Well it's over now and has been a resounding success. All of the work I put in beforehand has paid off I think, as I had a good stream of visitors throughout. Many came specifically to see me from the surrounding area which was what I wanted to achieve via my articles in the local papers and my flyers placed in businesses throughout the region.
This first photo shows the premises before I set up. As you can see it's a florist, and I am using the half of the shop to the left.
Here there is a view of my home made display stand. It's a triangular structure, about 5 feet across each side and about 6'6" tall. I'll be painting it white when I get time, the brown is a bit dull.
This narrow space at the side of my display board was good for trapping the more affluent browsers in!
The shop window, where I positioned my larger pieces. By the time I took these photos, 'Elusive Nature' and 'Cougar Domain' had already gone, swiftly followed by 'Pride' .
I was torn between putting the red dots on sold work and asking the purchasers to come and collect at the end of the exhibition, or just letting them go as they sold. It would have been nice to keep the larger more dramatic pieces, which sold first, until the end but I decided it was unfair to make people return. Some had come a fair way and others were visitors to the area. I had plenty of pictures so rather than risk losing sales, I let them go as they sold.
It wasn't all about sales though. I met some very good people in the form of other local artists, gallery owners and the like. Made a few good contacts for the future and gained info on forthcoming events and venues which I hadn't heard about. The direct feedback about my work was great too.
After setting up Thursday morning I had a very busy afternoon but no sales, although a rather fetching police woman (I love a girl in uniform) came in and inquired about a portrait of her dog. She took a business card and will get back to me I hope, a promising start. That proved to be one of only two days where there were no definite sales. Friday was the busiest day of the week. Some of the pieces which sold were 'Upwind' , 'Sundance' several Native American prints, and some books. I knew I was short of books, a lot went over Christmas and I hadn't re-stocked. They sold out by Tuesday.
Saturday I arrived to find there was no power to the building! The gas people had gone through some electricity cables and caused a disaster. Some buildings further up the street had some power, others were on and off all day. We managed to cobble together enough extension cables to reach an obliging neighbour and fixed up some spot lights which helped. A lot of the high street shut up shop for the day and passing trade dwindled. So the day which I had hoped would be the busiest, looked like it might be a washout. I needn't have worried though. Those that did come in had mostly made the journey especially to see me. The lack of power served as an ice breaker and I made good sales. The power returned about 4 o'clock but when I got home I found our phone, and therefore the internet connection, was still off. So I was unable to update my website with the sales or check for others. I hate that, for all I know the same pieces are selling again!
On Sunday Penny, the editor of a local paper I had been in touch with, came in and brought a couple of friends too. It was good to talk to her as she had been so encouraging and helpful with the pre-exhibition publicity. She also mentioned a follow up feature about the DSWF competition once it is over, which I will definitely be submitting. One of her friends had purchased a painting from the Mighty Fine Art website the previous night, paid via Paypal and was there to pick it up. Of course I had no way of knowing but fortunately it was still with me!
Monday was the only other day with no sales although I did still have plenty of visitors. Comment of the day was...'I'm surprised what an ordinary person you are' Not quite sure how to take that, never mind.
The last sale occurred on Thursday, from one of the boxes while I was packing away in my van.
So now I have some framing to do before delivering prints which sold to customers who need them framing. I have some commissions to start, one in particular I am looking forward to is for the landlord of the gallery premises. A pencil portrait of his father from an old black and white photograph, just up my street!
I have to get ready for two craft fairs I am doing over Easter....busy....busy....busy.
Being an artist is quite a solitary existence at times and I'm not used to spending seven hours a day talking and bantering with people. Mentally I'm drained and physically I'm a bit exhausted too. But it was well worth it, a wonderful experience and I'm already looking forward to the next one.