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Caroline Henry Art Blog

When You Present Your Art Give People Something to Talk About

by Caroline , October 13, 2008—11:11 PM

Topics: art business, art events, marketing and promotion, shows, studio, the artist's life

In my last blog I promised to write in coming blogs what went well and what did not with the Open Studios Tour I took part in Oct 11 and 12. Something I have learned which I think helps my local sales is to give a show a theme or special touch which gives people something to talk about and sets paintings off as the jewels which we ought to believe they are by the time they are show-worthy.

For open studios my special touch is to bring visitors in through the garden where paintings are strategically placed --a rabbit peering out from foliage, a mighty oak under the much younger oak shading part of the yard, a pastel dahlia pot near its inspiration, etc. Then they enter the studio through the patio entrance to the house, seeing the entire length of the room at once rather than catching glimpses as they come through the house. Art, works in progress, materials, and storage shout artist's studio, and typically people say, "what a great place to work". Part of this is the garden magic. Inside I have lots of new work up.

That is another plus about the event--lots of new paintings, cards from my paintings, and organization happens!

But back to the topic of giving people something to talk about--I try to arrange things in a way that helps me tell the stories behind the paintings, and from that often develops a sense of shared connections.

Whenever I have a one woman show, I make sure I have a focal point rather than a random collection. Just as a painting needs its center of interest and a feeling of unity within, so does a show. What paintings will star via their placement? Which can hang close together with harmony instead of a jarring disconnect? Why are these painting hanging together? (being by the same artist is a fairly weak reason). I did a still life show in September with nice sales. This show had greater variety of work because it was about artists in their studio so you need a wider range to profile an artist and how she works. In November I'm doing a show which is largely pen-and-ink plus watercolor, and entirely community related, largely focussed on the downtown core. I hope to see lots of "aha!" recognitions and ensuing conversations.

This was a bit of a ramble that grew out of my thoughts about showing in the garden. Next time more details and what we could have done better comments on the Open Studios. I know lots of people are interested in developing and participating in that sort of event.



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