Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Outdoor Art Show is over – What I learned

Crocus Duet, WC, Soft Pastel and Ink, 9.75×8.25 – SOLD
© Wendie Donabie 2012

Week two, July 28, at Art in the Heart in Bracebridge brought me another sale to a lovely shop owner here in town. I have now sold three paintings to three storekeepers. Maybe I could go door to door and solicit sales from the rest of them? (not a consideration!)

Week three – August 4: The temperature soared to 100°F without the Humidex rating. With very little cloud cover, Chancery Lane turned into a oven and the few downtown visitors were looking mostly  for a cool place to eat and drink – not view our art.  The rest of the cottagers stayed at home and cooled off in the local

Gathering in Winter – 15×11, Chinese Ink 2011 – SOLD
© Wendie Donabie

lakes. Attracting people to special summer events like Art in the Heart can be an issue when competing with the time they can spend in and on the water.  But I did sell one painting late in the afternoon to a young university student.

Overall I am pleased with the show results.  The sale of four paintings (one the week prior to the shows) covered the cost of building the display which I will be able to use next year and for other events.

What did I learn?

  1. People like my work. I received plenty of compliments about the paintings from both buyers and browsers. Considering the comments made and the pieces purchased I know what subjects and styles to focus on over the next few months.
  2. For shows like Art in the Heart, I need to have smaller and lower priced pieces. Price seemed to be a major factor in sales – I need art I can sell for under $100. And most of the work needs to be unframed. Framing finishes the painting but there is an alternative that  saves a ton of money and still presents the work in a professional way.  Each painting is mounted on black (my colour choice) mat foam core with clear plastic corners and then slipped into a archival plastic envelope. The black mat gives the viewer the impression of a framed piece of art. Thanks to Martin’s Fine Framing in Bracebridge most of my paintings are now packaged in this way.

    Example of less expensive packaging

  3. My art display looked professional – maybe tooprofessional. Most of the others were more rustic. Plus it was heavier than planned and a little more difficult to erect than hoped for. My spouse put in so many hours designing, building and adjusting to ensure the backdrop would square up and be  safe for the public and my paintings. We may want to consider some design changes or an alternative type of display for the Art in the Heart show next year, yet I feel the display truly does reflect my style so I think we’ll stick with it.

    August 4- HOT, HOT, HOT in Chancery Lane

  4. Also, I wonder if the public considers emerging artists to be younger than me – under 40. Here I am at 60+ but I do belong in that category. Emerging means I haven’t been at this for long and am not making a living from my art.  Do you think it might have played a part?
  5. Always bring something to read or supplies to sketch. During the lulls we artists did talk among ourselves but when conversation waned I would have enjoyed immersing myself in a good book.
  6. Next summer I believe I’ll be ready to do the much larger MAC Summer Show (in Bracebridge) which means the coming winter I need to be extremely productive. This event is the oldest outdoor art and craft show in Ontario (celebrating 50 years in 2012) with over 200 vendors. And my display will definitely work as the backdrop for a tent!!! (another required investment for  larger shows)
  7. Lastly, I learned I enjoy sharing my art experience with the public, engaging them in conversation – not selling them – merely talking about what inspires me and why I love to paint.

Following the art show, I returned most of the paintings to the Bohemian Cafe and Gallery where I will continue to display and hope sales continue.

I kept one piece aside for Northern Nutrition, a Health Food Store here in Bracebridge, owned by my friend, Carolyn Freedman, who is a strong supporter of my art career. At her encouragement I started hanging one painting behind her service counter where customers stand to pay for their purchases.   Last week  a painting sold unexpectedly to a friend and neighbour bringing my total sales since July 18 to five.  Two of the five paintings sold this summer were directly from Carolyn’s store. Considering the success at that location, I now have four paintings at Northern Nutrition. Thank you Carolyn!

In September, I am joining three other Muskoka Artists for a show and sale of our paintings. Our exhibit entitled “4” runs Saturday and Sunday, Sept 22-23 at Windermere Village Hall, Windermere (Port Carling area), Ontario.   The exhibited work ranges from subtle impressionistic landscapes to vibrant, compelling abstracts. Watch for a post with more details.

If you plan to visit beautiful Muskoka this fall I do recommend the weekends of Sept 22-23 or Sept 29-30. These two weekends mark the Muskoka Autumn Tour of Artists Studios, a great way to enjoy the autumn colour and the amazing and varied artwork created in our area.

That’s all for now!

© Wendie Donabie


1 Comment

  1. Hugh Nichols

    should read week July 28th not September 28


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