Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Assessing and Next Up

Booth setup from the weekend 

This past weekend was the Paradise City fine art and craft show in Northampton, MA; my 6th year exhibiting in this particular show, and definitely the most exhausting exhibition and display setup that I do in the course of a year. My newest challenge was making room for both encaustic and watercolor paintings without confusing patrons and potential customers. I wanted to display my large landscapes (watercolor) along with my encaustic "water life" paintings. I made the decision to not bring any encaustic landscapes because I need most of them for my solo show opening locally next month but ... looking back now I can say it would have been a better mesh of themed work if I had only landscape paintings in both the watercolor and encaustic mediums.

As I answered questions and explained the encaustic process at the show, I realized that this medium was confusing to a majority of patrons. I made changes and adjusted my display throughout the weekend but going forward I will not be combining different mediums unless they have the same theme.

Fortunately, next up is my solo show at Lynn Arts where that is exactly what I am doing! My photographs, hanging next to the watercolor interpretation of that photograph, next to the encaustic image transfer of that same photograph. The flow between each piece already exists.

First day at the show, most of my encaustic paintings are hanging grouped together rather than spread around.

Day 2 at the show, I added my giclee prints to the booth. I realized smaller, less expensive pieces needed to be included.

Was the show a success? The attendance was there (so they said), but most of the 2-d artists were having a tough time. I felt fortunate that I had prints, note cards, and small works. Part of doing these shows is the selling opportunity, but the other part is the PR aspect and having the first hand conversations with the people that want to connect with artists. A combination of current economic turmoil and extreme weekend temperatures (mid and upper 80's) definitely impacted all of the exhibitors.


  1. Robin I know what you mean about having to explain the encaustic pieces - I have a similar challenge trying to explain silk painting to people since it's also an unfamiliar medium.

    I love the idea for your next show where you go from photo to watercolor to encaustic interp of the same image - that was inspired! I'm sure the patrons will be fascinated.

  2. Hi Deborah, I am really looking forward to sharing my process and theme in the next show too. I plan on doing a demo at the opening reception which should help anyone interested in seeing the process, I will let you know how it goes.

  3. I think it is hard to mix styles and techniques in a show. Your idea of having a progression of them sounds like an interesting solution. However it is almost impossible to please everyone. It's like a restaurant that has a menu that reads like a book. It overwhelms the customer. Give people fewer choices, but make them the best you have. Otherwise you'll look like a jack of all trades, a master of none. This is from a old woman who made her living for many years doing shows. Good luck :O)

  4. Always a good thing when you learn new things and gain new ideas. Glad you had items that did sell. This is really a bad economy and I'm just thankful to have a job!

  5. Eva, I agree with everything you said, and I even knew all of those things before the show; too many choices are confusing. But, I was determined to share my encaustic water paintings and if that was going to be my focus I should not have brought the watercolor landscape paintings. I won't make the mistake of combining multiple series again, and I appreciate your input, always.

  6. Sherry, the economy definitely was a factor and I was just grateful I had smaller lower priced things to sell, and even more grateful they sold!

  7. Such an interesting report of your weekend--you are always learning and passing it on. I love the idea of showing photo-watercolor-encaustic connection. Your ideas on marketing are wonderful. Congratulations on your sales.

  8. Hallie, I think my blogging has become an extension of teaching from first hand experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly!