Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Preparing for an Outdoor Art Show – What I’m Learning…

Since my last post, I have invested most of my extra time and energy preparing for Art in the Heart (, Bracebridge‘s downtown art show for emerging artists. I mentioned in a previous blog the presentations put on by the town  to provide  participating artists with the information needed to be ready for the show and to start thinking in terms of being in business.

Two years ago I hadn’t considered selling my art or being in business. In the past I had played with other business opportunities  but fear of failure repeatedly got in the way.  Now, I’ve got the bug….the creative bug! For the first time in my life I am really enjoying what I am doing. I hope people will feel the passion in my paintings and want to take some of that home with them. That’s my goal, however, I am also realistic knowing it can take years of consistency on my part for the public to acknowledge me as an artist and want to invest their hard-earned money in a newcomer.

That said I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve been doing to prepare for the show and for an art business. Maybe you are toying with the idea of starting a creative project or even a business and what you read will be relevant to you.

So far I’ve done the following:

  • hired a local company to create my website – they have committed to it going live by July 21 at the latest (the first day I will be participating in the art show). I came to our initial meeting with a sheet of details and questions. The website needs to reflect who I am so taking time to consider the look, content, functionality were important. Here is the web address:
  • printed a sign for my booth at Art in the Heart. The sign is made of Coroplast and will survive being outdoors and should last a long time.

Booth Sign
Created by Graphics Unlimited in Bracebridge

  • created new business cards edited to reflect my website address and new business email.

New Business Card

  • printed price tags for my hanging art.
  • created a printed portfolio of my work including inspirational photos and notes about each painting. People like to know why and how artists do what they do. I used Microsoft EXCEL to do this.
  • printed copies of my Artist’s Statement and will burn CDs with images of my portfolio and my Artist’s Statement. The Artist’s Statements are for buying customers and for any press who stop to talk with me. The CDs are also for the press. That way when they are writing their story they have all of my material handy.
  • from paintings that weren’t successful I created beautiful bookmarks with inspirational quotes on the back and my website address. I’ve also had these available at Bohemian Cafe and Gallery where my work is currently on display.
  • next week I am printing 48 notecards of 12 different paintings that I will have available for sale.
  • bought supplies needed for the show (i.e., sales book, cash box, storage box for packing materials, packing materials, book to record sales and one to collect contact information from visitors for my mail list, a rain cover in the event it happens, a table to hold unframed art, etc.)

Chancery Lane, Bracebridge, Ontario
photo credit – Aezaez

However, the single biggest task has been the creation of a “booth” (10″ x 5″) for the art show. I will be located in an area known as Chancery Lane that runs off our main downtown street at a 30% angle… Get the picture? Hill, hanging paintings… etc…

Luckily my creative spouse came up with a plan. For the backdrop, we picked up 3 sets of bi-fold, louvered doors from Habitat for Humanity Restore. Drapery hooks fitted over the louvers will hold my hanging

Trying out the frame for the display

art (just 9 pieces). To address the slope and provide a level surface for the paintings, my spouse built a framing and stabilizing system, taller at one end than the other. He is also working on creating a canopy to protect the hanging art under glass from the sun (FYI – paintings under glass can sweat when the sun hits them – not good for any water-based art form).

I will take more photos at the show and blog about my experience over the three Saturdays (July 21, 28 and August 28).
I’d love to hear from you if you have participated in any outdoor shows. What worked, what didn’t, etc.?

July 1, 2011 Fireworks in Bracebridge

Lastly, “Happy Canada Day!” to my fellow Canadians. We have good friends at our home for a BBQ; at dusk the town will entertain us with a fantastic fireworks display.

Well, now it’s back to finishing a few more paintings for the show and catching up on my writing projects!

© Wendie Donabie 2012



  1. Kim Harasen

    Wendie, It was wonderful to hear that you are such an artist now. Maybe I will get up there some day and see your work.
    Good luck at the show>
    Kim Harasen

    • Hi Kim:

      Thank you… And if you are coming up this way, please get in touch. We would love to see you.

      Have a wonderful summer!


  2. Wendie
    I hope you have a very successful art show and I look forward to reading about your experiences.

    • Thanks Jovina!
      It’s exciting…just being able to share my journey with people.
      I think you are in the USA… correct? So Happy July 4 early!

  3. Phyllis Mair

    Wendie, Wishing you much success in your new endeavour. You certainly have done your homework on preparing for this event. Planning to visit your booth on our way home from our vacation.
    Phyllis and Ed

  4. Mia

    Hi Wendie, I am so glad you are enjoyng what you are doing. The North country has really inspired you. I wish you all the best in your art show. I know you will do well. I look forward to your blogs. Mia

    • Thank you Mia. I will always remember that my Hamilton walking friends helped to get me started and you are one of them!!! Miss you. Love. Wendie

  5. Wendie just wanted to let you know I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Check out here to see what you have to do!

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