Sunday, July 22, 2012

Taking Paintings to an Exhibition

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!


Keith Tilley said...

Some good ideas there Michael, especially the document with the picture thumbnails.

Carolyn Thompson said...

Thank you for sharing how you do this. I've never done an exhibition - shared - or alone - but it is nice to know for future reference .... maybe....someday!

Daniela said...

Thank you for sharing your information, even when you are that busy!

Barbara Benik said...

Just joined your blog; you have a wealth of info and are very sharing. Congratulations on your solo exhibit. It looks great!

ML Coleman said...

Michael--Nice looking show! Hope you are having a great summer.

We have finally gotten about 3" of much needed rain in the past

couple of weeks. Good luck with your show.


Sandy Farley said...

Thanks for your valuable insights, Michael. Very best wished gor a successful show!