As most of you know, my exhibition, "Buildings in the Landscape," opened last week at Sunbury Shores Art & Nature Centre in St Andrews, NB.
Having a show, especially a one-man show, is a big deal. Even if you're just the artist and not the gallery, it's a lot of work to get things together. For a show, the paintings must look good as a group. They need to have a common theme - such as, in my case, buildings in the landscape - or a common style, color harmony or something else that connects them. Since I have all my finished paintings digitized, it's a simple matter to use my photo organizing software (Google's Picasa) to pick out paintings and see how they'll look.
Next, I want to make sure the hosting gallery has all the information it needs for labeling. I create a table in Microsoft Word with title, size, medium and retail price. But most important, I also include a color thumbnail of the painting. This will help the gallery match paintings with labels. I send this inventory list to the gallery a couple of weeks in advance of the show so they can make labels and also present a valuation list to their insurance company. The gallery is always thankful for this extra effort.
When it's time to get the paintings together, I gather up all the frame boxes I can find. The better frames come in individual boxes, which takes a lot of the headache out of packing up. For the ones without boxes, I look for sheets of cardboard, bubble wrap and quilts. (In this case, we drove the artwork to the gallery; shipping via commercial carrier is a whole different animal.)
As I pull paintings out for packing, I affix a paper label to the back of each one with the same information that is on the inventory sheet. Labels need to be well-taped so they don't fall off during handling. At this time, I also double-check the framing to make sure the points are secure and the hanging wire is in good shape. When I put the paintings in the boxes, I take care of any staples or odd corners that may damage the frames. Although I paint mostly on panel, I also paint on stretched canvas, and I mark the boxes that have canvas in them as such so I can remember to place those on top of my box stack at the end. I don't want much weight on the boxes with stretched canvas pieces.
When I load up the car, I make sure I have two copies of the inventory list. One is for me to double-check my inventory; the other is for the gallery. At the gallery, as pieces are unloaded, I check the paintings off the list and then have the gallery sign off as having received the work.
For this show, I was teaching a workshop on the day the work had to be delivered, but fortunately Trina was available to deliver the paintings for me. It was a four-hour round trip with two separate ferry rides. I was very thankful for her help.
With a workshop running last week, it was problematic to drive to the opening on Friday. So, with some friends we hired a captain and his boat - Cap'n Riddle's Whale Watch Cruises - to take us to St Andrews. What a way to go! It was a beautiful trip up and a very beautiful trip back. A golden sunset capped off our voyage.
Below are some more pictures of the gallery. (I have to clarify that these were taken after the reception; we did have a very good turnout!) There are 37 paintings total, mostly oil but with some pastels, and a variety of sizes. The show will be up through August 9th at Sunbury Shores Art & Nature Centre, 139 Water Street, St Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick. If you're in the area, I'd be delighted to have you drop in!