The feedback was very positive for the tips and learnings I posted around my first solo art exhibition. So here are tips from learnings at my first group exhibition.
Tips from group exhibition learnings
Be clear on what you want your display to look like. Mock up a photo or draw it so you can show and explain this to organisers.
Frame pieces – display them however they will look best.
Think about lighting, if you’re not sure it will be light enough then work lighting and power into your display and state your requirements in advance.
Think big when you’re creating, big is bold and does attract attention.
Intricacy can be beautiful but think about what it looks like from a couple of metres away, consider impact, eye catching and the experience.
Labelling is important, succinct information about your works.
Identify your invite list in advance and if you can access flyers and leaflets then give those to people you would like to attend.
Think about what people might take away, an attractive postcard can serve as a way of someone taking your contact details and reminding them of your display post event, increasing the impact and the possibility of other opportunities.
When deciding on whether to commit to the exhibition ask the organisers how they will be promoting the event as that is key to its success and value to you.
Even if it’s not an exhibition where the pieces aren’t on sale have a think beforehand what prices you would wish or need to achieve so you’re ready if someone is keen to buy.
If you are selling have a clear record of the advertised prices.
Think sensory, what fragrance/ smells would aromatise your work, consider adding scents. Our venue had a glass ceiling on a hot day, making it like a greenhouse, I was glad I had taken an aroma spray for the fabrics in my work.
Have a run through of possible questions about your work so that you can give clear considered answers if asked.
Be enthusiastic, be yourself.
I mentioned copyrighting in my Solo Exhibition blog posts. You can see those points and more useful exhibiting tips at these links:
Silk Painting in pictures. I really enjoyed trying this medium, there was a lot of flow in the process. If the experience had been edible I would describe it as delicious. 😊
Wax was used instead of the proper product gutta, which there was a defect with.
Using the Tjanting tool I drew a design in melted wax on the frame stretched silk, carefully not to leave gaps where the paint could flow between and mingle. I didn’t want the warm and cool colours to meet and create brown.
Then silk paints provided the colour. I love the way they move through the fabric and the colours mingle and interact.
Once dried I fixed the paints by ironing the silk between sheets of grease proof paper and with an adornment paper which took the wax from the fabric.
I’m pleased with the end result and am keen to do more silk painting, next time trying gutta.
Thanks for being here. These are related posts which I hope you enjoy.
Since visiting Las Dalias market on the island of Ibiza, firstly with Ben Shephard and the GMTV crew in 2002 and again with my family in 2015, I have been keen to try Batik.
A dear friend of mine has the wax melter, tools and dyes and gave me the opportunity to try it. She pre-dyed fabrics in bright colours and once melted I drew on the, frame stretched, fabric using a Tjanting and brushes. (Health and Safety: Taking care not to burn myself on the wax pot and tools.)
I am studying and experimenting with inspiration so I chose mostly sunny fabric shades and worked on energy radiating sun designs and an eye seeing inspiration. Thirdly I worked with a winged gir/ angel/ fairy design.
After drawing with the wax the fabric pieces must cool, the wax set, then dyes be mixed to add a second colour. I chose a magenta pink, and a purple.
After being dyed a second time the fabric is dried before the wax can be melted out. Ironing out the wax between absorbent paper left a residue so I tried boiling the wax out, which although a bit messy and needing a dedicated pan, left the fabric clean.
I’m pleased with the bright fabric artworks, enjoyed the fluidity of the Tjanting. There’s always something satisfying in having created something yourself. Huge respect goes out to those who make huge batik designs, I would love to see that being done. I may decide to make a scarf, cushion cover, wall hanging, lamp or bag from the batik sections.
If you have tried batik or decide to try I’d really like to see what you’ve created. You can comment below.
The end results…
Thanks for looking at this post, you can see any of my 52 Art Challenges at this blog. My work is displayed in April 2016 at Airy Fairy Cafe and Gift Shop, London Road, Sheffield.
Following on from my previous post with the learnings up to the point of hanging the exhibition, this is the next instalment of tips and advice if planning an art show.
Thankfully my husband helped me to hang my art exhibition artworks on the walls of the cafe. The cafe had a picture rail so it was a matter of popping to the local angling shop to buy fishing wire strong enough to hold the artworks. Then hanging them, adding the prints, ensuring everything was labelled, and making sure that the Inventory was correct.
