nice white side walls, leading me to believe that it was going to be a low-key type of show. They said that my little 5-ft. portable wall would be just fine, and maybe a few easels to fill my allotted space.  
A few days before the show, I drove down to the gallery and disassembled the 'portable' wall (I use that term loosely) and loaded it into my little Jetta, as well as 17 framed artworks, my little pricing books and sample books, a card table, and a foldable soccer-mom chair.  
On Saturday... my rosy outlook soured considerably... it rained. And rained. And rained. The forecast called for more rain on Sunday morning. I panicked and hustled down to Home Depot for a cheap canopy top ($89). It barely fit in the car.
At 8:30 Sunday morning I was ready to go, dressed in a sweatshirt, jeans, and warm shoes. My daughter/assistant came bouncing down the stairs wearing flipflops, cut-off shorts, a peasant top, and braids. She shook her head at me and said, "Mom. You gotta look the part better than THAT." She was right. It was an art show, after all... So I put on a peasant top, and threw a pair of canvas sneakers into the car. I would soon regret not opting for the braids, because it turned out to be a very bad hair day. 
We arrived at the park in the pouring rain, and were told we had spot #32. There were supposed to be 60 spots, carefully marked out in ten-foot intervals. However, the rain had washed all the numbers away! I looked in the direction the nice lady was pointing, and saw several fancy white display shelters with side walls and the whole shebang. I also saw a jumble of vans filling the little street, and people lugging stuff every which way. Brittany and I had to carry everything to our spot from a block away, IN THE RAIN, and try to erect that #$%@ canopy between the two of us. We got yelled at twice, by hardcore art show folks, telling us to move the car, and another who told us we had the wrong spot (but we didn't). Once we got the canopy over our heads..... it stopped raining. But the grass was soaked, and there were huge, squishy bean pods all over, that stuck to our shoes like mashed bananas. My little Home Depot canopy was an ugly greenish beige hue, and cast a dark light over my artwork, in contrast to the big white palaces that everybody else had. 
Pen Drawing "Brewery District" SOLD
Once the show opened, it was more fun. We probably moved the little display wall six times, trying to make it look as appealing as possible, but once we realized that people were not going to step off the pavement and get their feet wet, we moved the wall to the very front of the booth, along the street. I met lots of very nice people who had very nice comments about my work. I even sold two pieces! 
It was only a five hour show, but I was exhausted when it ended. Promptly at 5:00, those big old vans came barreling down the street, and blocked the road in all directions, and all the craziness of the morning was repeated as everybody tore down their booths. My assistant had taken off for home a few hours earlier, but I got everything taken down, brought my car to within a block away, and hauled everything back into it. There was a very nice artists' reception on the terrace above the park, with free wine and hors d'oeuvres, but I just grabbed a Diet Coke and headed for home. I'd had enough art show for one day. 
There were some parts of the day that were very enjoyable and rewarding, but If I ever show my work outdoors again... I will stick with little farmer's markets and sidewalk shows, and only on the sunniest of days! 
Here's a link to the news article after the show. My little booth is the fifth slide.


  1. Congratulations on your sales!
    What happened to the old days of red snow drift fencing and S-hooks. Maybe somebody some day will build a pop up display booth.

  2. It might have been frustrating, but it was still a learning experience. If you made two sales, I would consider your first show a success! So many artists I've encountered at various shows walk away with not a single sale to their name. Don't let this stop you from doing these shows completely. They can be a lot of work at times, but you can meet some pretty amazing people as well. Also, for what it's worth, I think that you hair looked just fine. :p

  3. I beg to differ on the hair; it looks so soft and pretty!! And I do love the top (though I confess it would make me look huge and maybe even pregnant! Yikes!) on you; so cute! The rest sounds not so fun but you made two sales and that is awesome. That Detention piece has always been one of my favorites and I love the Brewery District piece too!! One outdoor show under your belt and look how much you've learned!! I call that a resounding success!

  4. I read everything you wrote and can sympathize completely. I am sorry that you had a bad first experience but very happy that you sold some work. Preparing for an event is always stressful for me-each time I do one I learn what to do and what not to do the next time. If you want to continue with them I think you would just need to fine tune your routine and setup. You seem like a smart lady to me and I bet you would do great! (If you decide to do this again!)

  5. Congratulations on your sales and positive feedback! I'm happy the sun came out in the end!

  6. I know your experience was not the best, but I couldn't help chuckling to myself. I know it is hard when you are the neebie. My mother and I did outdoor shows for 20 some years. It gets easier and you learn the tricks as you go. There should be a class on doing an outdoor show. So glad you sold a couple of pieces! Well done when you consider the weather and the actual amount of time you were there. Don't give up doing them.

  7. Oh, honey, my sentiments exactly! I laughed, as I've been there - dontcha just love how someone is telling you to move your car while you are still getting stuff out of it - and then they monopolize that spot as long as they darn well please after you hurry and move!! If only your could pre-order the day's weather! All things considered, you did good! Looks like they had a good turnout, despite weather, and a beautiful view! You just may end up being one of those "outdoor show people" after all!

  8. Dear Katherine - my heart goes out to you. I can't imagine all that hard work but so glad you sold a couple of pieces. I have attended those type of art shows and I know how it can be for the artists participating. The art show in Hudson, Ohio takes place in August and it is so hot for those who don't get to have their booth in the shade. I am sure though that it was wonderful having folks come and look at your beautiful work. Take care and have a great day.

  9. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!


    Beijos Marie.

  10. What an adventure and very tiring! But I'm sure you attracted lots of attention. Your art so inspiring. I'm glad you sold your paintings to some lucky people. Hopefully next time will be better...if you ever decide to go back.
    Every summer we have this type of event here in our city and sun "has" to be present at this rendez-vous.

  11. Hey K!

    Thanks for reporting on the show! So interesting!! Back in the day--when I had an actual career--I attended scores of art shows and crafts shows to prospect for vendors. The slides depicting the set up look very familiar.

    I think you did great to sell two pieces! I bet there were some experienced vendors who went home with less success than that. Your display wall looked good. No, not a white canvas palace, but respectable nonetheless. It was a good "test market" display for the price. Since you did not fall in love with the outdoor selling life, not going all in for a structure was the right decision.

    You would look cute in a braid, too, but you definitely did not have bad hair....

  12. Your graphite drawing is fantastic, Katherine! and congratulations on selling the two pieces...after all that hard work ...that always puts a smile to ones face!! Your display booth is beautifully done ..!!! and love the photo of yourself with your painting...!!.

  13. Well done for selling the two lovely pieces Katherine. It looks like a good day after all the trouble you had with the stand and weather.

  14. Congratulations on selling two pieces - especially after all the hard work! I fully understand the cold wet day - had a similar experience and have not really cared to try again ! Your art work, display and you look great though. Hope you will have better experience with weather the next time you try it! You also are a great writer !

  15. Bonjour ma chère Katherine,

    J'ai manqué plusieurs de tes billets... Je viens donc de passer un long et agréable moment en ta compagnie et celle de tes oeuvres.
    Cette dernière est un travail titanesque... Je suis émerveillée par chaque détail. je suis certaine cependant d'en manquer un nombre. L'original doit permettre tellement d'évaluer plus amplement ce majestueux travail.
    J'ai lu aussi toutes ces péripéties qui ont marqué cette exposition temporaire à l'extérieur... avec la pluie.
    J'imagine le stress que cela a dû générer ! Tu as dû craindre pour tes oeuvres... en plus des cheveux !!
    Une organisation qui tourne à la panique. J'avoue que cela n'est jamais facile à vivre que d'exposer à l'extérieur. Il peut faire aussi beaucoup de vent...
    J'avoue que je n'ai jamais été trop tenté de vivre une telle expérience. Il y a très longtemps je l'ai fait... avec une fois beaucoup de vent ! J'ai eu de la casse et je ne fus malheureusement pas la seule.
    Ton stand était bien structuré... et le soleil est venu vous faire agréablement un clin d'oeil. Tant mieux !
    Toutefois toutes mes félicitations pour les ventes que tu as réalisées, elles sont bien méritées.

    Gros bisous ♡

  16. I love your honesty. I am afraid I was grinning reading about it, but only because I helped a friend once and had a very similar experience. My hats off to the artists who earn a living doing the Outdoor Art Fairs.
    I think a pat on the back is in order and congrats on the sales. Think how more you would have sold on a sunny day.
    By the way, I love your daughter recognizing you needed to look the part. She is a love!

  17. Martine's kind comment translated:
    I missed several of your tickets ... I just had a long and pleasant time in your company and that of your works .
    The latter is a daunting task ... I am amazed by every detail. I am sure , however, to miss a number. The original must allow so much more fully evaluate this majestic work.
    I also read all these events that marked this exhibition outside ... in the rain .
    I imagine the stress that would have caused ! You had to fear for your works ... more hair !
    An organization that turns to panic. I admit that it is never easy to live than to expose to the outside. It can also make a lot of wind ...
    I confess I 've never been too tempted to live such an experience. There is very long ... I did once with a lot of wind ! I had a case and I was unfortunately not the only one.
    Your booth was well structured ... and the sun has come to you a pleasant wink . So much the better !
    But congratulations on the sales you made ​​, they are well deserved .

  18. Live and learn, as others have said it only gets easier with each one and of course the goal is not just direct sales but contacts and potential future collectors.
    The weather and small Jetta makes it tougher too.
    Congrats on the sales
    Keep painting(drawing)...

  19. Wow, I really admire your imagination! Beautiful work.

  20. Hi Katherine, I'm just catching up on your blog and am surprised to see how far behind I am!
    What a steep and damp learning curve this exhibition proved to be for you. If nothing else it proved to be a very entertaining blog post. It's amazing how a bit of adversity makes for a colourful anecdote down the track from a comfortable and dry vantage point! So pleased to hear you sold a couple of pieces and no doubt you had many admirers of your work who may later become buyers.
    Your graphite drawing is beautiful!

  21. Wow, sounds like a FULL day. I think I would have grabbed the alcohol at the end. But you sold two pieces! Hopefully that made it all worth it. I think your booth looked very nice and just as professional as the others. Congratulations on a successful outdoor event. You brave soul. :)