gallery tour

Blog Week: Exposed

My first painting sold for $35 and was my only sale at the show.  At my second show I sold fourteen paintings and made $640.  Fourteen paintings!  I was thrilled because I paid my show costs and could buy paint and paper to keep working.  The paintings weren’t amazing but they were amazingly cheap.  Was it a good idea to start showing and selling so early?  When is the right time to start?

Showing work doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be sold - I think these two decisions can be made separately.  If you show your work you need to be ready to deal with an offer but there are polite ways to explain your decision to retain a piece or a body of work.   

Preparing for a show can be a strong motivator, and motivation is something every artist has to master.  I need goals to work toward so pulling together a body of work by a certain date always results in a productive studio schedule.  And a productive studio schedule means I’m working regularly and MORE.  Two good things, no matter what the reason.  Working toward a show also prompts me to get a group of paintings presentable – finished, signed, varnished, matted, framed, ready to go out the door – an investment of time and money and skills that have to be acquired.   In fact, my mats were so poorly cut at one point that a frame shop owner gave me a free lesson.    

I’ve always felt my best work should be OUT of my studio.  What is the point of it stacking up around me?  I began with venues where my work would be treated with respect and had a reasonable chance of being appreciated - restaurants, libraries, a coop gallery, and local art fairs.  While rotating work at this level, I began applying to regional art fairs, private galleries, and state watercolor society exhibitions.  

Eventually I was applying to the top rated art fairs and occasionally I’d apply to a better gallery.  I was also being accepted into national art and watercolor exhibitions and shipping pieces to art centers and museums all over the country.  The beauty of this madness (and I emphasize madness) is that I would look around my studio and panic because I didn’t have many paintings – when actually I had forty or fifty pieces on view in different locations.  Now you can see what I mean by motivation (or manipulation).  

A strong reason to show work is learning to talk about it.  The photo above is of my studio during Gallery Tour.  Answering questions and explaining process – it can take a while to get the hang of it.  Making art is an intensely personal experience and many of us internalize our process to the point that we have difficulty communicating or maybe we think we’ll jinx ourselves if we try to explain our thought process.  Learning how much detail to bother people with and how much of ourselves we want to expose is important - and unavoidable.  And it’s slightly off the subject but I love what I do and I’ve learned to enjoy talking about it.  It took a lot of practice though – A LOT – so I recommend diving in.

Of all the things that can derail an artist, I’ve found that sales venues top the list.  Selling as well as not selling can make absolutely NO sense in the beginning and even less sense with experience.  The difference is that after years of experience, you’ll adjust to the randomness and take it less seriously.  I don’t think there is any way to prepare for it except to not draw conclusions from your sales statistics until you’ve been presenting work to the public for several years consistently.  If you are going to let one show affect you psychologically, then wait.  And by the way, good sales can drive us in the wrong direction as surely as poor sales.  Both are feedback that we shouldn’t take too seriously but OH, that is hard to resist.   

I certainly don’t think that showing and selling work is something every artists must do.  For some reason, from the beginning, I felt I needed to complete some kind of circle.  I needed to do the best work I could and get feedback from it, then take that feedback and use it to make better work.  I don’t think I trusted myself to be objective or maybe I didn’t trust myself to work hard enough without an incentive.  And of course, I had quit my job and felt I needed to replace income to justify spending eight hours a day in the studio.  Now that I think about it, that was a pretty strong motivator!

But every path is different and this is simply mine. :) 


Back in 1963, the new Parisian Airport of Orly was considered a model of Modernism and was the main gateway to hordes of tourists flocking from all over the world to discover the beauty of the French Capital.

Air France commissioned famous designer and artist Jean Nathan to create this incredibly colorful piece of Art .

All our Travel/advertising posters are here

In July 2015 All our OTHERS (Advertising, Sports & Various) posters are ON SALE Here

If you like this entry, check the other 9 parts of this week’s Blog as well as our Blog Archives and all our NEW POSTERS

The poster above courtesy of ILLUSTRACTION GALLERY 

[GALLERY TOUR] Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967
Sunday, January 13 | 1-2pm
@StudioMuseum, located at 144 West 125th Street, New York, New York

Photo: Gordon Parks
Untitled (Harlem, New York), 1967.
Copyright and Courtesy The Gordon Parks Foundation

Enjoy an interactive and informative tour of Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967 with a knowledgeable museum educator. Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967 honors the legacy and the work of late iconic artist and photojournalist Gordon Parks, who would have turned 100 on November 30, 2012.

The tour will have something for everyone: adults, families and kids of all ages are welcome!

Jacob Lawrence's Great Migration at MoMA

This painting from Jacob Lawrence’s 1941 series about the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural south to the industrial north starkly describes how discrimination also took place in the north. (At the Museum of Modern Art through Sept 7th).