Fishing Wire: Know that it stretches depending on weight of the item it is displaying. Know roughly how much your artworks weigh – so you can select your fishing wire , if that is your hanging method. I didn’t know that fishing wire unknots itself, so you need to triple knot the ends. Canvases can hang with the top away from the wall when hung with fishing wire, so you may need something to pull them into the wall like a sticky fixing.
Exhibition Guide: It occurred to me the morning we were due to hang that the story of each artwork and its inspiration were relevant and may be of interest to visitors. The artist cannot always be at the venue so a succinct Exhibition Guide can work to inform on your behalf. I printed two copies of the guide and packed it as I had done the prints, in crystal cell bags with a cardboard sheet to support. This meant they would be fit for purpose at the exhibition and enabled the visitor to move around the exhibition with the Guide.
At the launch evening the guides were useful for people to be able to browse at their own pace.
Enjoy whatever happens: When the launch evening came I didn’t know how many people would arrive, when or whether they would pop in, stay a while, ask questions, or just want to look. Best to be relaxed and go with the flow.
Put plenty of you into the event: Its nice to have a professional cake and catering, but be sure that you have carefully thought about what to choose, how to display and how to ensure that the choices are your creative way. The personal touch can make all the difference and make the show more original. This makes for a more interesting, fun and memorable event.
Questions and Answers: I have organised travel events for journalists but an art event was new to me. I didn’t know what to expect, what people might ask, and therefore how I might explain or answer. I suggest having a think beforehand, either alone of with a couple of friends, consider what people may ask and give thought to artwork explanations that you may not have vocalised before.
Other activity: Think beforehand about whether you might like to do other activity alongside the exhibition. Once my exhibition was in place I felt very strongly that I wished to host an art workshop in the exhibition space, it would be the first of such an evert. Once my artworks were on the walls it felt fitting to practice art with likeminded people there.
Secondly I thought that I would have liked to have unveiled a new artwork part way through the show, my exhibition is live for five weeks so that is something I would have done in hindsight.
Younger Visitors or Young at Heart: As I launched my exhibition in the school holidays I thought that it would have been nice to produce some colouring or activity sheets for children to make the exhibition more interactive for them, and left a pot of crayons or coloured pencils with them. Maybe a children’s art workshop would have been nice.
Dedicate Time: I know that as my artworks are at the cafe I feel very drawn to be in that space, I would suggest ensure that there is some flexibility in your schedule to be able to go there when you feel inclined.
Later today I am opening my first art exhibition so here is the post I would have liked to have read before I started out. Here’s what I have learned so far and what I wish I had known.
1. Create in standard proportions
Do this right from the start. This will make it easier when framing, reproducing and packaging your artwork and prints. Otherwise you’ll have to lose some of your image, have white space or have to use more expensive customised fittings.
When creating something that you may wish to reproduce on canvas have enough space around the main subject (s) to wrap around a canvas frame, this means that you needn’t lose any of the work and will avoid time spent stretching or mirroring the image to make it cover the frame.
2. Learn how to scan, stitch scans together and colour match/adjust.
Find someone to teach you, this will save time, money and give you more control.
3. Be open to opportunities
In July 2015 I hobbled painfully on my recovering leg on a journey I had planned since the previous December. Whilst skating in the Christmas Show at Ice Sheffield Anwen, owner of Cafe and Gift Shop Airy Fairy, had seen my art on a cosmetic bag and suggested I visit her shop to discuss options for displaying my work.
Major knee injury just days after first speaking to Anwen had delayed my visit to her shop; but on meeting Anwen we discussed my work and she offered a five week exhibition in the cafe.
As my art is bright and sunny so I felt that it suited the month of April, so we scheduled the exhibition. I had seized the opportunity that arose through the chance encounter. I knew I would learn a great deal through the preparation process and would be able to show my art to a wider audience.
4. Measure and photograph the exhibition space
Don’t be shy about getting a measure of the exhibition space. Measure the space, take photographs.
Decide roughly how you will exhibit in the space and then curate from your art. I had lots of doubts, “do I have too many pieces” or “too few”. A scale drawing of the space would have enabled me to visualise the exhibition better, sooner and saved me time on the long run. Ask for a floor plan, your venue may have one.
Visit the venue to see how other artists have worked in the space and consider what works and what you might like to do.
5. Edit your collection
Deciding what to include is difficult, I thought about what would be popular, what would people like, what would suit the customer base. What I should have thought from the start was – which artworks do I like best, which show my skill/ability and are my greatest accomplishments. Those are the pieces to include. I came to under stand that we cannot control other people’s interpretations or how they will respond, not everyone will like everything as art is very individual.
