Obviously none of the artists had outlaid all that money, effort, time and with the intention of bringing it all back home, but as we were assured time and time again by fellow show mates, you don't do Art Fairs, festivals or exhibitions with the intention of actually selling anything. You are just there to promote yourself and showcase your work to those interested enough to notice it. Really? Obviously I have been out of the corporate world long enough to have regained my sanity and composure, but to create work to have no hope of selling it seems a bit strange to me. If it isn't supposed to sell at specific events designed to help artists sell their work, then where is it supposed to sell? Not online that 's for sure! I am on that many online 'Art Galleries' and sales sites that I know that for me, that isn't my route to solvency.
So I ask, outside of going down the yellow brick road to commercial enslavement can an artist really ever be free to create their own self supporting financial world of imaginings? Some I think do, but I really do get the feeling that it is more serendipity (right place, right time, right person) than a planned route to success. I see many 'artists' that make the same basic mistakes over and over again in their art, but seem to sell - to well meaning friends or genuine art lovers is your guess as much as mine.
But the artist that truly invests the time to improve their work will I think see the most success but even those at the top of their game have doubts, which I think is why many turn to self publishing and tutoring.
Of course I have tried the latter and I have to be honest despite major doubts as to whether I could do it, I loved it.
Running workshops is hard work, and takes a lot of preparation - ask any teacher! - but the rewards more than make up for it. There truly is no better feeling than seeing someone who thought they could not, finish a painting or sketch and realise that with the right tools and encouragement, they absolutely can!
So no Print Pastel and Paint's first Art Festival was not a sell out, but we did sell stuff and met some really lovely people, who were genuinely interested in what we did. We both demonstrated our work on the stand which drew people in and started conversations.
Karen managed to cut and print one lino cut of a Razorbill, and started another! A great achievement in the extreme heat that we experienced that weekend!
And I think I have persuaded her to run some beginner workshops next year!
I rustled up a couple of acrylic demo's in the way of horses (surprise) which got some great feedback and interest and hopefully some future commission work (we will see!)
An overall good vibe pervaded the whole event and I think that art more than any other discipline can cross boundaries and unite people, who after all just want to express themselves and beautify the world so it is a better place for us all!
Shame then that the local schools have stopped their visits to these places as I am sure that younger minds would have found Patchings stimulating, inspiring, encouraging, informative and exciting. Guess you kids will have to make do painting pretty borders around your geography homework to sate your creative desires! Mmmm now there's an idea for a new workshop!
So in summary was it worth the outlay? It wasn't cheap! After the cost of the stand, framing, presentation, accommodation, and of course the wine bill we had to convince ourselves that we had treated 'us' to an Art Break. That won't stop us from doing it again, but it has readjusted our expectations.
So all those paintings sat in Stiffy Bags....what now? Well I am exhibiting a couple of them at the Association of Animals Artists Autumn Exhibition which takes place from 31st August - 27th September at the Granary Art Gallery at Weston Park - if you were lucky enough to visit the extremely popular Watercolour Master Exhibition organised by David Poxon with support from the SAA you will know where it is. Great venue! Great cafe!
I am also at Animal eARTh in October - our first venture there but as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I am also lucky enough to have an art break booked with the lovely Linda Matthews in her new home in France...now there's a dream life to behold! I will be in good company, as fellow Big Painting Challenge contestants Anne Blankson-Hemans and Anthea Lay will be joining me for some plain air painting in Languedoc, France. Plus my lovely husband treated me to a much anticipated acrylic art week with Gerry Dudgeon at Coombe Farm Studios!! Very excited about that one! Watch this space for news on my September workshops!