My first exhibition was yesterday. It went very well and I am very happy. The picture above shows a young man called Josh with my dad. Josh has just purchased this picture of mine.
I had three things I wanted to achieve when I went into this exhibition. I wanted to learn how to put on an exhibition. I wanted to find out which of my various styles people preferred and I wanted to sell a painting to someone I didn't know. I am very pleased to report I achieved all of these.
Firstly the set up.
My original plan was to set up in the hour before the show on the Saturday morning but eventually I decided there was not enough time so I managed to hire the venue for an additional couple of hours the night before. This was a good idea but also the choice of venue turned out to be really helpful. They had on the wall this adaptable hanging system.
Plastic wires hang from the ceiling and can be moved left and right. On the wires there are metal hooks. These can be slid up and down the wire and the picture wire or string just hooks into the hooks. These makes it very easy to hang the pictures. We had everything set up in about an hour and a half. This gave us plenty of time the next morning to put on the finishing touches.
At 11:00 it opened and soon I sold paintings.
Much to my surprise the first painting to sell was the one above left, The St Lucian Canopy was the first to sell and probably the most painting in the show. Several people expressed disappointment that it had already sold.
Shortly after this a couple I didn't know came off the street. They looked around the show and then bought two paintings. I couldn't believe it.
Throughout the day I sold a total of 16 paintings. A very surprising turn of events. One of my greatest assets was my friend Emily Lomax who hustled a number of people in from the street and was responsible for at least one sale.
What was nice was the large number of people who attended the show. First prize goes to Henry and Adrienne who came all the way from Glasgow and also bought the most art.
As to which style people preferred, I was surprised at the two most popular pieces, the St Lucien canopy and Pompey's revenge. Next up was Orsman Road, that one did not surprise me, I think it is one of my best.
Many people liked the gouache patters, many people like the small paintings of the Tiger moths, of which I sold three, the most popular those were the floral/landscape paintings of various sizes.
What would I do differently?
Well I would hang the paintings lower, older and shorter people complained they were too high. I would have business cards to give out, I would have a printed list of the works with a short bio on it. Finally I would have an A3 stand out on the street directing people into the show. The one I jury-rigged didn't quite cut it. Oh yes I would also have food available for those helping with the show.
What went well, I think the hanging order was good. I think I got the pricing more or less right. Having free booze available was a very good idea.
Thanks very much for coming for all those who did so.
William John Mackenzie
I am an artist with a specialism in landscapes and still life. My contact details are here.