6. Ask for supplier recommendations
I wanted to do as much as the process myself, so that I cold maximise the learning and my understanding of what goes into producing canvases and prints. I learned a about paper stock, print colours, calibration, image resolution, file format, scanning, canvas quality, canvas frames, hanging fittings, fishing wire, labelling, packaging, copyrighting and my nemesis… pricing.
7. Research and Read
I referred to Lisa Congdon’s Art Inc, Kelly Rae-Roberts Flying Lessons and Lila Rogers Make Art That Sells throughout the process. If anything I wish that I could have had a knowing artist buddy by my side who had been through a similar process.
8. Log all component costs into a spreadsheet as you go
Log all the artwork components and packaging elements so that you have your cost prices per artwork calculated well enough in advance. Pricing is challenging, so the baseline cost price is important.
9. Have someone to bounce off
A friend that can give a second opinion and to help you set up the show will calm your doubts and make it more fun.
10. Enjoy the process – stay creative
An exhibition is very personal and is you showing the fruits of your creativity and hard work. I found that when I wasn’t enjoying the preparation process it was because I wasn’t being creative enough. I learned to stop and think of a more creative approach which enabled me to be the artist, to be innovative unique and original. I also liked it when things were more personal and quirky. Our printer decided not to print anything in black ink just days before the event, but I have to say that I am pleased with the results and glad that it challenged me to find other ways and colours to express in.
11. Accept that there will be admin tasks
Spreadsheets, contracts, insurance documents, inventories, price lists, advertising, press releases, invitations, briefing notes. It’s all part of the process, it can be fun when you find a creative approach and know that this is to celebrate your work and give the art the chance to breathe and be seen beyond your home or studio.
12. Don’t over complicate, don’t stress
This is art, it’s not definitive. Focus on showing the best you can, what happens from there is out of your control.
13. Appreciate your followers
Their belief and support is infinitely valuable, remember that when feeling doubtful or confused.
14. Keep going and believe in yourself.
If it is, like me, your first exhibition this is totally new and so it will be challenging but keep going and believe in yourself, who knows where it will lead. There will be set backs, just now I’m waiting to pack the artworks into the car but I can get through the hall as there is a man working on our broken boiler. Hopefully the boiler breaking is the only setback today. Lastly, celebrate how far you have come and be open-minded about the future.
My art exhibition runs for the next five weeks until 2nd May at Airy Fairy, London Road, Sheffield. The exhibition comes after a journey into art, see the blog posts about the 52 Art Challenges that I completed on the way.
22nd March 2016 – In January 2015 Kim suffered acute knee injury requiring major surgery and thus began two years of rehabilitation. The injury forced Kim to forego sport, and her successful public relations career, and instead she began to explore a passion for art. 13 months on Kim is to hold a month long debut exhibition in Sheffield.
After a literally ‘top flight’ career in travel industry public relations, including running the press office for Thomson Travel Group, Kim swopped words for pictures to become a mixed media artist. Kim’s works of art will be exhibited under the brand of Inspire by Kim from 29th March to 2nd May Airy Fairy Cafe and Gift Shop on London Road, Sheffield.
Kim said, “I am delighted, and still pinching myself, to be holding this exhibition of my art. In the past year art has been my distraction, a pain reliever, one of the few things I could do despite my injury. I’ve found comfort creating bright artworks and although I’ve not been able to go far I’ve loved exploring through art, using traditional media and digital, from 2D through to animation.”
Anwen Fryer-Burrows, of Airy Fairy, commented, “I have seen the development of Kim’s art since we met in December 2014 and have been impressed by the body of work and different styles she has developed. It feels a pleasure to host her first exhibition.”
Kim said, “Art has been the good that came out of the injury and I’m thankful for the inspiration that colours and creating have given me. I hope that my art will now inspire others in whatever is meaningful for them.”
The exhibition runs from 29th March to 2nd May. Visitors can enjoy refreshments or lunch as they browse the exhibition.
Airy Fairy Cafe & Gift Shop produces and sells local arts, crafts and jewellery as well as stocking crystals, magikal supplies, candles, aromatherapy oils, spiritual books as well as fair trade gifts from around the world.
To see more of Kim’s work visit, including 52 Art Challenges completed on the journey to becoming an artist, visit her website at www.inspirebykim.com or Facebook page.
