I cannot believe we are midway through May, if only the weather would improve too. Here in the UK it has been a very windy and breezy Spring, today being the first true warm day when we could go outside without coats and gloves, the heating indoors switched off, hopefully now until Autumn, and the sun shining enough to encourage Dave and me out for a drive, taking in four garden centres – a record for us. We only came home when we did because we couldn’t fit any more plants into the car, and ours is no small vehicle, that’s for sure. The next few days will find us busy in the garden.
It was good to be out, relaxing together as the last few months have seen me working in my office-studio-workroom most days, either writing/editing or painting. It has been the time of year when my art takes over as exhibition season loomed again. This year, I decided to exhibit at two shows, one run by my art club, the other an open exhibition in a nearby town. A total of twelve paintings needed to be chosen, framed and made ready for hanging. Choosing which ones is always difficult, as is deciding the sale price, especially this year considering the current financial crisis. Would people want to buy? How much would they want to spend?
All artworks were delivered on time, and I could breathe a sigh of relief. But there was still more to do. As I am on the club committee responsible for public relations and the group website, I needed to put out plenty of advertisements in art magazines and local press, put posts up on social media, and various websites to entice the public to come. The show is always in aid of our chosen charity, and with two paintings donated by professional artists for our raffle, the more that heard about us, the better.
The first exhibition was over this weekend just gone, the preview night having taken place Friday evening; a busy 3 days for all of us volunteers who help put the show together. The preview was well attended, a jolly social event in which several sales were made (not mine, I hasten to add). Saturday was exceptionally busy despite there being numerous other public events on in the region. My day was spent manning the entry and sales desk. It was lovely to see a fellow writing friend arrive whom I had not seen for what must be 5 years or more. As we have a refreshments area in situ, I took time out to enjoy a catch-up with her over coffee and cake. My day was further heightened when one of my paintings sold, one that I nearly did not put in. Isn’t that always the way?
Sunday was unusually quiet so we decided to close the show early, which was a pity because the quality and skill of all the framed artwork there, a total of 232 pictures with 41 being sold, was excellent. In the 5 years I have been a member the standard from everyone has gone up and up. Many of our visitors commented on the talent exhibited, but it became clear people were buying the less expensive, smaller paintings, few of the larger framed, such as most of mine, were sold. This came as no surprise. Most are cautious about how they spend their money at the moment, many worrying about meeting food and heating bills, and buying art can seem a frivolity when other things are more important.
But I do not paint to sell, I paint because I enjoy it; having someone like my work enough to purchase it is a bonus, so I am not disappointed that this year I only made one sale. Many in the group sold nothing, but that does not matter to any of us. We enjoy what we do, we have a great club with lovely people, some who come for the social aspect, others who wish to learn to be better artists, and those who simply want to bring joy and colour into the world. I like to think I am one of the latter.
Moving on to the second exhibition… The preview night was yesterday, in a town about a half-hour’s drive from my home. The venue itself is a small museum, or “heritage centre”, as they call themselves, with little room to show many paintings. Four of us from my group put in several exhibits, about half of the 30 in total on show. This preview night was exclusively for exhibitors (few of whom came), the town mayor and relevant local councillors and venue staff, about 12 of us there in total! Running for 3 weeks, the centre hopes and expects many visitors to the exhibition as in other years, so it will be interesting to see the outcome.
Slideshow of a few of my other paintings at the two exhibitions: