Friday, September 12, 2014

Leading Up To My First Gallery Show

Nearly a week ago I loaded up the truck and headed out to the 2nd Story Gallery in San Dimas, CA. The gallery is in the old Walker home donated to the city years ago. It looks more like a hotel than home! We talk about McMansions today, they had size AND land!

Anyway, I was the first to arrive so loaded up the dolly and got all 21 paintings upstairs with a minimum of fuss. Trust me this was the only thing that went smoothly for the two weeks leading up to the hanging.

When still a member of the Pomona Valley Art Association, one of the members announced last year that the gallery was looking for artists to show in the monthly gallery shows. They are always the second and third Friday and Saturday of the month. I got the email address, sent for an application, filled it out and sent along some photos to prove I was an artist. They contacted me a few days later and I picked September. The next available slot was January and to me sooner was better than later.

I went out I think in June to see how much space I would have and then came summer, a month traveling, then a trip to Vegas and several intensive weeks working for a client trying to get their price list ready by Sept 1. I knew that had to stop as the deadline was looming and there were materials I had to create as well.

I have documented my hate-love relationship with Quark 10.2 and it lived up to its hate. I spent hours trying to design a brochure showing my paintings and then suddenly it stopped working. I could see it but not save, print or make a PDF. I wasted nearly half the day before force quitting it and taking a nap. A friend suggested I see if there was an update so after about 6 minutes that it takes to launch (no, I am not kidding, I timed it) up pops an update, nearly 500 MB. So I installed that and went in to paint. I had had enough of computers, particularly Quark, for the day. A paint brush and a bottle of paint with something to paint are always reliable old friends. Luckily the next morning it was back to normal and it has to make you wonder, why would you release an update that would cause so many problems. Don't they test it? Ever? Or are they too busy having fun in the hallways? It worked today and that was all that counted.

Early attempt at hanging
Deciding what to take is the hardest question of all. The suggested pricing guideline was $500 tops and I have some paintings I will not sell that low. Period. However, as I discovered there were plenty of others that I could. Using CraftSmart's reading of views and hearts from my Etsy store I looked for those with the most views and favored. If they were popular on the screen chances are they would be popular in person. A photo never, ever captures the nuance of color in a painting. Trust me, I know.

The tale of my business card was even more horrific. I originally wanted a card that was two sided. I went to the printer who had printed the KrugsStudio cards and told him what I wanted, the new Fine Art card on a jump drive. Then I started getting calls they the fine art card didn't work. After saving as a JPG, then TIFF, a PDF and who knows what else all with similar results, I said forget it. I got out my Avery precut business cards and printed a 100 on my Epson printer. Maybe not quite as spiffy but it got the job done.

So Saturday I headed out and met a friend who helped me get all the paintings up. The gallery has a nifty pole system with a hook on one end that hangs from a small railing near the ceiling. There are flanges that go up and down, tighten with a screw and allow your paintings to hang without any damage to the walls. We had every one hung in under two hours in two different rooms.

The surprise though, and repeated often as a reminder was, where are the birdhouses? Birdhouses? How did she know? I mumbled something to the effect I didn't think craft painting had a place with fine art. Oh no, you have to bring your birdhouses! They are works of art explaining to the others my birdhouses were different than most any others out there. I agreed. They will even have a table for me to display them! So, I better get cracking I realized. This development was not something I had planned on. But secretly I would love to thin the herd with some new stuff.

Before I left, I got all the name tags with sizes, type of paint and prices in place. The gallery manager came in and said for my first show I had done a wonderful job! I was pleased. Now, lets see if we can get a few sales. With the beastly weather we are expecting this weekend (days of over 100ยบ), not sure many will want to venture far from home. There will be wine and eats so that might do it. Costs nothing to look.

I have to admit, there is something amazing you feel deep inside seeing your art displayed somewhere besides home. Many of these paintings are in either the house or office but never together. I have decided that I will place the Southwest flavored birdhouses under the cactus quartet and place the rest on their table. That is yet another adventure that I will describe after tonight (Sept. 12, 2014).

Please visit my craft store at and my fine art store at Thank you for stopping by and reading!

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