Jacob Lawrence, from the Great Migration series, tempera, 1941.


This is a video By James Kalm, from a two person show that I was in at Sugar Gallery in Brooklyn, NY (Bushwick), July 2011

I Hate Cleaning

This is what I WOULD be working on if I wasn’t dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and shopping!  Of course, that’s how my studio got into such bad shape - I never want to dust, vacuum, mop, or shop.  I left this piece as you see it on Friday and I MIGHT be able to work on it a bit tomorrow.  Might.  

On the up side, I’ve brightened and reorganized my work space and it does feel better.  It’s a shame I couldn’t convince someone else to do it for me.  It’s actually taken all my powers of persuasion to keep myself on the job this week.  My mother even delivered a vacuum cleaner with super-duper pet hair slurping ability.  I’m not the only one that doubted my abilities!

There was a time when I couldn’t paint 6 or 8 hours a day, it took more concentration than I could handle.  So, I would spend part of my day working on my brochures or an art supply order.  Or I would clean my studio and prepare my van for the next show.  I worked all day toward my art goals, just not at the drawing table.  My painting muscles have strengthened over the years and now I can sit with a brush in my hand for 8 hours easily.  My back hurts at the end of the day and my eyes are bleary – but mentally, I’m all there.

Guess what doesn’t get done though – everything else!  So Gallery Tour is an EXCELLENT annual event.  It doesn’t make me balance my checkbook (nothing can make me do that) but it DOES get me excited about visitors.  I think it will be worth not being able to paint for a few days :)

[#ART GALLERY TOUR] When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South
Presented by the @studiomuseum
Sunday, May 4 | 1-2pm
Studio Museum | 144 West 125th Street, New York, New York
Admission: FREE
Visit for more details

Enjoy an interactive and informative tour of When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South, an exhibition that queries the category of “outsider” art in relation to contemporary art and black life. Situating itself within current art historical and political debates, the exhibition considers work by self-taught, spiritually inspired and incarcerated artists, alongside other projects based in performance, socially engaged practice and the archive, as well as painting, drawing, sculpture and assemblage, that make insistent reference to place.

The tour will have something for everyone: adults, families and kids of all ages are welcome!

@SoudaBrooklyn / designmiami: ‪#‎DesignMiami‬’s Creative Director, Alexandra Cunningham Cameron takes us on a tour around three contemporary design galleries: @galeriekreo, @dzekdzekdzek (pictured) and AG Ossaye Projects. All three galleries present new pieces which show a different approach to contemporary design, from the processes to the ideas behind them. Click the link in our bio to watch the gallery tour on #Periscope

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Summer Gallery Tour 2011

Note for next year:  Buy more white wine and serve Mom’s zucchini bread again!  Thank you all for coming!!  It was a fun evening.  We were too busy to take many photos but I did remember to take a couple.  This was my fourth GT in my Oakwood studio.  I participated every year that I was at Meridian Arts with Dan and Arch, so I’ve been doing this for a while.  On Oakwood, I’m only doing the summer tour, passing on the December Holiday event. 

I couldn’t have made it without my terrific help.  Don poured wine, Minnie greeted and helped people thumb through my paintings, and Mark TALKED.  Correction - Mark ATE and talked :).  Minnie even dashed out on a “wine run” when we ran low.  


The lady behind the hand (her name starts with an M….) turned out to be the top saleslady of the evening.  I need suggestions on how I can convince her to give up her day job and work for me without pay.  I know she’ll come on board, I just need the right pitch!  

And today I was totally exhausted.  No exaggeration.  I finally settled down behind the encaustic table and worked until 4:30 but it took a while this morning for me to get my act together.  I turned off the palettes and framed a piece that SHOULD have been ready to pick up last night, spent some time with a guest, and left the studio around 6:00.  

I’m starting a new piece on Monday morning.  Visitors are MOST welcome all next week – I don’t want to waste a clean studio on just me and the cats.  And again, thank you all for coming last night and making Gallery Tour a huge success for all the galleries and studios.    

[#ART GALLERY TOUR] Carrie Mae Weems: The Museum Series #TargetFreeSundays
Presented by the @StudioMuseum
Sunday, April 27 | 1-2pm
Studio Museum | 144 West 125th Street, New York, NY
Admission: FREE
Visit for more details

Enjoy an interactive and informative tour of Carrie Mae Weems: The Museum Series, led by a museum educator.

Carrie Mae Weems: The Museum Series presents an intimate look at an ongoing series that Weems began in 2006. The artist stands, with her back turned to the camera, in proximity to some of the world’s leading museums and cultural institutions. The resulting images act as ruminations on the collecting and exhibiting practices of these sites.

The tour will have something for everyone: adults, families and kids of all ages are welcome!