My First Art Exhibition

By Diana Kelley 
July 5, 2021

In March 2021, while working on my website I was blessed with the opportunity to submit a few pieces of my art in a juried local art exhibition called “Captivated”. The exhibition was located at One River School of Art and Design in Frisco Texas and was hosted by Intuition Gallery. Thirty pieces of original artwork from the Dallas/Fort Worth area were chosen for the exhibition and four of my pieces were accepted.

The submission included the title of the piece, dimensions, a brief description and of course a picture of each painting. Each painting had to be framed or on a gallery wrapped canvas for the exhibition. There were deadlines for submissions and a nonrefundable cost to submit. Once accepted, another fee was required and a percentage of all artwork sold was included in the final cost.  One of the things I liked was 10% of each sale was donated to a charity. The charity selected for this exhibition was Treasured Vessels Foundation in Frisco Tx. They provide a long-term safe place for healing to individuals impacted by trauma from exploitation in sex trafficking. A very worthy cause that touched my heart.

The experience of entering a local art exhibition was well worth the cost incurred and the time spent in preparation. “Meet the artist night” was insightful and informative, giving me the opportunity to greet visitors and answer questions about my artwork. I also had the pleasure of getting to know the other artists that were displaying their artwork.

Oh, by the way, I sold my first painting. You can just image the excitement and joy that I experienced. Although, I have painted many paintings for friends and family, I have not sold a piece to someone I didn’t know. The story of this sale was very personal for me. The second day of the exhibit was my 44th wedding anniversary. My husband was very gracious to forgo any celebration time so I could be at the exhibition. One of the patrons was talking to me about one of my paintings named “North Wind of Fragrance”. She was interested in purchasing it.  I directed her to the person from Intuition Gallery, who was handling the sale of any painting in the exhibition. The patron was informed that the painting was already sold. I was surprised because I was unaware of the sale. After the couple left the gallery, I learned that the woman’s husband had made plans to purchase my painting (North Wind of Fragrance) for his wife. He wanted to surprise her with the painting as an anniversary gift. How special is this: I sold my first painting on my anniversary to be given as an anniversary gift. Truly, God works all things for good.

 I have ten take-aways from my experience of entering an exhibition.

  1. Get over your fear of failure and just go for it. “Nothing ventured nothing gained”
  2. Put your best foot forward and enjoy the moment.
  3. Displaying your art is a great way to improve your confidence as an artist and get your name out to the community.
  4. Talk with confidence about your work. In other words, know what you want to say about each piece before you get to the exhibition.
  5. Pricing your artwork can be stressful and sometimes daunting. Do your homework. Pick a reasonable value per square inch and be comfortable with your price.
  6. Think of the cost as investment in yourself and your talent.
  7. Some of us get very attached to our artwork but be prepared mentally that any piece submitted has the possibility of being sold. Just remember that your creation has meaning to the person who purchases it. They saw something special in your work that touched their emotions enough to purchase. This is a huge compliment to you as an artist.
  8. Of course, everyone is excited when they sell a piece of artwork. Be glad when someone else in the exhibition sells a piece. You know what joy they are feeling and all artist need validation of their talent and hard work.  
  9. Remember that art is very personal and not everyone will like your style and that’s ok.
  10. Learn from the experience and always “Expect the unexpected”.

Next month, join me as I discuss how I framed my paintings for the “Captivated” art exhibition. 

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