For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
After my markers self portrait there was an opportunity to try a portrait in acrylic paints.
I put a photograph alongside the canvas and painted. I was trying to remove my thinking from the process and just look paint, look paint, colour match paint until the face was done. I did the hair the next day trying to create the texture with the marks I was making.
The portrait reminded me a lot of the Katherine Jenkins paper cut portrait that I created from magazine pictures a year ago this week.
Don’t look away from the canvas whilst the brush is in contact with it.
Keep stepping well back to look, squint to see it sometimes.
It’s not as hard as I thought it be, keep being courageous.
Having stretched and prepared a canvas I was ready to give oil paints a second chance.
When I previously tried oil paints I didn’t have a great experience as I didn’t know then about turps, linseed oil, thin and fat.
On this occasion I was fortunate that a local artist guided me through the essentials and I started to paint. I was sceptical that the oil painting experience could eclipse acrylic painting, as I love the bright pigment and neons available in acrylics.
However as I started to paint I enjoyed the feel of the paint on the canvas as the brush passed over it. I enjoyed the line, the texture and how the canvas felt so different than when using acrylic paints.
I was keen to create a painting from a marker (then digital with photo and watercolour elements) piece that I had created of a woman enjoying calm under water. Before painting I drew the lines in charcoal. I did this quickly and in future would spend more time on that stage.
I am normally keen to create swiftly and achieve the end outcome, but as I painted I enjoyed the action and, similar to my experience with life drawing, I found it a very pure form of art. I could have painted with those materials hundreds of years ago, there’s something magical about that.
So here is the final piece, plus the fun little duck (inspired by Jeff Koons) to place the lady in the bath. I’m pleased with the outcome, can’t wait to start my next oil painting and I learned a lot in the process.
I learned to plan the piece out well beforehand.
To think about the layers of the painting.
To have a clear picture of the face that I want to create, trying to oil paint from my head was tricky.
To think about the proportions of the canvas to ensure they are standard, as this will make it easier to reproduce the artwork if you wish.
Not to paint too close to the edges of the canvas as if reproduced some of the painting will be lost.
Set up the easel in a position with consistent light and in a place that you can get far enough back from it so see it from a distance, as this can reveal things not apparent at close quarters.
Developing the artwork
I took the image digital to test out different elements during the process.
I used the key elements of the artwork to create a lino cut for printing. I used Picasso‘s reduction technique to add to the effect. Here are some of my favourite prints.
Thank you for visiting my blog, I have some exciting news imminent so please ‘Follow’ my blog so that you receive updates.
I guess I am present in all my art as I have created it. My art represents my beliefs, feelings and life values.
Through my art development in the past 2 years I have been trying to demonstrate emotion, nostalgia, hopes and thoughts.
Therefore it’s hard to pinpoint a starting point for this challenge. However drawing practice and life drawing were key areas that make my self representation possible. You can read about those challenges at these links.
This artwork was created through life drawing and then used Lino prints and digital work. The piece is about being in the right life groove which is inspiring and motivating, supporting one’s interests and abilities.
And breathe. I am pleased with the outcome of this final challenge in what has been a life changing transition to art. There have been disappointments and surprising surpassing of my expectations. See the highs and lows in the 52 posts. One thing is for sure it has been colourful and lots of fun. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone 52 times, and for the motivation to progress I am very thankful.
I now want to have a think about what I wish to achieve next, I have some exciting plans which I’ll be able to reveal soon.
It is my goal to inspire people, so if you have been inspired at all I’d love to hear about that or see art or creations as a result. Thank you sincerely for your support, for following my blog, for visiting and giving me the onus to go on. If there is anyone that you think might be inspired by my art please share http://www.inspirebkim.com with them, for this I would be grateful.
So that’s it, 52 Art Challenges completed, all of it art from the heart.
Sorry for a bit of radio silence, I am busy working in the final two Art ChLlengesof my 52 Art Challengesgoal. They’re the last two so they have to be good, right!
The final two challenges will be sculpture/clay modelling with metalwork, and self portraiture. So whilst they are underway, firing takes time, please keep enjoying my less time consuming creations at my Facebook page. I post regularly there, as I create new artworks.
Here are some of those you might enjoy.
Many thanks for visiting the page, I’ll be excited to post my creations as soon d they are completed, exciting time. Just need to decide how to celebrate the final art challenge…. Any ideas welcome. The question is will I stop there? This has been a journey.