Monday, May 3, 2021

I'll Show You What I've Got!

Through the window at the Hillsborough Arts Council!

Friday, April 30, 2021, (sorta) my (sorta) first art show premiered!

Okay, it wasn't my first. My first was at a coffee shop in Cary, NC, in 2005. The proprietor told me she wanted every wall in her place covered from ceiling to floor in paintings. She had high ceilings. I was desperate and agreed.

I measured and made paper templates showing me where to hammer in nails so each painting would fit. I called a week and a half previous to confirm. Yes, the current art show would be down by the time I arrived. I called the day before hanging. Absolutely, the walls would be bare and ready for me. I explained that I had a flight to San Francisco I had to catch the same day.

So I arrived at the appointed time. The previous show was still up. The proprietor couldn't understand why I was upset, even when I reminded her of my flight. Calls were made and the teacher who'd hung the previous show (elementary students) finally showed. I helped her take things down and put them in the car.

Then, borrowing from the Speed Force, I got every last painting hung, every card with pricing information placed. Sweating like a horse after a derby, I then zoomed down the road to catch that flight, praying I wouldn't be too late. Thank goodness it was RDU and the security lines there are much faster (less populated) than those at larger airports. Got there just in time!

Didn't sell anything at that show; didn't get any contacts. I hate to admit it but a couple years later I was not sorry when that coffee shop closed its doors. Bad me.

Years later, I see a notice from the Hillsborough NC Arts Council to apply for upcoming shows. What the heck. I applied, using several landscapes I liked. I'd seen the small upstairs galleries they have downtown, around the corner from the main gallery. It wouldn't take many paintings to fill one, and the people were friendly.

And I got in! In the main gallery!

And the pandemic hit!

Hanging the show. The pictures on the bench are mine.

They postponed all shows until this year. I was teamed up with another artist for my show, and went down to the main gallery to check out the available space. Oh my. It was really small. The people told me how they were about to shuffle the layout of the shop to allow more hanging space, but I never heard further confirmation about that and ultimately it didn't happen. What I DID hear was that the lady I was showing with did large paintings.

So I changed my plan and went for smaller flower paintings. No one complained. When I showed up for the hanging (the volunteers at HAC did all the work; whew, and thank you!) we decided on one large painting per wall, and I'd fill in with smaller stuff. The lady had also brought smaller stuff. All in all, we came up with a show that wasn't too busy, wasn't too light on product.

Reception -- reception! during a pandemic! -- was scheduled for Friday evening, playing off Final Friday in town. I put on a nice blouse and realized it had been a year and a half since I'd worn one, made sure I wore my nicer shoes, and journeyed to Hillsborough. Downtown was swarming with people taking advantage of the occasion and new outdoor mask mandates. Of course there was no parking downtown, but the new parking deck waaay down the hill beyond Weaver Street Market still had spots available. I certainly got in my steps!

My vision of an Art Reception was me standing around with fascinated patrons mesmerized as I told them about how with this one painting I'd intended to focus on the connectedness of life and basic life spiritual forces within plants. How I'd chosen colors. The techniques of batik on rice paper.

The little sunflower pic there! That's mine!

Instead I got there, snapped a couple pictures as a starter, heard one of the staffers talk about a 15-person limit for the shop, and turned around to see about twenty people surge in. "I thought there was a limit?" I asked the girl at the cash register. She shrugged.

So I did the decent thing and retreated outside. I hung around the window, waiting for the crowd to exit. Others entered before they could do so.

All the small work here is my stuff.

Ah well, I thought, more people to see my work. Maybe someone would buy. Maybe someone would pick up one of my new business cards that had just arrived days before, with the new logo that Art Storefronts insist we have. Wait; had I seen the cards displayed? I'm going on faith that they were, because as long as I waited the crowd didn't lessen enough for me to go back inside.

On the way back to the parking deck I did get a chance to check out the Saratoga Restaurant's door. I've had paintings hanging there for years now that I change out every few months. Sold two. One of the owners died just before the pandemic hit; so terribly sad. She was always so encouraging. Since the pandemic it's been extremely difficult to tell when the restaurant is open. Their door sign says nothing about their hours. Their website has hours that show that they're concentrating on lunch, not dinner. When I've been there they've had pandemic customers: very few. I may stop showing there. It's difficult to get to (not handicap accessible), and sales have been pfft. I hate to seem ungracious!

Such is the art biz.

Hey, come check out my ALL NEW art webpages! I've joined Art Storefronts and now offer prints, so much less expensive than original paintings. Once the art studio is built (yes, I'm STILL trying to make that happen) (it will! It will! Archangel Michael assures me that it's there already) I'l be able to get the paintings out of storage and begin offering them.

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