It has been two months since my solo Art Show at the Hingham Public Library and there is still a lift in my heart when I remember the entire experience. Sometimes, (well ok, almost always) it’s hard for me to put my artwork on display. Despite my personality, I am not a very confident artist. So many of my paintings are personal that I don’t want “their” feelings hurt (or mine). l have learned that feeling the fear and doing it anyway is one of the surest pathways to growth ~ and my solo art show forced me to do this in so many ways!
While the overall experience was a terrific one I’ll never forget, I did learn some valuable lessons that I thought I would share in hopes of helping other artists.
Identify A Theme
When you do a solo exhibit, obviously you are going to need a large volume of work. While I had some existing paintings I knew I wanted to include, I also needed to paint fresh new pieces. Wanted the show to be cohesive, a needed to first establish a theme which would act as a guide as I selected subject matter and painted. Thanks to my daughter’s suggestion, I settled on Painting Happy. I felt that was the perfect title because many people told me how happy my work makes them feel. It was so validating to hear this. Once I determined the theme, new paintings flowed (relatively) easily.
Preparation Is Everything
I’ve been fortunate to have my work hung in shows previously but never on this scale. There were so many details to take into account.
One of the most important was the framing of my artwork. Typically I sell my paintings unframed but for the show I felt it was very important to have uniform frames. I had several paintings and in all different sizes so I opted for value priced wood frames purchased from an online art supply website. I was very pleased with the cohesive look of the exhibit as all of the work shined in the burnished gold frames I used.
A few other details not to be forgotten:
- Full color postcard for pre event marketing
- Information card to be displayed near each painting including Title, Size, & Price
- A guestbook for visitors to sign
- Business cards or Art postcards for visitors to take
- A detailed price list for the gallery staff. Ours included a thumbnail of each painting along with title, size, and price information
The farther ahead you can start to gather and/or create these materials, the less stressful the days leading up to the event will be.
Enlist Excellent Help For Installation
The installation is the most labor intensive part of a solo art show! I knew I could not be on site the day of the scheduled installation so my team, Paul and Jen, came to my rescue. The week before the install, Paul and I worked for 3 hours in my lobby to mock up the show and tweak the arrangement of the artwork based on the measurements I had taken of the gallery space. This proved to be difficult because some of the walls had a lower ceiling, we had a couple of nooks and crannies and then there was a tiny side wall ~ each space will inevitably have its challenges! Luckily
Paul is a genius with things like this and together we figured out how to arrange the paintings and created a diagram to be used on the day of the install. We creatively packed up all of the paintings (luckily I have lots of towels, they make great cushioning…) and numbered each box to correspond with the diagram.
Paul did a masterful job with the installation and I was truly blown away when I saw the completed exhibit!
Enjoy The Opening
I will never forget the day of the Opening when I walked in to the Library and saw all of my work together. It was such a thrill to see how complimentary the paintings were to each other and it was the first time I realized I do indeed have a recognizable style that is all my own.
Prior to the guests arriving, I arranged refreshments and libations in coordinating colors of the show, of course. Many of my friends and collectors came from far and near to support me giving me the feeling that I was at the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts)!
I had every intention of making a toast to all who came out on a dark and dreary night and to support me and to thank Paul and Jen, whom I just cannot live without (at all times). However I was having such a wonderful time mingling and talking to everyone that the time flew by 🙂 .
I am so grateful to so many wonderful people that helped make this experience such a wonderful one. The support of friends, family, and collectors near and far made me feel like I was floating on air. Thank you to the Hingham Public Library for having a space for artists to display their work and share it with the community. And thank you to everyone that took the time to stop by the exhibit and sign the guest book ~ I will treasure it always!
I am so pleased with my solo Art Show that I feel I am ready for another one..in the coming decade 😉 .